Category : Birds

Black Eagle…

We see lots of these huge birds in the Matopos, but usually from a distance. They swoop down from the top of huge boulders to snatch up dassies. They have a very distinctive white Vee on their backs which shows up very well, even when they are flying on thermals. P1290270
This one, at Zebula, was rescued from a nest in a power-line and then kept in a box until rescued again.
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The plan is to teach all the birds of prey, using falconry techniques, to hunt for themselves and finally be rehabilitated into the wild. In the mean time, people will be lucky enough to see (and photograph) them up close.
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This photo above is taken just before she launched herself onto Gareth, (the handler’s) glove.P1290258
Gareth was full of interesting information about the birds (which I hope I don’t get hopelessly muddled!)

Befuddled Bird…

This egret looks confused. (As kids, we called them ‘tick birds’ because they are always to be found near grazing cattle.)
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I took these two pics at Borrowdale Race Course in Harare recently. Its been raining and raining, here in Zimbabwe and the gallops are flooded.
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Usually white, they all looked pretty grubby and no amount of cleaning (or hiding under his wing,) is going to help until it dries up some.

Fish Eagle…

This fish eagle often sits in a tree directly opposite Mlibizi fishing camp, it’s nest just around the corner. One of a pair, they also feed a juvenile (brown coloured still,) and are probably laying eggs right now in their messy nest.

Our boatman threw a tiddler onto the water with a reed stuck through its gills. After following the bird carefully in its descent, I missed the shot! Luckily, the fish-eagle did too, on his first pass, and I got to record this magnificent bird change direction and swoop down directly towards me.

Wow, what power…

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Swooping down…

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This is where he had to turn in mid air!

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I was told a story about a fish eagle at Mlibizi Hotel. (Pic in the previous post.)

Rescued as a chick, the fish eagle had been brought up at the hotel, probably fed with the scraps from fisherman. Fully grown, it sat in a tree above the pool, as fish eagle are wont to do.

One day, a guy with a bald patch, jumped into the pool and began swimming across! I’m guessing from the birds perspective, his bald patch looked awfully like lunch, shimmering under water!

The fish eagle swooped down and stuck his talons into his scalp! It made quite a mess, I’m told!

 

Fishing…

On the Zambezi seems to be a social event and everyone joins in – birds, people, crocs!!!P1160757

Waste water from the fish farm enters the Zambezi here and it seems to attract fishermen of all kinds!

In this video, you can see the fish jump about when the croc moves:

Ive no idea what this bird is, but it sure can stay still for long enough. He was drying himself here after a mini dive!

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This little kingfisher sits on an abandoned boat roof.

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When Lake Kariba filled, trees were flooded and died, providing great subjects for sunset photography! Also pretty good perches for the many water birds found along the Zambezi.

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This poor bird, featured above got caught up in a fisherman’s cast…Luckily for it, hooks are valuable things and the fisherman set it free.

Fish Eagle make the most awesome call – and the swooping, majestic flights over the water. They sit for hours on trees or other vantage points over the Zambezi, waiting for prey. I was told a story by the guy who helped me capture the video below – he said he saw a juvenile fish eagle riding on its parent’s back, learning how to fish! I’d love to catch THAT on video!

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This video was taken on the Zambezi – not at Binga – a few kilometres upstream near Msuna..

Green Wood Hoopoe…

Or ihlekabafazi. Which means “women laughing!” And they do make a racket, digging about in the tree.P1160177

Ive always thought it strange that its called a GREEN wood hoopoe, when its clearly blue!  I much prefer the “red billed wood hoopoe” name, although I always think of them as ihlekabafazi.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_wood_hoopoe

Below is a short video clip of one of them foraging in the palm tree outside our kitchen window:

Hornbill…

This little guy jumped on our windscreen to beat up the hornbill he could see there!P1140456-001

Taken in the camp site at Khama Rhino Sanctuary, Botswana.

Natal Francolin…

P1140738-002Taken at Khama Rhino Sanctuary in Botswana

Creepy crawlies and other creatures at Sinamatella Camp, Hwange National Park…

Sinamatella CampCreepy crawlies and other creatures at Sinamatella Camp, Hwange National Park...He stole my apple! Creepy crawlies and other creatures at Sinamatella Camp, Hwange National Park...Ive never seen so many of these creatures in one place before! Creepy crawlies and other creatures at Sinamatella Camp, Hwange National Park...Creepy crawlies and other creatures at Sinamatella Camp, Hwange National Park...Creepy crawlies and other creatures at Sinamatella Camp, Hwange National Park...Creepy crawlies and other creatures at Sinamatella Camp, Hwange National Park...

Fish Eagle…

Early August found us on the Zambezi, our client 40km from Musuna Island. We were asked to find water for the cook at Musuna, at his rural home up in the hills. Not an easy task when the surrounding area is 170m lower!

Neither of us are great fishermen, but we decided to give it a go, since we were on the Zambezi. We headed off, and tethering at a bream fishing spot, I saw this guy sitting in the tree directly overhead.Fish EagleThe man manning the boat, threw in the bream bait, then threw some chunks of bait out for the tiger fish and this glorious bird swooped down and picked it out of the water, right in front of the boat! Fish EagleSo of course, I had to ask the boatman to try it again so I could capture it with my cameraP1090739

Birdlife, Robins Camp…

The bird-life around Robins Camp was very good although I didn’t manage to photograph most of them. Usually I stalk birds, crawling in the grass, but with lions and buffalo wandering about freely I had to stalk them from the car! BirdlifeWe used to get these (below) when we lived on the Insiza river, another early morning wake up call I miss desperately.Birdlife Robin's CampThis hornbill plain refused to cooperate. He sat on that branch with his back to us for ages! P1100638Another bird we both saw and heard on the Insiza – sounds like a bouncing ball! They seem to be such poor flyers – a coucal doesn’t land, it crash-lands!Birdlife Robin's CampI cant identify this raptor:Birdlife Robin's CampHe had his eye on this crowd of birds. We waited around for ages to see if he would swoop down on them, but he didn’t oblige!Birdlife Robin's Camp I snapped this pic (below) in between photographing ellies! Those brilliant colours sure distract me! Birdlife Robin's CampThis bird was watching the main road in from Sinamatella:Birdlife Robin's CampI think this one, (below) is the same bird, but with a nest.Birdlife Robin's CampI took this pic at crocodile pools in the Robins Camp part of the Hwange National Park. Its amazing how they happily move about with HUGE crocs sunning themselves nearbyBirdlife Robin's CampWe saw a fair number of vultures in the park, which is a good sign. These were eating the carcass of a dead baby hippo. Excuse the photo, I couldnt get close, I was worried a lion maybe lurking in the bushes! Its amazing how camouflage a lion is. We noticed an elephant flapping its ears and walking sort of funny – zoomed in with the lens and oops – a lion, just lying in the grass! Birdlife Robin's CampWe saw a fair number of guinea-fowl at Robin’s, but not as many as at RHA mine. They are not easy to photograph, they dont keep still and are always moving away from me – nothing worse than the butt end of a bird! Birdlife Robin's CampAnd last, one of my favourite birds, the hoopoe.  I have better pics, taken in my garden, where I can stalk them to my hearts content, but I wanted to post the pics I got in Hwange National Park! Birdlife Robin's Camp