Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Namibia Update (Shamvura, Caprivi, Big Sit results)

A lot has occurred since my last update two weeks ago. After completing my volunteering stint at Shamvura Camp I travelled a few hours east into the heart of the Caprivi region of Namibia. For the next couple weeks I will be volunteering for the IRDNC (Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation) training local birding guides, producing area checklists and translating local bird names into English among other activities. Currently I’m staying deep in the bush at the Sijwa Training Centre – a rustic field camp shared among other field workers with the IRDNC, WWF etc. As with a lot of my previous blog write-ups, I’m going to backtrack through the past couple weeks.

The final week at Shamvura was quite exciting with a couple more boat trips down the Okavango River and various birding jaunts in the surrounding broad-leaved woodlands. Although nothing out of ordinary was recorded, almost daily I was adding another country tick

African Openbills - Okavango River

African Skimmer - Okavango River

Southern Carmine Bee-Eater colony
Hippos - Okavango River
Leaving Shamvura Camp last Thursday, I travelled 300km east to the village, Kongola, where I was transported south to the Sijwa Training Centre along the Kwando River. This rustic, but developed camp is quite exceptional with electricity, internet, kitchen and a viewing platform over the Kwando River. For those familiar with the novel, The Beach, there’s quite a lot of resemblances with life here at camp.

Birding has been excellent as one would expect with several more country ticks including African Paradise-Flycatcher, Swamp Nightjar and summer arrivals such as Common House-Martin, Barn Swallow, Spotted Flycatcher and Willow Warbler. Last Sunday was the annual Bird Watcher’s Digest Big Sit and I registered a team calling us the Sijwa Sitting Cisticolas. Despite lacking an important habitat (Acacia scrub) and a scope, the final tally of 80 species isn’t too bad. Several mammals were also recorded including Hippo, Red Lechwe and African Clawless Otter.

View of Sijwa from Big Sit platform

View of the Kwando River from Big Sit platform
Now that I’m caught up with my blog, hopefully my posts will be published in real-time so keep checking back for updates.

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