As we continue to explore and develop forest trails around the camps, our encounters with wildlife remain truly unique.
Weather and Landscape
The days have been very hot and humid, only cooling off with a few heavy rain showers - this indicates that the short dry season is beginning at Odzala.
The 'dry season' could also be known as the 'fruit season' as many trees and plants are fruiting furiously, attracting huge numbers and varieties of animals and birds. This has also caused an influx of the larger mammals to the rainforests.
Forest buffalo and bushbuck were seen on most days at Lango Bai when the conditions were clear. The forest elephants mainly reserved their visits to the bai for the evenings under the cover of darkness, although a few solitary bulls were seen along the rivers when kayaking. The bais in general were full of surprises and were very active.
After spending some time searching the Lango Bai, we came across some otter tracks, and after more searching we found a Congo clawless otter swimming right in front of the camp's deck!
The variety of monkey species that hang around the camp and trail areas are slowly becoming more habituated to human presence, allowing us some great sightings of the following: Guereza colobus, agile and grey-cheeked mangabey, putty-nosed and crowned monkey, without forgetting De Brazza's monkey along the rivers.
Bigger primates always surprise us when we least expect it. Two short but amazing gorilla sightings have been experienced while driving to Mbomo (the nearest village). The first one was a group of five individuals, one silverback and four youngsters crossing the road in a forest patch right in front of the car. The second one, with a black-back and an angry silverback that barked twice at the car before disappearing in the marantaceae forest.
Along the same road we have also had some great sightings of serval. The incredible thing was that these servals were not shy and would often play in the vehicle's headlights, clearly curious about its shadow.
In terms of gorilla tracking and research, the Neptuno and Jupiter groups have been viewed regularly. A solitary silverback has been observed following both of these groups. We predict both groups will start ranging further into the forest as they follow the abundant fruits.
Birds and Birding
The beginning of the dry season also announces the departure of most migrant birds on their journey, but luckily some stayed a bit longer. Fraser had a really good run with birding this month with some fantastic species being recorded in and around camp.
Here are some of the birding highlights for the month:
Pel's fishing-owl, Bate's nightjar, crowned eagle, black bee-eater, blue-throated roller, purple-throated cuckooshrike, chestnut-flanked goshawk and Reichenbach's sunbird.