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Sunday 24th February, afternoon. This trip was timed to be the end of the ‘green season’, i.e. after the rains. Everything should have been lush, in fact making ground-living creatures more difficult to see, thus the particular interest of birders in this trip. But as were told right at the outset, the region had now suffered from seven years of drought, and areas that should have been marshy, and even flooded, were not. This was not only having an adverse effect on wildlife, but farmers were losing cattle, and entering into penury. For us however, shrinking waterholes were ideal for observing wildlife, not just birds. So after leaving our lunch spot…

… we visited a couple of waterholes, though many of the following pictures were taken from the roadside on the way to our first lodge within Etosha National Park.

African Paradise flycatcher, a small bird with (in the male) a very long tail.
Red-crested Korhaan (id. PM and BL)
Sociable Weaver nest. It’s huge, being the nest, as its name suggests, of many birds.
Pied crow
Common Wildebeest, aka Brindled Gnu
Blue cranes, in front of Springbok
Secretary bird, about the size of a (skinny) turkey – with long legs in breeches
Crowned lapwing
I was thrilled and surprised to see a black rhino (its name has nothing to do with its colour), given that I had only ever seen one before, and that at a great distance.
Spotted thick-knee, right by the side of the road, hoping its camouflage would protect it
Red (Leiwei) hartebeest
Secretary bird
Neil spotted this at the side of the road as we were driving along, and backed up for us to have a closer look. Another creature hoping its camouflage will protect it – a Scrub hare. It didn’t move for the five minutes we were beside it. Reminds me so much of Dürer’s 1502 painting.
A troop of Springbok crossed the road in front of us.
This Flap-neck Chamaeleon is green in the pictures you see in internet searches. But here it is crossing the road, so… It had a strange rocking movement, designed to put predators off. We were worried that it might be crushed on the road, but since vehicles were few and far between, this was unlikely.
Springbok almost as far as the eye can see.
Black-backed jackal
Our first giraffe, the Southern sub-species

After a long and tiring couple of days, we were very pleased to reached the Halali Restcamp, dine, and go to bed. Except that a few of them didn’t immediately, but walked to the nearby waterhole and saw lots of elephants. And apparently missed a leopard drinking there an hour later.