Birding in 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 southeast, 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 the park was flooded from recent heavy rains and so the roads couldn’t be passed and lots of habitats 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. A fantastic end to the day!

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

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