Saturday, December 03, 2016

Arusha National Park, Tanzania


We were awoken by Crested Francolin calling noisily at the first break of day, and set about getting up and ready for breakfast.

I raced upstairs to see what was about and to drink the morning coffee   It had rained during the night, November being the start of 'the short rains'.   A Vervet Monkey was taking a drink outside the lodge:


They were constantly active, racing back and forth across the roofs and through the trees.

Outside a male and female Violet-backed Starling were waking up too:



And a White-browed Coucal was already looking for prey:


After a fantastic breakfast and armed with a packed-lunch we headed into the park.

One thing that is immediately noticeable about North Tanzania is that it is really well equipped for tourism in respect of the parks, the lodges, etc., (which is fairly broadly common) but also with facilities inside the park, such as set picnic areas, built toilets, etc.  It makes the experience more comfortable, though you do still have to keep an eye out for lions!

We drove into and around the park, looking for birds, and saw a lot of species, including Crested Eagle:


Augur Buzzard:


An African Crowned Eagle on the nest:


At one toilet stop beautiful butterflies were drinking water from the storage overflow:


And feeding on the proximate flowers:


Onwards more birds including what i think is young Common Rock Thrush:


African Dusky Flycatcher:


A Baglafecht Weaver:



Brown-hooded Kingfisher, one of the Kingfishers more adapted to forest:


The fantastic and very large for a warbler Moustached Warblers:


The frankly silly-looking Montane White-eye, this race being one of the very largest white eye rings:


A Variable Sunbird:














At one point we stopped for a bird and a striped Mongoose crossed the road behind us, then another and then another, then a dozen or so.   This was the last one and it was keen on marking its territory on the way:



You can probably tell by now that it's birds that float our boat, however we like all wildlife and nature and birding trips take us to some amazing places where we see some amazing species, for example here in Tanzania, the Blue Monkey:


We bumped into small groups regularly in the north and centre of Tanzania.


Also Black-and-white Colobus Monkey:



At the furthest drivable point we stopped by a well used fig tree for a snap, though i note the driver focused on his car rather than his passengers:


On the way back we saw Narina Trogon, one of my most-hoped for species of the trip:


One of the things i most enjoy about trips to Africa is the skies, they are enormous, i always feel pressed-down upon back in the UK.   This trip was no exception, with beautiful tall clouds lit by a fading sun:



I love the light on the water highlighting this Black Stilt:


Also by the water, Grey-crowned Crane:


And back again to the Flamingos:



Arusha is en excellent park for birding, i just wish we could walk more however the Lions really do eat people on foot, so you can only do so in organised parties and you have to have someone with a gun, at all times.   So we stayed in the car and headed back for dinner....

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