Weather and Landscape
The weather is warming up in Liwonde, with temperatures reaching the 30s (Celsius) during the afternoons. The Shire River water levels have dropped slightly, exposing muddy margins, excellent for browsing animals and waterbirds.
It has been an action-packed month with daily sightings of elephant, hippo, waterbuck, impala, kudu, warthog, yellow baboon and bushbuck. Sharpe’s grysbok and suni have been seen from time to time.
Large breeding herds of elephant have been seen feeding along the river, but moving into the riverine forest as soon as it gets hot. In addition to these herds, we have also enjoyed sightings of lone bulls and even some bachelor herds.
Night drives have also been quite productive and rewarding as we have seen several mongoose species, bushbabies, large-spotted genet, and African civet.
Game viewing in the Rhino Sanctuary has been phenomenal as we have enjoyed sightings of sable, zebra, buffalo and Lichtenstein’s hartebeest. Rhino tracking and research has been very successful this month too.
Birds and Birding
Birding from camp has been really good, with regular sightings of Bohm’s bee-eater, grey-headed parrot, Lillian’s lovebird, Livingstone’s flycatcher, black-throated wattle-eye, brown-throated weaver, collared palm-thrush, palm-nut vulture and many more.
Out of camp, the mopane woodlands offered sightings of purple-crested turaco, Arnot’s chat as well as crested and brown-breasted barbet. Swallow-tailed bee-eaters and racket-tailed rollers were seen on the edge of the woodlands.
The riverine forests have been very productive, especially with the addition of some early summer migrants. The common greenshanks and common sandpipers have now been joined by both marsh and wood sandpiper. An ever-growing flock of African skimmers has taken a liking to the Shire River. Gull-billed turns and grey-headed gulls have been roosting on the exposed sandbanks. A birding highlight this month was the confirmed sighting of a Franklin’s gull.
Raptor sightings have been phenomenal, with a number of sightings of Pel’s fishing-owl, martial eagle, wood owl, African marsh-harrier, Dickinson’s kestrel and bat hawk.
“Over 100 species of birds in under 48 hours, not sure you can beat that anywhere…”
“This is my 5th visit to Mvuu and I still love every second.”