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2012, Tanzania Birding Trip Reports

NORTHERN TANZANIA

THE GREATEST WILDLIFE SPECTACLE ON EARTH

 

Birds & Wildlife in the Serengeti & Ngorongoro Crater

February 9th – 18th 2012

 

Tour Leader

Peter Roberts

with much-appreciated support and co-leading from -

Ken Chapman

 

The Group

Mark Catalano & Cheryle Stone

Ann & Nicki Myerscough

Margaret Connell, Liz Connell, Jo Woollett

 

Jean Unsworth

 

Alice Taylor

The Driver/Guides

Geitan & Abdul



Tour Notes


 

February 8th: Departure from home for some / most of us. All except Ann and Nicki were heading out from home today. Mark & Cheryle from the US were on a long overnight flight to Amsterdam; Peter, Margaret, Liz, Jo and Jean from UK were on an overnight flight from London on Ethiopian Airlines, which proved “so-so”. Ken was on an overnight flight from UK on Kenyan Airlines.

 

February 9th: Arrival into Arusha Tanzania.  Peter, Jean, Jo, Liz & Margaret arrived into Addis Ababa en route to Tanzania in the early morning and were treated to a quick and simple transfer to another terminal to take the last leg of the outbound journey to Arusha via a touch-down in Mombassa, Kenya. An excruciatingly cramped plane got us to Arusha a little late at about 2.50pm, where we worked our way through immigration and customs with ease, got back all our check-in luggage and were met by an agent who zipped us off to the Ngare Sero Lodge on the outskirts of Arusha by 3.45pm. Ken, who had arrived earlier had already been transferred to the lodge and awaited our arrival there. This was a new lodge to me, so I was keen to see what birds it had to offer in the luxuriant grounds. Others were more attracted to the cool pool for a relaxing dip. The lodge was very pleasant – nice and quiet as we seemed to be the only people there, and constructed in classic colonial style. The birding certainly came up to expectations with plenty of the usual and expected species present for this lush, partially forested highland environment. Eastern Olive Sunbird was a good find and the number of Silvery-cheeked Hornbills coming in to roost was impressive – at least 20 or so stopping off very closely in trees by the pool. A little dammed lake produced a flurry of good birds, but none of the hoped-for Taveta Golden Weavers. Better than this were magnificent views of African Black Duck, a species I only encounter on about 1 in 3 of my tours here. Bronze, Amethyst and Collared Sunbirds were all very pleasant and a couple of noisy Giant Kingfishers paraded up and down along the lake, but by that time we were all enjoying cold beers on the veranda prior to supper.

 

It was Liz’s birthday today, so in an attempt to compensate for having spent most of it flying – not one of her most cherished activities – we had a couple of bottles of sparkling wine, a “surprise” birthday cake and a quick round of “Happy Birthday To You” to keep in the spirit of things. I met up with the remainder of our group – Ann, Nicki, Mark, Cheryle and Alice arriving on the direct KLM flight to Arusha from Amsterdam. They were pretty much whacked as they pulled in at about 10.15pm, so we quickly got them into their rooms and briefed for tomorrow so that we could all catch up on a bit of well-earned rest.

February 10th: To The Central Serengeti. We had to take an unpleasantly early 6.15am breakfast this morning and leave this glorious little lodge to head out through the bustle and fascination of Arusha to reach the local domestic airport for an 8.30am flight to Seronera in the heart of the Serengeti National Park. Everyone was efficiently up and packed away in good time by 7am and we reached the airport after an interesting ride through the hurly-burly of early morning Arusha seeing a little of what local life is like from the outside. On arrival it happily turned out that we filled an entire plane to ourselves and were on a quick and direct flight taking about an hour. The skies were fairly clear and the young local pilot took us right over the centre of Ngorongoro and Olduvai – always a treat to see this amazing landscape in such a panoramic view before we start our safari. The upside to a horribly early start was an early arrival at Seronera. Geitan and Abdul, two of my regular driver/guides were there to meet us and we had a picnic lunch with us, so we were able to set off straight away for a wander through the nearby area for much of the rest of the day. It is always exciting to find yourself suddenly here and in the midst of it all, not knowing which way to look first. With Ken issuing pearls of wisdom in one vehicle and myself bluffing through in the other, we slowly set off down the dusty roads with almost immediate stops for our first great bird sightings. It was all very common stuff, but spectacular for the group, all of whom were “first-timers” in Sub-saharan Africa. The wonderfully irridescent and colourful Superb Starlings were an immediate hit. Grey-backed Fiscals, Wattled Starlings, Grey-capped Social Weavers, Rufous-tailed Weavers, Blacksmith and Three-banded Plovers all appeared and reappeared in quick succession. We wound our way along the various fairly dry river courses lined with palms and Yellow-barked Acacias to see our first few enormous Hippopotami wallowing and keeping cool in the heat of the day. At one of these we were suddenly aware of a Lioness wandering down the track towards us complete with two small cubs. The mother was clearly one of Frankfurt Zoological Society’s study animals with a radio-tag collar on. She wanted to get to the water and strode un-phased right between our closely parked vehicles with her little ones in tow. Not a bad start to our first morning out. A constant backdrop to our meanderings today were hundreds (thousands?) of Zebra. They were a magnificent sight dotted in groups across the quite tall grass savanna as far as the eye could see. They were clearly hanging around this area (which they normally do not do at this time of year) because of lack of rain elsewhere and a water supply here. Several times we had nervous groups with young ones coming down to quickly drink in the really quite unpleasant and fetid water where the Hippos lounged all day in a sort of soupy Hippo latrine!

 

We nipped back to the Visitor Centre at Seronera for a leg stretch, loos and picnic. Like many places in Africa, the wildlife has cottoned-on to the free hand-outs at picnic sites and a whole load of very endearing Dwarf Mongooses and larger, loafing Hyraxes were in attendance. We took a stroll around the lovely little informative walk nestled into a huge cluster of granite rocks called Kopjes (pronounced “copies”). Birds were rather quiet in the heat of the day, but Slate-coloured Boubous, White-browed Robin-Chats and Spotted Mourning Thrushes performed well enough.

 

We then set off again for the afternoon with a plan to concentrate on finding a Leopard and if no luck, to get back early-ish to check in to the lodge by 5pm. As it turned out we did both rather well! Amidst a host of further good birds we found another couple of Lionesses very close to the track, quite happy with us prying into their lives as they were feasting on a fresh Zebra kill. Slightly gruesome but as Jo pointed out as she broke into song –  it is all part of the “Circle of Life”. A small cluster of vehicles further along drew us closer and Bingo: our first Leopard in classic pose draped on a shady horizontal branch of a Sausage tree. This is always welcome and to get such lovely views on our first day is marvelous. We admired the beast for ages, passing the scope between vehicles for really good close views. Then we drove a few hundred yards to another small cluster of 3-4 vehicles (none of the 30 car traffic jam scenario today). Here was Leopard number 2 in a lovely acacia, legs and tail dangling down in peaceful repose. A little further on was Leopard number 3 in another tree, slightly more obscured, but still a great sight. One Leopard in a trip is good; to see one on the first day it is brilliant; but 3 in view at once on the first day is staggering! Abdul reckoned it was a female with two large, near-independent cubs. After this wondrous stuff we managed to motor back to arrive at the lodge for 5.05pm.

