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Zambia birding - Mutinondo Wilderness
Thursday, 19 May 2011 09:01
Written by Neil Gray

A new day dawns. After a Shoebill can the rest of the trip match up?

 

At the ZAWA offices on the way out we see a mass or raptors soaring overhead, Martial Eagle, Black-breasted Snake Eagle, White-backed Vulture, Hooded Vulture and White-headed Vulture.


This brought my Bangweulu species count to 94 and the trip list to 168, with my Zambia list soaring well over 300.


It would be another 5 hours over another 140km of road(?) heading due east to the Mutinondo Wilderness area set in the Muchinga Escarpment area, overlooking the Luangwa valley. The main camp at Mutinondo is set amid huge granite inselbergs (in fact, on one of them). The highest is Mayense, and quite a challenge to get to the top.


Mutinondo (http://www.mutinondozambia.com/) is largely miombo and very large dambos, with limited mushitu along the river courses. Mutinondo has a good network of roads, paths and bridlepaths. Birding and horse riding are the main attractions here. I had two full days and made the most of it, walking according to my GPS some 40km. Passing the granite inselbergs one is often watched by the only really obvious mammal in these parts, the Yellow Baboon.


As I mentioned in the context of Kasanka, miombo birding is "low-density" birding. For my 40km I only ticked off 54 species but managed 4 lifers among them - Reichard's (Stripe-breasted) Seed-Eater, Rufous-bellied Tit, Pale Wren-Warbler (Miombo Barred Warbler) and Broad-tailed Warbler. Other interesting sightings were Green-capped Eremomela, Miombo Scrub-Robin, Fawn-breasted Waxbill, Grey Penduline-Tit, Yellow-throated Petronia, Hartlaub's Babbler, Cabanis's Bunting, White-breasted Cuckooshrike, Pale Flycatcher, Retz's Helmetshrike, Black Saw-Wing and Grey-rumped Swallow. Some of the species that I managed to photograph can be seen in the gallery. Photography as mentioned for Kasanka quite a challenge in itself in miombo.


After 7 days away I returned to Lusaka with a trip list of 191 species, 17 lifers including that one real mega, the Shoebill, and a Zambia list now standing at 363 species.

 

Neil

 

 

 

Last Updated ( Sunday, 30 September 2012 15:53 )