Friday, December 9, 2011

Birding at Lake Sibaya: The Waterbirds.

Our guide Max took us from Thonga beach lodge to Lake Sibaya twice. There was an interesting variety of birdlife mostly centered around the lake, South Africa's largest freshwater lake.

Many of the birds are variations of the birds we find on Lake Nelson at home. The pied kingfisher below reminds us of the belted kingfishers.






The pied avocet is reminiscent of the American avocet.


Then there's the Hammerkop or Hammerhead. It has no close relatives in the US or anywhere. It is a waterbird, like a duck, but looks more like a hawk when flying. And, of course, its head looks like a hammer.

There was a variety of herons, including the purple heron, a large heron that is a bit bigger than our great blue heron.




Africa's grey heron looks a bit like the great blue heron.


There were also a variety of cormorants, including reed cormorants (left) and white breasted cormorants (right).

We also saw a water thick-knee, whose knee didn't seem unusually thick.






The Egyptian Goose is imported to the US in some zoos and parks but is wild here.







We also saw a variety of other birds near the lake, but maybe Chris will blog about that. There also are cattle that graze near the lake.

It was also great to see the hippos and crocodiles. Did you know hippos kill more people than any other animal? We found this out after getting out of the truck to watch a family with young hippos. When we mentioned this the next day to out guide he said "Of course, especially to protect their young."

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