This is the best time to see birds in Zambia. I am lucky to have friends who are passionate about birds in the Valley. After recovering from the flight, I got up at 6am to go bird watching with F. Around her bungalow there is a plot of natural woodland which is perfect for a wide variety of birds. Six was too early for birds, especially with grey skies and mizzling rain. We had a cup of coffee and set off at 6:20, both of us wearing wellington boots because of the flooded paths and copious amounts of mud.

Little bee eater
Red-necked Falcon

First bird we came across was a little bee eater, in a typical pose, clinging to a stem. A red-necked falcon was perched on a branch, scanning the ground for breakfast. There were so many white-winged widow birds that they seemed to get in the way, distracting us from other more interesting birds. We saw a pair of black coucals, lots of spectacled weavers and red bishops, a male cardinal woodpecker, a snake buzzard, some common waxbills, a canary, a pin-tailed whydah and a tawny-flanked prinia.

Black Coucal
Common Waxbill
Tawny-flanked prinia
Pin-tailed whydah
Male Cardinal Woodpecker

After breakfast, I checked into my new home for the next three months. It is much more salubrious than Kapani Ruin where I stayed in 2016. The roof has been built around a tree and there is a shaded area where I can relax after work until I start getting eaten by mosquitoes. There are two bedrooms, both en suite, and a combined living/kitchen/study area. Some repairs are underway, sorting out the bat pee in the ceiling, ordering a dining table, fixing some broken windows, getting another door lock, sorting out some of the kitchen surfaces, repairing a towel rail and applying a lick of paint.

By Dr Alfred Prunesquallor

Maverick doctor with 40 years experience, I reduced my NHS commitment in 2013. I am now enjoying being free lance, working where I am needed overseas. Now I am working in the UK helping with the current coronavirus pandemic.

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