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  1. 23 likes
    Day 6 Travel to Lower Zambezi: As much as we like Cape Town it was now time to move on to Zambia and the Lower Zambezi. We had our early start planned out with a breakfast of croissants bought fresh last night and then a quiet drive to the airport - well, quiet until some idiot set off the car alarm while loading the bags into the vehicle (apologies to anyone staying in and around Lawhill Apartments for it was I that woke you up at stupid o'clock). Not a car on the road nor was their anyone at the car rental return when we got there in the dark but a friendly chap soon arrived and sorted us out quickly. We had to push the bags on a cart through that weird underpass thing that links car rentals to the departure terminal but it got the blood flowing on a crisp but clear morning and it looked like the bad weather had gone at last. A full breakfast was in order before the flight to JoBurg where we then had a coffee and a piece of cake before the flight to Lusaka. All went well and we were met at Lusaka by a rep form one of the agencies that helps you through passport etc. Not something we asked for or expected but seems to be part of the trip with the agent we use but welcome all the same especially when it looked like our bags had not made it. But they actually turned up on the very last baggage delivery and so no drama and then an hour or so to wait before our charter to Jeki. We opted for a charter as the scheduled flight leaves a bit late and so the first night at Old Mondoro feels a bit short otherwise. Besides, it was actually not much more for the charter and worth it as we arrived in bright sunshine with about 2 hours before sunset so enough time to see the beauty of the place we love. Leaving Lusaka Cockpit iPhone panorama over the Zambezi taken by my clever wife...wish she would pick up a dslr! With only us on the charter it was easy to spot our vehicle and driver on arrival at Jeki International Airport. "Oh look", I said, "its Maxwell from last year". Turns out he is called Marshall and I had called him Maxwell last year and for the first part of the drive this year. Sorry buddy! After marking my territory aka using the green door aka watering the plants aka having a pee, we set off to camp along somewhat familiar tracks with Marhsall telling us which staff were still there, who had moved on and so on. All interesting but when we asked him about sightings he told us about a cheetah that had been seen around Jeki Plains. We were staggered as we had not expected that at all and more so as we had been to Madikwe last December specifically to find cheetah and been unlucky. Maybe Lower Zambezi would deliver one for us? The area looked a bit greener than out last two visits and that was due to some late rains. Marshall headed down onto the Winter Thorn forest and asked if we wanted to try and find a young female leopard that had killed an impala. She is notoriously skittish and indeed sometimes aggressive so he warned us not to expect anything but we set off in that direction but of course stopped to admire the scenery and animals along the way. My favourite antelope and plenty of them in these parts. Hello mate. Remember us? Hope you have on factor 50 Resting croc Can't resist the birds around the water Two or is that three with the reflection? Fishing for afternoon tea We arrived in the area where the leopard was supposed to have her kill stashed in her tree but there was no sign of both. Marshall asked if we wanted to move on or stay a bit and see if she popped out. We went with stay a while and were rewarded when she eventually showed herself and then played hide and seek with us in pretty thick vegetation. Marshall repositioned several times and eventually we got to see her properly. Gorgeous young female. Out first glimpse A bit nervous Definitely keeping her eye on us Now looking at the vehicle After about 15 minutes of this hide and seek she moved out into the afternoon sun and sniffed around the base of a thicket. Soon after she picked up the impala carcass and moved it right across the front of the vehicle. How lucky are we? Only been here 30 minutes and we're watching a leopard with a kill. Have I mentioned that I love Africa? What have you got their Madam? Yesterday's impala kill Cropped portrait Moving off to stash the kill Wow. Amazing stuff and we were delighted but this special sighting got better when she took the kill to the base of a tree. Would we get to see here hoist it up there? Dragging impala towards the trees Eyeing up a good spot Well yes. We were very very lucky and watched this tiny leopard drag her impala kill up a tree. Into the fork Checking for other predators After giving us a great view of her kill she then gave us a great view of her tree climbing skills as she hoisted the carcass up into the higher branches out of sight and out of reach. Should I go that way? Or that way? Decision made Still plenty of meat left on the carcass Our last view before she hid herself and her meal for the night That was a great first 'high profile' sighting and actually turned out to be one of the best of the trip. I don't care if it came on the first drive and we were very happy as we headed off to Old Mondoro to meet some familiar faces and a couple of new ones. We stopped along the way to admire some more typical Lower Zambezi scenery and wildlife. Once at OM we were greeted warmly by Juliette who was on loan from Chiawa (our next camp) to cover for the managers who were on leave. Juliette was a lovely genuine and warm person who we liked instantly. We talked a bit over the customary arrival drinks and nibbles and were then shown to our room for the next 4 nights. Tent #3 (which was Tent #4 the first time we came...erosion by the river causes tents to be re-built from time to time) was where we stayed on out fist time here in 2015 and we loved it so were very happy to bag that one. Situated on the lagoon that feeds into the Zambezi river we knew that the food and water was a draw for hippo and buffalo as well as impala and waterbuck and of course elephants! A video of the day attached for anyone with the time to watch GoPro and iPhone clips. And for those playing the movie line game - "...you've got to ask yourself one question. Do I feel lucky...?" That should be an easy one as well. Kind regards deano.
  2. 22 likes
    Those starling formations are unbelievable, @Dave Williams. The last one looks like a prehistoric animal. Very eerie. Blue whale for you! Nice going to find the largest living mammal on Earth. Even though it might be a little anticlimactic, it would still be a tremendous treat to see. And you got a decent shot of it. You've put the migration on the map for us @pomkiwi! Here are some spectacles IMHO, in no particular order: The endemic grass eating geladas in Ethiopia that you mention were very special. Guassa, Ethiopia in March, a good time to go.T Displaying male Andean Cocks of the Rock, seen displaying in their lek habitat in Manu, Peru in June-Oct. Red and green macaws on clay licks in Peru. June-Oct is a good time. Manu, Peru in October Tambopata, Peru in August Largest mammal migration on Earth is the Straw-colored fruit bats. Seen in Kasanka, Zambia from late Oct through Dec. I was there the last week of Nov. Full moon is a good time to try to get the Batman shot of bats in front of the big moon. 4th largest migration on the African continent. (1) bats, (2) wildebeast in Serengeti and Maasai Mara, (3) Gazelles and other antelope in Southern Sudan, although it might be bigger than East Africa wildes, (4) Wildebeest in Liuwa Plains, Zambia Oct-Dec, when the wildes drop their calves. What makes the Liuwa migration special is the terrain that is covered with pink lilies after the rains in late Oct through Dec. The Liuwa Plains trip in early December combined with the bat trip, the end of November. We saw some new calves with umbilical cords still hanging, but no actual births in Liuwa Plains. Wildebeests giving birth in Ndutu, Tanzania in Jan-Feb. All the births I have ever seen were mid-Feb, despite being in Ndutu early Feb to mid-March on different trips. The largest aggregation of snakes in the world occurs in Narcisse, Manitoba in Canada right around Mother's Day in May and about 10 days before and after. The harmless red-sided garter snakes exit their winter habitat of limestone caves, warm themselves in the Spring sun, form a mating ball, then head out into the surrounding plains to find something to eat. I got the hemipene here. (pinkish/purplish) The males have two, as the name indicates. He was getting ready to participate in a mating ball. @Dave Williams, my husband actually did accompany me to this because we drove there. Needless to say, I was more enchanted than he was. Probably not something you'll be sharing with your wife anytime soon, eh? Polar bear migration-In Churchill, Manitoba in Canada the polar bears gather to wait for Hudson Bay to freeze from mid Oct to about the second week of November. Photos are from last week of October. Friendly tussling to strengthen muscles So who wants to go see that spectacle of migrating monarchs?
