2014 has kicked off with a bang if the traffic in uptown Johannesburg is anything to judge these things by! To close off last year's challenge one or two stats:
|Southern Right Whale - in "Whale" Bay|
We spent 151 days in the field ie: away from home. We saw 825 species from end to end and from pillar to post within the sub-region.
Over the period we did 4 trips to Namibia; 3 trips to Botswana; 2 trips to Zimbabwe; 2 trips to Mozambique; 1 trip each to Lesotho & Swaziland (transit). Most of the cross-border trips we kept as short as possible, a function of necessity rather than by design or preference. Our longest trip (12 days) was to Namibia's northern region incl. of Kunene & the Zambezi region (Caprivi).
|The Namib desert / Namibia|
If pushed to pick a favourite trip I would have to say central Mozambique & for reasons unrelated to the birds. [See the 'Stranded out to sea..' blog for some insight.] Alisha, by comparison, prefers Namibia over most other spots. The most surprising cross-border trip was to Zimbabwe's Mana Pools area. This was our 1st trip to the north of Zimbabwe & to be fair, a highlight & somewhere we'll return to as soon as we can.
My bird of the year - African Pitta [inside 3 m / Coutada 12 - Moz]
Alisha's bird of the year - Spotted Creeper [party of 4 / Marondera - Zimbabwe].
Surprise of the year - 2 Grass Owls 8:30 pm, in torrential rain; Ongoye -KZN. [also happens to be Alisha's 'worst trip of the year' - see blog post 'Ongoye -Muddy bloody barbet']
Dip of the year - Pintado Petrel..! [The sparrow of the winter seas]
Species seen by Alisha or by myself but not by both of us & therefore excluded:
Eurasian Blackcap - Marondera; Zim (Alisha & 3 others)
Lesser Seedcracker - Mt. Gorongosa; Moz (Mark & 1 other)
Amsterdam Albatross (Probable) - Zest pelagic; SA (Mark et al)
Slender-billed Prion - Zest pelagic; SA (Mark et al)
Probables excluded - ID inconclusive
Gull-billed Tern - (Kgomo Kgomo; SA) Photographs inconclusive
Possibles (excl): -
Yellow-bellied Hyliota - Chinizuia; Mozambique
Birds heard only: -
Madagascar Cuckoo - Biyamiti; KNP
Basra Reed Warbler (probable) - near Caia, Sofala [Moz]
To conclude we added 30 (approx) new species to our regional life list and we added 60 (approx) 'photographic' lifers over the period.