29 Jun 2023

29 Jun 23 - Angola - The Best Of The Rest

We had enjoyed a good start to the visit to Mount Moco with some open country species. We headed for the nearest patch of remnant forest above the village with a local guide. In reality, We didn't a guide to find our way .However, given there is ongoing work to replant trees spearheaded by South African tour leader & conservationist Michael Mills, this was an added reason to agree to having a guide. This patch of remnant forest was where we had seen the Western Green Tinkerbird that was covered in the previous Blog Post.
The village kids were typically friendly
We had about a half mile walk up through the barren hillside to get to the start of a reason-sized patch of remnant forest
It was good to see the small saplings: Niall said that Michael Mills had been working with the villagers to grow these saplings and replant them in the forest patch. It was one of the few times we saw a positive conservation story in our Angolan trip
Red-throated Wryneck: This is the ruficollis subspecies which occurs from South East Gabon to Uganda, West Kenya & North West Tanzania and South to North & East Angola, North West Zambia & adjacent South of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, North Mozambique & Eastern South Africa
Red-throated Wryneck: This is the only other species of Wryneck & it is restricted to Sub-Saharan Africa
Black-throated Wattle-eye: This is the mentalis subspecies which occurs from Angola & the South of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to Zambia, Uganda, Kenya & West Tanzania
Grey Apalis: This is the grandis subspecies which is endemic to West Angola. There are other subspecies in Nigeria, Cameroon & East Africa
Dusky Twinspot: I only saw this immature well, but there was an adult in the same area. This is the nominate cinereovinacea subspecies which occurs in the highlands of West & Central Angola. Another subspecies occurs from East Democratic Republic of the Congo to South West Uganda
A cryptic-looking Praying Mantis sp.
Looking back on the village from the top of the forest patch
We had enjoyed a fairly successful morning at Mount Moco. Some Birders take a long hike to the top of the hill & over to some habitat on the far side of the hill, where there is a chance of seeing Margaret's Batis. We would have needed another three hours or so for that hike. Instead, we decided to return to have another look for Blue Quail.
Sadly, a fairly typical grassland fire: Burning grasslands to promote new grass growing seems to be a national hobby in Angola
We tried some interesting-looking wet fields near to where we had tried looking on the previous afternoon for the Blue Quail. Fairly quickly we found a stunning & showy Fulleborn's Longclaw. Again we struggled with trying to find a Blue Quail. I had finished walking my last field and was about to give up when there was a shout from Phil who was in a different field. He had flushed a Blue Quail. We quickly regrouped in Phil's field and all enjoyed a flight view of the Blue Quail, before leaving it in peace. This is a tricky species to see in Africa and compounded by the risk of disturbed a resting large Mammal in some parts of its range. But as we didn't see many Mammals in Angola ignoring Bats and Squirrels, then it's pretty unlikely that you will disturbed a large Mammal.
Fulleborn's Longclaw: This is the ascensi subspecies which occurs in grasslands & Brachystegia woodlands of Central Africa
It has been a successful day with a couple of bonus Ticks in the late afternoon & time to head back on the long drive to Huambo.