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NAMIBIA & THE OKAVANGO

Thursday 21st September - Sunday 8th October 2017

STEVE BRAINE

Pel's Fishing Owl, one of the highlights of our 2017 tour (Jan-Åke Alvarsson).

Pel's Fishing Owl, one of the highlights of our 2017 tour (Jan-Åke Alvarsson).

For most of the country the previous three years drought had been broken and although too early for the migrants we did however do very well with birding generally. We searched and found all the near endemics as well as the endemic Dune Lark. Besides these we also had a new write-in for the trip! In the floodplains after observing a wonderful Pel’s Fishing Owl we travelled down a side channel of the Okavango River to look for Pygmy Geese, we were lucky and came across several pairs before reaching a dried-out floodplain. Four birds flew out of the reedbeds and looked rather different to the normal weavers of which there were many, a closer look at the two remaining birds revealed a beautiful pair of Cuckoo Finches. These we all enjoyed for a brief period before they followed the other birds which had now disappeared into the reedbeds.

Very strong winds on three of the birding days made birding a huge challenge to say the least after not finding the rare and difficult Herero Chat we had to make alternate arrangements at another locality later in the trip.

The entire tour from the Hosea Kutako International Airport outside the capital Windhoek and returning there nineteen days later delivered 375 species. Out of these, four birds were seen only by the leader, a further three species were heard but not seen. A total of 5111km was travelled during the tour including game drives in the Etosha National Park. Due to different flight times Jan-Ake arrived earlier than the rest and we did a little birding in and around the airport area before the next flight arrived with the rest of the group at 12:00. We then headed for the Vineyard where we had lunch before a trip to the Gammams sewerage works. Before heading to the sewerage works we had stunning views of a pair of Bat Hawks which had arrived and taken up residence in some gum trees in the middle of the city! The first Birdquest tour to start with this rare and normally difficult species.

Wattled Crane (Jan-Åke Alvarsson)

Wattled Crane (Jan-Åke Alvarsson)