 

After a quick check in to the rooms, some got to the pool and others to the bar. Ken, Mark and Cheryle finished the day with a splendid perched adult Martial Eagle.

 

February 11th: The Central Serengeti. The Serengeti is a vast preserve of 5,675 square miles, with a further 3,200 sq. miles protected in the surrounding Ngorongoro Conservation Area – the whole ecosystem is the size of Belgium! In most years it is the Ndutu area and regions further SE that hold the bulk of the vast herds. But this year rains are late and erratic and they are hanging back in the Seronera and central parts of the National Park. So we set off at 7.15am to experience a little of the scale of this wildlife spectacle with the intention of finding some of the vast migratory Wildebeest and Zebra herds.  Geitan and Abdul had seen large numbers in the Moru Kopjes area recently and were heading there, just 20 miles south of Seronera. A quick chat over the radio phones with other drivers revealed that many had now moved on and were in areas much closer to our lodge. We turned around and within a short space of time hit the jackpot. We first came across large herds of Wildebeest going almost single file at a pace in one direction where there were others already “arrived” and clustered into very tight groups. The sunlight was perfect, the movement and backdrop of acacias classic. As they moved the dust kicked up and they were all doing their typical low grunting moaning calls as they went: a perfect African savanna scene. Of course, being typical Wildebeest, no sooner had they gone in one direction, many of them turned about and started off in the opposite! One of these about-turns was explained adequately when they really spooked and took off fast and a fine male Lion complete with shaggy mane appeared in hot pursuit. He had clearly made a mess of this chase attempt and was now wandering back and forth looking a bit foolish, though he did appear to be wandering very close to the guys putting away the al fresco breakfast of the recently departed hot air balloonists seen earlier. These Wildebeest were thought to be mostly bachelor herds, there being no young present at all. Here too were the beginnings of the Zebra herds. As we moved on we could see further line upon line of movement in waves to the horizon of lightly wooded hills and tall grass savanna, now looking mostly very parched.  Driving further we began to come to much larger groups of almost pure Zebra – many more than I’ve usually seen here before. Of course, all the while we were finding a good variety of birds – many of them firsts for the trip and firsts for those looking at them. Double-banded Coursers, Crowned Lapwings, Fischer’s Sparrow-Larks, first huge Kori Bustard close to the track, a few European Rollers, bright little Cardinal Woodpecker and red and black Fan-tailed Widowbirds, drab Plain-backed Pipits and distinctive Capped Wheatears. Raptors were good with sightings including both the local Grey and highly migratory Lesser Kestrels, a pair of nest-building Lappet-faced Vultures, an African Harrier-Hawk, lovely little Pygmy Falcons and an adult and young Martial Eagle. We made a stop at one of the picnic and viewpoints to stretch legs and use the loos. Here too were good close looks through the scope of a number of more colourful and distinctive species to engage people’s interest. Brightly-coloured White-headed Buffalo-Weavers were a “hit” as were perched up Magpie Shrikes and some distant Ostriches. We motored on through the vast areas of grasslands, slowly working our way back towards the lodge and seemingly coming upon ever larger and denser masses of Zebra. By the time we’d reached the various drying-up river courses and dams where the road crosses, it was a fantastic blaze of abstract black and white moving stripes – thousands of Zebra packing in to the edges around the waterhole and going in to cool off right up to their backs in the oozing muddy water. Their donkey-like braying was loudly filling the air, the dust circling and the whole spectacle absolutely captivating. I’d certainly never seen such enormous numbers of Zebra in such concentrated numbers anywhere before. We eventually headed back to the lodge arriving in good time for a very tasty and varied 1pm lunch.

There was free time thereafter, with optional birding around the grounds at 3-4pm, then a game drive from 4pm onwards. 5 of the group (including Alice who was not feeling well at all) had opted out, so we departed in just one vehicle for the short afternoon ramble. The birding in the grounds was a bit hit and miss but did produce Brubru, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Beautiful and Scarlet-chested Sunbirds with a little help from owlet playback. The afternoon drive was very good indeed, starting at the nearby large pool below the lodge. Here, while admiring a goodly selection of shorebirds and masses of Hippos, we were treated to an arrival of 25 or so African Elephants coming in to drink and bathe. There was a lovely mix of age ranges, from tiny babies to large matriarchs. They delighted in lying down and wallowing in the sloshy mud and at the same time taking large quaffs of this soupy water up through their trunks to their mouths as an apparently thirst-quenching drink! These were watched for a pleasant half hour or so as bright turquoise and black Woodland Kingfisher darted around in front of us. From there we headed out quite purposefully. This usually means the drivers have “something up their sleeve” and Geitan certainly produced the goods this afternoon. Before long we were joining a large group of vehicles to peer into quite a modest sized, easily climbed tree at moderate distance. Here was a very clear Leopard. Less obvious were the two large cubs higher into the obscuring canopy, complete with Wildebeest calf kill. These were clearly the same three animals we’d watched yesterday, but now all gathered together into the same tree – what a fantastic treat. The afternoon was rounded off nicely with the sublime experience of called-in Winding Cisticolas performing adjacent to both Croaking and Pectoral-patch all in the same area of mixed grassland in front of the Leopards – life rarely gets sweeter!

 

February 12th: To the eastern Serengeti. Because we’d arrived nice and early into the Serengeti from Arusha, we had to leave nice and early to keep within the 24 hour timeframe of our permit. This meant a 7.30am departure and a fairly fast drive (especially towards the end) towards Naabi Gate, where everyone enters and exits the National Park on the eastern side. Our journey took us out of the tall dry grass plains of the central Serengeti, currently so full of Wildebeest and Zebra, and onto the flat, short-grass plains where the herds of Thompson’s and Grant’s Gazelles increased exponentially. Along the way we had brief looks at a couple more Lions and possibly the last of the Topi who seem not to favour the short-grass plains at all. The whole journey from Seronera to Ndutu is approximately 50 miles of seemingly unending Serengeti Plains. The journey across such a vast landscape was worth it even if we’d not seen anything much. But the game-viewing was good and there were of course plenty of new sightings on the bird front. Montagu’s and Pallid Harriers quartered the grassland; a few Rueppell’s Griffons and Lappet-faced Vultures tugged at an old Zebra carcass; a first Taita Fiscal Shrike perched atop a lone bush and lots of wintering Lesser Kestrels were doing their best to rid Tanzania of its grasshopper population. We were at Naabi Gate on its extensive kopje by 10am and had time to get out, use loos and take the usual short walking trail ascending to an impressive viewpoint looking out over the huge vistas and horizons. The Naabi stop produced a further good selection of birds – everything from Lanner Falcon amidst clouds of Lesser Kestrels, to flamboyant, resident Red-fronted Barbet and wintering White-throated Robin and Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush. We continued on at about 11.15am towards the Ndutu area, turning south off the main track to drive for miles on dusty and unseasonably dry short-grass plains. We’d got a picnic lunch with us and made our way out to the swamp behind Lake Ndutu to eat it. This area is permanently lush, fed by springs and a real contrast to the dust of the surrounding patches of wooded savanna. Apart from many of the usual waterbirds, there was the largest gathering of Collared Pratincoles I’ve ever encountered anywhere before. About 850 of them were adorning the lake edge (they had all gone by the time of my 2nd tour 10 days later!). Further game driving in these areas before and after lunch found us excellent views of 2 of the 3 possible sandgoruse species – Chestnut-bellied and Yellow-throated, along with superb pale Tawny Eagle and Hooded Vultures looking like Gonzo from the Muppet Show.