  3. 21 likes
    Sorry this report has taken so long to get started but being as its roots were laid in 2013 then a couple of months is a mere blink of an eye! So, back in 2013, we got a very intriguing proposal for a tour of Malawi from Mary-Anne Bartlett of Art Safari, who specialise in running group painting holidays in Africa & many other places. Although we didn’t take it up at the time, heading off to Madagascar instead, we kept it “on-file” as a future possible. After “bit of a financial windfall” and very nearly 25 years after our first taste of Africa, we thought it might be nice to have a “family” holiday again, so offered our not-so-very youngsters a “one-off, never to be repeated offer” of a free holiday - not surprisingly they jumped at the chance!. I came up with 4 possibilities, including the original Malawi trip and in a democratic “single transferable vote” ballot, the Malawi trip won in the first round. After a few discussions with Mary-Anne and Lareine who runs Close Encounters Africa,the tailor-made division of Art Safari, we arrived at the ”almost silver jubilee” itinerary below, leaving LHR on the evening of 2nd June. Day 1: Arrive Lilongwe airport & light-aircraft transfer to Nkhotakota (Bua River Lodge - 2 nights). Day 3: Transfer to Salima Bay (Livingstonia Hotel 1 night). Day 4: Transfer to Mumbo Island (3 nights). Day 7: Transfer to Liwonde NP (Mvuu camp for 3 nights). Day 10: Transfer to Zomba Plateau (Zomba Forest Lodge for 2 nights). Day 12: Transfer to Majete Wildlife Reserve (Thawale Lodge for 3 nights). Day 15: Transfer to Blantyre airport for international flight home. So, late afternoon on the 2nd June saw 2 cars converge at the long stay T2 car park for our Ethiopian Airlines flight from Heathrow via Addis Ababa to Lilongwe and after a perfectly acceptable & on-time pair of flights we were met airside by a representative from Ulando Airlink who sped us through the multitude of checks that is Malawian immigration. After collecting our bags, sorting what we were going to take with us on the light aircraft to Nkhotakota & changing some money we met Eric from local agents Land & Lake Safaris who was taking the rest of our luggage and would be our driver/guide after Nkhotakota in a couple of days time. Formalities done, we had time for a quick drink before, we were taken out to meet Stuart, pilot of the “shoe-box with wings” for our hop over to the Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve. Although none of us are great fans of light aircraft this was as smooth & pleasant a flight as it gets and soon the Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve and Bua River were underneath us. before we banked round to land at the airstrip. And yes, that airstrip is as short, sloping & tree lined as it looks! Unfortunately, this is where things unravelled in a big way as, and the more eagle eyed amongst you may have already noticed this on the above picture, there was no-one to meet us! Initial thoughts were well, that’s OK, perhaps there are some elephants on the track or they’ve had a puncture, we’ll wait a bit, but after ~½hr it was clear that no-one was coming. This, though was just the start as there was no mobile phone signal on the airstrip and just to compound things, Stuart was anticipating heading off to the south of Lake Malawi after dropping us off, ready for an early flight the following morning. This meant we’d taken off from the long tarmac runway at Lilongwe with a heavy fuel load and wouldn’t be able to take off from the short sloping dirt strip we were on with that fuel load & 4 adult passengers It was clearly time for some creative thinking but the best we could come up with was for Stuart to take off, climb until he had radio/mobile reception, try to contact someone and arrange for us to be picked up & taken to the lodge however if he couldn’t do that he would fly back to Lilongwe & come back again having taken fuel out or swapped aircraft & take us back to Lilongwe. With this “plan” in place, Stuart departed and circled above us for ~30min before heading off to the south so as the shadows lengthened and only a distant warthog family for company we waited…. Time elapses very slowly when you are standing out in the middle of nowhere and previous experience of being out in the bush counts for nothing when you’re there on your own, constantly looking round and listening out for the rustle of leaves or, more optimistically, first hint of an engine noise but suddenly the familiar shape of a safari Land Rover appeared from the opposite direction we were expecting and as it got closer we all let out a huge sign of relief. Our relief was somewhat short lived however as the occupants of the Landy knew nothing about us! It transpired that they were from Tongole Lodge (George, intern at Tongole & William, new guide) and, having no guests stopping, had taken the opportunity to go and do a bit of fishing and were heading back to the Lodge when they spotted us on the airstrip & came to investigate. They were quick to offer to take us to Tongole Lodge where although they didn’t have mobile phone reception they did have internet access so we could attempt to contact the outside world. After a very welcome cold drink and with Skype & WhatsApp attempts proving fruitless, George offered to drive us over to Bua River Lodge (on the other side of the park!) and about half way there, as dusk was falling, a cloud of dust heralded the arrival of Sam Kamoto (African Parks Nkhotakota Park Manager) who had received a call (from David Kelly, Tongole Lodge Manager who was in Lilongwe & hence in mobile phone contact) to say that we were stranded on the airfield. Sam who at the time was in Nkhotakota town, some 1hrs drive away, had immediately dropped everything to come and pick us up and take us to the main gate where, apparently, we were to be picked up by the Nkhotakota Pottery Lodge & taken there for the night. Sam also said that according to the Park records, neither Bua River or Tongole Lodges were due to have guests but being as neither George or William had anything better to do, had never been over to Bua River Lodge and it was pretty much on-the way, we opted to call by on the way and allow Sam to get back to finish off his work. By this time it was pitch dark and sure enough Bua River was empty with only Godfrey the manager there on his own. Clearly we couldn’t stay there so we headed to the gate but, once again, there was no sign of anyone to pick us up! Unlike the airstrip however, the gate staff were still there to tell us that Sam had told them on his way out that the Pottery Lodge were on their way and would be with us “soon”. Sure enough, it wasn’t too long before the roar of a big diesel disturbed the peace and in a scene reminiscent of “Close Encounters” a bank of intense white lights pierced the darkness to announce the arrival of Harold in his ex.Berlin Fire Truck! After saying a heartfelt thank-you to George & William, we all piled over into the truck for the 1hr journey to the Lodge where, absolutely exhausted and nerves shredded, we ended our first day in Malawi - As the old “New Labour” slogan went, things can only get better!!
