June 29, 2006

Tanzania Diary - Day 6

Posted at June 29, 2006 09:22 AM by tom in Tanzania 06

Day 6 - May 31st
We got up very early and had breakfast. Then while waiting for our guide who was taking us on the morning game walk I heard a Woodpecker drumming. I turned around and saw a pair of Cardinal Woodpeckers walking up and down a dead tree stump. They showed very well with the red headed male staying there for 5 minutes although the female flew off after about a minute. Then our guide arrived so we set off on the morning game walk.

We started with a pair of Marabous that flew from the road and quickly got Grey-capped Social Weaver and various Masked weaver sp. There were lots of small footprints on the road that our guide said were Mongoose. We then saw several Red-billed Buffalo Weavers and Cardinal Queleas.

Then we got to the bottom of a big hill and the guide asked "Do you want to climb it?" Everyone immediately said "Yes!" so we began the trek. After about 10 minutes we got to the first stopping point. Already tired after the easiest part of the climb we had good views over the Serengeti. We carried on to the next point and stopped for a breather. We did this again and again, at least it seemed that way! "From the bottom it looked like a gentle stroll!" we all said. Finally, tired and out of water, we reached the top although the reward of the climb was a fantastic view over the Serengeti.

Then we walked back down the other side and walked back to the lodge. It wasn't really a game walk as there was no game but having climbed to the top of a big hill by 10:00AM was a good way to start an action packed day.

When we got back we packed up, had lunch and got in the jeep for our afternoon game drive. We started with lots of Impalas, an Elephant, several parties of Giraffe and a mixed herd of Zebra, Wildebeest, Thompson's Gazelle and Grant's Gazelle. Then we went to a Hippo pool where there are normally several very large Crocodiles. We were not disappointed with at least 5 Crocs feeding off a Hippo carcass. We also saw loads of Hippos in the pool and 3 Dik-Diks around the edges of the pool.

We then found several Baboons on the roadside, a group of Topi and a spectacular Verraux's Eagle Owl in a tree. As usual several different types of Vulture and lots of Marabous were soaring in the midday heat. Then I saw an African Hoopoe fly past and in a small pool we had good views of a Black Crake. Also a Red-billed Oxpecker was sitting on the neck of a Giraffe in a small group. Fischer's Lovebird and White-headed Buffalo Weavers were also conspicuous.

Then we got back to the Seronera area and found a group of Buffalo in a small marshy area. Also around here at least 20 Little Bee-eaters were flying around. The Lions were showing well this afternoon with 2 females in trees about 100 metres away from each other and the group of 3 that I spotted yesterday in long grass beside the road.

Then as the beautiful african sunset began we found the young Leopard that we had seen on our first Serengeti game drive again. It was in a tree just a bit further on and had another half-eaten Impala beside it. There was no sign of the female nearby but we did have excellent views of a Bateleur Eagle on a nest with a fairly large chick inside and a Grey Hornbill flying around. Then whilst driving back to the campsite for dinner we spotted another Lion in a tree. A perfect way to end the day.

When we got back to camp we had dinner with the bugs! Then the ranger came to our campsite and said something to Maravit. Maravit said that the ranger had just seen a Lioness attempt to take down a Wildebeest about 500 metres from the campsite. The grunts of the wildebeest made this clearly evident throughout the night but more was to come. To be continued.......

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