 

We’d been out a long while by mid-afternoon and it was very hot. Thus we decided to make an early arrival to Ndutu Lodge to partake of afternoon tea, and relax a little in the very pleasant and simple ambience of my favourite lodge in Tanzania. There is a wonderful feeling of remoteness here and it was delightful to just stop awhile and ponder. Though I did get fidgety after 10 minutes, got the staff to put some water into the bird bath and made everyone come and enjoy stunning scope views of bright gems such as Blue-capped Cordonbleus, White-bellied Canaries, Fischer’s Lovebirds and a nest-hole being excavated by a Grey-headed Woodpecker. After calling in a Pearl-spotted Owlet I called it a day and met up with everyone again at 7pm for pre-dinner bird-list and drinks. Everyone seemed to appreciate the place and the presence of 4 delightful Large-spotted Genets that came into the lounge area to take small food items put out for them.

 

February 13th: Ndutu area. There may have been a little rain overnight after a wonderfully crystal clear black night sky full of stars as we went to bed last night. There was a lovely cool dampish atmosphere in the air as we went to breakfast at 7am this morning, getting away for a morning’s game drive by 8am. The prime goal today was Cheetah and we headed out off-road at times, across the open acacia scrub and into more open short grass plains in search. It wasn’t long before we got word of Cheetahs being about and soon came upon a female with 4 tiny cubs – far too cute and endearing and instantly engendering “oohs” and “aahs” from certain members of our elite group! The mother was intent upon walking off to hunt and it was a delight to see her cubs playing and running after her along the way. Eventually a fairly large gathering of vehicles was watching her and the Park Rangers came to her rescue. They quite rightly pointed out that she needed plenty of space and peace to hunt – especially with very vulnerable young ones to fend for, so got us all to go on our way. Only 15 minutes or so later the call went out that she had miraculously caught something, so we turned tail and went back to see. Somehow or other she had got very lucky, very quickly and was in the somewhat gruesome process of suffocating/throttling a Thompson’s Gazelle, still kicking and hoping for a miracle escape (cue subdued humming of “The Circle of Life” from one vehicle). The successful hunt was great news, now she needed peace in which to eat it quickly before a larger predator such as a Spotted Hyena or Lion came along and stole it. Again, we moved off to leave them all to do their own thing.

 

With this very special highlight and much-wanted goal all “done and dusted” the pressure was off and the remainder of the morning was all a bonus. Apart from plenty of good looks at many of the antelopes, we got very lucky with further predator sightings. Firstly we encountered a very impressive large, mature male Lion, clearly in his prime. He lounged in the shade of a small tree in all his classic glory, quite alone – but was he? About a mile up the way, beyond the swamp we’d visited yesterday, was a magnificent pride of Lions – probably his. This group comprised 5-6 adult females and 6-7 young of three different ages. They too were sheltered from direct sunlight by a shady tree, and just relaxing. The young – especially the tiniest cubs of just a month or two old, were restless and wanting to play rough and tumble with the parents. The interactions were fascinating and kept us there for ages. In between all this, my other goal for the day showed up in abundance with several stunning looks at groups of lounging Bat-eared Foxes. These too are lovely little creatures with their huge ears and batman black face masks.

 

Birds? Oh Yes – plenty of those too, but mostly taking second place to the excellent mammal sightings. Endemic Grey-breasted Francolins were seen well. Much of the usual stuff, rapidly becoming commonplace and “ho-hum” was duly noted. More special or new were Greater Honeyguide called in on the way back; Verreaux’s Eagle – a distinctly out of place record, seen by Ken’s Landcruiser; Dark Chanting Goshawk seen and a Tawny Eagle on nest. We were back to the lodge by 12.30pm for a lovely lunch at 1pm, with down time until a return to the field at 4pm. In the break we raided the shop, rested up and reflected on how nice it would be to stay here an awful lot longer than just a couple of nights.

 

As 4pm neared we assembled in the open lounge area enjoying the breeze, the colourful birds in the bird bath and having a quick cuppa. A Pearl-spotted Owlet started calling in the large acacias nearby, so I played a bit of call and got him to come and perch up where we could all enjoy it through the telescope. The afternoon’s game drive was just along the edge of Lake Masek, which still had a reasonable amount of water in it. We motored up one edge along a tide-line of Wildebeest bones – the grizzly reminder of how seemingly inept they appear when on migration. Instead of going around this quite small lake, many try going straight across and get stuck in the mud and drown – the bleached bones and skulls washing ashore in due course. The water’s edge with extensive muddy margins gave us a second chance to see better views of Chestnut-banded Plover and other shorebirds, while a small group of Lesser Flamingoes were on parade and gave us a brightly coloured fly-by. Here too were our first Water Thick-knees and Cape Teal – the latter a soda lake specialist. We motored on up to the end of the lake and cut in to the patchy head high saltbush that grows on the sandy flats surrounding parts of the lake. Weaving in and out of this maze Geitan found us a couple of young Lion males lounging in the shade and totally oblivious of our close approach to within 50-60 feet. Whether he knew they were here we’ll never know, but it shows how well concealed they can be – not a place to go wandering around on foot! A few large Elephants were on display in this area and one in particular with a pierced ear and massive tusks allowed a close approach in lovely evening light with the Ngorongoro highlands as a backdrop. Our return through the drier acacia scrub on the ridge above the lake was punctuated with sightings of many Dik-diks, by now commonplace and a couple of lovely Black-backed Jackals as the sunset on another rather good day in the bush.

 

February 14th: To The Ngorongoro Crater via Olduvai Gorge. A little pre-breakfast birding produced African Cuckoo, Bearded Woodpecker and other assorted goodies on another cloudless bright morning that turned into a hot sunny day. We left Ndutu on our continuing journey east at a slowish pace driving for miles across the flat and open short grass plains full of Thomson’s and Grant’s Gazelles. As we drove we were able to appreciate the huge scale of this ecosystem that we’ve been travelling through for several days — all the more remarkable for being preserved almost fully intact. It was still very dusty and dry, yet the specialised game still managed to look sleek and fit. Enormous numbers of larks – mostly Red-capped and Fischer’s Sparrow-Larks were along the trackside plus many Grassland (African) Pipits. Ostriches speckled the horizons and harriers floated effortlessly in their continual search for food. A Golden (Common) Jackal was seen by us all and some of the group had a lone Spotted Hyena – a species always evoking much anthropomorphism – rarely any of it very complimentary!  Brown and Black-breasted Snake Eagles appeared overhead and Senegal Plovers, Temminck’s Coursers and other dry country shorebirds dotted the landscape. Once we had joined the main through track from the Serengeti towards Arusha the road became very rough with a bone-jolting “washboard” effect. Graders were at work but had a long way to go to revive its smoothness. We were at Olduvai Gorge by 11.30am and went straight into the Museum before our picnic lunch. I think everyone enjoyed the museum with its simple illustrations of what was discovered in this region and how it shaped our understanding of our evolution – all very thought-provoking and inspiring. We had our picnic in the little shelter overlooking the layered rocks of the gorge where we could ponder the life and times of the early hominids and look at African (Vitelline) Masked Weavers feeding on spilt crumbs at our feet. Then it was back to reality with 7 of the group splitting off to visit a nearby Maasai village, while the remainder of us stopped behind to do a heat-of-the-day/Mad Dogs and Englishmen walk in the scrub at Olduvai. Us birders found a few new species to keep us on form – White-throated Bee-eater was particularly fine along with Kenya Violet-backed Sunbird, Fawn-coloured Lark and Chinspot Batis. The “village-people” learnt first-hand something of the Maasai’s unchanged way of life as open-plains pastoralists.

