This year's wet season has extended into March, following the traditionally wettest months of January and February.
The longer rainy season has far from dampened wildlife sightings. Most notable of these has been the continued observations of large elephant herds along the Shire River. Typically at this time of year we only see older bulls - either singly or in small bachelor groups. They are attracted by the lush grazing on the river banks.
Following our recent lion sighting, tracks have been regularly seen around the camp area. What sounds like territorial roaring was also heard within 5kms of camp. The lion has still not been spotted and is clearly as good as a leopard at keeping out of sight. Tracks have been regularly spotted all around the Mvuu area and also along the sanctuary fence.
Liwonde National Park supports a wonderful array of rare and sought-after birds and is justly one of key birding spots in Malawi. Frequent sightings for us include Bohm's bee-eater, Lilian's lovebird, osprey, white-backed night-Heron, Pel's fishing-owl, Livingstone's flycatcher and Dickinson's kestrel. One of our true star birds, brown-breasted barbet, caused quite a stir too. Four individuals were seen together close to camp. This was an exciting record for us as invariably they are only seen singly or in pairs.
Seeing the uncommon African broadbill was another thrill. Unusual bird sightings for us have also included bronze-winged courser and Diderick's cuckoo chicks being fed by lesser-masked weavers. Parisitism in cuckoos is of course well known and well documented and is most easily seen outside of the nest when newly fledged cuckoo chicks dominate feeding time with the host parents.
Construction of the new 'Shire Star-bed Platform' on a floodplain north of camp is progressing nicely. The carpenters working on this project report regular sightings of a breeding herd of 40 elephant from here so it sounds like the platform will produce exciting game viewing.