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13 hours ago, offshorebirder said:

Thank you @Galago it was a treat so see and we are glad to share images and vids of the cute little Pitta.


And thank you @Kitsafari  for "pulling for us" to see the Pitta.   I agree with you that they are some of the most charming birds around.   Cute little no-tail profiles.   I love how African Pittas draw themselves up straight and look around - it shows off their little potbellies.  Do other Pittas do the "stand up straight and glare around" thing?




Other than the gorgeous  malayan band pitta, I've also seen the hooded pitta, the mangrove pitta and the beautiful blue winged pitta. And then they alĺ do the same stance - straight up,  keeping still, and you almost swear that they are listening out for you,  then hopping from spot to spot. And you're right about those pert pot bellies - never thought about it that way. 

I thought briefly to share the pic of the banded but didn't want to distract from this wonderful double- voice report. 

Edited by Kitsafari
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@offshorebirder @inyathi


I went through your amazing report with my wife Anne yesterday and when she saw the jumping pitta she made the same mouvement and asked me : when do we go ? Well , ASAP I said but as we have S and N Luangwa this year and Zimbabwe probably next year patience will be a much needed virtue! I am really jealous of your sightings @Kitsafari

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1 hour ago, Towlersonsafari said:

that's great pitta patta @Kitsafari

Thank you, @TowlersonsafarialTowlersonsafari although  I'm trying to figure out what is patta?


Adding : just realised what it was as I was turning in for the night ! :D

Edited by Kitsafari
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Fantastic you got to see the Pitta like that, glad your mission was achieved! What a great bird, would love to see it one day. The Heuglin´s Courser is also a great sighting. Have really been enjoying your report, always good so see a bit of roads less travelled.

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Please do share any Pitta  photos you would like @Kitsafari - it would be interesting to compare postures  :-)

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Sorry, it taken me longer than intended to post this, I got a bit sidetracked by the subject of dams, and then decided to make up for it I'd make this post a bit longer and also include a bit of history and some interesting videos, I found on YouTube. I was also slowed down by the fact that some of the photos I uploaded to Flickr, had not gone into my Zambia album for some reason, so it took a little longer to find them.


Going out in a boat, always makes a very pleasant change from bumping about in a safari vehicle, and on a river even when it’s getting pretty hot, there are always still water birds and other wildlife to be seen. Boating on the Zambezi was another notable highlight.



Black-throated wattle-eye



Spur-winged geese



Red-billed teals



Black crake


















Nile Crocodile



African comb (knob-billed) ducks


We did very well for herons on this boat trip, scoring seven species including egrets, back near the beginning of the safari, whilst visiting Lochinvar NP we kept our eyes out for the rufous bellied heron, but to our surprise we were unable to find one and we failed to spot any in Bangweulu also, we were therefore very pleased to see some on the Zambezi, we had a good view of a territorial squabble, however, although I took some photos I god none of the birds fighting and the shots I did get aren't that great so I decided not to upload any, knowing that @offshorebirder has good shots. 



Purple heron Zambezi, Zambia




Goliath heron and black-winged stilt



Water thick-knee



Goliath and grey herons






African jacana



Green-backed heron


We were delighted to come across an active colony of southern carmine bee-eaters, as we didn't think there would be any still around.



Southern carmine bee-eaters















Saddle-billed stork





Our next destination was Siavonga a little town on the shores of Lake Kariba, we would be staying there for one night in the Kariba Inns.




Success on bird tours cannot always be guaranteed, so it’s a good idea to have a back up plan, had we not seen the pitta or not as well as we had done, then the idea was to look for it on the Mutalanganga River on the way to Siavonga as this location is not far from the town. Having seen the pitta so well, we didn’t need to look for it again, but decided to stop just for a few minutes to see if there might be anything around. It was then on to the lake along a very scenic stretch of road.    



Zambezi Valley near Siavonga






Lake Kariba 







Siavonga Town


Kariba Dam


A bit of history


Back in the early 1950s the British government partly reacting to the election of the National Party in South Africa in 1948 that brought in Apartheid, decided that the territories of Southern Rhodesia, the British Protectorate of Northern Rhodesia and the British Protectorate of Nyasaland should be joined together to form a federation, before being eventually granted dominion status, like Australia, Canada and New Zealand. The idea as I understand it, was partly to avoid Southern Rhodesian taking a more segregationist route and becoming like South Africa, joining the three territories together would greatly increase the black African population and in theory reduce white domination, this idea was attractive to the white population in Southern Rhodesia, because large copper deposits had quite recently been discovered in Northern Rhodesia, being able to exploit this would bring substantial economic benefits, Nyasaland had no mineral wealth, but did have a growing population that could provide labour. At the time because we had encouraged settlers to go to Southern Rhodesia after WWII, the white population there had risen to well over 200 thousand, whereas there were far fewer white settlers in Northern Rhodesia and hardly any in Nyasaland, whites in Northern Rhodesia favoured federation because they feared black rule and thought that unifying with their southern neighbour, would stave this off at least for a while longer, Britain’s intention however was that the eventual dominion or independent state, would be multi-racial. After much negotiating the Central African Federation was established in 1953, it only lasted 10 years and was finally dissolved in 1963, the black population in Nyasaland had rightly feared that federation would result in them being dominated by white Southern Rhodesia, although some black Africans did have junior roles in the government and some could even vote, the CAF was still white dominated, at the end of the 50s more and more Africans were agitating for independence such that in the end Britain realised that the CAF had no future, the idea had failed, they decided in 1962, that Nyasaland should soon be given independence and then ended the federation in 63, the following year in 64, on July 6th Nyasaland declared independence renaming itself Malawi and then later on October the 24th, Northern Rhodesia declared independence renaming itself Zambia. Then in 65 Southern Rhodesia announced UDI, Unilateral Declaration of Independence that led to the Bush War and eventually independence as Zimbabwe in 1980.


Coat of arms of the Central African Federation
[Public domain]


Flag of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland (1953–1963)
Unknown, vector version by User:Lupin, User:Greentubing, User:Fenn-O-maniC and User:NikNaks [Public domain]


In the initial stages after the CAF was formed, it was actually a success economically and it was during this time, that plans were finally put into action to build a dam across the Zambezi River, this idea had been knocking around for some time, but there had been a good deal of disagreement as to where the dam should go, the Northern Rhodesians felt that it should not go across the Zambezi at all, but should be built on one of its tributaries the Kafue, this would have put the entire dam in their territory. Eventually agreement was reached that the best site would be the Kariba Gorge and an Italian company Impresit won the contract to build the dam, starting construction in 1956 and completing the dam in 1959.