 

We all met up again a little later and did the climb up and out of the wonderful, unique flat vastness of the Serengeti by late afternoon, arriving at the Rhino Safari Lodge by 4pm or so. It was a definite change of scene, with bits of forest, open grassland and scrub, cool breezes and a rarified atmosphere on the rim of the immense caldera of Ngorongoro Crater at about 7,000’ above sea level. A few of us came and went on the verandah by the bar and restaurant until supper. I managed to call in a lovely Schalow’s Turaco and got some very good scope views. Golden-winged Sunbird was another pleasant surprise along with 2-3 other typical higher altitude forest edge birds. A large fire in the restaurant and individual fires lit on request in some of the rooms meant for a cosy evening in this cooler environment. The lodge isn’t too bad – simple, but adequate and the showers were excellent!

February 15th The Ngorongoro Crater. We were away by about 8am this morning to spend the full day in the Crater, sometimes called “the eighth wonder of the world”, about 36 miles in circumference and 165 sq miles in area – as we laboriously worked out at intervals during the day, recalling our school mathematics. On the way to the descent road we stopped where we’d briefly seen Red-collared Widowbird yesterday and found several males displaying with their bizarre long floppy tails. Once on the descent road, the group kindly humoured me and allowed a brief stop to call in Wailing Cisticola in the location of rocky scrub part of the way down – the only place I know to find it in Tanzania. After this excitement it was down to the crater bottom and straight into a pair of Lions – the large-maned male lounging, the female wandering to see what prey might be on offer. Thereon in, it was pretty much all day, wall-to-wall Wildebeest (with lots of cute calves), chunky Cape Buffalo, Thomson’s and Grant’s Gazelles, Common Zebra barely bothering to move out of our way as we motored slowly past, and aloof Eland in the distance. Hippos were squashing in to some of the last remaining preferred pools and marshes. All through the day there was a liberal sprinkling of Spotted Hyenas often seen lounging about oblivious of our attentions, some with blood-stained faces from recent feasts and one in particular chewing the last bits off a Wildebeest skull. A trio of female Lions appeared very interested in a small group of Zebra at one point in our meanderings along the tracks in the crater. All were low-slung and attentive, one crawled powerfully, low, seemingly almost on its belly towards the Zebra, but all gave up in the end. Our main goal of finding some of the 15 to 20 Black Rhinoceros that survive here was quickly met. I thought this might prove really tricky in such very dry conditions, but a mother with large calf was see at a fair distance in the late morning, then much better, closer looks of probably two males together in the afternoon. Much of the crater is open, short-grass savannah and with many vehicles doing the same as us, it might appear a bit “crowded” at times, but it really wasn’t too bad. Bird-watching in the Crater was rewarding, with a good range of species turning up as we visited in turn the fresh and soda lakes, swamp, and at the end of the day, Yellow-bark Acacia forest. We found such marvels and extremes as Lesser Swamp Warbler and Pectoral-Patch Cisticola (great views of both) to a single glorious flock of 180 Crowned Cranes and other bright stuff such as Lesser Flamingoes distantly on the heat-hazed soda lake, African Spoonbills, Spur-winged Goose, White Pelicans, many huge Kori Bustards, a kill with Rueppell’s Griffon and close studies of Lappet-faced Vulture, with always a backdrop of hundreds of Abdim’s Storks foraging in the grass for insects. Black Kites had a good try at helping themselves to our picnics, but were thwarted. The temperature was good, with a fresh breeze, but dust was a problem. The game animals provided our last/best chances for photographs and a final large troop of Baboons in the forest gave the ultimate “ooh-aah” factor for the day, with plenty of cute action from characterful babies and less cute action from the adult Baboons watched – some of it a bit X-rated. Having given my family a pre-tour education on “antelope – versus – deer” and getting through the trip thus far unscathed, I finally heard a reference to a “hyena chewing on some antlers“ today – a short stay on the “naughty step” for someone I think!

 

By late afternoon we made our way up and out of the Crater on the steep ascent road and returned to our lodge for the night, with time to have one of those lovely hot, powerful showers to wash away the day’s grime and dust, and get to the bar for a sundowner prior to the ritual of the list – a seemingly alien concept to some on the tour? (The bird list, not the sundowner).

 

February 16th: To Tarangire National Park. I did a bit of pre-breakfast birding from the restaurant balcony this morning and saw several of the usual suspects and added fly-by Kenrick’s Starlings. Everyone was very prompt and ready to go at 8.30am as planned, with just 3 scheduled brief stops along the way to Tarangire. En route, weaving round the crater rim road encompassed in fine dense forest we did make a few unscheduled halts for Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Streaky Seedeater, Northern Double-collared and Tacazze Sunbirds plus dull little diminutive African Dusky Flycatchers. We left the Serengeti ecosystem behind, taking a last look down into the Crater before exiting at the chaotic Entrance Gate and joining the smooth paved road down into the Rift Valley. There were stops for all tastes – first being the T Shirt Shack where a bit of retail therapy was enjoyed by all. Then we paused at the stunning overlook down into the Rift Valley with its steep, clear cliff line – Professor Chapman informing us all of the geology. Last stop was for birds at the entrance to Lake Manyara National Park where enormous roadside trees supported large mixed colonies of Pink-backed Pelicans and Yellow-billed Storks. These all looked very spiffy in their breeding plumages and seen wonderfully closely through the scope. Then it was foot down and onwards, arriving at the entrance gate to Tarangire National Park by about midday. We had time for a quick walk around here and rapidly added a bunch of good birds typical and special to this area. Ashy Starling was top of the list, being a Tanzanian endemic, but other great stuff included Red-billed and Von Der Decken’s Hornbills, White-bellied Go-awaybird, Red-billed Firefinch, African Cuckoo and more. We were at the very pleasant Tarangire Safari Lodge by just after 1pm and went straight in to lunch before going to our tents. Nobody had believed me that we were really stopping our last night in tents and looked horrified when the truth dawned on them. Happily when they saw the tents spirits were raised high again; these are very large, comfortable affairs on concrete bases with full en suite toilets and with an overview of the Tarangire River full of Elephants herds – what is there not to like?

