And now for a little light relief
14.05.2017 - 14.05.2017
Those of you who read my previous blog entry, will be pleased to know that all that blood and gore is followed by a large dose of cuteness.
Aren't these baby falcons cute?
A nice little lifer for us this morning (a 'new' bird which we haven't seen before)
Having spent nearly two hours with the lions, we head for Ndutu Airstrip to have our picnic.
Malisa spots something moving in the grass and sets off across country.
“It's only a chicken.”
There's a bit of a story behind this saying: back in 2008, in Sikkim (India), David spotted something and shouted excitedly from the back of the car: “It's a colourful bird!”. With an obvious tone of despair and disinterest, the driver replied: “It's only a chicken”. Malisa has perfected that same tone and the expression has become synonymous with disappointment at seeing something not as exciting as expected.
The black bellied bustard is followed very shortly by a couple of White Bellied Bustards.
This place is full of bustards!
Running away from us of course.
Having not encountered any other cars since we've been here in the Ndutu area, we are almost startled by the vehicles down on the marsh watching the elephants.
One of the cars carries a Facebook friend, Jim, his wife and their friends. I knew he was going to be in the area at the same time as us, but not exactly where or when, so it is quite a coincidence that he is the first person we see after three days of not seeing any other human activity outside the lodge.
There are two groups of elephants here, this one on the right with 17 members...
...and a similar sized herd coming in from the left.
We speculate what will happen when they all meet in the middle. Are they fractions of the same herd, or will there be conflict?
Apparently not. After some initial trumpeting (which we take to mean "hello, how are you doing, long time no see", they seem to just mingle and chill. I guess they are all the same family.
Gotta love those little ones.
They all meander as one down to the small pond, enjoying the green grass and fresh, cool water.
The herd has yet again split up, which means that everywhere you look, all around us, are elephants.
Some of the group decide to head for the trees rather than the water.
Elephants are very protective of their little ones, and will usually try their best to hide them in the middle of the herd.
But when you have an itch, you've got to scratch it! And trees make very good scratching posts.
But mum soon appears to offer her baby protection from any would-be predators. Although it is unusual, lions have been known to attack young elephants.
When the tree doesn't do the trick, our little fellah resorts to using his own legs to soothe that itch.
Check out David's video for an extra dose of cuteness.
We spend a considerable amount of time watching the elephants, taking great delight in their shenanigans and interactions with each other.
We watch the elephants slowly make their way into the forest, before turning our attention to other attractions in the immediate surroundings.
The pond is also home to a number of birds
Black Headed Heron
Another Black Headed Heron
We also come across a lone elephant taking a shower.
We say goodbye to the Ndutu area as we make our way towards Serengeti this morning, with a last look at Lake Ndutu and the animals it attracts.
Hartebeest and zebra
Black Breasted Snake Eagle
And here they are all together: Grant's Gazelle and Hartebeest with the snake eagle in the tree
Two Banded Courser
In order to save time at the Serengeti Gate, we sign out of Ngorongoro Conservation Area at the Ndutu Ranger Station.
At Malisa's recommendation, I resist using the toilets here, preferring to wait until we get to the proper Serengeti gate at Naabi Hill, where I know the facilities are modern and clean.
With the correct paperwork in hand, we leave Ndutu behind and make the journey across the Short Grass Plains to reach the official gate to enter the Serengeti for the next chapter of our adventure.
On the way we meet up with James and his client in one of the other Calabash vehicles.
Another drinking giraffe.
And a huddle of zebras under a tree.
This Long Crested Eagles takes off and we follow him - at the same speed and height - down the road for some time. A very cool experience.
Much as I hate to say goodbye to Ndutu (it is one of my favourite places in Tanzania), I am looking forward to seeing what Serengeti has to offer us. Thank you Calabash Adventures for giving us this opportunity.