The traditional inhabitants of this area were the Batonga, who lived on either side of the Zambezi, they believe that the river is inhabited by a god or spirit known as Nyaminyami, generally described as having the body of snake and the head of a fish. He was said to reside near a rock in the river that was known as Kariva from the chiShona word for a fish trap, this was where the dam was to be built, it was the Italians pronouncing this name who likely changed it to Kariba. The Batonga believed that the construction of the dam, would seriously anger Nyamnyami, as would moving them to a new home, they claimed that Nyaminyami would cause the Zambezi to rise into a raging torrent and sweep away the dam and they would then be able to return to their old homes by the river. In 1957 there was a massive flood that very nearly did sweep away the dam, experts concluded afterwards, that this was a once in a thousand-year flood event, but then a flood almost as bad happened the following year in 58. Apparently 11 Italian workers were killed washed up against the dam wall and the engineers decided that regrettably it would be simpler to leave the bodies where they were and cover them in concrete, that at least is the story on several websites I’ve looked at. Although the Tonga believed that the floods were caused by the enraged Nyaminyami, those behind the construction of the dam, of course did not, work continued until the dam was complete. The Batonga claim that when this was done, Nyaminyami’s wife was trapped in Lake Kariba while he was confined to the river below the dam, they say that every time there is an earth tremor in the area this is Nyaminyami expressing his rage at being unable to reach his wife. They still believe that one day Nyaminyami will destroy the dam and they will be able to return home, in recent years people have begun to fear that this prediction could soon come true, of course, the actual cause would not be a vengeful river god, the water continuously released from the dam has carved out an enormous plunge pool and almost started cutting into the foundations of the dam. Lake Kariba is by volume the world’s largest man-made reservoir, were it to collapse the outcome would be catastrophic, it would wipe out countless people and most of the wildlife downstream in Lower Zambezi/Mana Pools etc and likely take out Mozambique’s Cahora Bassa dam further downstream, causing even more devastation there. Clearly some urgent renovation work is required.  


I understand that a French company Razel Bec will carry out this work, this video explains how they will do it.




I don't know how much of this work has been carried out so far, all I know from the most recent articles I've found, is that work to restore the dam is on schedule.  


Because of the very low water levels in Lake Kariba as a consequence of the drought, power cuts in Zambia are quite common due to what they call load-shedding, this wasn't much of a problem for us because the places we stayed obviously all have back-up generators, but must be a serious nuisance for those ordinary Zambians who are connected to the electric grid.


Once Lake Kariba had filled up, someone had the idea that to benefit the people, who would now be living on the shores of this vast new lake, they should introduce a species of small fish, the Lake Tanganyika sardine (Limnothrissa miodon) known locally as kapenta, these could be caught to provide a valuable source of protein. To catch these fish, people go out at night, on boats known as kapenta rigs and use lights to attract them to their nets. It is estimated that there are 1,500 Zambian and Zimbabwean kapenta rigs on Lake Kariba, but in order for the kapenta fishery to be sustainable, scientists have calculated that there should ideally only be 500. The fish as its common English name suggests is endemic to Lake Tanganyika, it is therefore an alien species in the Zambezi, but being a deep-water lake fish, it cannot survive in the proper river and so just occurs in Kariba and in Lago de Cahora Bassa in Mozambique where it was also introduced. Besides benefiting local people, it has benefited larger predatory fish, like the tiger fish that draws fisherman from around the world to Lake Kariba, probably their introduction has done no real damage ecologically to the Zambezi.



Kapenta rigs


It’s not just overfishing that threatens the kapenta, regrettably thanks to that familiar problem human stupidity, another alien species has been introduced to Lake Kariba and to the Zambezi ecosystem, this one from much further away, I saw some of these aliens, while we were checking into our accommodation the Kariba Inns, on the wall near the reception was a water feature and the pool at the bottom was full of crayfish. Sometime back in the 70s I understand, someone had the idea of importing red-clawed crayfish (Cherax quadricarinatus). a freshwater species native to northern Australia and New Guinea to a fish farm near Kafue Town, before long they escaped as they obviously would and are now common in the Kafue Flats and have spread significantly from there. Then later an attempt was made to farm them in cages in Lake Kariba and they likewise predictably escaped and are now found throughout the lake and are spreading pretty much unchecked throughout the Zambezi ecosystem, they are causing serious problems and native predators like crocodiles, apparently just don’t eat enough of them, at least some of the articles I’ve read state this, but this may be changing, as their numbers have increased, predators have started to recognise them as prey, which they did not before. Local black Africans, haven’t as yet taken to eating them, crayfish are not native to Africa at all, so have never been part of their diet, if someone could persuade them to change their view that would be a very good thing. In Australia there are something like 140 species of crayfish, people there tend to call them all Yabbies’, but strictly speaking this name should just apply to a single common species Cherax destructor a close relative of the red-clawed. These two species along with a third the smooth marron, from southwest Australia have all been introduced to South Africa by fish farmers, the latter species has not spread beyond a small area of the Eastern Cape, the true Yabby doesn’t seem to have spread much either, but the red-clawed is spreading widely, another species the red swamp crayfish this one from North America was also introduced and it too is spreading in SA. It was from South Africa that the red-clawed crayfish were brought up to Zambia, I believe the true Yabby may have been brought to Zambia as well, but has not survived in the wild, in Zambia and Zimbabwe red-clawed crayfish are sometimes called Yabbies. The big fear because they are spreading through the region, is that within the next few years, they will find their way into the Okavango. There’s really no way to get rid of them, the only answer it seems is just to try and reduce the numbers and the best way to do that is eat them, the huge plate of piri-piri crayfish that I was served for dinner at the Kariba Inns was delicious. I’d not known about the crayfish problem before, so I was not expecting to be served crayfish. They really need to get commercial fisherman to start catching them in large quantities and if they can’t get local Zambians and Zimbabweans to eat them, then they can serve them to tourists, and all of the many Chinese working in this part of Africa and otherwise export them.



View from the restaurant terrace Kariba Inns


Kariba Inns is a nice very comfortable place to stay and the views from the restaurant terrace, across the lake to Zimbabwe are amazing, but we didn’t spend anytime doing anything around Kariba Inns itself, we didn’t really try to find any birds except from around the terrace. It was suggested that we might want to take a boat trip out on the lake in the morning, but this didn’t hold huge appeal having done our earlier boat trip on the Zambezi, we thought that it wouldn’t likely offer us any new birds and we weren’t sure how close to the lake shore we would be, so we decided against this option. Had we chosen to do it, they could have taken us to see the dam wall, as it’s only a few kms from Siavonga, but we didn’t feel the need to do that on our penultimate morning in Zambia, if I'd been staying a few nights then I likely would have chosen to do it.


On the drive to Siavonga we had passed a turnoff to Tamarind Camp, a self-catering camp and campsite on the Zambezi, Kyle suggested that as we didn't need to look for the pitta again and didn't want to do a boat trip, we should go there in the morning, as it would offer some very good birding. We decided just to have an early coffee and a muffin and then leave, it was a nice scenic drive to get there and the camp is beautiful, being right on the river with lots of big trees. There was no one there, save for the caretaker, Kyle explained exactly who we were and what we wanted to do and he was happy for us to walk around. The place was great for birds and we saw a good selection, but while there were plenty of fantastic shady trees for owls to hide in, we didn’t manage to pick up a Pel’s fishing owl or any other owl species, besides the birds there were some hippos in the river and a couple of large water monitors.