 

We did a full afternoon game drive from 3.30pm around the extensive tracks within Tarangire. The habitats here reflect a drier region subject to seasonal rains and drought. Thornbush is studded with giant Baobab trees, which are useful stores of moisture for the large Elephant herds in drier times. The Baobab’s gargantuan trunks are scarred through generations of gouging by Elephant tusks. Running through the Park’s centre is the Tarangire River with wide grassy palm-dotted flood plains, which we followed this afternoon. Our main interest of viewing the large Elephant herds was coupled with birding stops as there is a whole new range of birds to be found here, giving the potential for a final flurry of additional species.  The endemic Ashy Starlings and Magpie Shrikes were everywhere. 1-2 bright Yellow-collared Lovebirds plus occasional Meyer’s and Red-bellied Parrots were noted. Both Hornbills, an immature Bateleur and lovely pair of Pygmy-Falcons all enhanced the afternoon’s watching. The river itself provided plenty of Elephant action along with several good looks at Nile Monitor Lizards and our one and only Hamerkop of the trip. A single Pied Kingfisher was watched putting a lot of energy into hovering in the air over the gently flowing river with no sign of a catch. Tarangire has both Red-necked and Yellow-necked Spurfowl (Francolins) in abundance and we notched up some cute young for the “Baby animals” safari list.

 

Back at the lodge we were in time for final evening cocktails and canape’s on the overview down to the river – an absolutely glorious setting. We all agreed several more days were required (but we’d said that about virtually every place we’d been!). We had a pleasant evening meal, did the last bird list, enjoyed quick and easy internet access and watched a bunch of frolicsome Canadians dancing with the local staff to a rendition of “Hakuna Matata” before a final look at an unbelievably dark night sky full of supremely bright stars and planets.

 

February 17th: Tarangire and Homewards We had worked out a set of different arrangements today to try and suit everyone and maximise their time as they best saw fit. The early departers – Jo, Liz, Margaret and Jean, had free time until a 9am departure with Peter, driven by Geitan. Some rose early to sit on the verandah of their tents to soak up that magical African atmosphere – if only it could be bottled to take home and savour! Others took a leisurely breakfast, and I of course got up at dawn and watched for birds. The late departers (Alice, Mark, Cheryle, Ann and Nikki) split into two options: early morning game drivers with Ken, driven by Abdul; and free-timers until a 10am departure.  I managed to find the elusive but loudly hooting Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl in the grounds a couple of times in the early morning – a huge bird with gruff voice. The early game drive produced further additions to the bird list – Red-cheeked Cordonbleu, adult Bateluer perched up close, African Golden Oriole and a splendid herd of 100 or more Elephants. Both groups departed Tarangire with a heavy heart, watching the last of those magnificent game animals pass by and still finding things of interest (a huge Monitor Lizard atop a termite mound for the early group) and of course new species of birds along the way. Huge flocks of nomadic Red-billed Queleas had started appearing, Red Bishop and Paradise Whydah found by Ken’s group making a final bird total of 288.

 

The first group arrived into Arusha by about 11.45am as planned, followed about an hour later by the later group. We had a good lunch at “Cultural Heritage” – a huge “emporium” and gallery where last minute shopping was on offer for all. Anthony Raphael, the owner of the company was there to meet us and formulate final departure plans for all. We assembled at the trusty Landcruisers for a final group shot and farewells at 2pm, when Geitan took the early group to the airport for their 5.15pm departure. Along the way he dropped Ken and I off at Arumeru River Lodge to meet the participants of the new, incoming group to start another tour afresh tomorrow. Half an hour later the later group was transferred to day rooms at Ilboru Lodge in Arusha where they hopefully managed to relax a little, clean up, change and re-pack before transferring to the airport for their 9.40pm departure.

 

Day 10. February 18th: Arrival Home. Margaret, Jean, Jo and Liz arrived back off their Ethiopian Airlines flight into London Heathrow by 6.55am this morning. Mark, Cheryle, Alice, Ann and Nicki arrived into Amsterdam in the early morning with time to connect to onward flights to UK and USA.

 

Footnote: This shorter tour to Tanzania was devised for my sister Margaret to make for a less costly, less intensely “birdy” tour that still encompassed the very best of mammal sightings. It was obviously a popular idea as it filled up with more family and friends, making for a lovely group of people who seemed to get on famously. I believe it did the job and hope you all found it a good experience. I’ve travelled on similar safaris in Tanzania on about 25 occasions and still love it – I think it is the best place on the planet and hope you’ve taken it to your hearts too.

 