  4. 20 likes
    Itinerary. 5 nights Cape Town (Lawhill Apartments). 4 nights Old Mondoro, Lower Zambezi, Zambia. 4 nights Chiawa, Lower Zambezi, Zambia. Day 2 Cape Town: Having visited Cape Town a few times before we made sure to book a few trips to make sure that we didn't fall into the trap of just visiting the same old haunts - as nice as they all are. Our first full day was supposed to be a hike up Table Mountain from Twelve Apostles side but we had the misfortune of being in the region at the same time as a storm front. We were told of the cancelled trip the day before so we planned to get up early and drive out to Paarl and hit up a winery for breakfast and a bit of wine tasting. Imagine my surprise when I woke up and it was 11.15AM! I didn't sleep well on the aircraft but that was a shocker sleeping in that late and half the day wasted. Never mind, we still got to Paarl and instead of breakfast we had a late lunch at Fairview Winery and bought some stuff from their excellent shop. After stopping to watch their goats we drove back to Cape Town. The weather was miserable and the the roads a bit dodgy with the wind and rain but we were still on holiday while, according to local radio, some poor folks were suffering and even a couple of deaths. A cancelled hike was all I had to deal with. On a previous trip to Cape Town I had wanted to visit Table View and get a nice landscape of the bay and Table Mountain. We drove over there today but you literally could not see the mountain so we never even got out of the car. We arrived back to the V&A Waterfront and decided that a snack and hot drink was in order followed by a bit of shopping before we went to the nearby Cape Grace Hotel to sample their Whisk(e)y Bar (decent Whiskey has an "e" in it)! We never made it past the main bar but it had Jamesons so that was good enough for us. After a cold and breezy walk back to our digs it was an early night while listening to the wind and rain battering the building. It was bloody cold as well but that bottle we had definitely took the edge of things. No photos from today although there is a bit of video which I have edited into a compilation of the Cape Town part of the trip and I will add that later. Day 3 Cape Town: We were supposed to be whale watching today. Guess what? Canceled as well. They did re-schedule it for our last day which we had left spare so we crossed our fingers and hoped for the best and that the storm would pass. The weather was showing signs of improving so we were determined to get out again today and after a very nice brunch at a waterfront cafe we set off for a drive to Camps Bay just because we had never actually been there. They were busy in clean up mode with sand and seaweed all over the seafront and as we got out of the car I noticed that we had a clear view of Table Mountain and the cable station and the cars were running. Unbelievable and you cannot pass up the chance to get up Table Mountain so we jumped back in the car and followed the roadsigns up the "back" and drove almost to the main entrance. This storm and visiting in Winter had some perks after all. We bought tickets and 5 minutes later we were at the top. I have queued there for 2 hours before so we were very happy. By now it was late afternoon so first order of business was tea and cake (tea and wine for mrs deano) and then a leisurely stroll along the pathways where we took in the views and the critters and I was at last able to take out my camera. The promise of good weather after the storm Taking in the view Must remember to ask mrs deano to leave my nose out of the frame (although with that thing it will be a tough ask!) Not sure what I was photographing here A wildlife sighting All in all that was a nice afternoon and at least we had got to see The Mountain which is without a doubt one of our favourite places anywhere. The light was fading as we left and headed back to town where we agreed to split up - one of us shopping and one of us photographing. I had a new Rokinon 14mm wide angle lens that I wanted to try out and this was just the place. Table Mountain in the evening light Victoria and Alfred Hotel A well known building Moody water Famous clock tower Not many punters on the eye today Our favourite eatery 14mm F2.8 lets in a lot of light! A great dinner at Harbour House (a favourite of ours) and then back to the apartment to put a hole in that bottle of Jamesons. Quote for today. (asks ...so, what are you so happy about?) "...Nothing. You just caught me on a good night. I'm doing what I was made to do - and I've got a feeling i'm going to do it even better this time...". kind regards, deano.
  5. 18 likes
    Hello friends. I have been away from this forum for too long and have just found time to start a trip report from our latest excursion to Zambia. Our third trip there in as many years hence the dreadful attempt at a catchy title for the report - but it popped into my head earlier this week (I needed something with three in it) and it has also given me an idea for a little fun along the way (more on that below)! Our trip this time started off with a slightly different travel route. We wanted to try SAA so we flew Cayman Airways to JFK New York where we overnighted before the long flight the next day to Cape Town via JoBurg. The Cayman flight was pleasant and our bags were off quickly and then we got our first ever taste of New York and the extremely unpleasant driver of a yellow cab who took exception to us using him for a "short" hop to an airport hotel. It was after 10PM and we had been traveling most of the day and we just didn't fancy waiting for the shuttle. We were prepared to pay more than the going rate plus a tip but since we didn't take kindly to being cursed at (who does?) he got his exact fare to the cent and no more unless he places value on the less than polite response he got from us when he started shouting and swearing. Welcome to New York. Anyhow; next day we had a civilized morning flight departure time so plenty of time for a good breakfast and then a nice flight with SAA to JoBurg then the add on to Cape Town where we arrived to bright sunshine around midday. Picked up the rental car and then drove into town to the apartments that we have stayed in a few times now and then after a quick unpack we headed off for something to eat. Great to be back in Cape Town and a wonderful vista captured by mrs. deano on her iPhone. Take that New York! Cape Town panorama. An early night for us but not before a trek to Pick N Pay to purchase a bottle of Jamesons. Could we finish that in our 5 night stay in Cape Town? Now for the bit of fun mentioned earlier; since I have (almost) referenced a film title in the topic heading I think I should see if anyone is able to spot a famous line from a famous film/movie with the clue being in the daily trip report. Starting out easy "...you talkin' to me ?...". Kind regards deano.
