Safari Notes: Thorntree River Lodge, River Cruise #2 – Zambia

Safari Notes: Thorntree River Lodge, River Cruise #2 – Zambia

October 2021

Safari Notes: Thorntree River Lodge, River Cruise #1 – Zambia

We enjoyed the first one so much that we requested another one! The sunset cruise gave us wildlife experience on water and we had a feeling that the guests at this lodge here are not early birds. The staff seemed a bit perplexed when we requested the sunrise cruise – “are you sure you want to wake up that early?”. I guess the sunrise is not requested often at the lodge but we were all in. As I expected, we were the only guests for the sunrise cruise and we were excited to see what we would find.

Sunset cruise safari notes

Sunrise cruise

  • White bee eater (and true of all bee eaters) – very accurate, nest in water bank, use the sun reflect to illuminate colors that then attract bugs thinking it is a flower.
  • African finned foot – very rare to see as they are typically in brush, cannot fly, climb tree to make nest.
  • Spotted an osprey but unlike yesterday, this one stuck around and gave is a bit of a show.
  • African darter spotted – snake bird, different that the  cormorants that we kept identifying incorrectly.
  • African jakara – also known as Jesus birds since they appear to walk on water. The females make nest, males raise chicks – one of the rare cases of this arrangement in nature. The males can also fly with chicks on them which much make for an interesting site.
  • Green backed heron – eat fish but catch flies to use as bait and do not eat the flies. 
  • Hammerkop with nest – they make enormous nests that can be used for several mating seasons.
  • Brown hooded kingfisher 
  • Plenty of hippo in the water but one out of water – he had no scars, not full ground so our guide spotted him as an adolescent male. We sat with him for awhile as he eyed us up, showed us how big he was, and then started getting noisy at which point we left. It was hard to tell on the water but the river was pulling us into him which is why he was annoyed – male hippos are extremely territorial.
  • Hooded vulture 
  • Crocodile in water – more active at night, eat mainly fish. 
  • Tropical bobo – can play their call and they will pop out of brush.
  • Marabou stroke – legs are black but show white because they poo on their legs as sunscreen and coolant which is a trait of many scavenger birds.  
  • Go away birds – named as such due to their call that sounds like they are saying “go away”.
  • Vervets, impala, sick kudo (big horns but small body), warthog all spotted on land, 
  • Pied kingfisher – this kingfisher hovers in the air to nose dive in on fish. While they are not very accurate, they are persistent and have a cushion in their head for impact into the water.
  • Baobab trees – elephants love these trees as they provide fruits that they enjoy a well as the trunk of this trree serves as a source of water.

Wow! We could not have been more happy with our sunrise boat ride. We saw so many new birds and learned new facts about birds we have been seeing the whole trip. Our guide was great and we were very appreciative of the early wake up call.

Continue reading about our time in Zambia here!


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