Saturday, 8 February 2014

Tanzanian safari. PART 4

17th Jan.  Ngorongoro Crater.
Due to leave the lodge at 8.00 for a full day in the crater but had to wait another 20 minutes as the vehicle had a flat to be changed! Finally away we took the long descent down into the crater along one of the few wooded entry tracks picking up auger buzzards, fiscal shrikes and stonchat etc.. We didn't seen any large herds which can pass through on migration but there are resident animals

 Stonechat hanging about around the lodge

 African Grey Flycatcher

Eastern-double Collared Sunbird; Whilst waiting for the flat tyre to be changed gave time to take a few photos of birds around the lodge. I found a lot of the birds undergoing moult which was making ID a bit tricky at times.

 The descent down into the crater, baboons on the track.

A stop at the gate enabled me to get a shot of this bird to which I do not know what it is at the moment. It was thrush sized but doesn't match up to anything in the book that I can see. Looks by its red tail end rear parts that it is some sort of robin chat but no sign of eyestripe!

Another bird unidentified, virtually all black except for some yellowy parts on the head or maybe pollen plus some on the wing does not match up to the golden-winged sunbird or is it in moult?

Golden-winged Sunbird close by

Down in the crater.

Red-naped Lark -different birds.

Buffalo herd and cattle egrets.

These 'Beema' type yellow wagtails all over the place.

Tawny Eagle was quite common-the 'usual one'

Wildebeest just gave birth to a calf. We were told the migration had done a quick reverse for some reason but now they were heading back to the Mara but calfing was already underway.

A small wet area revealed a couple of hippos with a yellow-billed oxpecker. Looking at the wounds the hippo had clearly been in some danger recently. 

Spotted hyena, several seen skulking about on their own.

Only saw a few small groups of wildebeest 

 Lappet -faced vultures are the first on the scene when a carcass is found.....they alone have the massive bill that can open up an animal.

Hundreds of Abdim's Storks feeding in the crater.

We saw two black rhinos, one had been darted by the rangers for some reason but it continued to roam around all day being chased by the vets.

 The rangers and vets after the rhino

 Thomson's Gazelle easily recognised by the black stripe along its flanks.

 Black-bellied bustard, female.

 Coke's Hartebeest.

General view.

At lunchtime a special area had been set up with toilets etc and parking for all visitors but nothing to stop lions paying a visit!

Fan-tailed widow-bird in moult - lots around the picnic site.

 Yellow-billed Kites looking for titbits at lunchtime

Speke's Weavers busy collecting nesting material along the edge of the lake.

One one the few darters seen during the fortnight plus blacksmith plovers.

Moving on after lunch we came across another spotted hyena close to the road. 

 Northern Anteater Chat, one of only two seen.

Black-bellied Bustard - male 

Kori's Bustard, the big one!

A distant shot of Black-winged plover, told from Senegal plover by the reddish eye ring, not yellow - definitely needed the telephoto to work this one out back at home on the pc.

Towards the end of the day we finally found an eland, the sizeof a big cow!

Another black-winged kite.

Looking around back at the lodge I found c.10 Hartlaub's Turraco's in a big tree. Difficult to see and photograph but fantastic red wings when they fly.

Again another bird with an unknown ID, initially thought it might have been a cisticola but unsure. It was just feeding on the lawn of the lodge.

Next - Transfer to the Serengeti.


Marc Heath said...

Some truly amazing wildlife encounters Mike and some lovely memories no doubt.

Mike H said...

Some cracking photos to keep alive the memories Mike

Martyn Wilson said...

Mike the first bird un-id'd is a juvenile Robin-chat probably White-browed or Ruppels.
The Sunbird below it is a Bronze Sunbird and the "prinia" type bird is probably a Brown Parisoma.
Great trip by the looks...

Phil said...

Thoroughly enjoying your safari series Mike. Bringing back a lot of memories of 15 years ago when we did virtually the same itinerary for our silver wedding anniversary.
Only today we were looking at a picture of us standing alongside the tree by the small lake where you stopped for lunch in the crater. No facilities there at that time but plenty of Kites looking for leftover tourist lunch!
Super posts and super pictures.

Mike Gould said...

Thanks Martyn, the parisoma was one I was considering, the robin chat would have to be in moult or juv as no sign of eyestripe as I was hinting but then what else could it be.The sunbird should have had a long tail but then maybe in moult.