  6. 18 likes
    Day 7 Old Mondoro, Lower Zambezi: We met our fellow guests before dinner last night as well as the staff and guides. Would you believe that two of the guests had been there at the same time as us last year and it was great to catch up with them. Both just love the bush and are very well travelled so a great source of information and when I tell you that their visits to Old Mondoro and Chiawa are in the low 'teens...well, you know they love the place like we do if not more. Maybe we'll get into double figures. Who knows? We made plans for a game drive with head guide Sebastian for the morning. We had done this on previous trips and always had good luck. We had a great meal in relatively mild temperatures all washed down with my Irish Whiskey of choice before heading off to bed. I set up the GoPro to do a night time lapse just to see what was in the lagoon (for the geeks I used a 5200mAh power supply and with a fully charged GoPro battery + the power source I can easily get 12-14 hours depending on TL settings and air temperature). Early in the morning I was woken up by a strange noise and I wondered if it was a hippo or an elephant in the lagoon. It was neither. Mrs deano was snoring! I could not get back to sleep and since there was no spare room I decided to get up and get dressed (and by dressed I mean clothes + fleece + hat + spare blanket) and sat out on the generous porch. It was a couple of nights past the full moon but still very bright and I was able to easily pick out hippos going about their routine. It was one of the most amazing things I have seen and I was glad for my wife's penchant for snoring! At one point, a hippo plodded out of the water literally feet from where I was sitting. I had the camera but just didn't want to miss the moment and that is yet another sighting that I will lock away as one of my very best. Have I mentioned that I love Africa? Here is the lagoon that I watched for the last couple of hours before sunrise Next morning we had the usual camp fire breakfast (porridge, toast, coffee with something in it to keep the chill off) and set off with Sebastian. Just us two in the vehicle - they always manage to cater for all interests at Old Mondoro and everyone gets to do what they want. On our previous two trips we had gone out with Seb on drives the first day and he told us we brought him luck as we had seen a lioness with three cubs on each of them. Today though he asked if we wanted to look for the elusive cheetah up near Jeki as nobody had managed to yet capture anything other then distant images and it seemed that there was a a bit of competition between guides and indeed camps to get the first proper sighting. What do you think? Yes we did! Heading out of camp we soon find a warthog. Early morning track heading to Jeki Eastern edge of Jeki Along the way we chatted with Seb about the possibility of cheetah in Lower Zambezi; how did it get here? is it alone; will it survive? Seb had a long career in guiding and was probably as skilled, if not one of the most skilled, of any guide we had encountered but all of our answers were of course speculation. There had been a reintroduction 20+ years ago but it was doubtful that there was still a cheetah left from that. Anyhow, first up for us was a nice small herd of Zebra...at least I thought they were nice but more on that later. And an LBR but in black and white because he was on the wrong side of the very bright morning sun Seb stopped frequently and scanned the plain with his binoculars and asked us to do the same. We were looking at termite mounds, under bushes and along the very edge for anything that looked likely when all of a sudden Seb directed us to look all the way across the plain at a light colored object. When I say all the way across the plain I do mean all the way. Measured in 1/4 mile increments and not yards! This thing, whatever it was must have been nearly a mile away! I took a photo on every setting that I had to see if we could enlarge it on the LCD and confirm. Seb did the same on his camera but neither of us could get anything decent and below is my best effort (its a bit dark because of high shutter speed to try and counter the camera shake of a 400mm lens at the very limit of what it might possibly be able to do). Lower Zambezi cheetah on Jeki Plain. What do you mean you can't tell that it's a cheetah? Of course it is and this photo proves it! Actually, through binoculars we could tell it was cheetah but we needed to get closer for a better picture. There were no tracks across that part of the plain so Seb warned us that this would be a bumpy ride across what was a dried out flood plain full of elephant and hippo prints...you know the sort. It took us 30 minutes of bone shaking with only the company of red billed queleas to give us something to look at. Finally, we got closer and then the cheetah got up and moved into some shade just near that tree to his right in the (spectacular) image above. We edged closer but could not see him and then our zebra friends popped into frame on their grazing route. We thought that we might actually get to see a hunt as they had a youngster with them so we settled in. What we actually got to see was the exact opposite when the zebra spotted the cheetah and he knew it and then moved into deeper cover. We got the odd glimpse of bushes moving and tried very hard to locate him but in the end we didn't want to pressure him. We must have been at this for well over an hour and all for nought thanks to our naughty zebra. We headed back toward camp now (all that bumpy driving meant that a green door stop was urgently needed) and Seb asked if we should try for that leopard that we saw yesterday. Of course we should. Along the way we did get to see two really peaceful elephants on their way down from the escarpment to the forest and the river as well as some queleas sitting still for a change. Black and white Kudu heading for shade already Another elephant on his way down to the Zambezi We got to the area where we had left the leopard last night but there was no sign of her of her kill. We directed Seb to the tree we left her in and looked all around but still no sign. This leopard was well known for not liking vehicles and often charged them so we just assumed that she was hiding if she was there at all so when Seb repositioned to get us a look in another area were were very surprised to see here literally feet from the side of the vehicle and hidden under a fallen tree in thick bush. She snarled and bared her teeth and then made a small charge before backing off. I got a few pictures but all totally out of focus! She was moving quickly and soon disappeared and this is the only half decent pic that I got. Would have been nice with her eyes open! It was a good sighting all the same and we were still pleased to have seen her but we all decided to leave her alone as she clearly didn't like the attention she was getting. After a drink stop we headed back to camp and after stopping to observe some ground hornbills we arrived back to find we had visitors. Elephants and buffalo were often found in camp and today was one of those days. Our tent #3 on the left. That 'middle' tree is just outside the door and favourite scratching post for a cheeky chap known as scratch. Always something going on in that lagoon. A lazy lunch today and a bit of relaxing around camp before our afternoon fishing activity. I watched this little bird for ages before I was able to get a photo. As with our previous trips Johan was taking us fishing today. As with previous trips I caught absolutely nothing. As with previous trips the scenery was amazing. As with previous trips it was still fantastic. Mrs deano caught nothing either but we do really like being on that stretch of river and would not swap it for anything. I took along my camera and was able to get off some pictures of the usual suspects (no - that is not today's movie quote - far too easy) all while enjoying the fantastic Zambezi River and the conversation and of course a large Jamesons thank you very much. Better fisherman than me Definitely a better fisherman than me Probably the best fisherman of all The scenery never gets old Mrs deano fishing but not catching An obligatory iphone panorama We were scheduled to meet a vehicle back at camp for a night drive but we were a little bit early finishing our trip so we had the chance to chat with Juliette for a few minutes while enjoying some refreshments around the camp fire. I managed to set up my camera and without asking the ladies to keep still while this geek does his thing this is the nicest of about 5 images where we all were sort of still for the period that the shutter was open. These types of pictures are among my favourites from the trip as they show the people and the place in a way that isn't often portrayed. Old Mondoro bush TV - front row seats. The night drives here are done with a red filter and whilst that does cut down on the amount of light available I was still able to get pictures that are useable for this trip report and this leopard on the prowl is one such picture. We left the leopard to its business and returned to camp very happy with our day. We hadn't had the luck of yesterday and the cheetah and the young female leopard had definitely got the better of us today but we were on safari in Africa doing what we love and thats good enough for us. Anything else is just icing on the cake. GoPro video to complete the day And of course today's quote - "but what I do have is a very peculiar set of skills, skills that I have acquired over a long career...". Kind regards deano.
