Zambezi Voyager: Yellow-billed Kites attack Carmines

News from Brendon:

The beautiful sunrise greeted us already on the water and at a Carmine Colony site that we have not visited before.

                       Wim van den Heever ZK-006

This is a new colony, still being established and the conflicts are at fever pitch as the birds vie to establish nesting areas and struggle to win a suitable patch of the bank. Properties are snapped up and lost continuously and it is difficult to determine which birds have managed to secure their small nesting area.

Because of the competition for an ideal space for nesting the disputes were far more numerous than any we had witnessed before. 

We noticed that some birds would actually attack the nest of others, even scooping out any eggs within that nest. Whenever this happened, the ever vigilant Yellow-billed Kites swooped in to grab the eggs.

The Kites kept a close eye on the clashes, and from time to time they appeared as if from nowhere and if a Carmine dropped its guard for a moment it ended up in the talons of the incredibly fast raptor.

The wind picked up over the river as the day progressed and as conditions were not all that comfortable we returned to the houseboat for photography tutorials.

As we set out again this afternoon we almost immediately spotted two juvenile Fish Eagles. They were unconcerned by our presence and allowed us close enough for some fabulous photography.

There was a surprise for us when we stopped to photograph the White-fronted Bee-eaters. First of all the Bee-eaters were very active again, catching insects, flying back to their nests to feed their chicks, and bathing in the river.

We were photographing this activity when we noticed a White-backed Night Heron very close by. We approached cautiously and were gratified when it ignored our presence and we were able to get some really good shots of this normally shy, retiring bird.

Back at the Carmine colony we decided to leave our small boat and sit right on the river bank to get some new perspectives on the duelling, sparring, active birds.

                             Wim van den Heever ZK-007

And the glorious sunset provided a suitable backdrop for the last evening of this spectacular safari.

Tomorrow morning we will travel down the river for four hours as we head toward Kasane where our magical journey ends and we return home with a collection of wonderfully enviable memories and images …