Thursday, 13 February 2014

Tanzanian Safari ....PART 6

19th Jan.
Off again at 8.00 am for an all day game drive on the Serengeti. The lodge is on a hill so its was a slow descent down then along the bottom with high wooded hillside to our right and open plains to the left. A few giraffes on the way (earlier some very close to our room as well) then a stop to ID a red-billed firefinch plus a small party of red-billed quelea hopping about in some little bushes. Amongst them a cracking cinnamon breasted bunting but too quick for a photo however, further on a steel-blue whydah, grey-headed silverbill, tropical boubou and a wire-tailed swallow.

Red-billed Quelea - male 

Steel-blue Whydah

Sidicki, our driver was very good, always on the lookout for birds and would stop any time so I could take pictures or we might both check our books to confirm the ID of a  bird. On these all day safaris we still might travel up to c.50 miles looking for animals and birds.  More stops revealed fishers lovebirds, white-winged widowbird, tawny-flanked prinia, palm swifts, black-chested snake eagle.

White-winged Widowbird

Fork-tailed Drongo.  Thought it was square-tailed at first but book says, 'not here'.

Dark Chanting Goshawk - Only saw the one

Tawny Eagle; Swooped down out of a tree onto something in the road, must have been an insect as nothing there to see, or he missed it!

One of the small wetlands.. fish eagle, hoopoe

The 'Sausage' Tree, prefers damp areas.

Driving along I caught sight of the peal-spotted owlet, only found on the savannah and dry woods. 

Martial Eagle, imm.. 

Lesser Kestrel, these were the common ones but we did see a few 'common' kestrels.

We got word of a cheetah sighting so bombed over to see it as it was quite close. As usual quite a gathering of vehicles but not worrying the cheetah.

It proceeded to walk past everybody then jumped up onto this old stump and had a good look around after which we left it alone.

Obviously a good vantage point.

Gets a bit ridiculous at times.

We were taken to another spot out in the open where there was a lunch stop overlooking the savannah, a few tables and a toilet block with attendant. They were in such new and clean condition I put a tip in the guys tip box for keeping so nice......a pleasure to use! Our pale green Toyota in the foreground.

 Silverbird whilst having lunch

Brown-crowned tchagra a lunch stop

A line of Yellow Acacia or Fever Trees;  Early pioneers who lived near these trees thought the they was the cause of  their high fevers but it grows in swampy areas and along streams which is also the place for mosquitoes and was so named Fever Tree.

Got a nice close up of this lilac-breasted roller.

Helmeted guineafowl, seen everywhere.

African Harrier Hawk; Uncommon but widespread, this photo shows the shaggy 'mane' that is characteristic. 

Crested Francolin; found all over Tanzania but we didn't see many.

Another leopard in this tree and then another two cubs in the next but one trees. We saw 9 leopards on the two week safari, incredible, sometimes you are lucky to see one!

Elephant herd on the way back to the lodge....wooded hillside.

Returning to the lodge we went straight away for a Kilimanjaro but just before I had a quick wash in the loo. Getting up to leave after our refreshments I realised I didn't have my bins.....must have left them in the loo, not been anywhere else.  What a shock when they weren't there, searched again, asked around, reception etc,.no luck. Oh dear, someone has nicked them, of well! Going back to the room we found our bed was soaked, water dripping down from the ceiling, our friends upstairs, what are they doing!  They weren't there, they were just coming back themselves and found their room soaked as well......a pipe was leaking in the ceiling!  We were both moved straight away. A little later I was told one of the guides had found my bins and handed them into reception. Nice to know how honest they were, gave him a good drink! At dinner that evening a manager type came to us and asked if we had a good day etc., then apologised for the leak plus offered to pay all our drinks and included a bottle of wine for dinner.  Not a bad deal I thought.

Next:  On route to Lake Victoria

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