Sunday, 6 March 2011

Day - 3 and 4 Serengeti

At the end of day 2 we had seen 22 species of mammals and over 100 bird species a really good start. We were looking forward to a full day on the Serengeti, there was, of course, plenty to see we got our entry ticket where we added Brubru a small black and white bird with chestnut flanks, our first Pygmy Falcon posed well for us and Fischer's Lovebirds zoomed around in all directions. The first mammal stars of the day were a group of 3 Cheetah resting under a small tree, a mother and 2 cubs another great sight and one of those we weren't sure we would see.
With such a good start it was hard to keep up that level of excitement throughout the day. With the vastness of the Serengeti, there were periods of time when there wasn't loads to see but we still added our first Spotted Hyena and were still seeing Tawny Eagles many Montagu's Harriers, a few Pallid Harriers. Thompsons and Grants Gazelles appeared in varying numbers with Wildebeest and Zebra for good measure. We turned off the main track towards a long row trees a few different birds were here with a Blcak Coucal, African Goshawk and several Ostriches and Vultures, up ahead there were a couple of vehicles parked and it was soon apparent they were intently watching our second Leopard lounging in classic fashion on a low branch!!
Two Leopards in two days way more than I could have ever expected, we headed on to our lunchtime spot buzzing again from our mornings experiences. Lunch wasn't without it's moments we sat at a table and moved on quickly when I found a Spotted Bush Snake sliding around above our heads, there were more birds here too with D'Arnaud's Barbet, Speckle Fronted Weavers lots of Grey capped Social Weavers and a courful Amethyst Sunbird.
After lunch within minutes we watched a Hippo munching his way mower like through the grass, looking pretty mean! and most exciting of all less than half a mile on a herd of Zebra was being stalked by a Lion! it was gripping stuff, four other Lions looked on waiting for their moment to join the fray. Unfortunately fpr the Lions but lucky Zebras the chase was aborted after about 20 yards

 If you click on the top picture you can see the Lion stalking in the middle of the picture, the other Lions looked on then once the the attempted kill was aborted all four Lions proceeded to walk in front and behind our vehicle, giving the chance of the photo at the bottom of the three.
I don't think we expected anymore today but another few hundred yards down the road a superb Martial Eagle was seen, one of the birds I was really hoping to see on this trip. The last couple of hours produced our first Black Backed Jackals, Striped Mongoose plus birds such as Grey Woodpecker, Steel Blue Whydah, Black Bellied Bustard and Coqui Francolin.
We were up early on our last morning in the Serengeti, the light was fantastic, White Storks were in every tree, several Vultures were visible which led us to more Lions, it was more than obvious why they were here 100,000+ Wildebeest stretched out in every direction interspersed with Zebra, something we'll never forget!

This Jackal was a bit lost in amongst the herds of Wildebeest but did pose nicely for us, the morning was soon gone, taken up with all those Wildebeest but my wife did get a nice shot of a Black Shouldered Kite before we made our way to the Ngorongoro Crater.

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