SPECIES SCIENTIFIC NAME 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
Ostrich Struthionidae
1 Ostrich Struthio camelus 6 50 x x x
Ducks, Geese & Swans Anatidae
2 Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiaca x 10 6 10 x x
3 Spur-winged Goose Plectropterus gambensis 2
4 African Black Duck Anas sparsa 4 2
5 Cape Teal Anas capensis 2 x
6 Red-billed Duck Anas erythrorhyncha 2 2
7 Hottentot Teal Anas hottentota 6
8 Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata 100
Guineafowl Numididae
9 Helmeted Guineafowl Numida meleagris 5 x 15 x x x x
Pheasants, Partridges & Allies Phasianidae
10 Coqui Francolin Francolinus coqui 3 1 h
11 Crested Francolin Francolinus sephaena 1 10
12 Yellow-necked Francolin (Spurfowl) Francolinus leucoscepus x x
13 Gray-breasted Francolin (Spurfowl) Francolinus rufopictus 2 6 2
14 Red-necked Francolin (Spurfowl) Francolinus afer x x
Grebes Podicipedidae
15 Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis 6
Flamingos Phoenicopteridae
16 Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus x
17 Lesser Flamingo Phoenicopterus minor x 60 x
Storks Ciconidae
18 Abdim’s Stork Ciconia abdimii x x x
19 White Stork Ciconia ciconia x x x x 1
20 Marabou Stork Leptoptilos crumeniferus 10 x x 15 5 x x
21 Yellow-billed Stork Mycteria ibis 2 5 x
Pelicans Pelecanidae
22 Great White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus 6
23 Pink-backed Pelican Pelecanus rufescens x
Hamerkop Scopidae
24 Hamerkop Scopus umbretta 2
Herons, Egrets & Bitterns Ardeidae
25 Gray Heron Ardea cinerea 1 1
26 Black-headed Heron Ardea melanocephala x x x x x x x x
27 Intermediate Egret Mesophoyx intermedia 1
28 Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis x x x x x x x x
29 Striated Heron Butorides striata 1 4 2
30 Black-crowned Night-Heron Nycticorax nycticorax 1
Ibises & Spoonbills Threskiornithidae
31 Sacred Ibis Threskiornis aethiopicus 5 x
32 Hadada Ibis Bostrychia hagedash 10 h 6
Hawks, Eagles & Kites Accipitridae
33 Black-shouldered Kite Elanus caeruleus 1 1 1
34 Black Kite Milvus migrans 5 x 10 x
35 African Fish-Eagle Haliaeetus vocifer h h
36 Hooded Vulture Necrosyrtes monachus 5 3
37 White-backed Vulture Gyps africanus 2 5 5 4 2
38 Rueppell’s Griffon Gyps rueppellii 5 10
39 Lappet-faced Vulture Torgos tracheliotus 2 4 1 2
40 Black-breasted Snake-Eagle Circaetus pectoralis 2
SPECIES SCIENTIFIC NAME 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
41 Brown Snake-Eagle Circaetus cinereus 1 1
42 Bateleur Terathopius ecaudatus 1 1 2 1 1
43 Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus 1 1
44 Montagu’s Harrier Circus pygargus 1 x
45 African Harrier-Hawk Polyboroides typus 1 1
46 Dark Chanting-Goshawk Melierax metabates 1
47 Eastern Chanting-Goshawk Melierax poliopterus 1
48 Gabar Goshawk Micronisus gabar 1
49 Mountain Buzzard Buteo oreophilus 1
50 Augur Buzzard Buteo augur 1 1 6 2 2
51 Tawny Eagle Aquila rapax 1 1 5 x 2 6 2 2
52 Steppe Eagle Aquila nipalensis 1 1
53 African Hawk-Eagle Aquila spilogaster 1
54 Verreaux’s Eagle Aquila verreauxii 1
55 Martial Eagle Polemaetus bellicosus 1 2
56 Long-crested Eagle Lophaetus occipitalis 2
Secretary-bird Sagittariidae
57 Secretary-bird Sagittarius serpentarius 2 1 4 4 1
Falcons & Caracaras Falconidae
58 Pygmy Falcon Polihierax semitorquatus 2 1 2 1 2
59 Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni 4 15 x
60 Gray Kestrel Falco ardosiaceus 1 2
61 Lanner Falcon Falco biarmicus 1
Bustards Otididae
62 Kori Bustard Ardeotis kori 1 6 1 x
Rails, Gallinules & Coots Rallidae
63 Black Crake Amaurornis flavirostra 3 1
64 Eurasian Moorhen Gallinula chloropus 2
65 Red-knobbed Coot Fulica cristata h
Cranes Gruidae
66 Gray Crowned-Crane Balearica regulorum 2 230
Thick-knees Burhinidae
67 Water Thick-knee Burhinus vermiculatus 2 4
68 Spotted Thick-knee Burhinus capensis 3
Plovers & Lapwings Charadriidae
69 Long-toed Lapwing (Plover) Vanellus crassirostris 4
70 Blacksmith Plover Vanellus armatus x x x x x x
71 Senegal Lapwing (Plover) Vanellus lugubris 12
72 Crowned Lapwing (Plover) Vanellus coronatus 6 15 x x 10 6
73 Wattled Lapwing (Plover) Vanellus senegallus 1
74 Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula 1
75 Kittlitz’s Plover Charadrius pecuarius 1
76 Three-banded Plover Charadrius tricollaris x x x 3 2
77 Chestnut-banded Plover Charadrius pallidus 5 5
Stilts & Avocets Recurvirostridae
78 Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus 5 15 x x
79 Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta 10
Sandpipers & Allies Scolopacidae
80 Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos 5 5 5 4
81 Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus h 2 2 2
82 Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia h 1 15 12
83 Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis 1 5 4 2 15
SPECIES SCIENTIFIC NAME 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
84 Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola x x x x x x
85 Little Stint Calidris minuta 10 10 x x x
86 Ruff Philomachus pugnax 1 6 x x x 1
87 Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago 1 3 6
Coursers & Pratincoles Glareolidae
88 Temminck’s Courser Cursorius temminckii 4 4
89 Double-banded Courser Smutsornis africanus 5 4 2 2 2
90 Collared Pratincole Glareola pratincola 800
Gulls, Terns & Skimmers Laridae
91 Gull-billed Tern Gelochelidon nilotica 3 3
92 Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybrida 5
Sandgrouse Pteroclidae
93 Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse Pterocles exustus 7 10 6
94 Yellow-throated Sandgrouse Pterocles gutturalis 5 2
95 Black-faced Sandgrouse Pterocles decoratus 2
Pigeons & Doves Columbidae
96 Speckled Pigeon Columba guinea 5 1
97 Rameron (Olive) Pigeon Columba arquatrix 10 2
98 Dusky Turtle-Dove Streptopelia lugens 10 1
99 Mourning Collared  Dove Streptopelia decipiens x x x x x x
100 Red-eyed Dove Streptopelia semitorquata h x x x x x x x x
101 Ring-necked Dove Streptopelia capicola h x x x x x x x
102 Laughing Dove Streptopelia senegalensis 4 x x x x x
103 Namaqua Dove Oena capensis 6 5 2
Macaws, Parrots & Allies Psittacidae
104 Fischer’s Lovebird Agapornis fischeri 4 10 x x 50
105 Yellow-collared Lovebird Agapornis personatus 5 6
106 Meyer’s Parrot Poicephalus meyeri 2 1 4 1
107 Red (Orange)-bellied Parrot Poicephalus rufiventris 2
Turacos Musophagidae
108 Schalow’s Turaco Tauraco schalowi 1 h h
109 Bare-faced Go-away-bird Corythaixoides personatus 2
110 White-bellied Go-away-bird Corythaixoides leucogaster x 2
Cuckoos Cuculidae
111 Red-chested Cuckoo Cuculus solitarius 5 1
112 Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus 1
