CAWS Birding Weekend in Liwonde

An article from the WESM newsletter titled ‘Bird Fest in Liwonde’ by David Scott offers an interesting account of the weekend. Here’s the article which was written and shared by David Scott:

“In January, CAWS guide Samuel Chihana arranged a weekend of birding at Mvuu Camp and Lodge in Liwonde National Park. A dozen avid birders, and a couple of innocent by-standers, spent three days combing the park for anything with feathers. Some had targets to find (mine was the Pel’s Fishing owl) and Samuel and his colleague David found most of them for us. The Bat Hawk came in low overhead as we had our sun-gone-downers by the river, to whoops of joy from those whose night-vision permitted a positive identification. Brown-breasted Barbets clearly displayed their red heads (who ever named them?) and ospreys patrolled the river ceaselessly.


We spent quite a while on the river; Sunday morning was spent not only finding species but counting individuals for the annual wetland bird count. We ended up with about 130 species of all sorts and about 270 cattle egrets in one spot. Wire-tailed swallows sat on the boat to make sure we didn’t miss them while we were ogling the migrating white storks spiralling on the thermals over the marsh or checking the identities of Thick-knees and Sandpipers running along the water’s edge. Night herons posed long enough for us to admire their crazy big eyes and white eye ring (see WESM calendar for May) on their way to bed and Giant Kingfishers disposed of fish of matching size.

On a birding weekend you might have to be creative to admire other wildlife out loud. I got 10 points deducted for pointing out the tree squirrels but I worked out that elephants and zebras were permissible as hosts for oxpeckers, a nest of crocodiles was allowed because they came from eggs, and a tree-climbing frog’s nest because it was up in the air! Orchids and other flora were admired just for their beauty.

We were blessed by great birding weather and had a wonderful weekend that finished all too soon. Samuel and David saw, heard and pointed-out so many things we would otherwise have missed. I won’t be in Malawi for the next event, but the rest of you should be queuing up for it.”




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Photo credits: David Scott and Ruth Guinness

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