A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about birdwatching

Ndutu XII - David unwell, pond life, lion, cheetah

Just me and Malisa against the world. Well, not quite the world, but at least the wildlife of Ndutu.


View Baby Boomers - Tanzania 2020 on Grete Howard's travel map.

We have our picnic breakfast in the car on the plains, completely surrounded by the enormous herd of wildebeest.

large_987e7fb0-ae82-11ea-bb0e-7da06017db83.jpg

large_a12f3af0-ae82-11ea-bb0e-7da06017db83.jpg

large_aa2367d0-ae82-11ea-bb0e-7da06017db83.jpg

large_b2cea4d0-ae82-11ea-bb0e-7da06017db83.jpg

large_de31ff90-abf4-11ea-abfa-ddde82665a11.jpg

We are thrilled when we spot 'our' baby in amongst the crowd – his mum is instantly recognisable by the manner in which her afterbirth is hanging. It's a relief to know that our grandchild survived the first critically vulnerable period of his life.

large_e2b60ba0-abf5-11ea-abfa-ddde82665a11.jpg

Zebra

large_5b9b9990-abf6-11ea-abfa-ddde82665a11.jpg

This guys is missing his tail – probably a close brush with a lion or hyena!

large_64707ea0-abf6-11ea-abfa-ddde82665a11.jpg

large_aacd30a0-abf6-11ea-abfa-ddde82665a11.jpg
Tawny Eagle

Marabou Stork

He's on the lookout for wildebeest placentas for lunch!

large_c3baee80-ac15-11ea-9b47-4fd92ceb3a14.jpg

large_57b4dbf0-ac16-11ea-9b47-4fd92ceb3a14.jpg
Pregnant Hyena

David is not feeling at all well, and asks Malisa to take him back to the lodge. He must be poorly, that's the first time I have heard him ask that in our seven safaris here. Hopefully it is nothing serious.

Once David is safely delivered at the lodge, where we take the opportunity to use the facilities, Malisa and I continue our safari “to see what nature has to offer us” as he always says.

White Backed Vulture

I'm intrigued as to how the vulture became so wet. It seems to me that he might have had an involuntary dip in the lake. He is looking quite bedraggled!

large_6338ad00-ac19-11ea-a34c-05f37c0766d9.jpg

He is certainly busy trying to dry off, waving his huge wings around in the hot, still air.

large_7308d520-ac19-11ea-a34c-05f37c0766d9.jpg

large_7b8bc9a0-ac19-11ea-a34c-05f37c0766d9.jpg

large_e726f570-c09d-11ea-896b-372e8db9ec24.jpg
Giraffe skeleton

Wildebeest crossing Lake Ndutu

With all the recent rains and subsequent flooding, Lake Ndutu has extended its shores considerably across the flat landscape, with shallow pools being creating where the usual path of the wildebeest was.

I think this much deeper section has taken the small group – or confusion, the collective noun of wildebeest – by surprise.

large_ada460e0-acc4-11ea-815a-21e8f44f4968.jpg

Oh my! There is a tiny baby in the group!

large_ef595cc0-acc4-11ea-815a-21e8f44f4968.jpg

There seems to be some consternation, with the adults agitated and the baby nowhere to be seen. I hold my breath as I am terrified he may have drowned.

large_66261570-acc8-11ea-ab8c-1f78ba088752.jpg

He is only tiny, likely to have been born earlier this morning. After a few tense seconds, he re-appears and all is well.

large_af66d490-acc8-11ea-8ebc-1b713252c451.jpg

Thankfully, they soon reach shallower waters.

large_bbf43520-acc5-11ea-815a-21e8f44f4968.jpg

We can all breathe again now.

large_114e2780-acc9-11ea-8ebc-1b713252c451.jpg
Speckled Weaver

large_1dc27a70-acc9-11ea-8ebc-1b713252c451.jpg
Red Bishop

Pond Life

Lots of birds – and a few animals – gather down at the lake shore.

large_fb940550-ae75-11ea-8995-252fad14df5d.jpg
Greater and Lesser Flamingo

large_1249ecb0-ae76-11ea-8995-252fad14df5d.jpg
The lesser flamingo is the more colourful of the two species

large_2cd768f0-ae76-11ea-8995-252fad14df5d.jpg
Avocet

large_3cd6de70-ae76-11ea-8995-252fad14df5d.jpg

I had no idea that Avocet use the same principle for fishing as spoonbills – sweeping the bottom of the shallow water from side to side to disturb any living organisms that they can then scoop up and eat.

large_7464abb0-ae76-11ea-8995-252fad14df5d.jpg

large_84518390-ae76-11ea-8995-252fad14df5d.jpg
Greenshank

large_be12f9b0-ae76-11ea-8995-252fad14df5d.jpg
Kittlitz Plover

large_dc0cecf0-ae76-11ea-8995-252fad14df5d.jpg
Marabou Stork

large_f5704110-ae76-11ea-8995-252fad14df5d.jpg
Common Sandpiper

large_252c4160-ae77-11ea-8995-252fad14df5d.jpg
Giraffe

large_337135a0-ae77-11ea-8995-252fad14df5d.jpg
Giraffe and Wildebeest

In places the earth appears to be dried out, with huge cracks. It is very deceptive, however, as the ground underneath is still very soggy, and as soon as you drive out onto it, the car sinks deep into the mud.

large_ed5950a0-ae7d-11ea-b8c8-dd27ff9831b5.jpg

Ndutu Lodge have issued stark warnings to all its drivers and visitors, and will charge 300,000 Tanzanian Shillings to rescue you (ca £100 / US$130).

