Malawi, September-October 2008

Page 4: Gamebirds to Skimmers

All dates between 22nd and 30th relate to September, all dates from 1st to 10th relate to October.

 

Hildebrandt's Spurfowl (Hildebrandt's Francolin) Francolinus hildebrandti [2]

A pair of Spurfowl crossed the road in front of us at Nyika 6th. Except for a fleeting glimpse of their sides they only provided rear views through a dusty windscreen, but I'm pretty they were Hildebrandt's.

Hildebrandt's Spurfowl, Nyika, 6-Oct-08  

Hildebrandt's Spurfowl, Nyika Plateau, 6th October

 

Red-necked Francolin (Red-necked Spurfowl) Francolinus afer [6]

At Liwonde 2 23rd, 3 24th and 1 25th.

Red-necked Francolin, Liwonde, 25-Sep-08 Red-necked Francolin, Liwonde, 23-Sep-08

Red-necked Francolins, Liwonde, 23rd-25th September

 

Common Quail Coturnix coturnix [8]

At Vwaza 3 pairs flushed 6th and 1 pair flushed 7th. All of these were flushed by the car from beside the road but 1 pair on 6th remained in view for several minutes. The race africana appears as a migrant in Malawi but these birds were probably the more richly marked race erlangeri which is resident here.

Common Quail, Nyika, 6-Oct-08 Common Quail, Nyika, 6-Oct-08
Common Quail, Nyika, 6-Oct-08

pair of Common Quail, Nyika Plateau, 6th October

 

Helmeted Guineafowl Numida meleagris [100+]

Up to 50 Liwonde 23rd-25th and up to 27 Vwaza Marsh 3rd-4th. Different flocks were seen on different days so a total of >100 is not an unreasonable estimate. In addition to these a small number of presumably domestic birds were seen round houses.

Helmeted Guineafowl, Liwonde, 25-Sep-08 Helmeted Guineafowl, Liwonde, 25-Sep-08

Helmeted Guineafowl, Liwonde, 25th September

 

Red-chested Flufftail Sarothrura rufa [1]

One of the highlights of this holiday was a surprise sighting of this species. At Dzalanyama on 2nd I was at the dambo in the evening waiting for a Firefinch to come back out onto the path where I'd seen it briefly. A peculiar very dark and tiny quail-like bird flew across the track just in front of me, showing extensive red on the front. This was enough to identify it as a Flufftail and the extent of red suggested Red-chested, although I wasn't sure I could eliminate the local race antonii of Striped (Red-tailed) Flufftail which has red extending on to the breast too. Shortly after it landed an unfamiliar call started up from the spot where it had disappeared and a second identical-sounding bird responded from much further away. Fortunately I was able to sound-record this and compare it to Steve Bailey's tapes of all the Flufftails, which confirmed that it was indeed a Red-chested Flufftail.

 

Black Crake Amaurornis flavirostra [12]

Up to 10 Liwonde 23rd-25th and 2 (an adult and a juvenile) Bird & Hippo Sanctuary (Senga Bay) 9th.

Black Crake, Liwonde, 24-Sep-08 Black Crake, Liwonde, 25-Sep-08

Black Crakes, Liwonde, 24th-25th September

 

Red-knobbed Coot (Crested Coot) Fulica cristata [3]

A pair at Chelinda Dam (Nyika) 4th-6th with 2 chicks seen 5th-6th and a third adult at the second dam on 5th.

Red-knobbed, Nyika, 6-Oct-08 Red-knobbed, Nyika, 6-Oct-08
Red-knobbed, Nyika, 6-Oct-08 Red-knobbed, Nyika, 6-Oct-08
Red-knobbed, Nyika, 5-Oct-08 Red-knobbed, Nyika, 5-Oct-08

Red-knobbed Coots, Chelinda Dams (Nyika Plateau), 5th-6th October

 

Lesser Jacana Microparra capensis [8]

6 Lake Chilwa 26th and 2 Mpatsanjoka (Senga Bay) 9th.

Lesser Jacana, Lake Chilwa, 26-Sep-08 Lesser Jacana, Lake Chilwa, 26-Sep-08
Lesser Jacana, Lake Chilwa, 26-Sep-08  

Lesser Jacanas, Lake Chilwa, 26th September

 

African Jacana Actophilornis africanus [50]

Up to 18 Liwonde 23rd-25th, 15 Lake Chilwa 26th, singles Lujeri Tea Estate (Mulanje) and Satemwa Tea Estate (Thyolo) 29th and at Senga Bay 10 Mpatsanjoka and 5 Bird & Hippo Sanctuary 9th.

