Friday, 19 August 2016

Introduction to Namibia - Windhoek and Avis Dam

After an overnight flight on Monday 1st August, we arrived late morning in Namibia and went straight into Windhoek city centre - not much cultural bits to see thankfully. Bird wise there was just the odd White-backed Mousebird, so by late afternoon I'd convinced Karen to head to Avis Dam 'for an evening walk to keep us awake'. Anyway, she evidently knew it was a birdy place and so I set about my business...
Southern Fiscal Avis Dam
As I started picking up my first Namibian birds - stuff like Blue Waxbills, Cape Wagtails, Pale-winged Starlings and Fiscal Shrikes - the sun was going down all too quickly, and I had a lot less time than I had expected. Though the African Palm Swifts and Rock Martins were busy whizzing about, all the other passerines had shut up shop.
Blue Waxbill Avis Dam
So, after a great meal that (somewhat hypocritically) involved Kudu, Springbok and Oryx that night, I headed back to Avis Dam the next morning and experienced loads more birds during the first African sunrise of the trip! I think I woke up this sleepy Rock Kestrel: -
Rock Kestrel Avis Dam
Avis Dam is just a couple of km outside Windhoek, and from reading tour reports, seems to be where most groups/visitors go to first. And there is a reason why with the gaudy looking Crimson-breasted Shrike being common, lots of Yellow and Black-throated Canaries, Cape Glossy Starlings, Monteiro's and African Grey Hornbills, smart looking Kalahari Scrub Robins with loads of Short-toed Rock Thrushes, White-browed Sparrow Weavers, Marico Flycatchers, Familiar Chats and Mountain Wheatears. Though Avis Dam is a site for Rockrunner, I didn't really try too hard for it - knowing I would have a site where it was easy later in the trip. Just nice to get a feel of the common birds for starters.
Kalahari Scrub Robin Avis Dam
Crimson-breasted Shrike Avis Dam
White-browed Sparrow Weaver Avis Dam
Black-throated Canary Avis Dam
Marico Flycatcher Avis Dam
The dam itself was dry, with a solitary Egyptian Goose the only waterbird. This was to be the start of a trip full of aridity, surface water shortages but a country still full of birds and great birding. One of my most enjoyable trips to date - with the combination of some good mammals too. So after Avis Dam, we left Windhoek and drove south and then west to Buellsport where we stayed for the night of 3rd August...

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