BOTSWANA BIRDS, Guest Post by Ann Whitford Paul

Lilac breasted roller, Botswana, Africa
My friend and fellow children's book writer Ann Whitford Paul and her husband Ron recently returned from a trip to Africa, which included a trip to Botswana. Here is her report and some fantastic photos of the many birds they saw. You can find out about Ann's books at www.annwhitfordpaul.net. Her newest book, If Animals Said I  Love You, will be published in the fall.

A tree full of vultures hoping for a fresh-kill feast.
One of the joys of traveling is the opening of your eyes to new cultures, new landscapes, new experiences, and this trip to Botswana introduced me to a world, I’d never paid much attention to before—birds, including the colorful lilac-breasted rollers seen above that perch high in trees or other high vantage places so they can spot insects, lizards, and rodents..  A young Englishman named John, who as a child had learned birding from his uncle, was an expert at sighting the tiniest birds. Here are some of my best bird photos:
The grey go-away bird gets its name from its loud and nasal "go-away" calls.
African fish eagles are found near large bodies of open water, which were abundant, thanks to the unusually heavy rains in Botswana this year.
Wattled cranes love to eat the tubers of water lilies, so they forage close to streams and ponds.
Guinea fowl are sometimes called speckled hens, and you can see why.
The hammerkop is a wading bird named for its unique head shape.
The blacksmith lapwing is a commonly seen bird throughout Botswana, but I was thrilled to get this picture with the reflection in the water.
The tiny swallow-tailed bee-eater could easily be missed sitting here in the greenery.
The colorful woodland kingfisher, noted for its loud trilling sound.
This ground hornbill grasps a stolen egg from another bird's nest and is looking forward to a delicious meal.
As with my last posting on this blog about the animals of Botswana (May 1, 2017), I was grateful for my fabulous Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000k camera, which features a Leica lens and a view angle from 25 mm wide-angle to 16X optical zoom.
We stayed at Tubu Tree Camp in the Okavango Delta floodplains and Zarafa Camp located in the Selinda Reserve.  Our trip was arranged by LIVINGSTONE SAFARIS.




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