more than 20 bird species, 4 mammals, several reptiles and a wonderful flower!

 Ba Da La

Feb 9.

I stand up well before sunrise to meet Robert for a hippo excursion by boat down the river. On the 500m to the boat I already see a western red billed hornbill “singing” on the top of a tree throwing his head back rhythmically – what a start! Within the first ten minutes on the boat I am fully rewarded for all that happened in the last week. The birds here are really incredible and Robert proves to be a precious guide knowing a lot about them. I really enjoy his company and being satisfied with the birds alone I don’t mind that he told me he did 3 trips like this already here without ever seing a hippo.

After about half an hour of fantastic bird watching I suddenly recognize two big muddy clouds right underneath the boat! I show it to Robert and the others on the boat and only moments later a hippo appears upstream behind us in the reflecting sun. Just the upper part of the head and just for a second, far away but good enough to make us very happy (Me even more as I can proudly say I was the one to first spot it). A few minutes later the “captain” of the small boat points out at two humps close to the bank underneath some branches. “Hippos!” he says.

Taking a closer look from the far we recognize the backsides of two hippos reaching a little out of the water. Going closer I get some really nice shots of a cow and her calf and suddenly there are 5 or 6 hippos all around us. I start asking myself who is watching whom when one breaks through the surface just two meters in front of our boat – too close for my lense. On the way back we see more birds and one nile waran. On this boat trip I finally get some shots of the red monkeys too. In the afternoon I visit the bee eaters again and see a big snake on the way there. I finally manage to get satisfying shots of the bee eaters.

All together today I see more than 20 species of birds (taken nice close ups of 11 of them), 4 different kinds of mammals (all on picture), at least 4 different reptiles having a picture of one of them and a wonderful flower! So enjoy the pictures!