View Zambezi Valley






The Zambezi



Bearded scrub-robin


On our way back to the main road, we stopped a few time to bird, Kyle placed his speaker on the roof of the car to call a bird in and then made the very easy mistake, of driving off having forgotten to retrieve it, after some extensive searching we found it again in some mud on the edge of the road and set off back to Kariba Inns.


By the time we got back at around 10:00, it was evidently just too late for breakfast, so we asked for the lunch menu, I chose traditional beer-battered fish and chips and then we sat at our table on the terrace with some drinks and waited and waited, I would think it was well over an hour before any food actually arrived, when it did it was very good, but the wait was ridiculous particularly as there appeared to be barely anyone else there.



View across to Zimbabwe



Kapenta rigs



View from the terrace Kariba Inns






The pool with the main dining rooms beyond


Once we'd finished eating, it was just a case of packing up and leaving for our final destination the Cresta Golf View Hotel in Lusaka. 

Edited by inyathi
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After reading @Galana with close encounters of elephants , leopards and wild dogs this has been for me a very instructive post learning some historical facts about the origin of the construction of the Kariba Dam and the Genesis of three African nations Malawi , Zimbabwe and Zambia but even @offshorebirder won’t mind I hope that this time my main point of interest has been as a food addict that plate of piri-piri crayfish instead of the numerous bird sightings !


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6 hours ago, BRACQUENE said:

my main point of interest has been as a food addict that plate of piri-piri crayfish


@BRACQUENE - you should have  seen the size of the platter of piri-piri crayfish.  We were amazed that @inyathi was able to finish it, especially given the spiciness.

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We had a nice sunny day for our boat cruise on the Zambezi and we departed early.  I was glad to see it was a rather small boat with a low profile and shallow draft.   I figured this would allow us to get in close to the river's edge in the shallows and also would not scare away shy birds and other wildlife like a large pontoon boat with a roof and other superstructure.    The boat also had a simple open deck with a slightly raised flat bow for standing on.   These design features were for fishermen's ease of casting  and fighting fish, but they served birders and photographers just as well.


On the way down to the boat landing, we saw some above-ground concrete walled  pools which I recognized  as live bait pens.   I commented on them and was told  they were only used initially but once the local Monitor Lizards figured out they were full of baitfish they cleaned them out as fast as they were refilled and the idea was abandoned.  Perils of doing business in the wilds of Africa!


We scanned under river banks and tree roots for Finfoot and riverside trees  for Pel's Fishing-Owl but alas we did not see any.  But we had multiple good  encounters with shy and skulking birds.  As we drifted quietly in the small boat the shy birds did not mind us nearly as much as if we were  on foot or in a vehicle.  


We were rewarded with  the best looks we have had at Black-throated Wattle-eyes of the safari.  They had bedeviled me all along the way trying for a decent photo and now at the end they finally cooperated.



Just downstream of the lodge in some nice reedbeds with overhanging trees we had good looks at several skulking  warblers - Lesser Swamp Warbler, Great Reed-Warbler, African/Common Reed-Warbler, and  Marsh Warbler.  Other warbler species included Tawny-flanked Prinia, Grey-backed Cameroptera, Willow Warbler, and  Yellow-breasted  Apalis.


Great Reed Warblers



Lesser Swamp Warbler



Bee-eaters were well represented - we enjoyed Little + White-fronted + Blue-cheeked + European + Southern Carmine.  As  @inyathi mentioned, we saw a small colony of Southern Carmine Bee-eaters nesting in a sheer riverbank on the Zambian side of the Zambezi.  The light was challenging but the views were excellent - best looks I have ever had of Carmine Bee-eaters.  






The nice birds kept coming - Common Scimitarbill, Green Woodhoopoe, Trumpeter Hornbill, African Hobby, Tropical Boubou, Black-backed Puffback, Eurasian Golden Oriole, African Paradise-Flycatcher, Sombre Greenbul, Yellow-bellied Greenbul, Livingstone's  Flycatcher and the ubiquitous Red-backed Shrike.


We also had a nice encounter with  a Pied  Kingfisher  perched on a fallen tree.



And  we  had elephant and hippo sightings






Sandbars lining the chanel held African Skimmers, Reed Cormorants and Black-winged Stilts.


This Reed Cormorant had a fish



As we proceeded downstream, the river got wider and shallower, with side channels and semi-connected oxbow lakes.  We began seeing more wading birds, waterfowl and shorebirds.


Wading  birds included African Openbill Stork, Saddlebill Stork, Hadada Ibis, Glossy Ibis, African  Spoonbill, Green-backed  Heron, Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Grey Heron, Goliath Heron, Purple Heron, Great White Egret, Yellow-billed (Intermediate) Egret, and Little Egret.  


Saddle-billed Stork



Goliath Heron



Purple  Heron - wonderfully camouflaged against the reeds  and muddy riverbank.



One gently sloping mudbank hosted some Red-billed  Teal, an extroverted Black Crake and a Common Sandpiper.


Black Crake





Red-billed Teal



Common Sandpiper





Nobody else wanted to use this gently sloping riverbank.



Another riverbank was occupied by Spur-winged Geese and Comb Ducks.


Comb Duck



We reached a nice  little cove where a shallow side channel joined the Zambezi.  We pulled in as far as possible and sat there looking  at all sorts of birds.  Over time, the birds became used to us and some wandered closer.  I was in heaven with 12 shorebird species to enjoy: Water Thick-knee, Black-winged Stilt, Blacksmith Lapwing, White-headed Lapwing, Kittlitz's Plover, Three-banded  Plover, African Jacana, Ruff, Common Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, and Collared Pratincole.  


African Jacana



Collared Pratincole





Reeve (female Ruff)



The next cove was shallower and filled with  lush reeds.   In the back was a Rufous-bellied Heron fishing the edges - we were thrilled to see this sought-after  species.   As  we watched and shot some rather distant photos, another Rufous-bellied Heron came flying in to try his hand at fishing.  The original occupant did not like this at all and attacked the intruder.   This was a serious fight with bodily harm being the clear intent from both parties.  As I shot some frames I hoped neither would be seriously injured.








The fight ended as quickly as it began, with the apparent loser flying away.   I think it was the "intruder" that left but I am not certain.


Eventually we had to leave the nice little cove and we began  working our way back to the lodge.  We enjoyed more good birding and a very relaxing boat ride.   Back at the lodge, we had a nice lunch; we clients toasted our successful wildlife cruise with a nice cold Savanna cider.  We were sorry to have to check out and we congratulated the lodge owner on his establishment and new Pitta attraction.


Edited by offshorebirder
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I was just  going to reply that in Musekese and Ntemwa  Busanga the piri-piri was added on request when I got the message of another post as interesting and let’s be honest mouthwatering as all the others I received from you and @inyathi but if you permit I will point out the carmine bee-eater  and jacana  both in full flight ( glorious) and the very cute collared pratincole



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Some lovely birds there. Our boat trips were not as productive for some reason although we saw many of the 'usual' species our driver seemed to prefer the  Zimbabwean shore for some reason.

Thanks to both authors for these further insights.

Work was progressing on the dam on our visit but it was also good for birding. Red-winged Starling nesting and lots of various Swifts.