African Jacana, Liwonde, 23-Sep-08 African Jacana, Liwonde, 23-Sep-08
African Jacana, Liwonde, 24-Sep-08 African Jacana, Liwonde, 24-Sep-08
African Jacana, Liwonde, 24-Sep-08 African Jacana, Liwonde, 24-Sep-08

African Jacanas, Liwonde, 23rd-24th September

 

Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus [9]

Up to 4 Liwonde 23rd-24th and 5 Mpatsanjoka (Senga Bay) 9th.

 

Water Thick-knee (Water Dikkop) Burhinus vermiculatus [6]

Singles Liwonde 23rd and 25th and up to 4 Vwaza Marsh 3rd-4th.

Water Thick-knee, Liwonde, 25-Sep-08 Water Thick-knee, Liwonde, 25-Sep-08

Water Thick-knee, Liwonde, 25th September

 

Water Thick-knee, Vwaza Marsh, 4-Oct-08 Water Thick-knee, Vwaza Marsh, 4-Oct-08
Water Thick-knee, Vwaza Marsh, 4-Oct-08 Water Thick-knee, Vwaza Marsh, 4-Oct-08
Water Thick-knee, Vwaza Marsh, 4-Oct-08  

Water Thick-knees, Vwaza Marsh, 4th October

 

Collared Pratincole Glareola pratincola [3]

3 Vwaza Marsh 3rd-4th.

 

Blacksmith Plover (Blacksmith Lapwing) Vanellus armatus [6]

Up to 6 Vwaza Marsh 3rd-4th.

Blacksmith Plover, Vwaza Marsh, 4-Oct-08 Blacksmith Plover, Vwaza Marsh, 4-Oct-08
Blacksmith Plover, Vwaza Marsh, 4-Oct-08 Blacksmith Plover, Vwaza Marsh, 4-Oct-08
Blacksmith Plover, Vwaza Marsh, 4-Oct-08 Blacksmith Plover, Vwaza Marsh, 4-Oct-08

Blacksmith Plovers, Vwaza Marsh, 4th October

 

Spur-winged Plover (Spur-winged Lapwing) Vanellus spinosus [2]

Up to 2 Liwonde 23rd-24th.

Spur-winged Plover, Liwonde, 24-Sep-08 Spur-winged Plover, Liwonde, 23-Sep-08
Spur-winged Plover, Liwonde, 24-Sep-08  

Spur-winged Plovers, Liwonde, 23rd-24th September

 

Wattled Lapwing (Senegal Plover, African Wattled Plover) Vanellus senegallus [9]

Up to 6 Liwonde 23rd-25th and 3 Mpatsanjoka (Senga Bay) 9th.

Wattled Lapwing, Liwonde, 23-Sep-08 Wattled Lapwing, Liwonde, 25-Sep-08

Wattled Lapwings, Liwonde, 23rd-25th September

 

Wattled Lapwing, Mpatsanjoka, 9-Oct-08  

Wattled Lapwing, Mpatsanjoka (Senga Bay), 9th October

 

Ringed Plover (Common Ringed Plover, Greater Ringed Plover) Charadrius hiaticula [1]

A Palaearctic migrant: an adult with a Curlew Sandpiper Liwonde 24th.

Curlew Sandpiper & Ringed Plover, Liwonde, 24-Sep-08  

Ringed Plover and Curlew Sandpiper, Liwonde, 24th September 2008

 

Kittlitz's Plover (Kittlitz's Sandplover) Charadrius pecuarius [7]

Up to 6 Vwaza Marsh 3rd-4th, with 2 chicks on 4th, and 1 Mpatsanjoka (Senga Bay) 9th.

