Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Tarangire to Lake Manyara National Park

The beauty of birding is that it gets you out early, the first few hours after dawn being the most active, particularly in hot, dry climates, so it's not unusual to be the first out and indeed the first to spot things, like these two male lions here:


They were dozing on a road just off the main park road, heading towards the river loop.   They were sort-of interested in the vehicle, as we took a wide detour around them:


Our driver stopped to tell every other driver/guide we met where to take their clients to see the lions, as the vast majority of the tourists only really want to see them.

We started off in Acacia scrub, and saw another Eurasian Cuckoo, they did actually almost seen 'Common' given how many we encountered on this trip:


Other birds in this habitat included Arrow-marked Babbler


Crowned Hornbill:



And overhead a White-headed Vulture was taking off into the morning sky:


One of my favourite animals seen on this trip is the Dwarf Mongoose, here's one typically atop a termite mound:


Masai Giraffes are always a sight to see too:


As we headed towards the river we saw a group of Yellow-collared Lovebirds:



An Isabeline Shrike:


a juvenile of the same species, quite a different looking bird:



And then at a watering hole, more lions!   These were sleeping until the lioness saw that one of the vehicles had located itself so as to give her cover, and off she strolled, followed grudgingly by the youngsters:


Almost without warning she pounced and grabbed a baby warthog:


It was time for the younger lions to learn to catch and to kill.  Mostly catch though as the warthog was repeatedly dropped, started running and was caught again.   It squealed a lot as you can imagine.   Eventually one of the lions roared and strode off with the warthog presumably to consume it.

The others headed back to shade:


We headed on towards the park exit, seeing Wattled Starling:



It's a long road between Tarangire and Lake Manyara National Parks, although the enormous lake is visible shortly after leaving Tarangire, but we did get to step out of the vehicle to snap a flame tree:


At Lake Manyara we actually headed on to our lodge, it being nearly lunchtime, stopping at a tourist shop.   We were taken aback by the prices, $4 for a simple wood spoon, $600 for a small pair of earrings with small blue Tanzanite stones in, etc.   We left promptly and headed on.

We stayed at the Serena Lodge, Lake Manyara which was very good although the build quality of the accommodation is a bit sub-par, you can hear every flick of a light switch in the adjoining rooms, but apart from that it's a very good lodge/hotel.

After lunch it was time for our drive into the park.  

Almost immediately beyond the entrance in the woodland, an African Pygmy Kingfisher was perched:


A Black-backed Puffback was exploring an Acacia:


Slate-coloured Boubou on the ground, with its partner close-by just like the guidebook said:



We approached the lakeside, seeing African Spoonbill:


Black Crake:


Kittlitz's Plover:


And a Collared Pratincole:



The main sight though is the enormous numbers of Great White Pelicans:


Here a couple are taking off:














And here another proof shot for the NASA paper, with the wings overlapping in flight:


Also airborne, White-faced Whistling-Ducks:


As we headed out of the park towards the entrance, and dilly-dallying to avoid the other vehicles and the abundant river sand on the roads, we saw Pearl-Spotted Owlet:


And Silvery-cheeked Hornbill:


Water Thick-knee:


Spot-flanked Barbet:


The last bird we saw in the park was this Black Stork:


Back at the lodge we did have time to add White-browed Robin-Chat to an impressive and thoroughly enjoyable day:

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