I can also confirm with fond memory how delicious the Crayfish were at our lunch too. Straight BBQ with lemon.

I have had Crayfish in Uganda fresh from Muko Swamps and they were excitedly eaten by our African guests at our lodge later. I can only assume they were introduced there too but the locals were setting out traps for them.




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@Galana Very interesting, good to hear that local Africans in Uganda have taken to eating crayfish, that's the red swamp crayfish (Procambarus clarkiialso known as the Louisiana crayfish, I've just looked it up and apparently it's the most widely introduced crayfish in the world and is now found on every continent except Australia and Antarctica. It was originally just native to parts of the southern US and neighbouring Mexico, the US distribution map I looked at indicates that it was native to 11 States but has been introduced into a further 14 including Hawaii, in the US part of the problem besides people farming them, is that fishermen use them as bait and they are also sold in pet shops, both provide an avenue for them to escape and establish new populations. The world map shows them in Kenya and Uganda and also interestingly Zambia, I hadn't spotted that fact yesterday when I was reading up on crayfish. It seems crazy that people around the Zambezi haven't taken to eating crayfish yet, as they are a very abundant source of good protein and in Kariba they are having a detrimental effect on the kapenta catch, so I've read.


Apparently red swamp crayfish have been found at a few sites in London, but I assume they perhaps don't like our climate and haven't spread far or not yet, we do have a major problem with another US species the signal crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus) originally from west of the Rockies in the US and Canada, it was brought to the UK in 1976 for the same reason commercial farming and escaped because these things always do and is now causing havoc in rivers all over the country eating everything and threatening to wipe out our one native species, the white-clawed crayfish  (Austropotamobius pallipes). I didn't know until just now that seven introduced crayfish species have been found in the UK, that have come either from mainland Europe or the US. 


Definitely time to fire up the BBQ or get some water boiling and cook up these alien invaders. :)

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This should be my final part of the report, although doubtless I will add a few further posts in response to subsequent replies. 


Our final stop on this safari was the Cresta Golf View Hotel in Lusaka, I would probably have to say that this was an entirely adequate hotel it served its purpose well enough, but then the only reason really to stay here or anywhere in Lusaka on safari is out of necessity, because you need to stay the night ahead of your homeward flight, maybe the best one can say is it is handy for the airport. After checking-in we thanked Kyle for a fantastic safari and said our good-byes. We had dinner at the hotel, I ordered a rare T-bone steak and I have to say it was perfectly cooked and delicious, I don’t eat a huge amount of steak at home, but when I do I like it to be rare, and I figured in Zambia that it was better to ask for rare. on the presumption that they are more likely to overcook it than undercook it and if they do, do that it should still be edible, I was impressed with this dinner. Breakfast however was decidedly mediocre, with a pretty poor buffet and choice of eggs not particularly well cooked and the coffee was poor. The hotel has quite a large area of garden, with some reasonable sized trees in it, so we spent the morning walking around looking for birds, it also has a herd of impalas, in the morning we couldn’t quite workout whether they had escaped or our just been allowed to roam the surrounding area as well, as they seemed to have taken up resident in what appeared to be a neighbouring housing estate. I didn't take any photos of the hotel. 



Collared palm thrush




African yellow white-eye



African yellow white-eye



Blue-breasted cordon bleu (or blue waxbill)



Baobab flower



Wandering impala


Back when we planned the safari it had been agreed that on this last morning, we would check-out have an early lunch at the Cresta and then leave on their shuttle for the airport, on the day we weren’t seriously hungry, but I’d said that I’d at least like to look at a menu and see what the lunch options were, however, when we went back to the restaurant, it was clear that they wouldn’t be ready to serve lunch anytime soon and not before our shuttle was due to leave. This was a little bit of a bore, just because the options for food at the airport would not likely be as good.  On the way into the airport, we passed the huge shiny new Chinese terminal building, this is not yet open but soon will be and will I hope be a huge improvement on the existing terminal.   


It’s quite usual at African airports, to have to go through a security check as soon as you enter the terminal and have to put all of your luggage through an x-ray machine, in this case you have to do so in order to access the check-in desks. We’d have evidently arrived slightly too early and the desks were not yet open, so we weren’t allowed through, we went and sat at a bar while we waited and drank cold ciders, I enquired about food assuming that they might have some simple snacks like packets of crisps or that maybe I could just order some chips/fries, but it didn’t seem so, I was shown a menu, while the offerings were not wholly unappealing, I wasn’t too certain if I there was time, but actually there would have been, I guess it just didn’t appeal quite enough. 


Once we’d off-loaded our bags and gone through, we had to wait for quite some time in the rather hot terminal building, at one point we took to standing underneath the air-con. The terminal has little to recommend it, there are several duty-free shops, one selling the obligatory selection of every kind of alcohol, chocolates and no doubt plenty of cigarettes and the others selling what I can only describe as tat. I had no burning desire to buy souvenirs or do my Christmas shopping but went around the shops out of curiosity, there was really nothing worth buying at all, besides coffee mugs with Zambia on them, there were ones with Tanzania and South Africa and other countries on them which seemed just a bit strange, worst of all was a whole shelf of carved figurines of Maasai warriors and Maasai women in their colourful beaded necklaces, why anyone would buy these as a souvenir of their visit to Zambia, is entirely beyond me. There was a bar that sold some snacks and a café downstairs, but we decided we’d just wait, for whatever food they would give us on the aeroplane. Not long before boarding we were told we needed to go downstairs to complete some final formalities, but we ignored this, when eventually they insisted, we went down to the chaos of another security check, you have to put your hand luggage through another x-ray, to get through to what seemed to the only gate at the airport. There were I think three flights going from the gate, the gate was I would think hardly bigger than a single gate at Heathrow, that would obviously only have one flight departing from it at a time, understandably it was somewhat chaotic. When we boarded our SAA flight we were all pretty relieved, after our nightmare journey getting out to Zambia, because of the SAA strikes, we'd not been 100% sure that our return flights would still be operating, although we had tried not to worry about it during the trip, it had been at the back of my mind.



Leaving Lusaka


We arrived back at OR Tambo on schedule and reconvened at Mug & Bean, for a final meal together, my homeward flight left first so I couldn’t sit down for too long. My SAA flight was okay, but I wasn’t too impressed when my breakfast tray was delivered and found they’d forgotten the bread roll/croissant that I was supposed to have, not a big deal I just waved at a stewardess and asked her to bring me one. After the mess caused by the strikes, I can’t see myself ever choosing SAA again, I think SAA is a very average airline, unless they sort out their financial problems and avoid further conflict with their staff and improve their service, I wouldn’t even consider SAA now. However, they did get me home, which I wasn’t sure would be the case, until I’d got to the airport in Lusaka and when we landed the captain made quite a good joke, he explained about the various foods that you are not allowed to bring into the UK and said "that if you have any of these and don’t declare them you could face serious charges, even execution!" and then said "sorry I meant to say prosecution", everyone in the cabin laughed at this.      