  7. 17 likes
    As a wannabe wildlife photographer there are so many places and events across the world that I would love to witness and photograph. Some I might be lucky enough to witness one day, others I will just have to admire from other people's experiences. My list would include East Africa's great migration, bears catching salmon in N America, Great White Sharks in South Africa, Orca's chasing seals off the west coast of America, the march of the Penguins in Antartica and those are just the one's that immediately spring to mind. Hopefully someone can post a brief account of and some photos to demonstrate their own ambitions fulfilled. Here in the UK we are limited to a large extent but we can suggest one or two. Starling murmurations before the nightly roost on a cold winter's night are indeed incredible spectacles that let the mind run riot with the images presented. Starling murmuration Conwy RSPB by Dave Williams, on Flickr Starling murmuration Conwy RSPB by Dave Williams, on Flickr Starling murmuration Conwy RSPB by Dave Williams, on Flickr Starling murmuration Conwy RSPB by Dave Williams, on Flickr
  8. 15 likes
    Day 9 Old Mondoro (part 1 of 2): Today was the last full day at OM and we were hoping that the water level on the Zambezi would permit an afternoon canoe ride - we had done this on both of our previous trips and it was the highlight for me. We found out that we were okay for today so that meant we would drive this morning and canoe + night drive tonight. I started my day with porridge with honey and a double Jamesons...because I could; and then we set off towards the East againbut this time in search of lions. Marshall was driving us again today and said he had heard them roaring last night and since we had not seen lions yet at OM this trip we were happy to try and also to see what else we might find along the way. Did you think I was joking with the Whiskey for breakfast? It was a bit milder this year - normally Mrs deano would have a big coat on in addition to this lot. We meandered through the forest stopping for impalas, baboons, waterbuck and then two elephants that were digging for water in a dry riverbed. It was a lovely sighting and I could have stated with them all day but we had a plan to find lions plus our fellow guest was leaving at lunchtime today so we needed to make tracks so that she could squeeze in a drive before leaving. The bigger guy on the RH of the picture got most of the water We then left the forest and got up onto one of the open areas between two of the plains. The scenery here is spectacular. A short while later Marshall pointed the vehicle up a small incline and right there we spotted a young male lion just taking in the day and watching his world. He was in full sun for now so I took the chance to rattle of a few pics from varying angles and zoom lengths. A handsome specimen with piercing - almost scary - eyes He was a bit of a poser He kept looking West towards some bush and Marshall knew that this guy usually hung about with another lion and sure enough we found the older male who was already resting up in the shade there. These eyes were even more amazing and I have not processed them at all in the image below (there are edits to the whole image - contrast, exposure and such) Look at them in black and white - I don't think I could have looked this one in the eye! Before long his young mate came to join him They looked like they would be here for a while and It was getting warm now so we left them to their shady spot while we went off in search of anything else that we could find. We were very lucky with elephants today and soon found two more that had paired up to enjoy a paddle in a small water way. Another typically beautiful Lower Zambezi setting. And not far away from these two we found a big old boy who allowed us to watch while he had his morning bath and a very public scratch of his various 'bits'. Scratching his belly Scratching his bum And then time for brunch Again, I could have stayed with him all day but we needed to get back to camp. We had a quiet but scenic drive back to camp and still managed to spot some of the other the animals of the place - like these bee eaters And this almost fluffy looking warthog. You need a mud bath my friend. When we got back to camp we should not have been surprised to find Scratch and friends were again blocking the way to tent #3. We didn't even try and walk from the dining area today and just went straight for the bush taxi and another bathtub entry - like I said yesterday, you don't get that at the Marriott! Easy to see that he had walked across the lagoon again - his preferred route. We can still see you there...you are way too big to hide! Once we were safely inside he hung around picking up seed pods and generally being a nice big quiet elephant neighbor. It was truly amazing to be in his peaceful presence and to just watch and listen to him being a wild elephant who liked to hang around outside our tent. His mate was not far away either And my favourite antelope was there too. Toilet seat for a bum and a heart shaped nose. What's not to love? I have split today into two parts because I did the same with the videos - the afternoon canoe trip is a favourite of mine so I always have a lot of footage and besides....this one was, what's the word? - eventful. Yes, that about does it! Today's film and movie is from a more adult genre and specifically about Africa so I expect more folks should guess it if you want to play - "...Even now, if you dare lock eyes with them, you will be afraid...". Part 2 to follow. Kind regards deano.
