Thursday, July 5, 2012

Namibian Escarpment, 1 - 5 July

After leaving the coast at Henties Bay we drove inland to Brandberg, where we camped for a couple of days. We hiked into a canyon to view the rock art there, particularly the White lady painting. Our next stop was on the Huab river at Aba Huab for a day, followed by two days at Khamanjab, just south of the western gate to Etosha.

Birding was great in this area, with Hornbills appearing, as well as more bushveld type species, and a different suite of Larks. Endemics and near-endemics included Hartlaub's Francolin, Damara Red-billed Hornbill, Monteiro's Hornbill, Bare-cheeked Babbler, White-tailed Shrike, Benguela Long-billed Lark, Ruppell's Parrot and Chestnut Weaver (sadly in non-breeding plumage). Other birds of note included Double-banded Courser, Barred Wren-warbler, and the pale Namibian races of Tractrac Chat and Karoo Chat. 

Mammals were less plentiful in this unprotected area, though I did add Dassie-Rat to my mammal life-list, as well as several reptiles.

Barred Wren-warbler
Benguela Long-billed Lark, at almost the southern limit of its distribution, just south of Brandberg. Separated from the Karoo Long-billed Lark by a noticeably shorter bill.
Damara Red-billed Hornbill. A very white head and dark eye separate this new split from the Red-billed Hornbill elsewhere in southern Africa.
Female Hartlaub's Francolin, my last Francolin spp. for southern Africa. we encountered this hard to find bird on the road north from Aba Huab to Khamanjab, and also at the farm where we camped in Khamanjab.
And a male nearby...
Monteiro's Hornbill. A common and noisy resident of the campsite at Brandberg.
Tractrac Chat ssp. hoeschi (or possibly albicans. My version of Howard and Moore allocate albicans to "N coastal Namibia" and hoeschi to "S Angola, N Namibia")
White-quilled Korhaan.
White-tailed Shrike. Common as soon as we hit Mopane woodland.
Boulton's Namib Day Gecko. A few kilometres east and north of Brandberg.
Giant Plated Lizard.

Namibian Rock Agama, female...
...and a young-looking male (the body of an adult male is quite blue)
A herd of Gemsbok in one of the 900 rock paintings at Brandberg.
And a Red Hartebeeste at the same site.