Nearly home London from the air


Over to you @offshorebirder

Edited by inyathi
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58 minutes ago, inyathi said:

when eventually they insisted we went to the chaos of another security, you have to put your hand luggage through another x-ray, to get through to what seemed to the only gate at the airport. There were I think three flights going from the gate, that was I would think hardly bigger than a single gate at Heathrow,

Oh I remember it well. They were using that back when I last flew out of LUN over ten years ago. I had a bit of a tussle once when the agent took my boarding card and, after scutinising it, called a colleague over. But smiles were due when I was handed two cards for seats in the pointy end. Phew. That was BA and it turned out I had a friend up in the right hand seat. Phew!

But that area was, and still is, a total disaster waiting to happen.

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I apologize  for taking so long between posts - it has been a busy couple of weeks for  me.


Our  final morning in Siavonga was spent exploring roads through a combination of Mopane woodlands and riverside thickets on the way to Tamarind Camp.  We enjoyed good birding - nothing particularly rare but we had nice birds and interesting habitat.  As this was the end of our field time I did not bother  with photos or much in the way of field notes, preferring to live more in the moment.   


This obliging Diederik Cuckoo allowed us to approach closely enough for some photos.




When we reached Tamarind Camp, Kyle chatted with the caretaker, and let him know he was a friend of the owner.  It turned out that Kyle had purchased a set of very nice canoes from Tamarind's owner for Tusk and Mane's camps.   The caretaker kindly let us bird and explore the extensive grounds, that are shaded by a Tamarind canopy.  While the rest of the  guys went down some steps and worked the Zambezi shoreline, I wandered around and explored the main building  and a few of the guest accommodations.   


I think Tamarind Camp would be a fantastic place to do self-catered camping with a group of friends, particularly if fishing is of interest.  The Zambezi here is very scenic.  


We reluctantly bid farewell to the Zambezi and after checking out of the Lake Kariba Inn, we began the drive back to Lusaka.  It took longer than predicted but that was par for the course  on this journey.


@inyathi's description of our stay at the Cresta Golfview in Lusaka was excellent.  When we were at Mutinondo and Mike heard  we were staying at the Cresta, he mentioned "Oh, the owner is a member of my club".   I need to remember to tell Mike that the food at Mutinondo destroyed the food at the Cresta.  :-)  Particularly in the breakfast department.  


Here are a few of the less mediocre photos I shot at the Cresta.  Different birds than @inyathi but the same gorgeous Baobab flower.    


Spotted Flycatcher



Pied Wagtail




Pied Crow






Before I get to the bird and mammals lists for the trip, I want to mention again how screamingly competent and fun Kyle Branch was for a guide.  A lot of safari guides claim to be ace birders but Kyle really is one - among the top handful of field birders in Zambia no doubt about it.  And his skills on mammals and plants are also superb.  And Kyle is no slouch on insects as well.    


The crew at Bedrock Africa were also outstanding.  Roy was very sharp and recognized immediately upon our inquiry that we were not your standard birders or even safarigoers.  He tailored a trip perfectly to our desires, booking availabilities at the late date, travel logistics, and more.  Rory and Doris were also very kind, friendly and on-the-ball.  And Rory is an incredible guide and field person.  Sort of like Yoda to Kyle's Luke Skywalker for those Star Wars fans out there.   Rory is also among a handful of people I have met with a super-deep understanding of bird physiology and behavior.  I struggle to describe it with the English language.


* Those of you who have not downloaded the Birds of  Zambia App are missing out!   When you listen to the sounds, you can thank Rory for the most part - not only did he coauthor the species accounts but also made most of the audio recordings.  


In terms of the bird species list - we saw 373 species and heard an additional 10-15 species, which would be pretty good for a 16 day birding-only tour that time of year in Zambia.   And on our safari, we concentrated almost equally on mammals and other wildlife!


Mammals numbered 40 species, which seems pretty good.  I enjoyed many lifer mammals;  if I had to pick a favorite it would be the Lord Derby's Anomalures.  But the great looks we had at Sitatunga, Black Lechwe, Kafue Lechwe and other goodies were hard to beat.


Mammals (40 species):     Safaritalk seems to have removed the tabs I copied and pasted from my notepad document, so I apologize for the screwy formatting below.


Chacma baboon            Papio ursinus
Kinda baboon            Papio kinda
Yellow baboon            Papio cynocephalus
Vervet monkey            Chlorocebus pygerythrus
Malbrouck's monkey        Chlorocebus cynosuros
Rump-spotted blue monkey    Cercopithecus mitis
Greater galago            Otolemur crassicaudatus
Lesser galago            Galago moholi
Chequered giant sengi        Rhynchocyon cirne
Scrub hare            Lepus saxatilis
Gambian sun squirrel         Heliosciurius gambianus
Smith’s bush squirrel        Paraxerus cepapi
Lord Derby's anomalure        Anomalurus derbianus
Straw-coloured fruit bat    Eidolon helvum
Side-striped jackal        Canis adustus
Slender mongoose        Herpestes sanguineus
Banded mongoose            Mungos mungo
White-tailed mongoose        Ichneumia albicauda
African civet            Civetticis civetta
Serval cat            Leptailurus serval
Bush hyrax            Heterohyrax bruce
Bush elephant            Loxodonta Africana
Common zebra            Equus Quagga
Hippopotamus            Hippopotamus amphibius
Common warthog            Phacochoerus africanus
African Buffalo            Syncerus caffer
Bushbuck            Tragelaphus scriptus
Sitatunga            Tragelaphus spekei
Greater kudu            Tragelaphus strepsiceros
Common / Bush duiker        Sylvicapra grimmia
Sharpe’s grysbok        Rhaphicerus sharpei
Oribi                Ourebia ourebi
Southern reedbuck        Redunca arundinum
Puku                Kobus Vardonii
Kafue Lechwe            Kobus leche kafuiensis
Black lechwe            Kobus leche smithemani
Waterbuck (common + Defassa)    Kobus ellipsiprymnus 
Impala                Aepyoceros melampus
Tsessebe            Damaliscus lunatus
Sable antelope            Hippotragus niger



Birds (373 species):


