With only a few days to go before my flight to Beira, the excitement was palpable. It was almost time to search for the Holy Grail of African birding – the African pitta.
I was heading to Mungari Camp in Coutada 11 (a 45-minute flight from Beira, Mozambique) to photograph birds in the Zambezi Delta area, which lies between Mwanza to the south and the Zambezi River to the north, and includes four hunting concessions (Coutadas 10, 11, 12 and 14).
The Coutada WhatsApp group, set up by our tour leader, John Robinson from Robinson Birding, had been reporting African pitta regularly, as well as a plethora of other exciting bird species.
The ‘Coutada 3’ – the whitechested alethe, the east coast akalat and the African pitta – make the mouths of even the most experienced birders start to drool, and were the birds being seen by the groups who went before me. From a birding perspective, seeing these special species in a five night trip would be the equivalent of seeing aardvark, pangolin and black-footed cat in the same time period.