  9. 15 likes
    Day 8 Old Mondoro: We had been joined in camp yesterday by Grant Cumings - owner/operator of Chiawa and Old Mondoro. Great company and obviously very knowledgeable about the area and wildlife and we enjoyed his company over lunch and again at dinner. I seem to remember that we were the last guests to leave the camp fire that night and the conversation flowed freely aided by a certain Irish beverage on my part. Good times. No snoring from mrs deano tonight so a good sleep and next morning we were scheduled for a game drive with Marshall. Grant was leaving for Lusaka so would be joining us for the first part of the drive so that we could drop him at Jeki Airstrip.This served double duty as we could have another look for the cheetah as it seemed that Grant was very keen to be the first camp in the region to get a proper photo. We were definitely on board for that and with Marshall and Grant we set off though the Winter Thorns for the plains of Jeki. Once we got to the plains we trained eyes, spectacles, binoculars, zooms and anything at objects that could be cheetahs. I photographed all sorts and enlarged them on the LCD but it was just trees, or mounds or distant impala. I took a photo of a distant waterbuck to test my settings. I suspected that if we did see the cheetah again that it would be far off and the image would need to be cropped so had to be decent quality. First a waterbuck to test settings After more searching we headed away from the South Eastern end of Jeki towards the airstrip and Grant suddenly saw a cheetah. It was a lot closer than yesterday but still beyond the range of the lens I had but Grant fired off some pics from behind me and then I took my own once I had managed to train my eyes and camera on the cheetah. That green building in the hazy background is Jeki International and the windsock is to the left. No doubt that this is Jeki Airstrip. It looked like the cheetah had maybe been thinking about tackling some warthog but it soon took off for the cover of the bushes to the North of the plains And then it was gone. The whole sighting can't have been more than 30 seconds. We were all very happy with the sighting - Grant got bragging rights for Old Mondoro Camp and Marshall got bragging rights over Seb and we got to see a cheetah in Lower Zambezi. Unbelievable. We had time for a drink stop before dropping Grant at the airstrip and after we dropped him off we headed back slowly to camp. We were happy to stop for anything and everything on the journey back. Like this hippo in a small lagoon Crocs basking Baboons along the way Hard to do a drive in Lower Zambezi and not see them Waterbuck are also plentiful More baboons. They always seem to be up to something. When we got back to camp we noticed that there were already elephants heading down to the lagoon behind our tent. We dropped off some of our gear then walked down to the dining area for lunch. We enjoyed another gorgeous buffet style meal and lingered over cheese and biscuits before deciding to head back for a siesta. We were accompanied by Seb who was keeping an eye on some of our fellow guests as Seb had spied the elephants in the lagoon. Just as our fellow guests were dropped off safely one of the elephants decided that he wanted to feed right outside our tent. It turns out that this chap is a regular almost daily visitor and is know affectionately as Scratch. This is him on the other side of the lagoon before lunch. We stood with Seb for a while he decided the best way to approach and after walking this way and that we realized that an approach by vehicle was the safest way as Scratch had really made that front door impassible. Or was that impossible? Seb left us in the bush just off the pathway (at a safe distance) and soon returned with a vehicle. We then drove up to the back and side of the tent and had to climb in over the outdoor bathtub adjacent to the porch...we couldn't climb in over the porch for fear of crocodiles in the lagoon and there was also a buffalo in there watching the proceedings - have I mentioned that I love Africa? You don't get this at the Marriott so I captured most of it on GoProp or iPhone and edited the clips together. Scratch was right outside the door and we enjoyed his company and that of his friend for a good hour before having a bath and then our siesta. This was Scratch when we returned from lunch just as Seb dropped us off in the vehicle He stayed here for a while (viewed from the porch looking back) His mate was in the lagoon And looked at me with a puzzled gaze as I took a bath. Very glad that he didn't smell the water in there and decide to come and taste it. Now that would have been a trip report! We eventually had our siesta and, after opening the door very slowly, decided that they had gone so that we could walk down for afternoon tea. We would be driving again this afternoon and Marshall wanted to go in the opposite direction so we headed out to explore a new area to see what Lower Zambezi had in store for us. Our first stop was for a LBR in lovely light and even then I managed to mess up my settings as it took off. Luckily though it landed on the ground so I got another chance. Still needed a faster shutter speed though. We then spent some time with a nice herd of buffalo who were looking for somewhere to bed down for the night. It was a very peaceful scene until a francolin started shouting just behind us but we figured that he was just telling us to go for a sundowner before it got dark so we took him up on that suggestion. Our sundowner spot was gorgeous. A small plain with nice views of distant mountains although the sun had already gone past the best spot but it was still amazing to be there with the sights and sounds of the african night to come. Marshall got us set up with drinks and nibbles and then the nearby impala started alarm calling. We were asked to get back in the vehicle so that we could investigate and then they seemed to stop so we carried on with the sundowner. Ten seconds later they were at it again so we left everything and jumped in the vehicle and were off in the direction of their barks and snorts. It had become dark by now so we would be lucky to see anything but at one particular spot we heard what sounded like a warthog in the final stages of being killed by a lion or more likely by a leopard. We could see bushes moving and could hear sounds but saw nothing conclusive. It was still thrilling though and definitely worth leaving the sundowners for although we did eventually get back there and finished them off from the safety of the vehicle. The night drive back to camp with the usual red filter was quite eventful as the first animal we found was a young leopard. It was quite a way from where we had been so unlikely the case of the alarm calls that we heard but she was definitely on the lookout for something to eat. We watched for a while then left her to the night and that predator and prey thing that plays out. When lions and leopards can't be found at night it seems that Lower Zambezi offers up other critters. I can't remember a night where we didn't see either a civet, a porcupine, a genet (or 20 genets!) and tonight was no different. I think this civet had just caught something. Back at camp for a fantastic meal served up under the stars and I was joined by an uninvited but still very welcome guest - a mantis. If she had asked nicely then I might have shared dessert but the Jamesons was all mine. Today's video is a little long but I just could not leave out the elephant footage from lunchtime and in fact could have done 5 minutes just of that. And today's movie quote "...why it's simply impassible!..." - "why, don't you mean impossible?..." - "...No. I do mean impassible. Nothing's impossible!..." Kind regards deano.
  10. 15 likes
    Some cheetah sightings... Another afternoon with predominantly dull light but we did find two cheetah groups. First up was a mother with two cubs feeding from a wildebeeste. Then a little later an active two male coalition. Late one morning there was another sighting of a three male coalition with a cast of thousands in attendance (only a slight exaggeration).
  11. 13 likes
    Many thanks for all the Likes & to @Caracal, @michael-ibk, @Kitsafari, @wilddog& @kilopascal for your comments. Yes, we live to tell the tale but it's not an experience any of us would like to repeat anytime soon! So, onto Day 2: The Nkhotakota Pottery Lodge is a nice place, being situated right on the beach and we’d had a very nice meal the previous evening although we were all too tired and twitchy to enjoy it. Under other circumstances we could happily have stayed there but it wasn’t what we’d come to Malawi for and I must admit that I was rather abrupt with Memory from Land & Lake who had phoned during dinner to suggest that we stayed at the Pottery for 2 nights before moving on down the lakeshore . By breakfast Eric was waiting for us, having driven part way down the previous evening and the rest earlier that morning, with the news that we could, if we wished, now stop at Bua River that evening. Given that it had been closed with no staff the previous afternoon we were more than a little apprehensive but as we had specifically wanted to visit Nkotakota to see the results of the translocation programme we said we would at least go and check it out. After thanking Harold and his son Chris for “rescuing us” and Harolds wife Chipo for feeding us so well we headed back to the Wildlife Reserve and Bua River Lodge, passing our transport for the previous evening on our way. Bua River Lodge was indeed open with a full complement of staff when we got there and after looking at our rooms we could see no reason why we shouldn’t stay so Eric headed off, arranging to pick us up after lunch the following day. I’m not going to comment any further on what happened on that first day, we effectively lost a day of our holiday and even now, 2 months down the line, we’re no clearer who was at fault nor is there much prospect of finding out. I do know that there are a lot of people we have to be thankful to and who stepped in to engineer a resolution to a problem that was not of their making - Our Malawi trip starts now
  12. 13 likes
    I've posted these photos elsewhere before but one of my favorite days was watching about two dozen humpbacks lunge feeding just offshore of Point Lobos in late August two years ago. What photos fail to capture are the loud whooshing sounds. Joining the whales in their anchovy feeding frenzy were dolphins, sea lions and countless birds.