White-faced Whistling-duck    Dendrocygna viduata
White-backed Duck        Thalassornis leuconotus
Spur-winged Goose        Plectropterus gambensis
African Comb Duck        Sarkidiornis melanotos
Egyptian Goose            Alopochen aegyptiaca
African Pygmy-goose        Nettapus auritus
Hottentot Teal            Spatula hottentota
Yellow-billed Duck        Anas undulata
Red-billed Teal            Anas erythrorhyncha
Helmeted Guineafowl        Numida meleagris
Crested Guineafowl        Guttera pucherani
Coqui Francolin            Peliperdix coqui
Red-billed Francolin        Pternistis adspersus
Natal Francolin            Pternistis natalensis
Red-necked Francolin        Pternistis afer
Swainson's Francolin        Pternistis swainsonii
Yellow-billed Stork        Mycteria ibis
African Openbill        Anastomus lamelligerus
Abdim's Stork            Ciconia abdimii
African Woollyneck        Ciconia microscelis
Saddlebill            Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis
African Sacred Ibis        Threskiornis aethiopicus
Hadada Ibis            Bostrychia hagedash
Glossy Ibis            Plegadis falcinellus
African Spoonbill        Platalea alba
Dwarf Bittern            Ixobrychus sturmii
Black-crowned Night-heron    Nycticorax nycticorax
Green-backed Heron        Butorides striata
Squacco Heron            Ardeola ralloides
Rufous-bellied Heron        Ardeola rufiventris
Cattle Egret            Bubulcus ibis
Grey Heron            Ardea cinerea
Black-headed Heron        Ardea melanocephala
Goliath Heron            Ardea goliath
Purple Heron            Ardea purpurea
Great White Egret        Ardea alba
Yellow-billed Egret        Ardea brachyrhyncha
Black Heron            Egretta ardesiaca
Slaty Egret            Egretta vinaceigula
Little Egret            Egretta garzetta
Hamerkop            Scopus umbretta
Pink-backed Pelican        Pelecanus rufescens
Long-tailed Cormorant        Microcarbo africanus
Great Cormorant            Phalacrocorax carbo
African Darter            Anhinga rufa
Osprey                Pandion haliaetus
Black-winged Kite        Elanus caeruleus
African Harrier-hawk        Polyboroides typus
White-backed Vulture        Gyps africanus
White-headed Vulture        Trigonoceps occipitalis
Lappet-faced Vulture        Torgos tracheliotos
Black-chested Snake-eagle    Circaetus pectoralis
Brown Snake-eagle        Circaetus cinereus
Western Banded Snake-eagle    Circaetus cinerascens
Bateleur            Terathopius ecaudatus
Crowned Eagle            Stephanoaetus coronatus
Wahlberg's Eagle        Hieraaetus wahlbergi
Tawny Eagle            Aquila rapax
Lizard Buzzard            Kaupifalco monogrammicus
Dark Chanting-goshawk        Melierax metabates
African Marsh-harrier        Circus ranivorus
Montagu's Harrier        Circus pygargus
Black Kite            Milvus migrans
Yellow-billed Kite        Milvus aegyptius
African Fish-eagle        Haliaeetus vocifer
Eurasian Buzzard        Buteo buteo
Black-bellied Bustard        Lissotis melanogaster
Black Crake            Zapornia flavirostra
Common Moorhen            Gallinula chloropus
Red-knobbed Coot        Fulica cristata
Grey Crowned-crane        Balearica regulorum
Wattled Crane            Bugeranus carunculatus
Common Buttonquail        Turnix sylvaticus
Water Thick-knee        Burhinus vermiculatus
Spotted Thick-knee        Burhinus capensis
Black-winged Stilt        Himantopus himantopus
Long-toed Lapwing        Vanellus crassirostris
Blacksmith Lapwing        Vanellus armatus
White-headed Lapwing        Vanellus albiceps
Crowned Lapwing            Vanellus coronatus
Wattled Lapwing            Vanellus senegallus
Common Ringed Plover        Charadrius hiaticula
Kittlitz's Plover        Charadrius pecuarius
African Three-banded Plover    Charadrius tricollaris
Caspian Plover            Charadrius asiaticus
Lesser Jacana            Microparra capensis
African Jacana            Actophilornis africanus
Black-tailed Godwit        Limosa limosa
Ruff                Calidris pugnax
Curlew Sandpiper        Calidris ferruginea
Temminck's Stint        Calidris temminckii
Little Stint            Calidris minuta
African Snipe            Gallinago nigripennis
Common Sandpiper        Actitis hypoleucos
Green Sandpiper            Tringa ochropus
Marsh Sandpiper            Tringa stagnatilis
Wood Sandpiper            Tringa glareola
Common Greenshank        Tringa nebularia
Temminck's Courser        Cursorius temminckii
Three-banded Courser        Rhinoptilus cinctus
Collared Pratincole        Glareola pratincola
African Skimmer            Rynchops flavirostris
Grey-headed Gull        Larus cirrocephalus
Common Gull-billed Tern        Gelochelidon nilotica
Caspian Tern            Hydroprogne caspia
Whiskered Tern            Chlidonias hybrida
White-winged Tern        Chlidonias leucopterus
Double-banded Sandgrouse    Pterocles bicinctus
Rock Dove            Columba livia
Mourning Collared-dove        Streptopelia decipiens
Red-eyed Dove            Streptopelia semitorquata
Ring-necked Dove        Streptopelia capicola
Laughing Dove            Spilopelia senegalensis
Emerald-spotted Wood-dove    Turtur chalcospilos
Namaqua Dove            Oena capensis
African Green-pigeon        Treron calvus
Schalow's Turaco        Tauraco schalowi
Ross's Turaco            Musophaga rossae
Grey Go-away-bird        Corythaixoides concolor
Senegal Coucal            Centropus senegalensis
Coppery-tailed Coucal        Centropus cupreicaudus
White-browed Coucal        Centropus superciliosus
Black Coucal            Centropus grillii
Levaillant's Cuckoo        Clamator levaillantii
Jacobin Cuckoo            Clamator jacobinus
Diederik Cuckoo            Chrysococcyx caprius
Black Cuckoo            Cuculus clamosus
Red-chested Cuckoo        Cuculus solitarius
African Cuckoo            Cuculus gularis
Southern White-faced Owl    Ptilopsis granti
African Wood-owl        Strix woodfordii
African Barred Owlet        Glaucidium capense
Rufous-cheeked Nightjar        Caprimulgus rufigena
Fiery-necked Nightjar        Caprimulgus pectoralis
Pennant-winged Nightjar        Caprimulgus vexillarius
African Palm-swift        Cypsiurus parvus
Common Swift            Apus apus
Little Swift            Apus affinis
White-rumped Swift        Apus caffer
Speckled Mousebird        Colius striatus
Red-faced Mousebird        Urocolius indicus
Narina Trogon            Apaloderma narina
Racquet-tailed Roller        Coracias spatulatus
Lilac-breasted Roller        Coracias caudatus
European Roller            Coracias garrulus
Broad-billed Roller        Eurystomus glaucurus
Grey-headed Kingfisher        Halcyon leucocephala
Brown-hooded Kingfisher        Halcyon albiventris
Striped Kingfisher        Halcyon chelicuti
Woodland Kingfisher        Halcyon senegalensis
African Pygmy-kingfisher    Ispidina picta
Malachite Kingfisher        Corythornis cristatus
Half-collared Kingfisher    Alcedo semitorquata
Giant Kingfisher        Megaceryle maxima
Pied Kingfisher            Ceryle rudis
Swallow-tailed Bee-eater    Merops hirundineus
Little Bee-eater        Merops pusillus
Blue-breasted Bee-eater        Merops variegatus
White-fronted Bee-eater        Merops bullockoides
White-throated Bee-eater    Merops albicollis
Böhm's Bee-eater        Merops boehmi
Blue-cheeked Bee-eater        Merops persicus
Olive Bee-eater            Merops superciliosus
European Bee-eater        Merops apiaster
Southern Carmine Bee-eater    Merops nubicoides
Common Hoopoe            Upupa epops
Green Woodhoopoe        Phoeniculus purpureus
Common Scimitarbill        Rhinopomastus cyanomelas
Southern Ground-hornbill    Bucorvus leadbeateri
Red-billed Hornbill        Tockus erythrorhynchus
Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill    Tockus leucomelas
Crowned Hornbill        Lophoceros alboterminatus
African Grey Hornbill        Lophoceros nasutus
Pale-billed Hornbill        Lophoceros pallidirostris
Trumpeter Hornbill        Bycanistes bucinator
Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird    Pogoniulus bilineatus
Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird    Pogoniulus chrysoconus
Zambian Barbet            Lybius chaplini
Black-collared Barbet        Lybius torquatus
Black-backed Barbet        Pogonornis macclounii
Brown-backed Honeybird        Prodotiscus regulus
Greater Honeyguide        Indicator indicator
Bennett's Woodpecker        Campethera bennettii
Golden-tailed Woodpecker    Campethera abingoni
Bearded Woodpecker        Dendropicos namaquus
Cardinal Woodpecker        Dendropicos fuscescens
Olive Woodpecker        Dendropicos griseocephalus
Amur Falcon            Falco amurensis
