The current BBC programme Earthflight is stunning (though not quite as innovative as I had thought it was going to be). It focuses on birds across the world and much of the filming is made using cameras strapped onto birds backs. The latest episode focussed on Africa (if you're in the UK, you cansee the programme again here.)
I recently blogged a little about the birds that visited my garden in Malawi, here and this TV programme brought even more memories to the fore.
One of the most stunning sequences in the programme shows the migration of the white stork up Lake Malawi. This is something that I remember seeing myself one year. We were sitting by the lakeshore, and suddenly seemingly out of nowhere a huge flock of large white and black birds flew from the southern end of the lake up towards the north. I watched them in total amazement, I didn't know at the time what they were, it was only watching Earthflight that I think I finally realised what the birds had been. But it was certainly one of those unforgettable experiences, where the name of the species is quite frankly irrelevant.
One other particularly memorable birding moment from Malawi is when I took the school wildlife club down to the weaver bird colony. The students were mesmerised by the male birds who were hanging underneath the nests, whirling round, shaking their wings.
"So the best dancer get's the prettiest girl then?" said one of the students.
I adapted this scene and transferred it to Zimbabwe and it became a scene in my short story Safari Blessings, which you can read here.
The other birds that made a particularly strong impression were the fish eagles who nested on a tree behind our house - a totally awesome bird to have on your garden bird list! There were pied kingfishers that constantly hovered over the lake, whenever I was there (and I was there a lot as I lived just overlooking the lake - you can see my drawing of a pied kingfisher over the lake here.) Around where I lived andon my travels through Malaiw, I also wonderful selection of smaller birds, various sunbirds, various finches, a hoopoe and some rollers once too.
I visited Botswana and Zimbabwe too, where one of the most memorable birding sights was seeing a secretary bird making a nest.