Monday, 3 February 2014

Tanzanian Safari 12th-26th January.......PART 2

Up at 5.45 (that's 2.45 UK time) for breakfast and ready for the long morning safari at the Tarangire National Park, 70 miles south of Arusha. The park is 525 square miles scattered with baobab trees and open acacia woodland with lots of birds and it is said, one elephant to every square kilometer! 

Von der Deckens hornbill on the veranda first light plus quail and red-necked spurfowl just below.

Away at 7.00 am on the dry tracks in our converted Toyata Amazon, baobabs in abundance, more than I've seen elsewhere!
Soon came across lots of birds including this Brown Snake Eagle sitting in the top of  tree

 The tiny Oribi, 24inches at the shoulder and easily told by its horns which protrude c.90 deg to its skull

Red-cheeked Cordon Bleu, a rather common little bird seen throughout the country.

Coqui Francolin, quite common, widespread in savanna and seen several times.

 Lilac-breasted Roller, stacks of them, stop anywhere and look around, you would see half a dozen but only at the Tarangire National Park.

Rufous-crowned Roller, a few seen although the book says, uncommon and scarce in N.Tanzania!

A  little bird, seen a few times during our two weeks, usually with other different species on the tops of bushes, not sure of its ID, might be Rattling Cisticola...any help to confirm please.

One of the many elephants here, a really healthy population with plenty of grass for feeding.

On one of the lone trees in the bush was this Grey Woodpecker

Umbrella acacia tree, several types including the flat top type often seen.

Always on the lookout for cats, my other half spotted a tail flicking in the grass and closer examination in the long grass revealed a young leopard about the size of a labrador.

We watched him for 20 -30 minutes, alerting our other companion jeep who were 30 minutes away.

He didn't take too much notice of us and just moved around the bush where his mother had left him, just once turning around to see off a guinea fowl, but where was mum?

Bateleur Eagle, seen lots of times perhaps the commonest eagle.

Long-tailed fiscal Shrike, all over the place.

White-headed vulture, only saw a few.

Magpie Shrike, sorry bad lighting on this one.

Magpie Shrike, often seen in bushes and in flight, common.

Helmeted Guineafowl,, v. common throughout, usually in groups.

Little Bee-eaters, seen tiny though.

 Black-faced Sandgrouse, common and the only sandgrouse specie we saw.

Another lilac-breasted roller, became a trash bird by mid morning, 'don't stop its only a roller'!

Black-shouldered Kite, just odd ones most days, never got close to them.

Leopard (mum), an hour later and about a mile away we came across what we presumed was the mother to the cub left back under the bush. She stopped briefly to have a drink from a nearby pool as we were close to some wetlands.

We only saw these two Comb ducks  but c.100 collared pratincoles, several African open-billed storks, Gabar goshawk, glossy ibis, marsh and monty's harrier, flappet lark, bare-faced go-away birds, white-headed buffalo weavers, black-headed herons, hammerkop, Abyssinian scimitarbill to name a few.

Several long-toed plovers at this wetland site.

Yet another different leopard on our way back.

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater; recorded every day

Warthogs; perhaps the commonest mammal.

On the way back to the lodge for lunch this pygmy falcon was perched in a bush right next to the road.

Lunch at 1.30 was served outside, wish I'd packed my swimmers.

Rainbow agama soaking up the warmth on the walls around the lodge.

Unstriped ground squirrel, plenty around the lodges.

Rock hyrax; lots of tree and rock hyrax, all look the same but think this one is Rock

Greater blue-eared Starling; Common around lodges and bush.

Ashy Starlings; locally common, found mainly in the Tarangire National Park, apparently like the baobabs trees.

 Back on the road again at 3.00pm

Ostriches and elephants whilst we were looking at a  tawny eagle  in a tree.

Masai Ostrich

An easy one- Yellow-necked spurfowl, always lurking about in the grass when you stop to look at something else.

Another Brown snake eagle

African white-backed vulture; common, easily told by that white underparts and black bill.

Another shot of my mystery 'cisticola' seen again

Red-necked spurfowl

 Kirk' Dik Dik; seen all over, common around the lodges...a tiny antlope

 Came across a party of black-lored babblers as the evening light was fading.

Northern white-crowned shrike; abundant, small groups in the bushes.

 Crowned Plovers; these were a bit of a trash bird as they turned up all over the dry bush.

Silver/Black backed Jackal; saw this guy on our way back to the lodge, often observed in the long grass.

   African Ruppell's griffon vulture; I didn't notice the group of yellow-collared lovebirds until seen on the pc! 

We made our way back to the lodge, not arriving until 7.20 and almost dark but picked up gabon nightjars on the track. Other things seen were 5 lions, black-crown tchagra, white-browed coucal, D'Arnaud's barbet, crested francolin, grey flycatcher, banded mongoose etc.. A superb reserve, nice and warm, c.33 degs. elephants etc. seen from our accommodation, lovely food and a great day. After diner  guests have to be escorted back to their rondelle by guards as wild animals can wander in but discouraged by the staff! Early to bed as a 7.30 am start to the Ngorongoro Crater for two nights.


Marc Heath said...

Wow Mike, some stunning shots there, very jealous indeed.

alan woodcock said...

Hi,takes me back,the wife and I went about twenty or so years ago,great place,nice picks.

Tim Gutsell said...

Excellent read and pictures Mike.