If you are into music, the lodge and camping areas of Namushasha River Lodge at times seem to be like a symphony of sound, although some of the birds do not really meet the requirements to join the orchestra, and expect of you to expand your repertoire of music. Having such a beautiful and dense vegetation (more than 40 of my favourite trees of the Zambezi occur inside the area), the bird calls definitely will enhance your bird tick-list probably more than your binocular will.
Starting off with your tree book, looking for the different special tree species you will undoubtedly find some very interesting birds in the process. One of my surprises was finding two Nightjars along the river close to the Namushasha River Camping2Go area.
The evening concert was led by the African Wood Owl (Strix woodfordii) and a choir of Angolan Reed frogs. Not to be out done, the Hadeda Ibis (Bostrychia hagedash) tried to mess up the show every time they decided to change their sleeping quarters along the river. The backing by the Black Cuckoos (Cuculus clamosus) is so sad but very effective (gospel), especially in the more sedated and slower waltzes. The call of the nightjars, still not sure which ones, did actually enhance the quality of the main event of the night.
Not being the earliest of birds, I cannot say for certain which birds are the early risers, but the White-browed Robin-Chat (Cossypha heuglini) is definitely one of the early birds, sometimes even joining the late-night choir, but that might be a bit farfetched to award them the 24 hour chorales first prize. It might also be the Woodlands Kingfisher (Halcyon senegalensis) that will do the prelude for the day.
Later in the day, the duet of the Swamp Boubou (Laniarius bicolor) is heard along the river, while the Black-collared Barbets (Lybius torquatus) can often be heard and seen in the Ficus tree at the deck. Some of the Black Cuckoos which fell asleep during the night might wake up and continue their sad song as if they never took a break. The Levaillant’s and Jacobin’s Cuckoos might not steal the limelight because they will be busy stealing other birds’ nests for raising their chicks.
The deck will provide the stage for some aerobatics, performed by the White-fronted Bee-eaters (Merops bullockoides), with the Yellow-bellied Greenbuls (Chlorocichla flaviventris), trying to join breakfast to the irritation of the waiters on duty. The fly by night birds will further test your id skills especially at dusk and dawn, going to and back from their different destinations.
Although unsuspected, we found a pair of roosting Western banded Snake Eagles (Circaetus cinerascens) in front of our bungalow one morning, saving us a trip to Bwabwata National Park to look for these rather special raptors in the region.
If by the time you have done the different sunbirds at the lodge have finished your breakfast and you need some more entertainment, the Morning Boat Cruise is a must to see some birds. Have you taken part in a Morning or Afternoon Boat Cruise at Namushasha River Lodge?
Author: Pompie Burger