Sunday, 30 January 2011

Mwiba ranch, or just another day in the office

So internet issues continue to plague us, with cuts every few minutes, but I thought I'd take a moment of relative stability and calm to add a few pictures from my trip last week to Mwiba. Situated south of Ndutu, a destination we love, it promised to be a hard task to check out the rufous-tailed weaver status and put together a checklist of the birds for our lawyer, who happens to own the lease. It's a chunk of village land that is probably one of the most beautiful spots I've seen in Tanzania so far. And 22,000ha with just two anti-poaching teams I us in in for the week... I drove over via a night in Ndutu, which was again fabulous, and a good chance to catch up with a couple of people running a project there who I'm trying to persuade to pay for me to burn Serengeti...
Ndutu was overrun with eagles - this is an immature Steppe Eagle

King of beasts - or just lazy oaff...

Sunset at Ndutu marsh

Cheetah on the plains south of Ndutu

Company for the trip were two brothers who have come camping with us before (in fact, you can see the older at his blog here as he runs his own rather high end safari business, if anyone else fancies his company for a trip to TZ! And the local manager, who;d decided the week would be his training in bird identification too, so we had lots of fun together. As the photos show we also managed to look at lots of plants, butterflies and other wildlife too. The number of scorpions we found was extraordinary - under each and every rock! Walking was a major part of the trip, and happily the first evening, whenw e walked into 7 large bull buffalo was not repeated the rest of the time!
Caspian plovers on the plains in Maswa GR

G's ear and buffalo whilst we pretented t be a many-headed beast to elt them pass by...

Plant sp (trust me, I'm an ornithologist...)

Another plant sp. Probably different to first. Honest.

Climbing Kopjes is fun!

Though you have to avoid the Puff-adders...


Black-backed Jackal pair - we had a pretty good mammal list by the end of the week too.

Baby giant bullfrog. Probably...

And the view over the escarpment to lake Eyasi is pretty special too.
So all in all a great week, and a little over 200 bird species recorded - highlight for me being loads of Shelley's Francolins. Though a pair of Black (Verreaux's) Eagles soaring at eyelevel past us on the escarpment was pretty special too.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Paddling fun

Well, the internet's been more off than on this week so I'm hoping to post this blog before it fails again. Mr B arrived safely back on Saturday night after a wonderful week away. He's got lots of pics to post at some point. He spent Monday in bed with a tummy bug but now better, but has also done his back in somehow and is very stiff and sore today. Combination of lifting heavy things into a Landrover, bumpy roads and a Davina workout?!

Anyway, it's been hot in the afternoons this week so I dragged out the BIG paddling pool we bought from friends who were leaving 10 months ago, and it's had lots of use with various friends coming over each day to join our kids in it. Here we are.

This last one is the Kitty Nail Salon. Get your finger and toenails daubed with coloured chalk...all absolutely free

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Bouncy fun

Today the kids and I headed out to a brand new resturant that we'd heard about. The food was okay and coffee poor, but the equipment was good! Big giraffe slide, swings, see-saw and....da dah...bouncy castle with slide! (This is amazing for Arusha!) We met one set of friends for coffee and stayed on to meet another set for lunch..

This is Kitty's teacher and her elder daughter who has just turned 5 and joined Kitty's class.

Kitty's big achievement yesterday was swimming the width of a deep pool with no arm bands. Hooray!

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Beans and Barak Obama

Wild hilarity this evening as I subtly (?!) persuade the Mancub to eat up his vegetables. Apparently the carrots have to say "Pleeeeease eat me!" and the beans have to say "Noooo - don't eat me!" The things we do.... did make him hysterically happy though, so fine with me.

And here's a nice shot of Granny on their recent visit that I found, forlorn and forgotten, on what has definitely now been demoted to camera B.

and if you are in need of a chuckle, and especially if you are a Gilber & Sullivan afficionado, check out 'Barak Obama' and white house chorus singing "I am the very model of a modern US president" on YouTube

It's very good. 

Monday, 17 January 2011

Richard the mosquito

Very quick post today as just had nice long chat with little bro over skype - shock, horror!

Interesting conversation with the Mancub earlier too. We'd all been bothered by the afternoon-flying mosquitos - not malarial but very itchy  - and I was giving him a cuddle to help him feel better from a bite.

"Mama - was it Richard?"

"Uuur - was WHAT Richard???"

"was it Richard one, like you had?"

Pause for blank looks from Mama....and then an earlier comment of mine came to mind....

"Wretched mosquito!"

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Bye bye Granny and Grandad

Granny and Grandad set off on their journey home today after a fun and action-packed fortnight. They came laden with Christmas presents, new trousers, craft supplies and medications and left with different Christmas presents, birthday presents and letters to post. We had a lovely time with them and they will be missed!

Apologies for the lack of blogging recently. We've been away a lot and the internet has been non-functional too. However, all well here and internet functioning again at present (the most recent problem was someone cutting a tree down on top of the cable....)

So, with Mr B's new camera to play with we have taken more (and better!) photos than ever! Need to do a proper sort out and edit and will probably post them in batches so as to not be overwhelming. For today, just a few of the best and worst pics...

blue-capped cordon-bleu

woodland kingfisher

Red and Yellow Barbet

Vitelline masked weaver


archery practice with the Hadza

this one likes going underwater like his big sister

Anyone else notice a resemblence to a certain uncle on the father's side in this one?

toasted marshmallows
And two lovely ones to finish

Monday, 3 January 2011

Safe arrivals

Grannie and Grandad arrived safely, if a little late yesterday afternoon. We picked them up and took them to a lodge on the way home for lunch and a swim.

Then on arrival it was Christmas all over again, with many kilos of excitement courried from a wide range f relatives and friends, surely more than we managed on Christmas day itself! Spot the Grannie made dress, and very exciting training bicycle...
Is it really a bicycle?
Grannie made it? Oooh!
And Grandad CAN read!
Thanks Daddy for putting it together - speed daemon!
Great Grannie made it all? And it matches the dress from Grannie? Wow!
For some the excitement was just too much...
But hurrah for all the fun happening in the next couple of weeks!