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Saturday 20th November - Tuesday 14th December 2010

Nik Borrow

During this ‘three countries in three weeks tour’ we visited extensive miombo woodlands, mopane forests, montane copses, rolling open moorlands, dense thickets and riverine marshes and recorded 502 species of birds and 36 species of mammals. The highlights of the tour had to be the rarities such as close-up sightings of the reclusive Olive-headed Weaver, scope views of the magnificent Scarlet-tufted Malachite Sunbird, White-winged Babbling Starlings busy feeding youngsters, the strange Boulder Chat, exquisite White-winged Apalis, fantastic encounters with the formidable Pel’s Fishing Owl and delightful White-backed Night Herons in Malawi. We scored well with Zambia’s two big specialties the beautiful Black-cheeked Lovebird and the snowy Chaplin’s Barbet whilst in Zimbabwe the trio of Roberts’s Prinia, Chirinda Apalis and the stunning little Swynnerton’s Robin all fell with ease. Other avian treasures included Dwarf Bittern, Dickinson’s Kestrel, Red-winged Francolin, Buff-spotted and Red-chested Flufftails, Lilian’s Lovebird, Livingstone’s and Schalow’s Turacos, Burchell’s Coucal, Grass Owl, Usambara Nightjar, Böhm’s and Southern Carmine Bee-eaters, Racket-tailed Roller, Pale-billed Hornbill, Whyte’s Barbet, Moustached Green Tinkerbird, Miombo Pied and Brown-breasted Barbets, Pallid Honeyguide, Bennett’s, Speckle-throated and Stierling’s Woodpeckers, African Broadbill, Blue and Pearl-breasted Swallows, Woodland and Striped Pipits, Southern Mountain, Stripe-cheeked, Olive-headed and Sharpe’s Greenbuls, Miombo Rock Thrush, Orange Ground Thrush, Sharpe’s Akalat, Olive-flanked Robin, Miombo Scrub Robin, Arnott’s Chat, Wailing, Churring and Black-lored Cisticolas, Yellow-throated and Brown-headed Apalises, Green-backed Camaroptera, Stierling’s Wren-warbler, Böhm’s Flycatcher, Malawi Batis, Livingstone’s Flycatcher, Hartlaub’s Babbler, Rufous-bellied Tit, Anchieta’s and Shelley’s Sunbirds, Ludwig’s, Miombo and Forest Double-collared Sunbirds, Souza’s Shrike, Anchieta’s Tchagra, Fülleborn’s Black Boubou, Olive Bush-shrike, Miombo Blue-eared and Meves’s Starlings, Chestnut-backed Sparrow-weaver, Bertrand’s and Southern Brown-throated Weavers, Orange-winged Pytilia, Red-faced Crimsonwing, Red-throated Twinspot, Southern Citril and Black-eared, Reichard’s and Yellow-browed Seedeaters. Amongst a good crop of mammals we will remember the splendid observations of Roan and Sable Antelopes.