Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Tanzanian Safari..... PART 8, one more to go!

22nd and 23rd Jan.
We had a late 9.30 am start for some reason which allowed me to get some more photos around the gardens. The weather was cloudy but plenty of swamp flycatchers, a red-chested sunbird and another striking black-headed gonalek. On the road again we were retracing our steps back to the Serengeti again, not too many stops until we reached an area that Sadiki wanted us to see. 

 Ready to leave Lake Victoria, peacocks wanted to come as well.

One of the first places we stopped was to photograph this  very close silverbird

Retracing our way back through this rainy area a yellow-billed stork posed right beside the road. 

Another hamerkop or maybe the same one as it was close to the spot where we saw one two days ago.

More red-billed queleas plus other regulars seen eg.  Northern white-crowned shrikes, grey-backed fiscal shrikes etc..

Cheetah family - we stopped seeing a cheetah raise its head as an impala approached the fallen tree but as it got closer, one, two, three, four cubs slowly raised their heads to watch dinner approach but alas dinner had its eyes open and disappeared quickly.

Stopping by this river we saw a crocodile and two monitor lizards, 6-7 feet long plus a fish eagle.

This grey heron was also fishing in the fast flowing shallows, one of only two we saw.

Mini crocs, these monitors look formidable predators.

No threat to this guy.

 African Fish Eagle

We stopped at one of the small airfields to have our packed lunch picking up a lesser-striped swallow around the shack.

African Griffon Vulture.

 Lesser Kestrel - probably the commonest bird of prey.

This Montagu's harrier posed for a few photos as it hunted alongside the road.

Another Tawny Eagle.

I only saw this one spur-winged plover.

Giraffes were always dotted about in various places along with impala, dik diks and zebra etc..

 White-browed Coucal - right beside the road, we didn't see many.

Grey Kestrel - This was a surprise, a new bird for me and Sadiki.

Another tree full of leopards, 3 in fact!

Managed to catch this one leaping across to the other side of the tree!

Finally, caught up with Hartlaub's bustard. 

 Crossed the track and started to display (I think) in front of us.

Took loads of photos, such a superb creature.

Towards the end of the day we finished up with a pride of lions in a tree - very rare to see this apparently. 

Maybe the recent rain made them get out of the wet.

At 6.15 we finally arrived at the Serengeti Sopa Lodge for our two night stay after a difficult drive up through some very muddy tracks, sliding all over the place.

During dinner the staff gave a brilliant singing performance, they were even selling CDs and in the main hall area, a group of  gymnasts were putting on a show to music.

Thurs. 23rd
We left at 8.00 am for another all day game drive but just before I took a few photos around the lodge, a fantastic view over the landscape from its hilltop position. 

 A giraffe poked its head up over the wall beyond the pool - animals come quite close

 Ruppell's Long-tailed Starling - a few around the lodge.

As we left the lodge a few black-faced vervet monkeys were playing beside the road

We soon came to another tree full of lions - is this so rare? Of course quite a gathering of jeeps watching their antics.

This one was approaching the tree to join the others but it seemed very grouchy, growling and snarling at the others up in tree. 

Still moaning, you can see its a female!

They seem to be excellent climbers, no good thinking climbing a tree will be a sanctuary  should you find one chasing your backside!

Never happy.

At last.

We left them to it after 20 minutes

Drove over towards a lake passing this herd of elephants which we stopped to watch.

We weren't sure what had happened to this poor little one, only half a trunk but he seemed to feed ok.

Every now and again we would pass another herd of impala.

Lappet-faced Vulture - The big one.

Northern white crowned shrike, common.

Kittlitz's Plover.  Arrived at the lake finding a good selection of waders inc.avocets, little stints, marsh sandpipers, ruffs, loads of lesser flamingoes, one brown-headed gull, a dozen white-winged black terns, c.30 Cape teal.

Kittlitz's Plover.

Cape Teal.

African Hoopoe.  I was surprised how much darker it is compared to the one we see around the Mediterranean.

 Rufous-naped Lark

Yellow-fronted Canary.
We went to an high area where there were lots of rocky outcrops, favourite places of lions to hide up. We stopped at a regular site close by for lunch, the only memorable sighting here was a black eagle.  

Another two-banded plover on the track.

Stopped at the lake again finding this bohor reedbuck, unusual we were told.

 Marsh Sandpiper and a Ruff

Three-banded Plover

Another small pool on our way back arriving late afternoon amidst light rain that developed into a huge storm after we arrived back.

Next;  On route to Lake Manyara and a morning at L. Manyara and home.  

At last, blog this has taken about 35-40 hours so far.


Mike H said...

A very pleasant and informative read Mike so well worth the effort.

Greater Kent Birder said...

Mike, It may have taken 35-40 hrs but given the weather and local birding it gave you something to do and I for one have appreciated it. I have mixed feeling about Safaris such as these - you see a huge amount of stuff but the constant travelling would get me down and I'd want to spend more time with a lot of the species seen.
Anyway excellent stuff.