Long weekend in Malawi, 28 June - 2 July 2002

My friend, Hanri Vogelzang, invited me to join him in visiting his friends, Frik and Berinda Kruger, in Malawi. Frik is a doctor at Nkhoma Mission Station, some 35 km east of Lilongwe.

Photo H.D. Oschadleus
Frik and Berinda's house and garden. The house is on a hillside.

Photo H.D. Oschadleus
Late afternoon view south-eastwards from the house.

Photo H.D. Oschadleus
Early morning view eastwards from the house.

Photo H.D. Oschadleus
Chichewa villagers walking to the local market

Photo H.D. Oschadleus
Tree basking in the late afternoon sunshine. Malawi was wonderfully warm in mid-winter, although some days were cooler. It was pouring with rain in Cape Town when I left.

Photo H.D. Oschadleus
Male Yellowbellied Sunbird. These were common in the garden. This species occurs from Zimbabwe northwards, so is not a bird I normally see.

Photo H.D. Oschadleus
The duller plumaged female Yellowbellied Sunbird.

Photo H.D. Oschadleus
African Hawk Eagle. This bird seemed to have a favourite perch on a tree on a cliff not far from Frik's house. When first encountered I got quite close to the bird. On my next visit the bird circled above me before I could get too close to the tree.

Photo H.D. Oschadleus
Swallowtail butterfly on exotic Lantana blossoms. I saw many different butterfly species, including Painted Lady.

Photo H.D. Oschadleus
Vervet Monkey. Much of the area around Nkhoma is light woodland, with patches of more dense wood. This patch of woodland was next to a village and was probably the site of a graveyard. When I passed the village, some Chichewa children started following me but when we saw this troop of monkeys the children forgot about me and tried chasing the monkeys away.

Photo H.D. Oschadleus
Whitenecked Ravens enjoying a cup of tea! On Saturday we visited the Dedza pottery shop an hour's drive south of Nkhoma. While having lunch here, these ravens showed up at the adjoining table.

Photo H.D. Oschadleus
En route to the airport (north of Liliongwe) I stopped at the Lilongwe Nature Reserve in the city centre. The reserve is a patch of natural woodland next to the Lilongwe River.

Photo H.D. Oschadleus
Natural woodland in Lilongwe Nature Reserve.

Photo H.D. Oschadleus
The reserve contains various information signs, like this one of the weaverbirds present in the reserve. Unfortunately the weavers were not breeding, so I only found Spectacled Weaver, but there were numerous old weaver nests along the river from last summer.

Photo H.D. Oschadleus
Schalow's Lourie, a species not found in southern Africa, but similar to the Knysna Lourie.

Photo H.D. Oschadleus
Nile Crocodile swimming past in the Lilongwe River. These crocs are wild and there are no fences between the river and the paths! Fortunately there is a high bank along most of the river in the reserve (and lots of warning signs).

No pictures of Lake Malawi? This trip was too short to fit in a visit to the Lake. Next time ...

Bird list for Nkhoma (28 June - 1 July) and Lilongwe Nature Reserve (2 July), 2002

All the birds I recorded are reasonably common around Lilongwe, with the exception of the Black Sawwing Swallow (* below) which occurs south in the lower Shire valley. A flock was seen near Nkhoma Peak on 1 July.
The most frequently seen bird in the garden at Nkhoma was Yellowbellied Sunbird.
The most frequently seen bird in the woodland at Nkhoma was African Golden Oriole.
The most frequently seen bird in the open areas at Nkhoma was Tawnyflanked Prinia.

The most recent checklist for Malawi is: K Newman, N Johnston-Stewart & B Medland. 1992. Birds of Malawi. A supplement to Newman's Birds of Southern Africa.

Reed Cormorant Phalacrocorax africanus
Blackheaded Heron Ardea melanocephala
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
African Hawk Eagle Hieraaetus spilogaster
Lizard Buzzard Kaupifalco monogrammicus
Helmeted Guineafowl Numida meleagris
Redeyed Dove Streptopelia semitorquata
Cape Turtle Dove Streptopelia capicola
Laughing Dove Streptopelia senegalensis
Schalow's Lourie Turaco schalowi
Klaas's Cuckoo Chrysococcyx klaas
Fierynecked Nightjar Caprimulgus pectoralis
Speckled Mousebird Colius striatus
Little Bee-eater Merops pusillus
Blackcollared Barbet Lybius torquatus
Greater Honeyguide Indicator indicator
* Black Sawwing Swallow Psalidoprocne holomelas
Whitebreasted Cuckooshrike Coracina pectoralis
Forktailed Drongo Dicrurus adsimilis
African Golden Oriole Oriolus auratus
Blackheaded Oriole Oriolus larvatus
Pied Crow Corvus albus
Whitenecked Raven Corvus albicollis
Blackeyed Bulbul Pycnonotus barbatus
Terrestrial Bulbul Phyllastrephus terrestris
Mocking Chat Thamnolaea cinnamomeiventris
Heuglin's Robin Cossypha heuglini
Tawnyflanked Prinia Prinia subflava
Wattle-eyed Flycatcher Platysteira peltata
African Pied Wagtail Motacilla aguimp
Puffback Dryoscopus cubla
Threestreaked Tchagra Tchagra australis
Tropical Boubou Laniarius aethiopicus
Greyheaded Bush Shrike Malaconotus blanchoti
Yellowbellied Sunbird Nectarinia venusta
Black Sunbird Nectarinia amethystina
Scarletchested Sunbird Nectarinia senegalensis
Yellow White-eye Zosterops senegalensis
Forest Weaver Ploceus bicolor
Spectacled Weaver Ploceus ocularis
Masked Weaver Ploceus velatus
Redcollared Widow Euplectes ardens
Bronze Mannikin Spermestes cucullatus
Redbacked Mannikin Spermestes bicolor
Redthroated Twinspot Hypargos niveoguttatus
Redbilled Firefinch Lagonosticta senegala
Blue Waxbill Uraeginthus angolensis
Pintailed Whydah Vidua macroura
Black Widowfinch Vidua funerea
Yelloweyed Canary Serinus mozambicus