Here are some catch up posts from my trip to South Africa in the fall of 2010.
This first one is from the KAROO. The karoo is an arid, steppe like habitat which dominates much of South Africa. Below is a photograph taken near the remote town of Pofadder (from the Afrikaans for the venomous "puff adder").
The Pofadder area is famous for larks. This family of birds reaches its peak of endemism in southern Africa. I tallied over twenty lark species during my trip and several were only found while near Pofadder. One of the most difficult to find is the nomadic Sclater's Lark.
These two Sclater's Larks flew in to take a drink at a water trough. Note the dark tear like mark below the eye, which is a key feature of Stark's. Waiting at water troughs, water holes or other water sources is a great mid day birding technique in this habitat. Here is another example of birds coming to a water hole - in this case a mixed flock of YELLOW CANARIES, BLACK-HEADED CANARIES and CAPE SPARROWS.
The plant life of the karoo is often bizarre. Here are several photos of karoo plants.
The karoo isnt just little brown birds and plants! Here are three of the more striking birds that are widespread throughout this region of South Africa. First a striking raptor - the PALE CHANTING GOSHAWK.
Next, is the cryptic KAROO KORHAAN - this time a male fluffed up prior to display.
Lastly, the beautifully marked DOUBLE-BANDED COURSER - a member of the shorebird family that loves arid sandy plains.