Eurasian Hobby            Falco subbuteo
African Hobby            Falco cuvierii
Lanner Falcon            Falco biarmicus
Meyers Parrot            Poicephalus meyeri
African Broadbill        Smithornis capensis
African Pitta            Pitta angolensis
Chinspot Batis            Batis molitor
Black-throated Wattle-eye    Platysteira peltata
White-crested Helmetshrike    Prionops plumatus
Retz's Helmetshrike        Prionops retzii
Grey-headed Bush-shrike        Malaconotus blanchoti
Orange-breasted Bush-shrike    Chlorophoneus sulfureopectus
Marsh Tchagra            Bocagia minuta
Brown-crowned Tchagra        Tchagra australis
Black-crowned Tchagra        Tchagra senegalus
Black-backed Puffback        Dryoscopus cubla
Tropical Boubou            Laniarius aethiopicus
White-breasted Cuckooshrike    Ceblepyris pectoralis
Black Cuckooshrike        Campephaga flava
Purple-throated Cuckooshrike    Campephaga quiscalina
Magpie Shrike            Urolestes melanoleucus
Red-backed Shrike        Lanius collurio
Lesser Grey Shrike        Lanius minor
Common Fiscal            Lanius collaris
Eurasian Golden Oriole        Oriolus oriolus
African Golden Oriole        Oriolus auratus
Eastern Black-headed Oriole    Oriolus larvatus
Fork-tailed Drongo        Dicrurus adsimilis
African Paradise-flycatcher    Terpsiphone viridis
Pied Crow            Corvus albus
White-necked Raven        Corvus albicollis
White-tailed Blue-flycatcher    Elminia albicauda
White-winged Black Tit        Melaniparus leucomelas
Southern Black Tit        Melaniparus niger
Rufous-bellied Tit        Melaniparus rufiventris
Miombo Tit            Melaniparus griseiventris
Grey Penduline-tit        Anthoscopus caroli
Eastern Nicator            Nicator gularis
Dusky Lark            Pinarocorys nigricans
Fawn-coloured Lark        Calendulauda africanoides
Rufous-naped Lark        Mirafra africana
Flappet Lark            Mirafra rufocinnamomea
Red-capped Lark            Calandrella cinerea
Common Bulbul            Pycnonotus barbatus
Sombre Greenbul            Andropadus importunus
Yellow-bellied Greenbul        Chlorocichla flaviventris
Pale-throated Greenbul        Atimastillas flavigula
Terrestrial Brownbul        Phyllastrephus terrestris
Grey-olive Greenbul        Phyllastrephus cerviniventris
Black Saw-wing            Psalidoprocne pristoptera
Grey-rumped Swallow        Pseudhirundo griseopyga
Banded Martin            Neophedina cincta
Barn Swallow            Hirundo rustica
Red-throated Rock Martin    Ptyonoprogne rufigula
Northern House Martin        Delichon urbicum
Lesser Striped Swallow        Cecropis abyssinica
Mosque Swallow            Cecropis senegalensis
Moustached Grass-warbler    Melocichla mentalis
Long-billed Crombec        Sylvietta rufescens
Red-capped Crombec        Sylvietta ruficapilla
Livingstone's Flycatcher    Erythrocercus livingstonei
Willow Warbler            Phylloscopus trochilus
Lesser Swamp-warbler        Acrocephalus gracilirostris
Great Reed-warbler        Acrocephalus arundinaceus
African / Common Reed-warbler    Acrocephalus scirpaceus
Marsh Warbler            Acrocephalus palustris
African Yellow Warbler        Iduna natalensis
Icterine Warbler        Hippolais icterina
Fan-tailed Grassbird        Schoenicola brevirostris
Red-faced Cisticola        Cisticola erythrops
Rattling Cisticola        Cisticola chiniana
Luapula Cisticola        Cisticola luapula
Chirping Cisticola        Cisticola pipiens
Levaillant's Cisticola        Cisticola tinniens
Stout Cisticola            Cisticola robustus
Croaking Cisticola        Cisticola natalensis
Neddicky            Cisticola fulvicapilla
Long-tailed / Tabora Cisticola    Cisticola angusticauda
Zitting Cisticola        Cisticola juncidis
Desert Cisticola        Cisticola aridulus
Tawny-flanked Prinia        Prinia subflava
Bar-throated Apalis        Apalis thoracica
Yellow-breasted Apalis        Apalis flavida
Grey-backed Camaroptera        Camaroptera brachyura
Miombo Wren-warbler        Calamonastes undosus
Stierling's Wren-warbler    Calamonastes stierlingi
Yellow-bellied Eremomela    Eremomela icteropygialis
Green-capped Eremomela        Eremomela scotops
Black-necked Eremomela        Eremomela atricollis
Arrow-marked Babbler        Turdoides jardineii
Hartlaub's Babbler        Turdoides hartlaubii
African Yellow White-eye    Zosterops senegalensis
Yellow-bellied Hyliota        Hyliota flavigaster
Southern Hyliota        Hyliota australis
Common Myna            Acridotheres tristis
Greater Blue-eared Starling    Lamprotornis chalybaeus
Lesser Blue-eared Starling    Lamprotornis chloropterus
Meves's Long-tailed Starling    Lamprotornis mevesii
Violet-backed Starling        Cinnyricinclus leucogaster
Red-winged Starling        Onychognathus morio
Red-billed Oxpecker        Buphagus erythrorynchus
Kurrichane Thrush        Turdus libonyana
Bearded Scrub-robin        Tychaedon quadrivirgata
Miombo Scrub-robin        Tychaedon barbata
White-browed Scrub Robin    Cercotrichas leucophrys
Pale Flycatcher            Agricola pallidus
Spotted Flycatcher        Muscicapa striata
Ashy Flycatcher            Fraseria caerulescens
Swamp Flycatcher        Muscicapa aquatica
African Dusky Flycatcher    Muscicapa adusta
White-browed Robin-chat        Cossypha heuglini
Red-capped Robin-chat        Cossypha natalensis
Bocage's Akalat            Sheppardia bocagei
Collared Palm-thrush        Cichladusa arquata
Collared Flycatcher        Ficedula albicollis
Common Stonechat        Saxicola torquatus
Sooty Chat            Myrmecocichla nigra
Arnot's Chat            Myrmecocichla arnotti
Capped Wheatear            Oenanthe pileata
Anchieta's Sunbird        Anthreptes anchietae
Western Violet-backed Sunbird    Anthreptes longuemarei
Collared Sunbird        Hedydipna collaris
Green-headed Sunbird        Cyanomitra verticalis
Olive Sunbird            Cyanomitra olivacea
Amethyst Sunbird        Chalcomitra amethystina
Scarlet-chested Sunbird        Chalcomitra senegalensis
Bronze Sunbird            Nectarinia kilimensis
Mariqua Sunbird            Cinnyris mariquensis
Purple-banded Sunbird        Cinnyris bifasciatus
White-bellied Sunbird        Cinnyris talatala
Variable Sunbird        Cinnyris venustus
Copper Sunbird            Cinnyris cupreus
House Sparrow            Passer domesticus
Northern Grey-headed Sparrow    Passer griseus
Southern Grey-headed Sparrow    Passer diffusus
Yellow-throated Bush-sparrow    Gymnoris superciliaris
Red-billed Buffalo-weaver    Bubalornis niger
White-browed Sparrow-weaver    Plocepasser mahali
Thick-billed Weaver        Amblyospiza albifrons
Spectacled Weaver        Ploceus ocularis
Holub's Golden Weaver        Ploceus xanthops
Lesser Masked Weaver        Ploceus intermedius
Southern Masked Weaver        Ploceus velatus
Katanga Masked Weaver        Ploceus katangae
Village Weaver            Ploceus cucullatus
Dark-backed Weaver        Ploceus bicolor
Bar-winged Weaver        Ploceus angolensis
Southern Red-headed Weaver    Anaplectes rubriceps
Red-headed Quelea        Quelea erythrops
Red-billed Quelea        Quelea quelea
Black-winged Bishop        Euplectes hordeaceus
Yellow Bishop            Euplectes capensis
Fan-tailed Widowbird        Euplectes axillaris
Yellow-mantled Widowbird    Euplectes macroura
Marsh Widowbird            Euplectes hartlaubi
White-winged Widowbird        Euplectes albonotatus
Green-winged Pytilia        Pytilia melba
Red-throated Twinspot        Hypargos niveoguttatus
Brown Firefinch            Lagonosticta nitidula
Red-billed Firefinch        Lagonosticta senegala
Jameson's Firefinch        Lagonosticta rhodopareia
Blue Waxbill            Uraeginthus angolensis
Fawn-breasted Waxbill        Estrilda paludicola
Common Waxbill            Estrilda astrild
Locust Finch            Paludipasser locustella
Bronze Mannikin            Spermestes cucullata
Village Indigobird        Vidua chalybeata
Purple Indigobird        Vidua purpurascens
Pin-tailed Whydah        Vidua macroura
Long-tailed Paradise-whydah    Vidua paradisaea
Western Yellow Wagtail        Motacilla flava
Cape Wagtail            Motacilla capensis
African Pied Wagtail        Motacilla aguimp
Fülleborn's Longclaw        Macronyx fuelleborni
Rosy-throated Longclaw        Macronyx ameliae
African Pipit            Anthus cinnamomeus
Mountain Pipit            Anthus hoeschi
Woodland Pipit            Anthus nyassae
Buffy Pipit            Anthus vaalensis
Tree Pipit            Anthus trivialis
Striped Pipit            Anthus lineiventris
Yellow-fronted Canary        Crithagra mozambica
Cinnamon-breasted Bunting    Emberiza tahapisi
Golden-breasted Bunting        Emberiza flaviventris
Cabanis's Bunting        Emberiza cabanisi

