Namibia, April 2016  -  p 3 of 4

Kori-Bustard.jpg (392667 bytes)

7 Apr 2016

Now driving west to our second destination in Etosha, we see again a Kori Bustard, another common species here.   Bustards are ground-dwelling birds, pretty much omnivorous.

The big cats around here, leopards, lions, and cheetahs, mostly prey on hooved animals.  But they' ll take a Kori Bustard in a pinch.


Later on we find a mixed herd of springbok, zebras, and Red Hartebeest, shown here.  For some reason I always see hartebeest late in the morning when the light is harsh.  Where are they in the sweet light just after dawn?

We drink lots of bottled water as we travel.  The uncarbonated kind is called Still Water, not to be confused with Stillwater, our home town back in Oklahoma.


red-hartebeest.jpg (435535 bytes)
Red-headed-Finch2.jpg (227720 bytes) Our second stop at Etosha is Okaukuejo Camp, at the southwest corner of the pan.  Our chalet is only a few steps from the waterhole here.  It's supposed to be a sure-bet to see animals, but not now.  Never have so many people spent so much time waiting for so few animals to come to drink.

A better bet is the birds around camp, reliably tame.  This Red-headed Finch, just off the restaurant patio, built a pendulous nest not unlike that of our orioles at home.


White-crowned Shrike, shown here, was also tame.  Namibia has 6 species of shrikes, the most common one being Fiscal Shrike.  We see a Fiscal every half mile or so as we drive down the roads.



Southern White-crowned Shrike.jpg (211564 bytes)
BB-Jackel.jpg (509528 bytes) 6 Apr 2016

Black-backed Jackals like this one often seem to doing little more than taking a casual morning stroll.  But Mark Owens, in the classic book Cry of the Kalahari, observed a jackal who killed 30-40 mice in a 3-hour hunting period.  It was sucessful on about one in every 4 attempts.


Springbok will, if nervous or disturbed, resort to "pronking."  They bounce about several times, often reaching impressive heights at the top of the pronk. 

It usually lasts only a few seconds, so it's not easy to photograph.



pronking-springbok2.jpg (769348 bytes)
spotted-hyena.jpg (567371 bytes) Just east of the camp, a clan of Spotted Hyenas has a den in a culvert under the highway.  We photographed them before dawn as they were getting ready for the day.

This wasn't my best hyena shot, but it shows the matriarch's pose when she calls together the clan:  head down, not up, as she emits what might be called a series of whoops ending in a low moan.



I haven't had as many birds of prey on this trip as expected.  The two most common ones in Etosha seem to be Pale Chanting Goshawk and Greater Kestrel, the bird shown in this photo. Greater Kestrel.jpg (515793 bytes)
two-zebras.jpg (468373 bytes) Zebras jostle for a spot where they can drink whenever they make an early morning visit to the waterhole.  Apparently the zebra on the right became angry and said to the one on the left, "Bite me!"

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