Okavango Delta

I’m going to start this entry with some photographs of two  endangered birds.   I’m afraid that the majority of entries are about birds.  The first series of photographs are of the slaty egret and the second set are wattled cranes.

My bird book of southern Africa states that the slaty egret can only be found in the upper reaches of the Zambezi River and the waterways of the Okavango.

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Wattled crane..  My book says they are rare and patchily distributed, and endangered.  I felt lucky to have seen them.  The long feathers extending behind their bodies are not their tails but rather quite long wing feathers.  I wish I could see them in flight.

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I was frustrated that I couldn’t see their eyes.  Until I cropped a few of these, I had no idea that their eyes are red!  Of course, it didn’t help that they stayed in the shade the entire time we visited them.

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I think this is the green backed heron.

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darters, again..

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If you look carefully at the following photo you will see that the gray background is an elephant.  The huge and the little…..

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fish eagle

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grey heron

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so many birds, so little time…

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I assume this is the little egret but since I can’t see the toes (which would be yellow), it is only an assumption.

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Two things to notice…. first, if you look carefully, you can see a human figure in the picture.  He has on a fleece beany and a lined poncho.  Although it doesn’t look cold, believe me, it was.  It is winter in the southern hemisphere.  The mornings are cold and the evening cool off fast once the sun goes down.    This was early morning.  Fortunately, it warms up during the day and one begins to shed the many layers with which we start the day.

The other thing is the dead trees.  I assumed they were destroyed by elephants who love to strip bark from trees or push them over.  Next to humans, elephants have the greatest effect on landscape, not always to the benefit of that land.  These trees were, however, destroyed by water!  Several years ago, the amount of water that entered the delta flooded much of the land.  Many trees died as a result.

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Elephant bull on the far side.

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goliath heron coming in for a landing

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yellow billed storks

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raptors… naturally, I don’t remember what this was.  Looks like a number of eagles.  If anyone can correct me on my bird identifications, I’d appreciate it.

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I figure this one is a black chested snake eagle.

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These are called little bee eaters.

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Getting a good sniff..

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not many calves around this young..

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Male kudu with those magnificent horns! I learned that each year the horns make a complete twist, up to four years. Then they stop.

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We spent at about half the time we were there on the water.

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This bushbuck and the youngster were napping by my tent when we came home one afternoon.  There were three of them who seemed to call the camp home.

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Look at the little yellow flower stuck to her nose.

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more darters..  we saw them in the water while on a cruise.  They really do look like snakes when they surface.

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more lilac breasted roller; still no wings spread flight shot….

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This is an amazing bird… never did get a good photo of them, but I have in the past.  They have the most amazing call… a low booming sound that travels a long way…

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lappet-faced vulture, king of the mountain..

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Our guides, working hard.  Actually, we had other guides who took us out in the pirogues (someone correct me if I’m wrong about the name).

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As you may have guessed, I was fascinated by the patterns created by the reflections in the still water.

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African skimmer.. notice the bottom of the beak is longer than the top.

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Although there are numerous species of parrots in Africa, this is the first time I have ever seen any. These are meyer’s parrots. Cute little green things..

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white-faced ducks, or also called whistling ducks.. because they do!

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yellow billed stork

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We spent considerable time watching these egrets moving in to roost for the night. What a lot of hassle just trying to find the perfect branch.

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oops… some cormorants have tried to move in..

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Rounding a corner we came upon these pied kingfisher.  They appeared to have a little colony there.

 

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Not sure how this little bird is going to swallow that fish…

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This bird appeared to be trying to feed its mate.

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This little guy is the malachite kingfisher but notice the nile monitor in the background.

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sacred ibis

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little egret, probably..

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great egret, probably

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A rickety looking bridge, but it works.

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juvenile saddle beaked stork.  When mature, their beak is bright red and black.

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female waterbuck.. love their bulls eye butts

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These are red lechwe.  They live primarily in watery areas.  Few antelope species are comfortable in water.  They were also skittish.  We never did get close to them.