113 African Cuckoo Cuculus gularis 1 1
114 Klaas’s Cuckoo Chrysococcyx klaas 1
115 Dideric Cuckoo Chrysococcyx caprius 1 1 h h 1 3
116 White-browed Coucal Centropus superciliosus 4 1 2 1
Owls Strigidae
117 African Scops-Owl Otus senegalensis 1
118 Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl Bubo lacteus 1
119 Pearl-spotted Owlet Glaucidium perlatum 1 1 1
Swifts Apodidae
120 Mottled Spinetail Telecanthura ussheri 1
121 Common Swift Apus apus x x
122 Little Swift Apus affinis x x x x
123 White-rumped Swift Apus caffer x
124 Mottled Swift Apus aequatorialis 5 10
125 African Palm-Swift Cypsiurus parvus 20 x
SPECIES SCIENTIFIC NAME 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
Mousebirds Colidae
126 Speckled Mousebird Colius striatus 1 10 x x 1
127 Blue-naped Mousebird Urocolius macrourus 4 1
Kingfishers Alcedinidae
128 Malachite Kingfisher Corythornis cristata 1
129 Woodland Kingfisher Halcyon senegalensis 1 2
130 Striped Kingfisher Halcyon chelicuti 1 2
131 Giant Kingfisher Megaceryle maximus 2
132 Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis 1
Bee-eaters Meropidae
133 Little Bee-eater Merops pusillus 10 2 1
134 Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater Merops oreobates 5
135 White-throated Bee-eater Merops albicollis 2
136 European Bee-eater Merops apiaster h
Rollers Coraciidae
137 European Roller Coracias garrulus 5 x x x x
138 Lilac-breasted Roller Coracias caudatus 6 x x x x x x
Hoopoes Upupidae
139 Eurasian Hoopoe Upupa epops h h
Woodhoopoes & Allies Phoeniculidae
140 Green Woodhoopoe Phoeniculus purpureus 1
141 Abyssinian Scimitar-bill Rhinopomastus minor 2 4
Hornbills Bucerotidae
142 Northern Red-billed Hornbill Tockus erythrorhynchus 5 4
143 Von der Decken’s Hornbill Tockus deckeni 4 2
144 Crowned Hornbill Tockus alboterminatus 1
145 African Gray Hornbill Tockus nasutus 1 h 1
146 Silvery-cheeked Hornbill Ceratogymna brevis 24 2
147 Southern Ground-Hornbill Bucorvus leadbeateri 4
African Barbets Lybiidae
148 D’Arnaud’s Barbet Trachyphonus darnaudii 10 x x x
149 White-eared Barbet Stactolaema leucotis 1
150 Red-fronted Tinkerbird Pogoniulus pusillus 1
151 Red-fronted Barbet Tricholaema diademata 1 3
152 Spot-flanked Barbet Tricholaema lachrymosa 1
Honeyguides Indicatoridae
153 Greater Honeyguide Indicator indicator 1
Woodpeckers & Allies Picidae
154 Nubian Woodpecker Campethera nubica 1
155 Cardinal Woodpecker Dendropicos fuscescens 1 1 1
156 Bearded Woodpecker Dendropicos namaquus 1 1
157 Gray-headed (Gray) Woodpecker Dendropicos spodocephalus 1 1 1 1
Wattle-eyes Platysteiridae
158 Chinspot Batis Batis molitor h 1
Bushshrikes & Allies Malaconotidae
159 Brubru Nilaus afer h 2 h h
160 Brown-crowned Tchagra Tchagra australis 1 2 h
161 Tropical Boubou Laniarius aethiopicus 2 h h h
162 Slate-colored Boubou Laniarius funebris 10 6 8 x x 5 4
Shrikes Laniidae
163 Gray-backed Fiscal Lanius excubitoroides x x
164 Long-tailed Fiscal Lanius cabanisi 4 1 5
SPECIES SCIENTIFIC NAME 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
165 Taita Fiscal Lanius dorsalis 1 1
166 Common Fiscal Lanius collaris 4 10 x
167 Magpie Shrike Corvinella melanoleuca 6 x 2 15 10
168 White-rumped (Wh.-crowned)  Shrike Eurocephalus rueppelli x x x x x x x
Old World Orioles Oriolidae
169 African Golden Oriole Oriolus auratus 1
Drongos Dicruridae
170 Fork-tailed Drongo Dicrurus adsimilis 4 6 2 2 2 1 x
Crows, Jays & Magpies Corvidae
171 Cape Crow (Cape Rook) Corvus capensis 2
172 Pied Crow Corvus albus x x x
173 White-necked Raven Corvus albicollis 2
Larks Alaudidae
174 Rufous-naped Lark Mirafra africana x x x x
175 Flappet Lark Mirafra rufocinnamomea 2
176 Foxy Lark Calendulauda alopex 1 5
(Fawn-colored Lark) Calend. (Mirafra) africanoides
177 Fischer’s Sparrow-Lark Eremopterix leucopareia 10 x x x x
178 Red-capped Lark Calandrella cinerea 10 x x
Swallows Hirundinidae
179 Banded Martin Riparia cincta 10 4
180 Bank Swallow Riparia riparia 1
181 Rock Martin Ptyonoprogne fuligula x x x x x
182 Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica x x x x x x
183 Wire-tailed Swallow Hirundo smithii 10 2
184 Black Sawwing Psalidoprocne pristoptera 6 x
185 Lesser Striped-Swallow Cecropis abyssinica x x x 5
186 Mosque Swallow Cecropis senegalensis 1
187 Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica x x x x
Chickadees & Tits Paridae
188 Red-throated Tit Melaniparus fringillinus 3 h
Bulbuls Pycnonotidae
189 Stripe-cheeked Bulbul Arizelocichla (Andr.) milanjensis h h
190 Common Bulbul Pycnonotus barbatus x x x x x x x
African Warblers Macrosphenidae
191 Red-faced Crombec Sylvietta whytii 1 1 2
Leaf Warblers Phylloscopidae
192 Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus h
Reed-Warblers & Allies Acrocephalidae
193 Eastern Olivaceous Warbler Hippolais pallida 1 4 4
194 Lesser Swamp-Warbler Acrocephalus gracilirostris 4
Grassbirds & Allies Megaluridae
195 Cinnamon Bracken-Warbler Bradypterus cinnamomeus h
Cisticolas & Allies Cisticolidae
196 Yellow-breasted Apalis Apalis flavida 1
197 Brown-headed Apalis Apalis alticola h
198 Green (Gray) – backed Camaroptera Camaroptera brachyura h 1 5 3
199 Hunter’s Cisticola Cisticola hunteri 5 6 6
200 Rattling Cisticola Cisticola chiniana x x x x x x x x
201 Wailing Cisticola Cisticola lais 1
202 Winding Cisticola Cisticola galactotes 6 h h
203 Croaking Cisticola Cisticola natalensis h 2
SPECIES SCIENTIFIC NAME 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
204 Pectoral-patch Cisticola Cisticola brunnescens 1 6 5 3
205 Tawny-flanked Prinia Prinia subflava h
Old World Warblers Sylviidae
206 Banded Warbler (Parisoma) Parisoma boehmi h h 1 h h 1
Laughingthrushes Leiothricidae
207 Black-lored Babbler Turdoides sharpei 2 4 10 6
Old World Flycatchers Muscicapidae
208 Silverbird Empidornis semipartitus 15 x x
209 Pale Flycatcher Bradornis pallidus 1 1
210 Grayish (African Gray) Flycatcher Bradornis microrhynchus 5 1 x x 2
211 White-eyed Slaty-Flycatcher Melaenornis fischeri 5 x
212 Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata 2 2
213 Dusky Brown (African Dusky) Flycatcher Muscicapa adusta 4
214 Red-backed (White-brow.) Scrub-Robin Cercotrichas leucophrys 1
215 White-browed Robin-Chat Cossypha heuglini 2
216 Spotted Morning-Thrush Cichladusa guttata 4 1 2
217 White-throated Robin Irania gutturalis 1
218 Rufous-tailed Rock-Thrush Monticola saxatilis 1
219 Whinchat Saxicola rubetra 1
220 Stonechat Saxicola torquatus 2 2
221 Northern Anteater-Chat Myrmecocichla aethiops 4
222 Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe 10 x x 6
223 Mourning (Schalow’s) Wheatear Oenanthe lugens 1 6 4