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    DAY 2. Early morning and we checked the Wilddog den again for the puppies. Our camp was really close to this den so we could go there and check whenever we wanted. So we did not have to go a detour to get here. Very good. The Alpha male was outside the den with a bloody face. The pack had obviously killed in the night. Not every member was at home and a few dogs looked anxious at the forest... waiting for the rest of the pack to get home. We could hear some action inside the den. We could hear the puppies but nothing really happend and the dogs outside went to sleeping mode. We left them and my guide told me... "we will see the puppies, just be patience. They have to come out soon." Over to the Leopard-story Today the mother and cub was together! The 3 month old cub was a little bit worried about us but not that bad. The mother is a very relaxed Leopard. Like I said, she is an old beauty and only have a year or two left on this earth. She´s struggling the last years as she hurt her back-leg a few years ago. And after that no one have seen her drag up a kill in a tree anymore. This results in very much stolen kills from Hyenas. So she is really struggling to raise this cub. They didn´t do much and laid down in the high grass. We left. We encountered one of the Lion packs in Khwai. Actually they were on the other side of the river, on the Moremi NP side. We waited for them to possibly cross which would be really cool to see. Unfortunately the grown up Lions were interesting in a totally different thing. Alot of cubs in this pack and more on the way. Say hello to daddy... Other things worth notice this day. Elephants thriving in the water. No lack of water here Not so much Kudus around in Khwai, just a few per day. Some lovely males digging for salts in the mud. More Waterbucks around than Kudus. I guess it´s simply because that Waterbucks loves water and Kudus don´t Vervet monkey is on Safari looking for Humans. With all this water, of course the crocs were around. We found plenty of them close to a dead Elephant laying in the water. They had been feeding there for weeks. Saddle billed stork youngsters were harassed big time from Lapwings who probably had a nest close by. The Lapwings hit the Storks time after time after time... So many times that at last the Storks got tired of them and told them to fuck off... Who is hazy now your piece of shit... The African darter took advantage of the overflow. Some other birds around today... Meyers Parrot. Red billed Francolin with chicks. Red billed hornbill. Glossy Ibis. Well, of course alot of other things as well but this was worth mentioning from day 2 in Khwai concession. Also a couple of Honey badgers and an African Civet on the nightdrive. Plus alot of Bushbabys and Springhares. No pictures though. Let´s see what happens tomorrow. Just a boring night in between...
  14. 12 likes
    Last weekend we were in Estonia for a spontaneous mini-trip (Friday to Tuesday, 2 nts in Tallinn, 2 nts in Matsalu National Park). A really beautiful country, and in the right season a good place for bears. Also a high density of Lynx and Wolves but those are much trickier I was told. We did see Roe Deer, Foxes, a Pine Marten and an Elk (Moose) - which almost ran into the car but was gone too quickly for photos. Estonia must be spectacular in peak migration time, and judging from this little "taster" I´m quite keen to do a proper, really birding-based trip one day. Even though we could not invest too much time in birds I did see a couple of new ones. A few general shots of Tallinn and the countryside to set the scene:
  15. 12 likes
    @Dave Williams I'll bite with a few! Firstly (and to contradict @colbol)!! Firstly a sperm whale off the coast of Kaikoura, New Zealand. An awe inspiring experience to see them so close and to get just a sense of their power as they start to dive.
  16. 12 likes
    Is she still fussing with that camera?
  17. 11 likes
    374/E147.) White-Tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) / Seeadler A wonderful bird to see, and they are pretty common in Matsalu National Park - I believe we saw almost 10. A close cousin of the iconic US Bald Eagle. They had been almost gone in Middle Europe but are fortunately making a bit of a come-back these days. Matsalu NP, 15/8/17 - a good bye present, just before driving back to Tallinn Matsalu NP, the day before And one flying over Haapsalu, mobbed by a Gull, 13/8/17 And that´s all for Estonia.
  18. 11 likes
    373/E146.) Common Eider (Somateria mollissima) / Eiderente - NEW A classic seaduck. The largest duck found in Europe. Paljassaare, 12/8/17
  19. 11 likes
    372/E145.) Caspian Tern (Hydroprogne caspia) / Raubseeschwalbe This is the world´s largest tern. Matsalu NP, 15/8/17
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    371/E144.) Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola) / Kiebitzregenpfeifer I have seen these birds before but never in their striking breeding plumage. Matsalu NP, 14/8/17 Three waders - Knot, Grey Plover and Lapwing.
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    370/E143.) Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis) / Wiesenpieper Pipits are always giving me a headache but this one looks exactly like drawn in the birdbook - a tinge of olive on the breast and flanks, stripes equally distinct on flanks as breast (which is a distinguishing feature from the Tree Pipit). Matsalu NP, 14/8/17
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    369/E142.) Grey Partridge (Perdix perdix) / Rebhuhn - NEW One of the prime victims of modern agriculture. All over Europe their numbers have declined dramatically because of habitat loss - almost 80 % in Austria! Unfortunately the trend is very similar in Estonia. Matsalu NP, 14/8/17
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    368/E141.) Red Knot (Calidris canutus) / Knutt - NEW A bird with impressive migration routes, they can fly more than 5.000 km. Matsalu National Park, 14/8/17
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    365/E138.) Eurasian Oystercatcher (Haematops ostralegus) / Austernfischer - NEW Delightfully common along the Northern coast. Very rare vagrants in Austria, I saw three this year at Lake Constance. Haapsalu, 13/8/17 And a flock from Poosaspea, 13/8/17 This was where we also saw some Scoters and Velvet Scoters farther out in the sea but I won´t include them in the count - here is why ...
  25. 11 likes
    362/E135.) Common Crane (Grus grus) / Kranich - NEW I was very happy to see so many of them in Estonia - they are very common. Truly majestic birds, and I simply love their song. Very cautious.
  26. 11 likes
    359/E132.) Eurasian Sparrowhawk ( Accipiter nisus ) - NEW Not a bird I see very often back home, and never had a photo opportunity so far. In Estonia they seem to be far more common (or only visible?), we saw at least five of them. Somewhere near the West Coast, 13/8/17 It was mobbing a Buzzard.
  27. 11 likes
    355/E127.) Greenfinch ( Chloris chloris ) / Grünfink Paljassaare (small reserve close to Tallinn), 12/8/17. Not that I needed to go to Estonia to see them - they are regular guests at the feeders. Fulpmes, 11 and 17/7/17.
  28. 11 likes
    354/E126.) Common Whitethroat ( Sylvia communis ) / Dorngrasmücke - NEW I´ve mentioned before that I´ve never seen this so-called "common" species so was delighted to find this young bird. According to Wiki their population crashed badly in 1969 due to the drought in the Sahel zone. Matsalu NP, 14/8/17
  29. 11 likes
    353/E124.) Dunlin ( Calidris alpina ) / Alpenstrandläufer The most common of the smaller waders - here with some Ringed Plovers (E125). 13/8/17, somewhere in NW-Estonia. Hope to get some closer shots in Seewinkel in September.
