Thursday, 28 December 2017

Tanzania - Arusha National Park

A quick check of the gardens at first light revealed flocks of Scarce Swifts passing over, along with Brown-breasted and White-eared Barbets, White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher, Black Cuckooshrike, Bronze and Amethyst Sunbirds, and plenty of common Dark-capped Bulbuls

After breakfast we headed in our two safari vehicles into Arusha National Park which was just a 
5 minute drive away and a brief stop at the entrance gate produced Singing Cisticola, Cape Robin-Chat, Speke’s Weaver, Chestnut Weaver and the first of many Northern Fiscals. Most of the morning was hampered by rain, which made viewing difficult and reduced bird activity substantially. However, we still managed to pick up lots of birds such as Dark-capped Yellow Warbler, Tropical Boubou, Little and Cinnamon-chested Bee-eaters, Trilling Cisticola, African Black-headed Oriole, Black-headed Apalis and Brown-hooded Kingfisher before the rain stopped. 

Brown-hooded Kingfisher

Driving through an open area on our way to the Momella Lakes we had point-blank views of several White-fronted Bee-eaters, Long-billed Pipit, Crowned Lapwing, a cracking Pangani Longclaw, and an African Moustached Warbler singing from a bare stump beside the road.

Pangani Longclaw

White-fronted Bee-eater
African Moustached Warbler

Upon reaching the lakes we ate our picnic lunch whilst enjoying views of numerous Southern Pochards, a pair of Maccoa Ducks, a pair of Grey Crowned Cranes, Glossy Ibis, African Harrier Hawk, both Lesser Striped and Mosque Swallows and Winding Cisticola. A nearby muddy margin held Marsh, Wood and Common Sandpipers, and a pair of Ruff, whilst a flock of Pied Avocets were scoped further away. A few Hippopotamus were scoped on an island and a few Red-billed Oxpeckers were sat on them as well. 

Momella Lakes

We then took the route that circled the lakes and found hundreds of Lesser and a few Greater Flamingo’s feeding at the next lake, plus Speckled Mousebird, Spur-winged and Blacksmith’s Lapwings, Brown-crowned Tchagra, Cape Teal, Little Stint, Yellow-breasted Apalis, Cardinal Woodpecker, Rattling Cisticola, Red-knobbed Coot, Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Tawny-flanked Prinia and a flock of White-crested Helmetshrikes.  On the way back Taveta Golden Weaver, African Fish Eagle and an all-too-brief flyover Eleonora’s Falcon were also seen. What a day and a good introduction to the amazing array of wildlife on offer in amazing Tanzania.

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