Monday, December 12, 2016

Selous, 2nd Day

Given how productive our first day in Selous had been, we were really looking forward to our second full day in the park.

The birding started pretty much immediately with this Collared Palm-Thrush outside our tent:


And African Golden Weavers nest-building close to the main lodge building:




When we're preparing for a holiday we tend to work through the guidebooks to help us pre-learn the families and species we might see, to aid identification in the field.  We also pick a number of 'target species', birds we really want to see on the trip.  I made a mistake of focusing most of mine on specialist range-restricted species including two form the Usumabara Mountains (oops!), Helen had wisely selected a broader base of species, including the Racket-tailed Roller.   For the morning drive we were going to try and find this species.

On the way to their habitat we found a Chin-Spot Batis:


A Spotted Hyena relaxing in the shade:


White-Headed Black-Chat, male:


and female:


We'd managed just a glimpse of the species for the first half an hour in the right spot and time was ticking on.   It was also time for a bush break.  Helen, on selecting a discreet spot managed to flush three Racket-tailed Rollers, all of whom stayed relatively close:



We were chuffed to see this species and to have sufficient time to observe them in the field.

Over lunch we showed the pictures to some other guests who made the species their target for the following day!

We did see a lot more both that morning and in our afternoon drive, including African Hawk Eagle:


Collared Sunbird:


Black-collared Barbet:


Brown-headed Parrot (previously called Myer's Parrot)


Red-billed Firefinch:


Green-winged Pytillia:


Greater Blue-eared Starling:


The odd-looking Retz's Helmet-Shrike:


Scarlet-chested Sunbird:


At one point a large lizard climbed a tree, Ezra explained it was looking for nests for eggs or chicks.  They can make themselves quite small when they're not sure what is about:


The combination of the landscape and the skies never ceases to impress:




A pair of Violet-backed Starlings were nesting close to the lodge, so we got to see them relatively close-up, this is the strongly coloured male:



Back close to camp a White-fronted Bee-eater:


Sunset with a sun-downer overlooking another of the lakes was beautiful:


Time for dinner and our extended Masai guard to escort us about the camp.

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