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Mfuwe's Year.


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So here goes. Like the road to H*ll it was paved with good intentions but never lead anywhere til now.

But I did start out very promptly by starting my year at the Water Lily Lodge in Kasane. Just too bad my best birding had been the day before in Chobe. Into every life a little rain must fall and as you will see from what follows we certainly had a Big Year for that.

So out of bed to greet the New Year and pack the car for our return to Namibia for the last few days of our trip to Victoria Falls and back. In the garden we have been First Footed by a Holob's Golden Weaver.1-DSCF4568.JPG.c8396ddc94914775386f1938c4be0b4d.JPG It looks like I have forgotten how to post so will add one more and then quit to find out more.

On our drive to the Namibian Border we passed through part of Chobe NP and saw a small family of Southern Ground Hornbills.


We were headed for a long drive to Camp Kwando so did not linger for birds.

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Number 3.

After our drive we checked in at Camp Kwando and the first birds we noticed were the Ashy (Blue Grey) Flycatchers around the Lapa.


There was a pair actually nesting in the Bar area with visitors quite oblivious to them. Well it was New Year's Day.

The next day dawned wet and promised to be wetter. Some lovely Thunderstorms kept us in our Cabins for longer than we would have liked. But we did have a balcony and so I did manage a few shots between the drips.



4. Swamp Boubous were calling and Black-backed Puffbacks often accepted the challenge.




When we did get out for longer we managed a few more birds despite the cr*ppy light.:-


6. Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird.



7.  A Striped Kingfisher took charge of the water sprinkler.


Down by the River Kwando by the Bar were:-


8. Spectacled Weaver.



9.  Black Crake.


10.   Hadada Ibis nesting.

Further along the river were:-



11. Coppery-tailed Coucal.



12. African Stonechat. (and I fully intend to make every bird count and include our local one too if seen!)



13.  African Fish Eagles were never far away.



14. And I end the two days with a Rufous-bellied Heron.

Tomorrow is another day of driving to our next destination where maybe we will find more birds..

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Welcome aboard! A great start.

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Peter Connan

This looks like fun!



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Oh good, another Big Year - great start!

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Dave Williams

Excellent start! Nice to put another two names together too.:)

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Thanks all for the encouragement. But be warned the awful weather did make for some EBC type shots that I would not normally admit to. And it has Pissisted all year.

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So now we leave Kwando and head for the Okavango and the lovely Mahango NP where we will seek Roan and Sable Antelope plus usal mammals and a few special birds.

After swift progress and booking into Nando Lodge we try for a quick recce into the NP in what remains of the day. The rain has put a lot of stuff into the bush but we persevere. Dinner is not til 19.30 so what else is there to do?


16. It's even too wet for these Yellow-billed Ducks.



17. A young Martial Eagle is none too impressed. Note the sky colour. I don't photoshop.



** A very wet Coppery-Tailed Coucal does not increase my score.



18. But an equally bedraggled Yellow-billed Kite is willing to oblige.

Oh well. Back to the Bar. We did see lots of Kudu, Giraffe, Impala and a single Sable Antelope so the trip was not a waste of time.

There is always tomorrow!

Which dawns marginally drier. Hope springs eternal.


19. Brown-crowned Tchagra.


20. Acacia Pied Barbet.



21. Cardinal Woodpecker.



22. Red-backed Shrike.



23. Marico Flycatcher. Dark skies so no flies!



24. Undoubtedly the Stars of Mahango. Wattled Cranes.

There were about six.



25. Green-backed Cameroptera.



26. Tawney-flanked Prinia.


27. Squacco Heron.


28. Wood Sandpiper. (Even if the legs appear green.)14-DSCF4924.JPG.f7fd05758f4b5c342c8f68640ed0af6b.JPG

29. The sun has come out so the Shikra is having a bath.



30. EBC in action. Rock Pratincoles.02-DSCF4949.JPG.ce5602bbc23f6fe06ca50941d503b733.JPG

31, Red-breasted Swallow.


32. Magpie Shrike.


33. African Wattled Lapwing.


34. Southern Pied Babblers.


35. Babbler with Crimson-breasted BushShrike.


36. The young Wattled Crane does not count but the Great White Egret does. :D


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Are you sure about the Stonechat? Does not look right to me.

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Dave Williams
7 minutes ago, michael-ibk said:

Are you sure about the Stonechat? Does not look right to me.

Looks like a female one to me @michael-ibk what were you thinking of?

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Twas actually a young male Stonechat with his head turned away from us so the black head etc., is not showing...You can just see the 'collar' if you squint hard.

Here is the sky at the time. No bird but you can see the problem.1-DSCF4730.JPG.fa79cca28e528ee0ff05e39b8ef360c9.JPG

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Ok, sorry and thanks, now I can recognize it.

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No problem Michael. I never resent a challenged call.

In fact I welcome them as it shows somebody is actually reading the bloomin post!

Edited by Galana
additional text.
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Dave Williams

These Big Year lists are great threads to test, refresh and learn. 

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@Dave Williams  I agree.

So here are some more of mine. Next day back in the Mudumu Park (fees are so cheap we just kept going in.).

And sometimes we did not even get in before some action. The next bird was in the tree by the Park Office as I got out to pay the entrance fee. Worth every NAM$. If @xelas  wants the location I can  give him the grid ref!:o


37. Red-headed Weaver. Anaplectes Rubriceps.

And just through the gate we scored a double.


38 & 39. Melba Finch (Green-winged Pytlia) and Purple Grenadier. Male and Female



40. Swallow-tailed BeeEater. (juv) The sky does not get any brighter does it?



41. Rufous-naped Lark doing his best to appear happy.



42. Hartlaub's Babbler.

Note the rain drops on the bushes!



