Zambezi Voyager: Thousands of Colourful Carmines

News from Brendon:

We were on the water as dawn broke, heading straight to the largest Carmine Colony.

And what a fabulous morning we spent with them as they swooped around, challenged each other in amazing aerial tussles with either beaks or claws locked as they tumbled around the sky defying gravity with their spectacular displays.

                                 Wim van den Heever ZK-009

And the altercations were not limited to sky combats. As many disputes occurred along the banks of the river.

All in all we hardly knew what to choose next to photograph. To add to this, the thousands of beautiful birds were totally unfazed by our presence and interactions and fly-passes came within a meter of our cameras. There was much switching of lenses from 600mm to wide-angled and back again as we determined to capture every conceivable type of glorious image.

         Wim van den Heever ZK-003

We took a short break from the Carmines to visit the African Skimmers. There are two nesting areas and the Skimmers were flying around, but not skimming as we watched. Then we spotted an indentation in the bank and when we went closer to investigate we were surprised to find three eggs. This is fairly late in the season, and we are hoping to see hatchlings before we leave.

A visit to the White-fronted Bee-eaters on the way back to the Zambezi Voyager found them out catching bugs and returning with these to their holes in the side of the river bank. We sat patiently with our cameras ready to capture images as the birds emerged from the nesting holes.

This afternoon we opted to return to the Carmine colony again. We passed the White-fronted Bee-eaters on the way. There were more birds than ever, flying all around, catching bugs and dipping into the water to bathe. Then lovely action shots as they vigorously shook the water droplets from their feathers.

And of course the remainder of the afternoon with the Carmines was quite magical. They were so close, so colourful, so active and so beautiful.

Then once again as the sun dipped toward the horizon, a cluster of fires, together with the sunset hues, created the most vibrant and colourful backdrop for the birds and we took full advantage of the incredible scene.

The Carmines are so breathtaking that we plan to spend much of tomorrow in that area again …