  30. 11 likes
    @pomkiwi Nice additions. Of the three I think I'd like to swim with Manta rays most of all. Catching the Mara crossing must be very challenging from a photographic point of view , your last shot really gives a sense of chaos and desperation to reach the other side. As for the Sperm Whale, I love cetaceans, but I have to admit that when in Sri Lanka I got to see the biggest whale of them all, the Blue Whale, it was a bit anticlimactic purely as it is so big! It won't leap out of the water like a Humpback might and it's so long that it's too small in the frame or if you zoom in you can't fit it all in and it barely breaks the surface, well at least relative to it's overall size anyway. Blue Whale Sri Lanka by Dave Williams, on Flickr However, like your Sperm Whale, it flicks it's tail as it dives down in to the deep revealing the Whalesucker fish that cling to it . Blue Whale Sri Lanka by Dave Williams, on Flickr
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    346/E117.) Black Redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros) / Hausrotschwanz Even more common than its cousin, especially at higher elevations - one of the most numerous alpine birds in summer. Pinnistal, Tirol, 19/7/17 The ashy-grey female, Innergschlöss, Tirol, 30/7/17 And a closer male, Mühldorf, Austria, 30/4/17
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    345/E116.) Common Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus) / Gartenrotschwanz This one, OTOH, really deserves the "common" part of its name. Not as abundant as Tits, Blackbirds or Sparrows but not too far behind. A male, singing in my mother´s garden, Mühldorf, Carinthia, Austria, 16/4/17 And the female listening. (Not really, same place but not same time, 4/6/17). And a different angle of the female, Rome, 1/3/17.
  33. 11 likes
    For the "mane" event Wednesday night (here, Katy would be gesturing crazily, being punny again) we came across a giraffe kill from a couple of days prior. No cats were around, so we moved to an open location for sundowners, then returned after it got dark. There were three or four adult lions and two cubs, all snacking on the giraffe. I was struggling in the very low light and only got blurry images. The next morning, however, I was able to capture a few. The flies were quite thick on the carcass so I'll spare you most of the images. That night, however, I was able to manage some shots using the red spotlight. Again, not great, but I'm learning as I go. The following night, we searched for Martin, the pride male, in vain. I was quite sure that he would find me in the darkness, pluck me out of the land cruiser, and have me for supper. Of course I would quickly become accustomed to seeing lions day and night without fearing for my life.
  34. 10 likes
    367/E140.) Slavonian aka Horned Grebe (Podiceps auritus) / Ohrentaucher - NEW Some of these are breeding in the city lake of Haapsalu every year and are very confiding. Unfortunately the striking adults have already moved on, but at least their offspring still was there for us.
  35. 10 likes
    366/E139.) Sandwich Tern ( Thalasseus sandvicensis ) / Brandseeschwalbe Only one sighting of this bird, and at a surprising spot, flying over a city. Haapsalu, 13/8/17
  36. 10 likes
    364/E137.) Lesser Spotted Eagle (Clanga pomarina) / Schreiadler - NEW Even more distant but at least the weather was better. We searched quite long for this bird. Matsalu NP, 14/8/17
  37. 10 likes
    361/E134.) Common Gull ( Larus canus ) / Sturmmöwe - NEW A few of them can be found in Austria but I´ve yet to see them here. Paljassaare, 12/8/17 And a first year bird, Matsalu National Park, 15/8/17
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    357/E130.) Bar-Tailed Godwit ( Limosa lapponica ) / Pfuhlschnepfe Distinguished from the more familiar Black-Tailed by its barred (duh!) tail and lack of white wing bars. Somewhere in NW-Estonia, 13/8/17
  39. 10 likes
    -/E128.) Common Greenshank ( Tringa nebularia ) / Grünschenkel Very common in Matsalu National Park. Already in the count from Ethiopia. 14/8/17
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    290) Lapwing Vanellus Vanellus Grey miserable day here in North Wales but a bit of PP makes it look quite pleasant out there! Lapwing Vanellus vanellus by Dave Williams, on Flickr
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    I will now do a post with a few duplicates, so none of these will add to either total. More in the garden (through the window).. Juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker - has become a regular visitor Young Blue Tit And further afield Goldcrest, Male Mandarin, Loch of the Lowes, Scotland (female posted earlier in year) Treecreeper, Shire Country Park, Birmingham Whooper Swan, Marsh Lane Reserve, West Midlands (replaces a very distant shot earlier in year) Whooper Swan, Marsh Lane Avocet Chicks- just because they are cute - amazing legs!
  42. 10 likes
    146) Karoo Long-billed Lark Karoolanbeklewerik Certhilauda subcoronata 23 July, Aggeneys
  43. 9 likes
    There must be quite a lot of Woodpeckers that would make the list, not only do they look good they tend to pose well too. West Indian Woodpecker Melanerpes superciliaris West Indian Woodpecker Cuba by Dave Williams, on Flickr
  44. 9 likes
    No @xelas, they like my car. They use it as a bank, to make deposits... I don't want to tempt fate now, but they have never made deposits on me. 148) African Purple Swamphen Grootkoningriethaan Porphyrio madagascariensis Marievale, 3 June
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    358/E131.) European Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) / Silbermöwe - NEW Abundant in the city and very bold - both photos were taken with a small lense. Tallinn, 11/8/17 And a first year bird (at least I think so because of the the still dark eyes which should turn clear in its second year):
  46. 9 likes
    356/E129.) Greater Black-Backed Gull ( Larus marinus ) / Mantelmöwe The largest member of the Gull family. Quite common, but not as tame in Estonia as the Herring Gull. Poosaspea, 13/8/17 Matsalu NP, 15/8/17
  47. 9 likes
    192. (UK.148). Cetti's Warbler Cettia cetti Upton Warren, Worcestershire 02.05.2017 Upton Warren, Worcestershire 02.05.2017 More often heard than seen!
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    190. (UK.146). Swift Apus apus Middleton Lakes, Warwickshire 10.06.2017 Middleton Lakes, Warwickshire 10.06.2017
  49. 9 likes
    189. (UK.145). Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularis New Bird Belvide Reservoir 16.05.2017 Belvide Reservoir 16.05.2017 Belvide Reservoir, West Midlands 16.05.2017 A rare visitor from USA/Canada. A very pretty bird and a pleasure to see it.
  50. 9 likes
    OK, this could take some time.( I did say I was technologically challenged in my first post ) I'll start with photos from Day 7

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