Birds of the Chobe River wetlands I

At the end of our stay in Botswana & Victoria Falls, Kate flew home from Vic Falls airport via Johannesburg, while I was driven back across the border to spend a final 48h staying at the Pangolin Photo Safaris new lodge on the edge of the Chobe river and Namibia’s Caprivi floodplains near Kasane airport.

I was matched up with a small, friendly group of experienced wildlife photographers from Australia and South Africa, and we had a wonderful time on 3 boat-based safaris plus one morning game drive.

All the lodge staff were excellent, and our guide Hoosain majored on wildlife expertise and description, while we were all mostly able to manage the technical photographic details of our own equipment, so this worked well. Pangolin have photo boats equipped with mobile gimbal-equipped seats - I quickly established that the mobility of my light Olympus equipment with its fine image stabilisation meant it was was much better off the gimbal and hand-held, even at 840mm equivalent focal length. However, the rotating seats, stable boat and wide separation of guests’ photo stations was very helpful for us all.

First, images of my favourite local bird, the nimble African Skimmer.

Airborne skimmer

Airborne skimmer

Skimming

Skimming

Adult skimmer

Adult skimmer

Coming in to land

Coming in to land

Adult with catch

Adult with catch

Skimmer juvenile drinking

Skimmer juvenile drinking

Juvenile skimmer

Juvenile skimmer

Juvenile skimmer drinking

Juvenile skimmer drinking

Skimmer at sunset

Skimmer at sunset

Here are some images within Pangolin’s lodge, and of one of their photo boats, a residential boat, and some of the competition…

Reception and the ground floor concourse

Reception and the ground floor concourse

The bar

The bar

My balcony, and the view over the Chobe river

My balcony, and the view over the Chobe river

Pangolin photo boat

Pangolin photo boat

Tourist boat

Tourist boat

The Zambezi Queen paddle boat

The Zambezi Queen paddle boat

We had some entertaining sightings of African Jacanas, known as the ‘Jesus Bird’ for their gravity-defying abilities to walk on water (lily-pads, actually) aided by their spectacularly huge feet. They pull around surface vegetation to disturb insects and other small water creatures as prey. We were lucky also to have some prolonged sightings of their charmingly ungainly chicks.

African Jacana 1 1600x1200 sRGB.jpg

Finally in this section, a set of African Spoonbill images.

African spoonbill statuesque 1600x1200 sRGB.jpg
Spoonbill peekaboo

Spoonbill peekaboo

More birds in the next post, including roosting yellow-billed storks, rollers, kingfishers, and the close ecological associations between the park’s mammals and birds.


Kettle's Yard