Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Holiday - The final few days

We started the next leg of our journey from the Ngorongoro Farmhouse a really surprising place that was pretty much self sufficient, set in 500 acres of farmland, an early morning walk rewarded us with singing Willow Warblers a Blackcap and a European Bee-eater, there were some new birds to, African Citril, Brown Crowned Tchagra and a stunning Bronze Sunbird.
After breakfast we headed off to Tarangire National Park we arrived just before lunch and while we waited for Wilson to get the tickets we saw Ashy Starlings, White Headed Buffalo Weaver and Red billed Hornbills a nice start to the game drive. Once through the gates we encountered our first mammals, a nice herd of Elephants, followed by Waterbuck, Giraffe, Impala, Bohors Reedbuck and Zebra. Tarangire is a much more bushy and long grassed reserve and viewing can be difficult but it does hold around 7000 Elephants if I've remembered that rightly, which delighted my wife as she loves Elephants and there were plenty of young calves around for cute photos!!
We pushed on but it was very hot and the TseTse flies were biting a bit too much for comfort!! We did find a nice Black Headed Oriole and Forest Kingfisher, there were good numbers of Blue-Cheeked Bee-eaters as well. On the mammal front we did add one Lion and an Unstriped Ground Squirrel! The heat and flies finally beat us around 4.30 and we headed for the lodge, only half an hour before we were scheduled to be back. What was nice was as we had a cold drink a Genet appeared in the rafters of the lounge then disappeared outside!

                                                       Blue-Cheeked Bee-eater
Our last game drive was again in Tarangire, we were fully refreshed and Wilson took us on some quiet tracks to look for Hunting Dogs and Kudu. We started with a group of 5 Ostriches and a really confiding Lilac-Breasted Roller, mammals were again difficult, we found some fresh Leopard prints and spotted some more Impala and Waterbuck with again loads of Elephant, driving along the edge of a marsh we saw Glossy Ibis, Hottentot Teal and we stopped to identify my only confirmed Cisticola of the trip, Winding Cisticola. (I thought stopping for lots of LBJ's would have been pushing my luck a bit too far!!) Once back in the bushy areas a good run of birds included Straw Tailed, Pin Tailed and Steel Blue Whydahs plus Emerald Spotted Dove and at last the magnificent African Fish Eagle, in fact 4 in total. Wilson had to speed up a bit as our ticket lasted only 24 hours on the way back to the gate we did find our last Lion and lots more, you guessed it Elephants and very welcome they were to.

Our final day was a rest day in our lodge in Arusha, I did a couple of small walks trying add a couple of final birds, a Sulphur Breasted Bush Shrike was a colourful addition as was Red Headed Weaver.
We ended the trip having seen 37 species of mammals and just over 250 bird species in 8 days, it was full on but we slept well and had a great guide for the week, lots of safari vehicles whizzed passed during the week and I wondered how much they all saw. It's now time to start saving for the next one!!


Rachel J said...

All sounds really fantastic. I bet you'll be reliving this holiday for quite some time to come. It's amazing how much mileage you can get out of a holiday just going back over the memories, talking about it, looking at the photos and even just daydreaming about it. Great photos by the way. Where you guys off to next then??? You've set the bar high! :)

Greenie said...

Alan ,
Have the same feeling that you had , shame the trip is over .
Really enjoyed your posts and they brought back many memories of animals and birds that we saw those years ago .
Glad you posted a shot of the Lilac-breasted Roller , as although common , along with the White Headed Buffalo Weaver ,Blacksmith Plover and the Superb Starling , remain as some of the many colourful birds seen .
Must think about a return trip myself .

Alan Pavey said...

Hi Rach, I think we will be getting quite a bit of mileage from the photos etc. and daydreaming is one of my fortes!! I have no idea where to go next, although back to Africa has been mentioned, we saved very hard and have a start for our next trip, at the moment I can't imagine anything beating what we've just done. :-)

Hi Greenie, I hope you do a return trip, the excitement was something I'll never forget and to have all those birds that are so colourful around a lot of the time was fantastic. My wife is talking about going to a different part of Africa next time, if we get the chance!! Fingers crossed :-)

ShySongbird said...

What a fantastic place! You will never forget it, I'm sure. An entertaining read and lovely photos and the Elephant one really has the aaah factor :)

Alan Pavey said...

Hi Shysongbird, Thanks for your comment, I couldn't agree more about it being a fantastic place and even though I'm sure my memory isn't the best, I don't think even I will forget it!! :-)