Late January 2012 – Birding in Katavi for a week
Please click on any image for an larger version and a slideshow
Nomad Tanzania operates one of my favorite camps. Chada Katavi is small with only 6 guests tents. It operates from mid May- mid February. The most spectacular time of year for concentrations of large ma01bal species is the dry season and from July- mid October it is difficult to get a booking here. After Christmas this jewel of a camp gets few visitors at all. I’ve long promoted the supposed ‘off season’ as some of the very best times to visit such areas and of course being under visited in the ‘green months’ means that the bird records are poor. The general impression is that you shouldn’t go to Katavi in the ‘green season’. OK then leave it for me! This photograph below shows that wildlife doesn’t vanish in December to March, its just isn’t as concentrated as it is in July-October. That means you do not spend long hours driving from one hot spot to another without seeing much in-between. When it is green wildlife is healthier, has more young and is spread out all over this stunning area.
There were over 300 elephants in this herd. The bird life is at its best in the December to March ‘green season’. So as Nomad had invited me to update their bird list I jumped at the chance. The bird species list for Katavi and the surrounding Rukwa eco-system is a reasonable one and over the past ten years it is much improved. Every single time a good observer visits the area in the ‘green season’ new species are added to the list. There are not that many observers visiting, that’s the problem. Here’s a link if interested.
The yellow bird on the left above is the Tanganyika masked Weaver and it had reputably been seen in Katavi before but there were no breeding records or decent photographs. I was determined to photograph and confirm that it did breed here after viewing a group in flight not far from the camp. I persisted for hours to try and photograph this species.
A full list of my sightings over this week is available on request. Better still why not join me on a birding trip to Katavi? There are a lot more than birds on show! But the birds are reason enough! The vegetation is lush, pools of water lie everywhere and there’s no one else there!
The Selous, Ruaha and Katavi are wonderful places to combine in the green season. Your bird and mammal lists would be impressive! Seek advice when visiting anywhere out of its’ so-called ‘best time to visit’.