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These boys doing what they do best.  I wish they had been on the move because these boys have a black mane.  They do look magestic when they are up and alert.

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This lioness and her sub-adult male cub definitely seemed to have a purpose in mind.

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The mission continues…. probably looking for brunch.

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I’ve seen such large crocodiles on this trip, so seeing this little one was quite a surprise.

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Our guide managed to snatch this little one out of the water so we could see one close up.  Even at this size, probably about twelve inches, it has a substantial bite.  It was quickly released  back in the water where we found it.

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more reflections… sorry.

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This little owl, a pearl-spotted owlet,  would rather have continued its nap rather than entertain us.  It really is a cute little thing.

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These are tsessebe.  They look almost exactly like the topi I saw in Kenya but they are a bit darker.

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I believe this is the African Grey hornbill, female.  We had quite a discussion over whether or not it was a female red billed but decided not.  I’ve seen a number of hornbills in my trips to Africa but this is a first for this one.

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This is a crested barbet.  I am intrigued by how their colors seem to be splashed on.

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This one is trying to feed its mate.

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This one is a black-collared barbet.

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more malachite kingfishers

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This is the go-away bird.  Its call supposedly sounds like it’s saying, ‘go away’.  It doesn’t sound like that to me; it just sounds like it has a little cartoon voice.  Apparently, its crest goes up when it’s excited…. but I’ve never seen it down.  So life must be pretty exciting for the go away bird….

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Tons of these hopping around camp.  But I forget what it is and how do you look up little brown or gray bird?  Anyway, they remind me of our robin…

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Just a couple of the camp to show how high they are off the ground.  Protection from water and……. hippos!

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Granted, I haven’t spent much time in Africa  when you consider that it’s only been about two and a half weeks at a time, but this was the biggest f***ing nile monitor lizard I have ever seen.  It had to be nearly six feet long!DPP_2191DPP_2192DPP_2194DPP_2195

 

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..and not in the least interested in sticking around for photos.

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Hippo chilling out of the water..

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I was thinking that I’d never seen so many elephants reaching high into tree.  In fact, I rarely have seen that before although I wanted to.  Then I realized that there were so many more trees…. duh.

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I have never seen such a pointy termite mound….

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Sun is setting… last one in the delta..

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My last elephants… won’t be any elephants in the Kalahari at this time of year.

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even one pelican..

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no more hippos….

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That is the end.  Sorry it’s soooo long.  I should have broken it up into parts.  But by the time I realized that, I wasn’t about to stop this one and then move what I’d done to a new one.  On to the Kalahari.

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6 thoughts on “Okavango Delta

  1. Wow, what a great entry! I loved it all especially the birds and the reflections were very special, too. They were all neat, but the sunset ones were absolutely breathtaking. Thanks so much for sharing your great adventure with us.
    Darline

  2. Crikey Nancy, where do I begin. Like Darline said, the reflection photos were truly outstanding. A number of them jumped out at me and if they were mine, I would be taking all my existing pictures off the wall and replacing them.
    Great photos of your favourite bird the Hamerkop, outstanding of the Fish Eagle and then there was the Crested Barbet and the shot of the 2 Pied Kingfisher. Truly great shots Nancy, there was too many to name them all. The young bushbuck at the camp with the yellow flower on it’s nose, just love it and all the photos of the bushbuck.
    Then there is the elephants reaching into the trees, I love how they put all their weight onto their back legs and stretch and stretch. Beautiful images of the lioness and I wouldn’t expect anything more from the male lions, they are such lazy creatures.
    Absolutely brilliant photos of the Nile Monitor, how close did you get to it. Love the shot of the tail in the air as he escapes the waiting cameras.
    Fantastic entry Nancy and never ever too long.

  3. Thank you both for your compliments!
    The monitor was a couple of meters from me at first but then hid under the walkway so I backed up so I couldn’t be seen. I knew it was headed for the water so I just had to wait.

  4. Have been back a few times now to get a better look. Here’s a couple of photo’s that really stand out to me. Sunset DPP1846 and the grasses and water DPP2045.

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