We are quite a competitive lot at Pangolin. Someone’s shot is always sharper than another’s. A sighting is always slightly more special than the other one that the other person had. One camera body has a definite advantage over another, etc.
It’s always good-humoured banter and part of the fun and camaraderie in the bush and as we all know a little competition is good.
So, at the opening of the new Pangolin Khwai Camp at the start of March, we declared a contest between the three vehicles (teams of four in each) to see who could see AND photograph as many different species of mammal and bird between sunrise and sunset in one day.
This being green season it was going to be tricky especially with the grass so long and lush, but we figured this would probably be as difficult as it would get and therefore set a benchmark that would no doubt be superseded in the months to come.
The rule was that the subject had to be recognisable from the image but not necessarily “pin-sharp” and if anyone photographed a pangolin they would automatically be declared world champion and the contest would be over!
Never before has so much attention been paid to the faintest of rustles or the softest of noises….everything was identified and if not already on the list “blasted” at several frames per second… it was intense!
The teams managed 5 hours in the morning followed by a hearty brunch back at camp and the chance to brag about rare species spotted and photographed. Even the traditional afternoon (pre-high tea) nap was forsaken as everyone strolled around the camp along the boardwalks getting a few more hits.
The afternoon session proved to be equally productive as certain nocturnal species started to appear.
As the sun set so the contest ended, and it was time to return to the camp and see who had won. Before the contest started people had estimated the total number of different species that we thought would be achievable. These ranged from 50 to an optimistic 70.
As it turns out the team that won managed a quite frankly staggering 95 different species of mammal and bird!
As a group, we managed a total of 128 between the three vehicles which is a resounding endorsement of the biodiversity of The Khwai Private Reserve.
The contest was well won by Guts and his team and lots of fun was had by all. It certainly proved to be a very interesting exercise and the guides thoroughly enjoyed being tested with identifying the several LBJs that were spotted!
David in the marketing department has put together this fun Word Cloud of everything that was seen, and we invite you to come to the Pangolin Khwai Camp and add to the list or see if you can beat the winning score. The bar has been set quite high!!!
Southern Carmine Bee-eater
African Black Coucal
Mourning Collared Dove
Emerald-spotted Wood Dove
White-faced Whistling Duck
African Pygmy Goose
Southern Black Flycatcher
Southern Ground Hornbill
African Grey Hornbill
African Sacred Ibis
African Malachite Kingfisher
African Golden Oriole
African Fish Eagle
African Harrier Hawk
Brown Snake Eagle
African Hawk Eagle
Yellow Billed kite
Meves’s Long-tailed Starling
Greater Blue-eared Starling
Red-billed Buffalo Weaver
Eastern Paradise Whydah