25 March 2024

Into the Miombo

28 November 2024 - Christon Banks, Harare; Day 3

It was an early start for the whole gang when Lionel arrived with the bus together with Ian. This morning we were exploring the Miombo habitat of Christon Banks a little further on from where we were yesterday afternoon.

The bus dropped off at the start of the trail, this morning was all about walking the habitat. First up was a female Eastern Miombo Sunbird in the top of a tree in the valley below us.

Female Eastern Miombo Sunbird (Cinnyris manoensis)

One of the target birds was Red-faced Crombec and we followed a calling bird for ages up and down the valley. At one stop, a Tropical Boubou put in a brief appearance

Tropical Boubou (Laniarius major)

It was a real hide-and-seek game with the Crombec that seemed to stay 3 or 4 trees ahead of us, no matter how quietly we walked and waited. Eventually, it just eluded us - but we did find a small bird party that had some of the wanted White-breasted Cuckoo-shrike's. Do you ever have one of those days when you cant get into the groove and nothing seems to fall into place - I was having one of those this morning

White-breasted Cuckoo-shrike (Ceblepyris pectoralis)

Concentrating on trying to get one decent image of the Cuckooshrike, I lost the group. It is unreal how thick bush can muffle sound, even when shouting or whistling, so it took some time for me to eventually relocate them and continue on our walk. At one stop, a Dragonfly provided some interest

Dragonfly sp.

Then a few butterflies

White sp.

Blue sp.

We continued walking to where we were going to meet the bus and in the process 'lost' Richard. Rory and I had started to walk down into the valley, when further up the hill we heard Ian shout 'Boulder Chat' a want bird for most of us. Rory and I continued down into the valley without luck and concluded Richard must have walked to the bus. Now we had the daunting and steep climb taking the tiger line directly up, to the top of the hill where the Boulder Chat's had moved to - of course! Finally, we arrived at the top, breathless and scratched to where the others had already had some good views. Once I got my breathe back I found a position where I could wait and observe, as they were continuously on the move around us, including some display interaction - but finally, I got some satisfying views and a few pics in challenging dappled light conditions

Boulder Chat (Pinarornis plumosus)

It was then all the way back down the hill to the road where Lionel, the bus (and Richard) were waiting for us. Back to Malcolm's Lodge by 9am where I could get some work done. Later in the day, we transferred to Guineafowl Lodge.

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