Second Ever Woman World Lister Reaches 8000 Birds Seen
Top world listers exceed 50 lifers on a Malawi/Zambia megatour
A recent month-long Birding Ecotours adventure which traversed more than 6000 miles through surprisingly under-birded (considering how productive they are) parts of south-central Africa, was a wonderful success.
Dollyann reached her 8000th species - Lilian’s Lovebird - on this epic trip. Now ranked 22 in the world at World Listings Dollyann seems to be only the second female birder (after the famous Phoebe Snetsinger) who has exceeded 8000 world birds based on Clements (no heard birds counted). Her husband Ron is ranked 24th on that same site. Last but certainly not least, Kay Goodhue, 88 years young, is now just shy of 7400 world birds. Kay proved to be amazingly fit and easily coped with long hikes and in fact had no problems even with a scramble up a steep slope at Dzalanyama Forest Reserve in Malawi where the haunting call of the highly localised Boulder Chat lured the group.
All three tour participants, despite being top world listers, obtained 50 or more lifebirds on this trip through Malawi and Zambia. Its puzzling that these countries are so under-birded, considering their potential to generate so many new birds for such veteran world listers. It might be due partly to the paucity of actual country endemics (for example, Zambia only has two sole-country endemics, Chaplin’s Barbet and Black-cheeked Lovebird). These low country endemic counts are of course more than compensated for by the large number of birds that are tough to find elsewhere without visits to remote parts of the DRC, Angola and Northern Mozambique. A list of special birds most easily seen in Zambia and Malawi (including many Miombo Woodland species), and also a lot of background highlighting the real birding potential of this underexplored part of the vast African continent, can be found here: List
The total trip list of birds seen by all participants exceeded 600 species (plus 39 mammals), despite the fact that the migrants were still missing in the August/September dry season during which the trip ran. Tour highlights included very remote and rarely-birded sites such as the Misuku Hills and Uzamara Forest in Malawi and Mwinilunga in the north of Zambia. Having typically Congolese/Angolan species, it is always a major highlight.
Special mention needs to be made of the incomparably wild, beautiful and biodiverse highlands of the Nyika Plateau which straddles the border between northern Malawi and Zambia. But there were a host of other amazing highlights!
NB A full trip report loaded with detail can be downloaded here: Trip Report
24th October 2014