Kittlitz's Plover, Vwaza Marsh, 4-Oct-08 Kittlitz's Plover, Vwaza Marsh, 4-Oct-08
Kittlitz's Plover, Vwaza Marsh, 4-Oct-08  

Kittlitz's Plovers, Vwaza Marsh, 4th October

 

African Snipe (Ethiopian Snipe) Gallinago nigripennis [2]

1 Liwonde 23rd and 1 Mpatsanjoka (Senga Bay) 9th.

 

Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos [34]

Up to 25 Liwonde 23rd-25th, up to 3 Vwaza Marsh 3rd-4th, 3 Chelinda Dam (Nyika) 4th and up to 3 Makuzi Lodge 7th-8th. These are Palaearctic migrants and included both adults and juveniles.

Common Sandpiper, Liwonde, 24-Sep-08 Common Sandpiper, Makuzi, 8-Oct-08

adult Common Sandpiper, Liwonde, 24th September

 

juvenile Common Sandpiper, Makuzi Lodge, 8th October

 

Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia [8]

4 Liwonde 24th, up to 3 Vwaza Marsh 3rd-4th and 1 Mpatsanjoka (Senga Bay) 9th. These are Palaearctic migrants too.

 

Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis [2]

Another Palaearctic migrant, though of more interest to British birders than the last two: at Vwaza Marsh 2 3rd with 1 remaining on 4th.

Marsh Sandpiper, Vwaza Marsh, 4-Oct-08  

Marsh Sandpiper, Vwaza Marsh, 4th October

 

Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola [7]

1 Liwonde 24th, 1 Vwaza Marsh 4th and 2 Mpatsanjoka and 3 Bird & Hippo Sanctuary (both Senga Bay) 9th. Another Palaearctic migrant.

 

Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres [1]

To other British birders this might not sound like the most exciting bird but it was probably the greatest national rarity I've ever found! This species is a Palaearctic migrant that's common along the whole coast of Africa on passage and in winter, but inland in Malawi it's a very rare vagrant with only 17 records up to the writing of Birds of Malawi (published 2006). All records were of birds on southbound migration betweeen August and November so this record fits neatly into the pattern of previous records. This one was on a rocky island close to the lake shore, about as good habitat for it as you can find in Malawi, at Makuzi Lodge on 8th. It was an adult and still in breeding plumage.

Turnstone, Makuzi, 8-Oct-08 Turnstone, Makuzi, 8-Oct-08

Ruddy Turnstone, Makuzi Lodge, 8th October - a very rare visitor to Malawi!

 

Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea [1]

An adult with a Ringed Plover Liwonde 24th. For a photo of this Palaearctic migrant see under Ringed Plover above.

 

Ruff Philomachus pugnax [18]

Another Palaearctic migrant: 1 Liwonde 23rd and 17 Mpatsanjoka (Senga Bay) 9th.

Turnstone, Makuzi, 8-Oct-08
Turnstone, Makuzi, 8-Oct-08

Ruffs, Mpatsanjoka (Senga Bay), 9th October

 

Grey-headed Gull Larus cirrocephalus [55]

About 50 Liwonde 23rd-25th, 3 Vwaza Marsh 3rd and singles Cool Runnings (Senga Bay) 9th and 10th.

Grey-headecd Gull, Liwonde, 24-Sep-08 Grey-headecd Gull, Liwonde, 24-Sep-08
Grey-headecd Gull, Liwonde, 24-Sep-08 Grey-headecd Gull, Liwonde, 24-Sep-08
Grey-headecd Gull, Liwonde, 24-Sep-08 Grey-headecd Gull, Liwonde, 24-Sep-08

Grey-headed Gulls, Liwonde, 24th September

 

Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybrida [148]

A flock of 40 flew downriver at Liwonde 24th, 8 Lake Chilwa 26th and roughly 100 distantly over the Lake at Nkhotakhota Pottery 8th.

Whiskered Tern, Lake Chilwa, 26-Sep-08 Whiskered Tern, Lake Chilwa, 26-Sep-08
Whiskered Tern, Lake Chilwa, 26-Sep-08 Whiskered Tern, Lake Chilwa, 26-Sep-08
Whiskered Tern, Lake Chilwa, 26-Sep-08 Whiskered Tern, Lake Chilwa, 26-Sep-08

Whiskered Terns, Lake Chilwa, 26th September

 

African Skimmer Rynchops flavirostris [50]

About 50 Liwonde 23rd-24th.

African Skimmers, Liwonde, 24-Sep-08 African Skimmers, Liwonde, 24-Sep-08
African Skimmers, Liwonde, 24-Sep-08  

African Skimmers, Liwonde, 24th September

 

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