Ultimate Chobe Safari: Crocs, Kites, and One Fish

Brendon Reports from the Ultimate Chobe Safari: 
Crocs, Kites, and One Fish

What a great day with amazing photographic opportunities. It started when we found the Malachite Kingfisher that we had hoped to photograph yesterday. The little bird was so very cooperative, and allowed us to drift really close as it clung to a reed in that gorgeous early morning sunlight.

As we left the little backwater with the kingfisher we were greeted by another beautiful sight. With the rising sun in the background, and the river as smooth as a mirror, a beautifully reflected African Jacana was walking and feeding among beautiful lily pads. The colour of the sky, mirrored in that water, the bird in the foreground – perfection!

A Fish Eagle sat on the riverbank eating a fish. As we stopped for a photograph or two it suddenly took off, fish in beak, and flew slowly directly towards us, watched by Open-billed Storks and White-crowned Plovers nearby.

A troop of baboons arrived at the river for a drink, –

1 Brendon Baboons20140918-_ND88819

– and buffalo were scattered along the edge of the river.

In other words, it was an outstanding morning for photography … and the afternoon was equally rewarding.

Thousands of elephants had arrived at the river during the course if the morning.

1 Brendon Ele with Baby-_ND80247

We saw a lone bull swim across on his own to one of the islands. 

We spotted another Fish Eagle on the riverbank, and this one decided to approach the water for a drink. He didn’t count on a furious Blacksmith Plover that objected to his presence. There must have been a nest nearby because the plover dive bombed the eagle again and again and again. Each time the eagle dipped its head for a drink, and lifted its head with a beak full of water there was a flurry of wings as the plover plummeted from the sky, and the eagle opened its wings and beak to ward off the attack. Uncomfortable for the eagle, but great for our photography!

We had just passed very relaxed hippos –

1 Brendon Hippo Look_ND80435

– and a large croc –

1 Brendon Croc face_ND80475

– when we spotted some action in and above the river. Yellow-billed Kites were diving repeatedly into the water, and we could see some turmoil.

We approached and then saw what was going on. Some smallish crocs had caught a very large Tiger Fish. Unable to chew, they were shaking the fish vigorously, causing bits of fish to fly in all directions. The opportunistic kites were swooping down to grab each and every morsel. What action! In the river, above, in the sky – something going on everywhere!

Eventually everything calmed down and we continued on our way to Savannah Backwater, passing Skimmers and Pied Kingfishers on the way.

We reached the backwater in time for sunset, where we found a Fish Eagle posing perfectly for photographs against the dramatic setting sun!

After this tiptop day for photography we are ready for a road trip tomorrow …