My goodness I am useless in keeping these posts up to date !! It has been way way too long and I humbly apologise.
Let’s get on with it shall we ?
We last chatted about the enigmatic African Pitta way back after two abortive trips in December 2012 and January 2013 and I did mention that JNV was going to return in December 2013.
We arrived in camp about noonish having left Harare early and after quickly unpacking and snacking a small lunch we set off looking for Pittas ! Fantastic views of Livingstone’s Flycatchers got us off to a good start and within about 45 minutes – SUCCESS !
AC and PH were Pitta virgins and there was much frivolity and back slapping spontaneously erupting all around.
Go on – look carefully ………
ok ok – technology to the rescue ………….
That Jesse Bush is made up largely of Combretum spp. and is VERY thick and being in big game country also quite dangerous.
Whilst all acknowledged that this was not a brilliant sighting, it was without doubt an acceptable “tick” for the boys.
Who are pictured below …..
Left to right PH, AC and JNV.
Well that certainly took the pressure off me and Mack. I promise that relaxed guides are better than tense ones !
AC needed a photo of a Red-throated Twinspot so we obliged.
Evening rolled in and with a fire made by the very helpful Tich, we ate (and drank) well and retired tired.
That night, starting at about 1 am, it started to rain. In bucket loads ! And windy too. The lodges have gauze, not glass, windows and in the rain came, and came, and came.
We were all soaked through but at least the rain stopped around 4:30 am.
AC is lying in his bed at 05:30 and he can hear a Pitta. He thinks “Bloody Wood buggering around with a tape”
I am lying in my bed at 05:30 and I can hear a Pitta. I think “Bloody Client buggering around with a tape”
Both of us were wrong ! Very wrong ! There WAS a Pitta in the tree above the kitchen. It is amazing how quickly people can get dressed when the need arises !
Well it doesn’t get any better than that does it ?
What ? The sighting or the three ecstatic clients ? Both I guess.
We all set off into the forest to see what else we could find and wandered about ticking species off and generally birding the riverine forests that overlook the dry Angwa River.
By about 10:30 0r so I suddenly became aware that I could hear traffic. Traffic ! Not possible.
The evening before during the much chatting stage JNV had stated that one of the biggest ticks in his Bucket List was to see a dry river come down in flood. Yep – that traffic noise was water ! We ran, slipping and sliding on the wet forest floor back to camp to an absolutely amazing sight.
Yes – upstream. The Mkanga River a few kilometres downstream came down in a massive flash flood and on reaching the Angwa spread out in both directions !! Then to cap it all we heard the sounds of voices and water coming from upstream – and around the corner come all the local lads running ahead of the water wielding spears and stabbing cat-fish by the dozens. We watched this whole spectacle in awe for a good half an hour before the two floods, one up and one down, finally met -right in front of our camp to which we had retreated to attain higher ground. The entire river bed was now covered. A few hours later, however it had started to retreat.
And by evening, as the sun burnt off the clouds, we had sand again.
Yep – in front of AC is the retreating river just about 8 hours after the flood.
So now what ? We are done with the Pitta pursuit. We have seen a flood. We have had two days birding.
I ask if the guys want to go exploring. For something I had seen 20 years or so before. The reply – a resounding “Yes”
This will involve quite a lengthy drive through the Chewore South Safari Area.
We traveled to this delightful place where one can spend hours exploring.
That little secret I am afraid will have to wait until next time ! Sorry
We made our weary way back to camp after a fantastic day.
The next day it was time to return to Harare but unfortunately we became a little delayed !
Always …. Always check your wheel nuts when using corrugated roads !
Well I guess that’s it for now folks. I am off to Moçambique next month and then again in October. After that I will tell you about our adventuring in Chewore South Safari Area.