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Democratic Republic of Congo
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Democratic Republic of Congo
Saturday, 27 September 2008 12:23
Written by Neil Gray

15 September 2008 A week at Mamaje ("place of plenty") field camp in the DRC found the camp living up to its name on the birding front. I managed to get in 45 minutes or so each day just after sunrise and just before sunset. No DRC endemics, but a few not found in Southern Africa - Black-collared Bulbul, White-winged Black Tit, Splendid Glossy Starling, and several Miombo woodland specials – Pale-billed Hornbill, Scaly-throated Honeyguide, Miombo Tit, Miombo Scrub-Robin, Miombo Rock-Thrush, Miombo Double-collared Sunbird, Racket-tailed and Broad-billed Roller, plus a few other "goodies" – Cabanis’s Bunting, Short-winged Cisticola, Grey-hooded Kingfisher, White-breasted Cuckooshrike, Copper Sunbird, African Golden Oriole, Schalow's Turaco, Fiery-necked, Freckled and Pennant-winged Nightjars, and Meyer's Parrot.

The week's total was 79 either seen or heard within a few kilometres radius of the camp. The summer migrants are streaming in (or through). I picked up 4 cuckoo species (call only), with the Diederik Cuckoo putting in a first appearance only on Day 5, as well as Yellow-billed Kite, Wahlberg's Eagle, European Bee-eater and Violet-backed Starling - although the latter is possibly a resident species here.

The "photo that got away" was just pre-sunset one evening when the noise of a bird party attracted my attention to a spot just 150m from the camp, where Fork-tailed Drongo, African Golden Oriole and White Helmetshrike were swooping and shrieking, and Cinnamon-breasted Bunting, Miombo Tit, Chinspot Batis and White-winged Black Tit were distinctly agitated hopping from branch to branch. Just as I realised that this was not a feeding party, but an assault on an intruder, I was too late to photograph the African Wood-Owl as it took flight.

The most difficult to photograph, and still remaining elusive, is the Meyer's Parrot. There are several dozen in the area and they are heard squawking throughout the daylight hours, but they are active high in the canopy of the Miombo and are spotted only when they move from tree to tree.
My full 79 species list (heard and/or seen) for the week in the field camp is:

Barbet, Black-collared
Barbet, Crested
Batis, Chinspot
Bee-Eater, Little
Bee-Eater, European
Boubou, Tropical
Bulbul, Black-collared

Bulbul, Dark-capped
Bunting, Cinnamon-breasted
Bunting, Cabanis’s
Bush-Shrike, Grey-headed
Buzzard, Lizard
Cisticola, Short-winged
Cisticola, Red-faced
Cormorant, Reed
Coucal, Senegal
Coucal , White-browed
Crombec, Long-billed
Cuckoo, Black
Cuckoo, Diederik
Cuckoo, Klaas's
Cuckoo, Red-chested
Cuckooshrike, Grey
Dove, Cape Turtle
Drongo, Fork-tailed
Duck, White-faced
Duck, Yellow-billed
Eagle, Wahlberg's
Egret, Little
Goshawk, Dark Chanting
Helmetshrike, White
Heron, Black-headed
Honeyguide, Scaly-throated
Hornbill, Pale-billed
Kingfisher, Grey-hooded
Kingfisher, Malachite
Kingfisher, Pied
Kite, Yellow-billed
Mousebird, Speckled
Nightjar, Fiery-necked
Nightjar, Freckled
Nightjar, Pennant-winged
Oriole, African Golden
Oriole, Black-headed
Paradise-Flycatcher, African
Parrot, Meyer's
Pigeon, African Green
Pipit, African
Prinia, Tawny-flanked
Puffback, Black-backed
Rock-Thrush, Miombo
Roller, Broad-billed
Roller, Racket-tailed
Scrub-Robin, Miombo
Snake-Eagle, Brown
Sparrow, House
Sparrow, Northern Grey-headed
Starling, Splendid Glossy
Starling, Violet-backed
Sunbird, Copper
Sunbird, Miombo Double-collared
Swallow, White-throated
Swift, African Palm
Swift, Little
Tchagra, Black-crowned
Thrush, Groundscraper
Thrush, Kurrichane
Tinkerbird, Yellow-fronted
Tit, Miombo
Tit, White-winged Black
Turaco, Schalow's
Wagtail, African Pied
Weaver, Red-headed
Wood-Dove, Emerald-spotted
Wood-Owl, African
Woodpecker, Bearded
Woodpecker, Cardinal

Last Updated ( Thursday, 27 September 2012 10:59 )