Saturday, 6 January 2018

Lake Manyara

Well, what a great way to start the day with a cracking Peter’s Twinspot found as we entered Lake Manyara National Park. Unfortunately not everyone saw it and the numerous Green-winged Pytilias were scant consolation. 

African Pygmy Kingfisher

Driving into the park we had African Openbill, African Pygmy Kingfisher, Spotted Mourning-Thrush and some other commoner birds. Moving inside a pair of Green Wood-Hoopoes flew through, a Mountain Wagtail fed alongside a small stream and a Narina Trogon posed beautifully on a bare branch. 

Narina Trogon

Amongst some tall Acacias a Red-fronted Tinkerbird was seen, along with a pair of Common Scimitarbills. Our main quarry of Purple-crested Turaco had been proving elusive until we found a pair amongst some tall Fig trees. A few Crowned Hornbills then appeared, followed by Red Duiker, a Lioness dozing in a tree, Eastern Bearded Scrub-Robin singing on a bare branch and both Yellow-green and Grey-Olive Bulbuls appeared.

At our lunch spot we walked out onto the boardwalk into the lake and found 20+ Chestnut-banded Plovers with some very close birds. Also here were Three-banded Plover, Curlew Sandpiper, Lesser Sandplover, Pied Avocet and lots of Little Stints. With clear blue skies this was the hottest, driest day of the tour so far and we were certainly feeling the heat. 

Chestnut-banded Plover

Three-banded Plover

So had lunch in the shade before continuing on but the next few hours were pretty quiet, apart from nesting Holub’s Golden Weavers, Bateleur, and a group of scarce Crested Guineafowl. Result!

Crested Guineafowl

Our last stop of the day was at the famous Hippo Pools, complete with several Hippos. But there were so many waterbirds here and we spent an enthralling hour or so scanning through everything. I guess pride of place went to the fishing Black Heron doing his ‘night time, day time” routine. Although scoping Rufous-bellied Herons was also pretty cool. 

Black Heron

Blacksmith's Plover

Lesser Swamp Warbler

And we also saw Lesser Swamp Warbler, Hottentot, Cape and Red-billed Teals, African Spoonbills, Marabou and Yellow-billed Storks, numerous Long-toed Stints, Yellow Wagtail, Glossy Ibis, lots of common waders, African Jacanas, African Purple Gallinule, lots of Black Crakes, and more common species on top. A great way to end the day.

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