224 Pied Wheatear Oenanthe pleschanka 1 2 4
225 Capped Wheatear Oenanthe pileata 3 5 x 5
226 Isabelline Wheatear Oenanthe isabellina 1 6
Thrushes & Allies Turdidae
227 Abyssinian (Olive) Thrush Turdus olivaceus 1
Starlings Sturnidae
228 Wattled Starling Creatophora cinerea x x x x x x x x
229 Rueppell’s (Long-tailed) Glossy-Starling Lamprotornis purpuropterus x x
230 Superb Starling Lamprotornis superbus x x x x x x x x
231 Hildebrandt’s Starling Lamprotornis hildebrandti x x x x
232 Ashy Starling Spreo unicolor x x
233 Red-winged Starling Onychognathus morio 2 5 2 2
234 Kenrick’s Starling Poeoptera kenricki 2
Oxpeckers Buphagidae
235 Red-billed Oxpecker Buphagus erythrorhynchus 1 x
236 Yellow-billed Oxpecker Buphagus africanus x 1 x
Sunbirds Nectarinidae
237 Kenya (East.) Violet-backed Sunbird Anthreptes orientalis 1
238 Collared Sunbird Hedydipna collaris 1 1
239 Eastern Olive Sunbird Cyanomitra olivacea 1
240 Amethyst Sunbird Chalcomitra amethystina 1
241 Scarlet-chested Sunbird Chalcomitra senegalensis 1 3 2 2
242 Tacazze Sunbird Nectarinia tacazze 1
243 Bronze Sunbird Nectarinia kilimensis 1 1
244 Golden-winged Sunbird Drepanorhynchus reichenowi 2 1 4
245 Eastern Double-collared Sunbird Cinnyris mediocris 1
246 Beautiful Sunbird Cinnyris pulchellus 1 2 4
247 Variable Sunbird Cinnyris venustus 1 2
SPECIES SCIENTIFIC NAME 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
Wagtails & Pipits Motacillidae
248 African Pied Wagtail Motacilla aguimp 4
249 Western Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava 10 x
250 Plain-backed Pipit Anthus leucophrys 2
251 African (Grassland) Pipit Anthus cinnamomeus 4 x 6 x x
252 Long-billed Pipit Anthus similis 1
253 Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis 1
254 Yellow-throated Longclaw Macronyx croceus 1
Siskins, Crossbills & Allies Fringillidae
255 Yellow-fronted Canary Serinus mozambicus 2 2
256 White-bellied Canary Serinus dorsostriatus 2 x x x
257 Streaky Seedeater Serinus striolatus 4
Old World Sparrows Passeridae
258 House Sparrow ( I ) Passer domesticus 5
259 Kenya Rufous Sparrow Passer rufocinctus 2 1
260 Northern Gray-headed Sparrow Passer griseus 1 x
261 Swaheli Sparrow Passer suahelicus x x x x x x x
262 Chestnut Sparrow Passer eminibey 25 2
263 Yellow-spotted Petronia Petronia pyrgita 2
Weavers & Allies Ploceidae
264 Red-billed Buffalo-Weaver Bubalornis niger x x x x x x x
265 White-headed Buffalo-Weaver Dinemellia dinemelli x x x x
266 Speckle-fronted Weaver Sporopipes frontalis 10 5 1 5 5 5
267 Rufous-tailed Weaver Histurgops ruficauda 2 x x x x x x x
268 Gray-headed Social-Weaver Pseudonigrita arnaudi x x x
269 Baglafecht Weaver Ploceus baglafecht x x x
270 Lesser Masked-Weaver Ploceus intermedius 1
271 African (Vitelline) Masked-Weaver Ploceus (velatus) vitellinus 1 5 4
272 Village Weaver Ploceus cucullatus 1 4
273 Speke’s Weaver Ploceus spekei 2 2 2
274 Chestnut Weaver Ploceus rubiginosus 1 25
275 Red-billed Quelea Quelea quelea x x
276 Black Bishop Euplectes gierowii 1
277 (Southern) Red Bishop Euplectes orix 1
278 Fan-tailed Widowbird Euplectes axillaris 25
279 Red-collared Widowbird Euplectes ardens 1 6
280 Grosbeak Weaver Amblyospiza albifrons 5
Waxbills & Allies Estrildidae
281 Red-cheeked Cordonbleu Uraeginthus bengalus 4
282 Blue-capped Cordonbleu Uraeginthus cyanocephalus 2 x 4 5 x
283 Purple Grenadier Granatina  ianthinogaster 1
284 Red-billed Firefinch Lagonosticta senegala 2 2
285 Gray-headed Silverbill Odontospiza (Lon.) griseicapilla 2
Indigobirds Viduidae
286 Steel-blue Whydah Vidua hypocherina 1
287 Pin-tailed Whydah Vidua macroura 1
288 Eastern Paradise-Whydah Vidua paradisaea 1
MAMMALS SCIENTIFIC NAME 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
Colobid monkeys Colobidae
1 Guereza (Black & White) Colobus Colobus guereza 10 1
Cheek-pouch Monkeys Cercopithecidae
2 Vervet Monkey Cerc. (aethiops) pygerythrus 5 x x 10 10 x
3 Gentle (Blue/Syke’s)  Monkey Cercopithecus (nictitans) mitis x 5
4 Olive Baboon Papio anubis 1 4 100 x
Large-winged Bats Megadermatidae
5 Yellow-winged Bat Lavia frons x 2
Unidentified Small Bats Microchiroptera
6 Bat sp. x 1 x x x
Rats & Mice Muridae
7 Grass Rat sp. x x x
8 Mouse sp. x x x
Foxes, Jackals & Dogs Canidae
9 Common (Golden) Jackal Canis aureus 1 1 2
10 Black-backed Jackal Canis mesomelas 2 3 2 1
11 Bat-eared Fox Otocyon megalotis 11 1
Mongooses Herpestidae
12 Slender Mongoose Herpestes sanguinea 1
13 Dwarf Mongoose Helogale parvula 20
14 Banded Mongoose Mungos mungo 2
Hyenas & Aardwolf Hyaenidae
15 Spotted Hyena Crocuta crocuta 1 1 15
Genets & Civets Viverridae
16 Common (Small-spotted) Genet Genetta genetta 4 4
Cats Felidae
17 Leopard Panthera pardus 3 3
18 Lion Panthera leo 5 1 2 15 9
19 Cheetah Acinonyx jubatus 5
Hyraxes Procavidae
20 Black-necked Rock Hyrax Procavia johnstoni x x 6
21 Tree Hyrax Dendrohyrax arboreus x x h
22 Bush (Yellow-spotted) Hyrax Heterohyrax brucei x x
Elephants Elephantidae
23 African Elephant Loxodonta africana 3 25 12 10 2 12 x 150
Zebras, Asses & Horses Equidae
24 Common Zebra Equus africanus (burchellii) x x x x x x x x
Rhinoceroses Rhinoceridae
25 Black Rhinoceros Diceros bicornis 1 4
Hippopotamidae Hippopotami
26 Hippopotamus Hippopotamus amphibius 40 x x x
Pigs Suidae
27 Common Warthog Phacochoerus africanus 7 x x 20 x x 1 6
Giraffe & Okapi Giraffidae
28 Giraffe Giraffa camelopardalis 2 25 10 5 x 10 6
Antelope & Buffalo Bovidae
29 African (Cape) Buffalo Syncerus caffer 2 2 2 x 200
30 Bushbuck Tragelaphus scriptus 2
31 Common Eland Taurotragus oryx 12 30 30
32 Kirk’s Dik-dik Madoqua kirkii 4 20 6 1 x
33 Bohor Reedbuck Redunca redunca 1
34 Common (inc. Defassa) Waterbuck Kobus ellipsiprymnus 3 1 1 2
MAMMALS SCIENTIFIC NAME 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
35 Grant’s Gazelle Gazella granti 2 5 x x x x
36 Red-fronted (Thomson’s) Gazelle Gazella rufifrons (thomsonii) 6 20 x x x x
37 Impala Aepyceros melampus x x x x x x x
38 Topi Damaliscus lunatus 30 10
39 Kongoni (Coke’s Hartebeest) Alcelaphus buselaphus 2 30 10 5
40 Brindled Gnu (Wildebeest) Connochaetes taurinus 40 x x 10 x
REPTILES 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
1 Nile Crocodile Crocodilus niloticus 1 6
2 Nile Monitor Lizard Varanus niloticus 2 1
3 Leopard Tortoise Geochelone pardalis 1
4 Pancake Tortoise Malacochersus turneri 1
5 Mwanza Flat-headed Agama Agama mwanzae x x x
6 Blue-headed Tree Agama Acanthocerus atricollis 1 1
7 Skink sp. 1

 

Other Tanzania Trip Reports arranged by years.

 

2014  |   2013  |  2012  |  2011  |  2010   |  2008   |  2006 2005    |  2003

 

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