Sunday, 8 July 2018

Birding Tanzania Blog Post 3 - Days 8 -11

Due to my GCSE exams, I had an especially long summer holiday this year and my family and I decided to take full advantage of this by going to Tanzania for three weeks, Madagascar for 4 weeks, and with a three week school trip to Kenya wedged between them. 


We had booked our 22 day birding trip with Tanzania Birding and Beyond (www.tanzaniabirding.com/about-us.html). Tina in the office was very responsive and sorted queries out very quickly. It is a Tanzanian owned company which is also great. Our guide was Anthony Raphael who was excellent at digging out the target species for us, staying focussed and not giving up. Our driver Gaiten was also brilliant, having some very long journeys to do. Anthony is at the Bird Fair 2018, so go and talk to him.


Day 8 - 4 July 2018

On Wednesday 4th July, we left The Country Lodge after breakfast and birded in the Lake Manyara area trying to pick up a couple of birds we had still missed. We managed to catch up with Straw-tailed Whydah from a roadside stop.  At the Manyara Lake area itself, we saw Steel-blue Whydah, Abyssinian Wheatear, Rufous-tailed Weaver and looked again for Bare-eyed Thrush.




Straw-tailed Whydah, Manyara Lake area, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig


Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig & Chris Craig, Manyara Lake area, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

From the lake area, we travelled to Tarangire National Park, to the south east, in time for a picnic lunch before birding the outer road from our vehicle.  We were specifically looking for Pangani Longclaw, which we didn’t see, but had to keep swatting the Tsu flies which have a nasty bite. 



Buffalo, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig


Giraffe with baby, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig


We arrived at Tarangire Lodge within the park when it was still light. The views from the verandah over the park and flood plains were stunning. We also managed to speak to my sister Ayesha on WhatsApp which was fantastic.

Our bungalow was a little walk from the main building and again we were told to be careful, as there was no fence, look for eye shine with our torches (flashlights). After dinner, I wanted to back to our room alone but was told by my Dad I had to wait for them. There were lots of sounds around but the loud roar of a Lion close by when I was in bed kept things real.


Day 9 - 5 July 2018

On Thursday 5th July, after an early breakfast, our guide, Anthony, asked us if we wanted to go back and look for Pangani Longclaw or go to look for more animals. We were unanimous; we wanted to go and look for a brown drab bird in a biting-fly infested area of the park. After about an hour, there they were, 4 Pangani Longclaw, a new bird for us.



Warthog, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig


Elephants with baby, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

Pangani Longclaw, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

Pygmy Falcon, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig


Love-collared Lovebird, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig


Next we drove back to Arusha, where we were back staying at the Korona Villa. Arusha is Tanzania’s third city and it was where The Rwandan war trials were held.


Day 10 - 6 July 2018

Greater and Lesser Flamingo, Arusha National Park, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig


On the morning of Friday 6th July, we drove to Arusha National Park. It has a large lake which we birded for ducks and other water birds. A large section of park was flooded from recent heavy rains and so the roads couldn’t be passed and lots of habitat had been washed away. More signs of climate change being seen here.



Flooding, Arusha National Park, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

Flooding, Arusha National Park, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

Some of the birds we saw were Mountain Green-bull, Striped-faced Greenbull, Grey-olive Greenbull, Augur Falcon and another Pangani Longclaw.



Augar Buzzard, Arusha National Park, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig


Colobus Monkey, Arusha National Park, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig



Narina Trogon, Arusha National Park, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

White-fronted Bee-eater, Arusha National Park, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig


Pagani Longclaw, Arusha National Park, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig



Day 11 - 7 July 2018

On Saturday 7th July, we drove east from Arusha to the Lark plains close to Mount Kilimanjaro and the border with Kenya. Tanzania Birding and Beyond had set up a bird tourism conservation project that provides income to the local Masai community. They have trained 2 young men to find the 3 rare Larks that occur here, Beesley’s, Athi Short-toed and Short-tailed Lark. The first of these is endemic to this tiny area with only about 200 birds left. If you go birding to Tanzania, please make sure you fit this site into your itinerary. The contact details are 076348921, 0758508163 or beesleyslarkengikarat@gmail.com .

The Masai men had found 3 Beesley’s Larks and waited for us to arrive, to show us. The other 2 larks were a bit easier to find, in these small plains in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro. 



Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig with Masai guides, Lark Plains, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig


Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig with guide Anthony, Lark Plains, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig


Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig, Lark Plains, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig


Lark Plains, Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig, Lark Plains, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig



Athi Short-toed Lark, Lark Plains, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

Beesley's Lark, Lark Plains, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

Short-talled Lark, Lark Plains, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig and Chris Craig, Lark Plains, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig with Chris Craig, Lark Plains, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

 Lark Plains, Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig


Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig, Lark Plains, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig


Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig, Lark Plains, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

Lark Plains, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig



The afternoon was time off, so the vehicle could be checked over, which fitted in well, with the England V Sweden World Cup quarter finals. So at 5 pm we found a working TV to watch England win 2-0. Fantastic end to the day!



Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig and Chris Craig watching football, Arusha, Tanzania
Photograph copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

About the Author

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig in Antarctica
Photograph copyright Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig



Mya-Rose Craig is a 16-year-old young British Bangladeshi birder, naturalist, conservationist, environmentalist, activist, writer and speaker. She is based near Bristol and writes the successful Birdgirl Blog, with posts about birding and conservation from around the world. She loved seeing Mountain Gorillas in East Africa and Penguins in Antarctica over Christmas 2015, her 7th continent. She is looking forward to visiting Tanzania, Kenya and Madagascar birding in 2018 and hopes to see her 5000th bird species in the world.

Mya-Rose was a Bristol European Green Capital Ambassador along with Kevin McCloud, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Tony Juniper, Simon King, Miranda Krestovnikoff and Shaun the Sheep! See the full list of Bristol Ambassadors. She has also been listed with the singer-songwriter George Ezra and actress Maisie Williams from Game of Thrones as one of Bristol's most influential young people
She is an Ambassador for World Shorebirds Day, See It Her Way and a Charter Champion for The Charter for Woods, Trees and People. She has given over 50 talks, speaking at conferences such as being on a panel with George Monbiot and Caroline Lucas on Sustainability and the Future of Cities. She has also appeared on TV an dis particularly proud of being in Silent Roars, a short film which was part of Listen to Britain 2017 https://player.bfi.org.uk/free/film/watch-the-silent-roars-2017-onlineShe organised a conference, Race Equality in Nature, in June 2016 aiming to increase the ethnic diversity in nature and plans to run her fifth Camp Avalon camp in 2018. She has also set up Black2Nature with the aim of working with organisations to increase the access to nature of Black Asian Minority Ethnic people. Please connect with her on LinkedIn (Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig) so that she can invite you to join the Race Equality in Nature LinkedIn Group and be part of the change. She has been awarded the Bath and West Show Environmental Youth Award 2017 for Bristol for her Black2Nature work EYA 2017Please also like her Birdgirl Facebook Page and follow her on Birdgirl Twitter.





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