If you watched the last Attenborough Africa program last week, (and the finale is tonight) amongst many other great scenes was the swallows crossing the vast Sahara, dependent on finding the one oasis to stock up on flies to continue their journey.
It’s truly astounding how many birds make just this passage each year, some crossing the vast expanse of sand to the west, others following the rockier, but just as dry, path down the Great Rift Valley to the east, but either way, they join the already amazing array of colourful and extravagantly wonderful birds that make up Africa’s birding list. .
At any time of the year birding in Africa is one of its real pleasures, I don’t think there’s anywhere in the world where so many different species of wonderfully varied and numerous species can be so easliy seen. I once sat by a river in a national park in a rainforest in Borneo, after two hours of watching I’d seen one species, admittedly a very interesting gull-billed kingfisher, but sitting by a similar river in East Africa would have produced 10 or 20 times that number!
Even the most avowed ‘non-twitchers’ when sat in front of a marsh full of egrets, African spoonbills, storks, ducks, huge spurwing geese, with African fish eagles overhead, start ticking them off with the best of them! It is truly one of the pleasures of being on safari.
And if you come when those migrants are down from the north, the cuckoos and the waders, the harriers and the storks, when the red-chested cuckoo calls all day and the soft prrrp of the scops owl calls all night, there is nowhere quite like it!
If you missed the show you can catch it on BBC iPlayer:If you’re dreaming of your own African adventure, make sure you visit my website http://www.journeyintoafrica.com/Or give me a call on 01743 850043
I’m loving your new blog! Keep up the good work.
After spending some time with you in Africa last year, I now blame you for turning me into a beginning ‘twitcher’. I was, and still are, amazed at your skills of identifying the birds that you saw and also knowing a lot about the back story. You are a definite inspiration.
Glad you like the blog – you’ll recognise some of the scenes – I hear your pictures are pretty good too!