One of the flying foxes, from Zambia. This is Wahlberg's epauletted fruit bat (Epomophorus wahlbergi)
Quite some time ago, I did a trip to try and find a cave in the Kafue Gorge in Zambia. We walked in for some time, and came to the last village before it became people-less. We talked with the folks, including the Headman, and they said the cave is there, but many miles up the gorge. I was somewhat concerned that we couldn't get there, do any significant work, and get out in a day, and also that the cave might be a known cave further up the gorge. So we headed back out without reaching the remote cave.
Upon further review, I am convinced that we would have found the hardest possible way to reach a known cave that isn't so far from a road way up the gorge. But we didn't get there, partly on the advice of the gentlemen in the photo, who made it clear that it would be an overnight trip and we didn't have the gear for that.
My time in Zambia was fun and productive, but this bit was just fun. Of note, it was 104 degrees out, so we didn't need a sweater.
Few bats have an eyeshine when hit with a light, but the Egyptian fruit bat (Rousettus aegyptiacus) does. This makes for an interesting visual effect when in a cave with these bats. Photos from Leopard's Hill Cave in Zambia.
The Barn Owl (Tyto alba) has a LOT of common names. Why? Glad you asked...
This bird has one of the most widespread distributions of any land bird. The world distribution of the owl is shown in a properly cited map at http://www.barnowltrust.org.uk/infopage.html?Id=115
Given that range, it occurs in lots of places without barns, and in places with lots of different languages. Wikipedia lists about 20 common names in English.
This particular owl, was first seen roosting on a ledge near the entrance to Leopard's Hill Cave in Zambia. When we disturbed it (we were making a map of the cave, not out disturbing owls on purpose), instead of flying out of the cave it flew into the cave. And oddly, it flew into a dead-end side passage and landed on the floor. I took this photo of the owl on the cave floor as I was surveying into that passage. It stayed there long enough for a photo, but then I had the distinct and maybe unique experience of having an owl try to fly past me in a small cave passage. It gave me a good couple of wing slaps to the head as it left the area.
And then on we went to survey the rest of the cave, which is another whole story as the big room in the cave was just full of army ants (Genus: Dorylus). Must admit that the survey team was moving as fast as I've ever seen.
It was a memorable day.
Keith Christenson - Wildlife Biologist