Posts Tagged ‘Red-rumped Swallow’

It happens. Rare birds turn up unexpectedly and some folk want to see them.

That is what I do. Help them. It’s a lousy job but somebody has to do it !!

Some time back a rare Lapwing turned up at one of the Harare water reservoirs and my client, and long term friend, PR (he has featured in many earlier blogs), called to say he wanted to see it. In those heady days it was easy – you booked a ticket and flew. Then you drive a bit and ….. BOOM !

Spur-winged Lapwing. Vanellus spinosus

It was a quick and painless exercise and PR was soon back in Cape Town. This Lapwing is a rare vagrant but records suggest that there is a slow range expansion happening southwards from its normal African range further north. Probably overlooked too for its very superficial similarity to the Blacksmith Lapwing.

Until you see them together ……

Blacksmith Lapwing on the right, Spur-winged left.

With that done and dusted the next ‘event’ happened when Gary Douglas (of Douglas and Francis Safaris – Google them) found another mega rarity, in our Eastern Highlands, in January of 2020. My first client, RC, took this ……..

Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica

This rare vagrant is of south European, south Asian and central African origins and is not normally found further south than Malawi, where it is known to have bred.

PR heard about this wonderful find and, yes, he flew, then we drove, and …….. another……… BOOM !

PR’s Red-rumped Swallow

Then came Covid – 19 !!! And that was the end of that !!

But watch this space ……………………………….. there may be a little surprise around the corner !

Cheers

Tony

Hi All

Zimbabwe had a bad drought in 2016 with dams very low and the underground water table taking a beating.

Also there were no Blogs from me !!

In January the beautiful Jan and I celebrated our 40th Wedding Anniversary !!   Where oh where have all those wonderful years gone ?

I had a number of excellent trips with clients last year and Jan and I did two of own. Firstly we joined a whole bunch of mates at Rifa Education Camp on the Zambezi River near Chirundu – wonderful birding but distressingly little game around.

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There have to be worse places to have a Braai.

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The Rifa Camp dining area

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There is a giant Fig tree in the camp which attracts thousands of birds.

The next trip was the BirdLife Zim AGM which this year was held at Lake Muturikwi outside Masvingo.  Great camp sites, Chalets and Lodges and a very good AGM with me not in the chair for a change.

Then I was off to Cape Town !!!

There is a little bird that breeds in southern Europe – the Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin – and then migrates to the Sahel zone to avoid the Eurasian winter.  Then a “lost” bird turned up in Cape Town to be discovered by Peter Steyn.  It was seen reliably for several weeks and I desperately wished to see it.  Eventually Jan said “Just go !”  So I did.

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Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin (Erythropygia galactotes 

This photo is ©Tinus Lamprecht.    Well I was successful and also caught up with some old buddies I hadn’t seen for nearly ten years.

Then – big surprise – Jan was effectively summonsed to an Alzheimer’s conference in Nigeria.  Greatly excited to meet the King of Ibadan and of course to see a bit of another country.

Roll on to September and we were off again, this time to Malawi  with our dearest friend (who has featured many times in these Blogs) AJS. Whilst not specifically a birding trip something new was bound to crop up. We drove all the way via Lusaka in Zambia, through Chipata and on to Kasungu National Park where we stayed in Lifupa Lodge.

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Kasungu Sign

It is a vast park and we saw some antelope species, heard Lion roaring very close to camp and saw loads of Elephants

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Fantastic view of the park from Black Rock

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Plenty of quite relaxed elephant about

From Kasungu we drove north to the Nyika Plateau, which I covered in a previous post “Above the Tree Line”, and stayed in the very impressive Chelinda Lodge.

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Fantastic reception Room at Chelinda Lodge

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Gorgeous chalets over looking the moorland

I had a couple of hours of forest birding and saw a raft of new, to me, species. Moustached Green Tinkerbird, Bar-tailed Trogon, Denham’s Bustard, Olive Woodpecker, Olive-breasted Mountain Greenbul, Red-rumped and Angola Swallows,Fulleborn’s Black Boubou and we heard a Mountain Nightjar.

Next stop was on the other side of this tiny country at Ngala Beach Lodge on the shores of Lake Malawi.

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Ngala Beach Lodge is delightful

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The lake is gentle, tide free and very blue

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Very peaceful and relaxing surrounds 

After three nights of mega relaxing we were off again, southwards this time, to the bottom end of the lake with Nkopola Lodge as our destination.  Jan and I had last been to Nkoplola Lodge way back in 1975 !!  This was a great romantic reminder of simpler times.

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Lovely gardens

The hotel has, naturally, changed over the decades and is now much larger and very much more commercial.  Not altogether a bad thing.  We did take an afternoon out to visit the very bohemian village of Cape McClear where AJS and Jan went snorkeling to see some of the colourful Cichlids for which the Lake is so famous.

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Relaxing at Cape McClear

After a few days it was time to return home and, due to the problems in central Moçambique, we had to again go all the way across Malawi into Zambia and use the same route home. All in all a fantastic holiday.  Thank you AJS.

Cheers for now

Tony