My journal. Africa Trip, March 9 – April 6, 2016

Africa Trip, March 2016 Namibia Day by Day 3. Halali Rest Camp 3 of 3

OK elephants. We saw these around 4 pm on the 20th as we were getting close to Halali. It was a great relief because we had tensely expected them for something like an hour or more before this as we drove through a known elephant area and found the road much besmirched with elephant droppings. Also saw saplings snapped over. But no big guys themselves. So we resolutely determined to stop expecting them around every bend (of which there were very few,by the way) and then saw this herd in about half an hour:

Notice mom and calf in the middle. Also a likely male, to judge from size.

We got a road-crossing, too:

Notice: three elephants in the road.

And little guy is starting tusks, has grass in mouth:

This fellow was a lag-behind loner. Shown here on the other side of the road still:

He is the chap I described earlier as cautiously nearing the group across the road and finding himself quietly rebuffed and pushed back by a giant bull who slowly walked towards him, seemingly doing nothing but eating grass, but in a manifestly intimidating way. For this guy backed off. And we drove on.

The next day we caught a good exemplar of the black-shouldered kite. Notice the red eye:

From the black face mask and yellow beak on a pigeon-shaped bird I figure this must be the male of the namaqua dove. Mostly, though, I am impressed by the easy way he sits among those long thorns.

Another view of the red hartebeest, this time facing us:

We also saw a huge stork, two of them actually. The one hunched over in the grass and the other seeming to feed from the top of a nearby tree:

This is the Maribou Stork, reaching a height of 5 feet and wingspan of 12 feet according to Wikipedia. Despite the huge size and obvious stork kind of bill, I had trouble identifying this guy at first because the photos I was looking at all showed a large pouch hanging from beneath its bill at the base. However, as I eliminated all the other possibilities and saw that the coloration and all the rest fit the Maribou, I eventually came across several photos of the bird with the pouch invisible apparently because it can be deflated or sucked in at will. I note in passing that it required the internet for me to find the pictures.

Here’s an enlargement of the bird on the tree. It shows hair on the naked head and neck:

Below, another oryx/gemsbok. Closer to us.

Mostly, of course, we saw this kind of thing out the window:

The dark shapes under the tree might be animals, and sometimes were, but in this case are tree tops over the horizon.

Now here below is a red-headed finch.

He was especially interesting because we saw him and others like him using what we took to be weaver nests. Like this:

Notice two birds. One with his head out on the right and one seemingly inside the lower nest sticking its beak out of the left, lower part. The bird book says, “Breed in untidy, ball-shaped nests; some species use old weaver or sparrow nests.”

Looks to me like this fellow is building this nest.

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