Saturday, 9 October 2010

Catching up...

So, a bit more time now, and the planets seem to have alligned sufficiently for us to achieve blog (so far at least, don't want to be premature...). Anyway, time for a bit of an update methinks. Looking back at recent blogs it seems there's nothing from me about my busy weaver nest mapping adventures in Grumeti from a few weeks back, so I'll start with a little about that...

First, a real highlight was flying to Serengeti - yes, it was the freight plane (well, would you trust fresh roses, peaches and other delicates to the bumpy roads if your clients were paying $1500 per night for the place?), but that had the advantage that I sat up front with the pilot and could see everything below me, from nice looks at Maasai bomas via Oldonyo Lengai.

To wildlife on the plain below as we came in to land.

Then followed 4 days of non-stop weaver nest mapping, spotting (and avoiding whilst walking to enst trees) incidental wildlife en route - 6 lions on morning, and these guys (at least, I say guys, but with hyaena you never can tell... Though we did watch two mating one morning too - strange to see such a submissive male in the wildlife world) everywhere. (Spot the topi and other assorted wildlife in the background)

The most impressive thing was how beautifully green the area was - flying over Serengeti it suddenly got green as we we headed west and into the area where Lake Victoria brings plentiful rain. Which also means great wildlife, even though we weren't anywhere near the main part of the migrantion - though a bit of it was passing. Looked a bit like all the animals had escaped to the golfcourse for a few rounds...

As always, an amazing place - and a load of early palearctic migrant birds reminded me that the seasons were changing - two semi-collared flycatchers among the early northern and isabelline wheatears, whinchats, willow warblers, yellow wagtails, spotted flycatchers and the rest were a real bonus.

Next came our friends, and the trip to Nyumba ya Mungu that you've seen. We spent the rest of that week mostly without power, often without water and never with internet to give the proper Tanzanian experience, and just contented us with gentler potters locally - a day in Arusha NP (seems I didn't take the camera there...) and a birdy trip to the lark plains (with bonus giraffe infront of Kili)

being non-child related highlights. Others did have cameras, so more pictures may follow... Then after picking Kitty up from school on Friday we headed to Tarangire for two nights, and on to Manyara Ranch for a third night. Tarangire was at it's absolute best, with lions roaring right below the lodge both nights (rather noisy, to be honest, and good for making visitors rather nervous of the dark too!)

and great to see a male - presumably one of the noisy ones - dragging a dead wildebeest off on the second morning too - only to be chased away by a huge herd of buffalo that appeared out of the dust. Great start to the day! The birds were spectacular too, with the diversity of species once again being mindblowing - a 45 minute stroll of about 150m netted over 60 species before breakfast without toiling too much! And where else can you see mottle-throated spinetails from the pool?!

Manyara Ranch too was great fun - the highlight of the safari for me was the most spectacular night drive with about 20 mammals species seen including serval, two aardwolf and three aardvark, including one that almost walked into the (parked) car! (no photos from me though, so you'll have to make do with this rather cute bat-eared fox from Grumeti, a species we saw, though not as well as some others...)

And a rather new ostrich nest was also fun

Then back home for assorted last days, packing C and S off to the crater without their children from a night, and squeezing in trips to Duluti

and other local wildlife events making the end of half-term

to make for a rather packed two weeks. Capped off with a rather neat 350th bird species for C (though we did have to count feral pigeon to get there) whilst feeding the eland on the way to the airport of a nice Bat Hawk. Very nice. 42 mammal species, 350 birds. You'd be doing well to get there in 2 weeks in the UK! (Though for the birds it's worth remembering that some of our friends here managed 314 species in just 24 hrs, so we obviously weren't trying hard enough!)

And now we've had a day of normality (great decorations and new dress provided by C, S, P and R!)  and we're signing off for another week, heading down to the coast with friends.

So, hope you made it this far. If you did, you're obviously keen and hopefully will no be inspired to have your own visit to us too! We like visitors!!!

1 comment:

  1. Have been trying to contact you by email - esteemed g