Thanks for following along and for the kind words of support.




Edited by offshorebirder
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Great, I assumed you must be busy, thanks for doing the hard work of adding the lists at the end


There was one thing, I forgot to mention about the Cresta Golf View Hotel, because it was the 4th of December when we left, I found it a little surreal walking down the passage listening to the piped music which was some album of old Christmas classics like “Let it Snow” sung by maybe Dean Martin or Frank Sinatra or some other big name from that era, I think I’d probably forgotten about Christmas by this stage as it was over two weeks since I’d seen a Santa mannequin outside the Shoprite in Livingstone, the idea of a white Christmas in Lusaka didn’t seem all that likely.  

Edited by inyathi
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@offshorebirder @inyathi


What a coincidence : before going to bed last night I was just having a look at the Tusk and Mane camps you so rightly praise and I wake up with this follow up of your TR ; it took me a while to get my son Willem’s mammal and bird list online after my Kafue trip but certainly for  the birding this is in another league : most impressive and my appreciation for Kyle as a guide is growing with the minute ; and I will definitely remember those Anomalurus  and Black Lechwe !

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On 1/18/2020 at 6:22 AM, offshorebirder said:

Please do share any Pitta  photos you would like @Kitsafari - it would be interesting to compare postures  :-)


@offshorebirder far from wanting to hijack or digress from this excellent TR, I decided to post the pitta photos in an old thread that I managed to rustle up here: 

The pittas are in post #26.



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thank you @offshorebirder and @inyathi for the awesome dual-voice TR and all the comprehensive and interesting bits of your trip. Kyle sounds like a brilliant guide and I'll have to remember that when i finally decide to go on the pitta quest in Africa!


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Thanks to everyone for reading and for the kind comments.


I was just reminded by Roger, that there was actually one more mammal species left of Nate's list, he send me a message asking about a bat we had seen at Wasa Lodge and I remembered that I had some photos on my iPad that I had completely forgotten about and hadn't even looked at.  While we were at Wasa Lodge in Kasanka NP there was an emergence of alates - winged termites there were a lot of them flying around at the lodge, whilst we were sat at our table in the dining room on our first night, a bat flew in presumably hunting termites, unusually it flew into the wall and then dropped onto the floor, we got up and had a close look at it, I didn't have a proper camera, I must have left my cameras in my tent, but I did have my iPad so I used that to take some photos, I only looked at them yesterday, I thought they wouldn't be much good, but actually one was I thought good enough to upload. At the time, we looked at the various options in the Stuart's Mammals app and Kyle put his mind to the matter, in the end we concluded that it was a yellow-bellied house bat also known as a yellow house bat (Scotophilus dingannii), we couldn't see the underside of the bat to confirm this ID, there's no yellow visible in the photos, but I'm confident that it is this species, it is a common and widespread bat in Africa and found throughout Zambia. This makes our final mammal total 41 



Yellow-bellied house bat

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An excellent informative and enjoyable report.

Superb photography from both of you, and the dual voice writing worked really well.

Thank you

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I am really impressed by the number of mammals you have seen on your trip almost equaling my sightings in the Trans Kafue trip ; like you said at the start it was not exclusively a birding safari though even if the main reason was finding barbets and the awesome pitta but nevertheless a great result 👌

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