43. Water Buzzard. Buteo impervious.



44.  EBC moment. The chevrons on the back tell me this was a Red-crested Koorhan. I blame the driver.



** Just another Crimson-breasted Shrike.



45. Crested Francolins.

All the above were in Mahango NP. We saw lots of mammals too but dipped on Roan Antelope.

Now back to Nunda River Lodge.


46. African Paradise Flycatcher. Came into my tent to escape the rain.

(Did I mention it had rained?)



47. Red-eyed Bulbul.




48.Yellow-bellied Greenbuls.


49. Tropical Boubou. Note the coloured flanks.



50.  Arrow-marked Babbler. Cricketers can clap!



51 & 52. @Tdgraves You should never have mentioned EBC.

Here are two. Blacksmith Lapwings and Water Dikkop from the bar at Nunda River Lodge..

Tomorrow we leave the Kaprivi for Otjiwarango.

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Welcome, master @Galana! Now I know why grass was so tall in May :D! Rock Pranticoxlas are every bit EBC, while Blacksmith is identifiable even by me :rolleyes:. I am sensing a long thread and a high bird count here :)!!

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A new wonderful thread to browse through! Your skies were very grey indeed, @Galana, but even in those conditions you've come up with a great collection. Wattled Cranes, wow! Mahango sounds like a good place to go to. Looking forward to more!

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A last few before I am Out of Africa.

A last round up of Nunda River Lodge grounds


53. White-browed (Heuglin's) Robin Chat.


Frans Indongo Lodge produced:-


54. A really cr*p out of focus Eurasian BeeEater and a not much better:-



55. Cinamon-breasted Rock Bunting doing its best to avoid being counted!



(0) Well it flies. Striped Leaf-nosed Bat in our porch at Frans Indongo Lodge.

Our time here was concentrated on a visit to Cheetah Conservation Fund HQ at Eland's Joy so the birding did suffer a bit as we normally walk the farm and do well.

And finally for our trip a better shot of Acacia Pied Barbet than the earlier one.


At least it was not raining!

Now back to our bit of Heaven in the Irish Sea.


Thanks for the comments so far. @PeterHG  Caprivi itself is wonderful and so different to drier parts of Namibia. Mahango has always been a favourite of mine.

Edited by Galana
amended spelling.
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OK . It is back home and some local birds from my own patch (and hopefully some relief from EBC photos!!) :rolleyes: I have tried to keep the sightings in chronological order but some may vary to spare my blushes over early season birds. Most warblers have gone at the time of posting so you may have to settle for what I have but residents and winter visitors may improve the quality.01-DSCN0147.JPG.f3e0de147c674ba512723403cd9db808.JPG

56.  Everybody's favourite. The Robin.



57. The Goldfinch. A Spring Adult. And below a bird of the year.


Coming out. there is a glitch.

Tried to edit out some photos to no avail so will have to repeat below.








Edited by Galana
Computer crash
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Oh well if you can't beat em join em!!

58.  Chaffinch.

59. Dunnock, Hedge Sparrow or Hedge Accentor. Small bird. Big names.

60. Northern Wheatear.

61. Greenfinch.

62. Sanderling (Winter plumage) Another will be shown later in breeding best.

63. Great Tit.

64. Whimbrel.

Let's hope that works.

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65. Pinkfooted Geese.


66. Smew. (female or "Red Head")



67. Redwing. Close to EBC but in the Bank in case I miss a better one this Autumn.


68. Blackbird. another 'Banker' that I can improve on.

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A few more locals.4-020.JPG.17edcbb0edd6f2ae47a5273f382a585e.JPG

69. Red-billed Chough. Pointing the way home. The sign reads "Raad ny Vollan" The way of the Gull in Manx.



70. Eurasian Widgeon.



71. Greylag Geese with young. They breed on the Island.



72. Common Stonechat.



73. SkyLark.  I will find a better one but....


At last, Spring weather has arrived and the Warblers are here.


74. Sedge Warbler.



75. Garden Warbler.


76. Ooh. Common Whitethroat. Almost ashamed of this one but they have gone now and this is all I got.

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OK. That's some locals out of the way.

Now let us go to Scotland and then to the Outer Hebridean Islands of Lewis, North Uist and Benbecula.

First to our stay near Loch Ruthven in the Highlands not far from Speyside and what better bird could we start with than one that epitomises the area and its famous product?



77. The Famous Grouse herself. Lagopus Lagopus.

Our cottage had a Bird Feeder. I assume that is allowed?



78.  Blue Tit.




79. Coal Tit. The feeders have bars to keep the Squirrels out.


80. This Ringneck kept coming for the spillage from the feeders.



81. The Lesser Redpoll did use the feeder but only when it was quiet which was not often.


We took advantage of the good weather to ascend Cairngorm in search of some specials.



82. Meadow Pipit was not very special.



83. Neither was this Chiff Chaff.



84. Ring Ouzel is special and more so as we found his mate and nestlings.


But we dipped on our main targets (well I did get a photo of one but it was barely EBC) so I will have to go back.

So back to Loch Ruthven where I knew there was another special or two...



85. Green Plover. Lapwing, Peewit. A bird of many names.



86. European Curlew.



87. Dabchick or Little Grebe. Nice to see but not so special.



88. Slavonian Grebe. One of the few nesting pairs in Britain. That's special!



89. Ospreys are pretty special too. Recovering well in Britain from the return from extinction in 20th Century.

OK. Here is the EBC of one of the specials



90 maybe? Can you see what it is yet?

Edited by Galana
Addiitonal photo and text.
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A Red-Legged Partridge?

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16 minutes ago, michael-ibk said:

A Red-Legged Partridge?

Do you really think I would climb a 4000 foot mountain to find a "Frenchman"? How little you know me!!:rolleyes:

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