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lyskonoh úzkozobý, samice / Red-necked Phalarope, female (Phalaropus lobatus)

lyskonoh úzkozobý, samice / Red-necked Phalarope, female (Phalaropus lobatus)

lyskonoh úzkozobý, samice / Red-necked Phalarope, female (Phalaropus lobatus)

lyskonoh úzkozobý, samice / Red-necked Phalarope, female (Phalaropus lobatus)

lyskonoh úzkozobý, samice / Red-necked Phalarope, female (Phalaropus lobatus)

lyskonoh úzkozobý, samice / Red-necked Phalarope, female (Phalaropus lobatus)

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Friday, 28 January 2011 00:15

Birds of Namibia 2/3

Last time I ended the first episode of the series about birds of Namibia in Hoarusib valley near Purros with a bunch of birds gathering around the river. The same day we left the fresh valley and turned into the hot arid planes towards the Skeleton Coast Park. The road soon changed into a dried riverbed that led us towards the ocean. There were a few birds we have scared of by our offroad car but none of it really gave me a chance to capture them. The other day went slightly better as we had to drive slowly through the rocky terrain of the river – a group of near-endemic Namaqua Sandgrouse (Pterocles namaqua) was a highlight of the day. Although these birds resemble pigeons, they are actually more related to waders.:

Namaqua Sandgrouse (Pterocles namaqua) :

 IMG_8967PS 


Having set up our base camp some 10 km inland from Cape Fria we spent the next long 5 days in one of the driest places in the world – in Skeleton Coast. During that period I only counted 4 bird species (excluding two Terns and one Gull during the very short visit of the coast at Cape Fria) from which I was able to take a picture of 2 of them – the Pied Crow (Corvus albus), that lingered in small flocks around our camp in hope for some food, and a pair of Red-capped Lark (Calandrella cinerea) in the rocky desert

Red-capped Lark (Calandrella cinerea) :

IMG_9261PS

The field works in Cape Fria area was bird-wise the most boring and barren part of the whole trip to Namibia so I was more than happy to leave the area after a few days when we were heading north towards the borders with Angola that is rimmed by Kunene River. Lucky us we had the off-road Toyota because the rocky trails in that part of Namibia were something I have never seen in my life! Surprisingly we had no accident or tyre defect so I could enjoy watching the passing landscape – the most visible bird of those places was Common Ostrich (Struthio camelus):

IMG_9511PS

After arrival to Kunene river we made a camp in the “campground” at the bank of the river…well the only thing that made this place being called Campsite were the closed toilets without water and the fact that the other ay we had to pay fee to the locals – the Himbas who also made a small craft trade with us. Anyway, the fresh water with a green valley was great change from the arid plains of Skeleton Coast and the evening stroll to rocky cliffs above the river nearby was one of the best moments of the trip. Water is life and so is true for the birds – the short evening walk and the early morning stroll the other day brought a few nice observations with a chance to take some pictures. Although I was constantly watching the bushes in case there was some lion or crocodile wanting to have me as a refreshment, I was able to enjoy watching some of the local common species – the tamest bird was by no doubts the near-endemic Mountain Wheatear (Chat) that occupies mainly Namibia and South Africa – this bird was really inquisitive and sat on the nearby branch so close that I had hard times to get it whole in the viewfinder.

Mountain Wheatear (Chat) (Oenanthe monticola)

IMG_9663PS

In the reeds right nearby another bird took a perch on a plant with large stubby seeds – originally I though it was some kind of Lark but later I found out the bird was Black-throated Canary (Serinus atrogularis):

Black-throated Canary (Serinus atrogularis):

IMG_9694PS

In a dense bushes close by there was even more to see – besides the ever-present Bulbul there was a African Mourning Dove perching on the top and a female of Southern Masked Weaver pecking out some juicy seeds. Yes that is the same bird as our well-known brd from the series Southern Masked Weaver – the master builder :

African Mourning Dove (Streptopelia decipiens):

IMG_9711PS

Southern Masked Weaver, female (Ploceus velatus) :

IMG_9768PS

From the elevated positions – to have better lookout - the Common Fiscal was perching – this one is the subspecies with a white eye-patch living in arid areas of western Africa:

Common Fiscal (Lanius collaris subcoronatus):

IMG_9739PS

As usually after my return to our camp the colleagues were teasing me by telling how many great birds I have missed when I was away – this time they were partially true as there was a pair of Golden Weaver sitting in the branches right above our car’s boot:

Golden Weaver  (Ploceus subaureus):

IMG_9792PS

In the afternoon we set for the way back to Windhoek – the first part was through a vast valley called Marienfluss with just ideal vegetation for Ostrich – and we really have seen a few groups of this majestic birds:

Common ostrich (Struthio camelus):

IMG_9853PS

So the 7-days loop through the arid western coast on namibia comes to its end - we were heading back towards Purros but the journey was too long to be done in a single day – the night stopover in a dried riverbed near Orupembe went out to be quite good for birds again – a few birds in the evening including Tawny-flanked Prinia and Swallow-tailed Bee-eater besides some other species the other day morning. Sadly I found these beautiful birds only a moment before we were on the road again…

Tawny-flanked Prinia (Prinia subflava):

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Swallow-tailed Bee-eater (Merops hirundineus):

IMG_0084PS

To be continued …

Last Updated on Saturday, 12 February 2011 22:21
 
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