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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)

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Monday, 17 January 2011 00:38

Birds of Namibia 1/3

As always when visiting brand new places, I was curious what birds will appear in front of my camera during the trip to Nambiia. I had certain ideas and strange dreams before we left to south but the reality was, as usually, completely different from what I had expected. Knowing that Africa is the hot spot for every wildlife photographer but having in mind that our geological field trip was scheduled to miss all famous parks of Namibia I was getting into the plane with reasonable pessimism at the end of September 2010.


Crimson-breasted Shrike (Laniarius atrococcineus), Outjo


This turned out to be a good strategy – the photography outcomes from the whole trip were not as good as one would like to see after spending three weeks in this part of the world. The best birdwatching as well as bird-photo-wise place was the backyard of the Steiners house in Windhoek, capital of Namibia, where I photo-documented the nest-building effort of the Southern Masked Weaver – see the article Southern Masked Weaver – the master builder. During the rest of our journey along the NW coast of Namibia I was lucky when we happened to make our camp close to some vegetation i.e. to have at least minimal chance to watch and photograph some birds.


Dusky Sunbird (Cinnyris fuscus), Windhoek


I cannot complain after all – this was geological fieldtrip and not a holiday but the quality of the pictures suffered – there is not much action in the shots, not any great stories, mostly just accidental pictures I took when strolling along the campsite. Hence, take this article rather as a kind of “trip diary” or in other words – “what can be seen during three weeks on usual places in Namibia”. Once again – we did not visit the famous and popular spots, as are e.g. Etosha National Park or Walvis Bay wetlands…well maybe one day in the future ;-)


Southern Masked Weaver (Ploceus velatus), Windhoek


Our starting point was the capital of Namibia – Windhoek. As mentioned before, this was by far the best birding spot of the whole trip. Not only the series with Southern Masked Weaver but a number of other observed species was quite hilarious – this would be great place for “garden birding list”. For now I just mention pictures of two very common Namibia´s residents - White-backed Mousebird (Colius colius) and Dusky Sunbird (Cinnyris fuscus) – near-endemic (most of the population resides in given area) bird, that occupies part of Namibia, Botswana and The Republic of South Africa. Both of these species we have seen later during our trip to NW (the road map of the whole trip can be found in the article Namibia´s highways and byways).


White-backed Mousebird (Colius colius), Windhoek


We began the trip driving north of Windhoek to the camp in Outjo. It was very nice relief after the whole day drive through the semiarid central Namibia – the camp was an oasis of green and bushes with the very first chance to explore the local “wildlife”. I spent the whole evening and the morning watching birds. There was a good number of species around as well as in the camp and some were tame enough to let me get closer for a better picture. It is amazing feeling if you happen to be in such a place where every bird that appears is a new species for your birdlist


Black-chested Prinia (Prinia flavicans), Outjo


During this stop I had a chance to photograph e.g. the Black-chested Prinia (Prinia flavicans) – a little bird with erected tail thus resembling our common European Wren or the remarkable Fork-tailed Drongo (Dicrurus adsimilis) that made me happy as I could watch it from very close – usually these birds perch high on the wires far from decent photography opportunities.


Fork-tailed Drongo (Dicrurus adsimilis), Outjo


The other day morning we were woken up by a flock of Southern Pied Babblers (Turdoides bicolor) that foraged in the grass just behind the camp fence. That place was fantastic spot for watching and photographing birds and attracted many species – e.g. the African Pipit (Anthus cinnamomeus), Blacksmith Lapwing (Vanellus armatus) and Crowned Lapwing (Vanellus lugubris)


African Pipit (Anthus cinnamomeus), Outjo


Southern Pied Babbler (Turdoides bicolor), Outjo


Blacksmith Lapwing (Plover) (Vanellus armatus), Outjo


Just before we left the campsite the beautiful Crimson-breasted Shrike (Laniarius atrococcineus) appeared close to our tent – to my surprise the locals dub this bird as „German flag“ - it was useless to convince them that the German flag contains yellow and not white colour. It was especially strange as Namibia was once a German colony … That said, the campsite in Outjo just made me hungry to see other localities but to get me down again later, Outjo was one of the best birding spots we have visited during the whole trip, no other place was so rich in birdlife, unfortunately…


Secretary Bird (Sagittarius serpentarius), Palmwag


…that day the way led us up northwest towards more arid areas with less and less vegetation and trees that just meant one thing – there will be a minimum of birding opportunities. Given the distance we had to drive and the rough road we had almost no time to stop and watch the nature – hence the only birds I could photograph were those who were visible from the car – first it was Secretary Bird (Sagittarius serpentarius) that was very high on my wish list but I only got this poor image of it, and the other day we met a group of Rüppels Korhaans (Eupodotis rueppellii), the near-endemic species occupying only the western strip of Namibia. Both pictures were taken somewhere on the road between Palmwag and Purros.


Rüppels Korhaan (Eupodotis rueppellii), Sesfontein


Before we got to the total wilderness in the Skeleton Coast we had to pass through the valley of Hoarusib River that starts just behind Purros. Well, it was not exactly river – rather a small stream of muddy water somewhere completely sunk down into the sandy riverbed, somewhere creating stinky pools - obviously not good for man but very attractive for birds. The short stop at the valley entrance allowed me for swift photography of a few birds wading in the stream – ever-present Blacksmith Lapwings (Vanellus armatus), Little Stint (Calidris minuta) – the visitor from our latitudes, the exotic coloured Three-banded Plover (Charadrius tricollaris) or the interesting Terek Sandpiper (Xenus cinereus) with distinct long upward curved bill. Beside these there were lots of Wagtails and Chats along the road and at one spot we could also watch the African Darter, unfortunately the bird flew away before I could get my camera ready to shot…


Little Stint (Calidris minuta), Hoarusib, Purros


Three-banded Plover (Charadrius tricollaris), Hoarusib, Purros


To be continued…

Last Updated on Thursday, 27 January 2011 08:29
Comments (79)
  • Libor Jabůrek  - Pěkné

    Ahoj, snovač s hnízdem je parádní. Pěkný zápis do blogu.. . Ať se daří!, Libor

  • Jirka

    Ahoj Libore, nápodobně! Do budoucna bych se chtěl zaměřit více na evropské druhy tak snad se letos něco povede :-)

  • Richard Krchnak

    ahoj, super fotos :)

  • Jirka

    Diky Richarde, v Africe byl velky problem se svetlem ale i tak se neco povedlo.

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