It’s Monday 30th January 2012 and, as promised, the Shoebill Stork

I hope that you are well and off to a great start for the week.  Last week I managed to digress so significantly that I failed to chat to you about Shoebills, so this week I am going to start off with this subject so as not to get distracted by all the other happenings.

Each year we run the Shoebill Safari up at the Bangweulu wetlands, which is just north of Kasanka.  The trip generally starts off with a few days at Nkwali, then heading off into the great unknown under the watchful eye of Kiki, who leads the safari.

Bangweulu WetlandsKiki (Keyala Phiri

The Shoebill Stork, for those of you who are not familiar, is a bird that would not look out of place in a Jurassic Park movie.  This postbox pillar sized bird is very rare and definitely a “must see” on all keen birders lists! It may not be the most attractive of birds, but it certainly has some wow factor.  It is also somewhat of a miracle that they manage to get airborne! Something that huge and bulky with a bill that you would imagine would massively knock you off balance.  In fact it got the name “Shoebill” from its massive shoe shaped bill.

Shoebill StorkShoebill Stork

Shoebill StorkShoebill Stork

These birds, however, are not a guaranteed sighting, but fortunately the wetlands are littered with many other spectacular species, as well as a breath taking landscape. It is up there with Liuwa as one of our great spectacles.  With up to 100,000 Black Lechwe, Tsessebe and Sitatunga, all of which we do not get here in South Luanagwa, and hosting up to 400 bird species, it really is a most magical destination. There is not a moment left for boredom as the back drop to all of this is a lush green landscape. I challenge anyone to not fall in love with this part of paradise.

Bangweulu SwampsBlack Lechwe

Wattled CraneFisherman

Well there you have it! Kiki will be off there soon so I shall dispatch him armed with a camera and a pen so that he can tell you all about it on his return.

Following the pet and river chat last week, before I sign off today, I thought that I would give an update on them:

Peanut Post – it turns out that Peanut loves toothpaste!

Mouse Monitoring – still a bit scared of the outside world so came out for a brief moment and hid in a box!

River Review – it has plummeted!!  But hoping that we have some more rains coming through to top it up again.

MouseThe Luangwa River

Other news from the Luangwa, is that the lions seem to be circling camp at the moment, keeping us all safely tucked up in bed, with the gentle low bellows every night for the last 6 days.  The guests have seen them, but they had located themselves in such a muddy patch that there was definitely no option to get closer – cunning.

Anyway, have a great week, stay safe!

Cheers

Emily

Luangwa

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