Oxpeckers

Feasting on a dazzle of zebras (the collective noun for a group of zebras)

large_85c983f0-ae7e-11ea-b8c8-dd27ff9831b5.jpg

large_93f1c870-ae7e-11ea-b8c8-dd27ff9831b5.jpg

large_9da96c60-ae7e-11ea-b8c8-dd27ff9831b5.jpg

large_ba0c6bf0-ae7e-11ea-b8c8-dd27ff9831b5.jpg

large_c822fd30-ae7e-11ea-b8c8-dd27ff9831b5.jpg

large_dba3d140-ae7e-11ea-b8c8-dd27ff9831b5.jpg

large_e95eadf0-ae7e-11ea-b8c8-dd27ff9831b5.jpg

Long Crested Eagle

She off hunting for lunch.

large_251f7680-ae7f-11ea-b8c8-dd27ff9831b5.jpg

large_32578ea0-ae7f-11ea-b8c8-dd27ff9831b5.jpg

large_3b0a93d0-ae7f-11ea-b8c8-dd27ff9831b5.jpg

Lion

A lazy male lion relaxes in the shade. It's amazing how we've predominantly seen male lions on this trip, no large prides with females and cubs as we have on previous visits.

large_ca6e3040-ae7f-11ea-b8c8-dd27ff9831b5.jpg

We let sleeping lions be, and go off to see what else nature has to offer us today.

large_a5bd6080-ae80-11ea-b8c8-dd27ff9831b5.jpg

large_46793260-ae86-11ea-b0f1-c1a726e1072c.jpg
Tawny Eagle. "You looking at me?"

Wattled Starling

large_cd902fc0-ae8a-11ea-aa82-6185e4ed2400.jpg

large_d9ca11c0-ae8a-11ea-aa82-6185e4ed2400.jpg

large_e91c0930-ae8a-11ea-aa82-6185e4ed2400.jpg

Cheetah

Malisa thinks we should return to see what the cheetah cubs are doing. We find them not far from where they were yesterday, and today they are mostly sleeping in the shade, occasionally turning over.

large_12df5bc0-c086-11ea-8ada-9fbb66428710.jpg

large_3197bd00-c086-11ea-8ada-9fbb66428710.jpg

large_47bb9d90-c086-11ea-8ada-9fbb66428710.jpg

After a while the other clients get bored, and one by one the cars leave until eventually it is only us and a car with two serious German photographers left. Our patience pays off when the cheetahs get up from their slumber and start to play!

large_a77254e0-c086-11ea-8ada-9fbb66428710.jpg

large_cfdcdbd0-c086-11ea-8ada-9fbb66428710.jpg

large_df56f4b0-c086-11ea-8ada-9fbb66428710.jpg

A few more cars arrive in time to see the cubs trying to climb a tree stub, somewhat precariously!

large_24ed9790-c087-11ea-8ada-9fbb66428710.jpg

large_2f69eb10-c087-11ea-8ada-9fbb66428710.jpg

large_387dade0-c087-11ea-8ada-9fbb66428710.jpg

large_42204330-c087-11ea-8ada-9fbb66428710.jpg

large_4b4c7000-c087-11ea-8ada-9fbb66428710.jpg

At one stage one of the cubs walks straight towards our car, and I am sure (hoping) she is going to jump on the bonnet of the Landcruiser!

large_ab55db30-c087-11ea-8ada-9fbb66428710.jpg

She veers off last minutes and heads for another car, but doesn't climb on board that one either.

large_b8223930-c087-11ea-8ada-9fbb66428710.jpg

After nearly three hours (and 2,500 photos) of watching this gorgeous family, we have to reluctantly leave and make our way back to the lodge in order to get there before dark.

large_211745c0-c088-11ea-8ada-9fbb66428710.jpg

large_2a69bf40-c088-11ea-8ada-9fbb66428710.jpg

Also watching the cheetahs playing is a Northern Double Collared Sunbird - another lifer!

large_3e427750-c088-11ea-8ada-9fbb66428710.jpg

Storks

Down by Lake Ndutu, Abdim and Marabou Storks are gathering for the night.

large_73af3850-c093-11ea-a65d-6f2f28ffac31.jpg

large_8a15c730-c093-11ea-a65d-6f2f28ffac31.jpg

large_e246d5c0-c093-11ea-a65d-6f2f28ffac31.jpg

large_ea466970-c093-11ea-a65d-6f2f28ffac31.jpg

Baby Wildebeest

This young guy is wandering all alone, and Malisa surmises that his mama has been killed. He won't last long on his own, unfortunately.

large_c08780a0-c094-11ea-a65d-6f2f28ffac31.jpg

White Bellied Bustard

large_e57d99f0-c097-11ea-95d5-9922eac9a14c.jpg

large_eed54390-c097-11ea-95d5-9922eac9a14c.jpg

By the time we get back to Ndutu Lodge, David is up and about, feeling very much better after a long sleep, plenty of water and a shower.

large_b3df67f0-c09e-11ea-896b-372e8db9ec24.jpg

Dinner

Tonight's gastronomic offerings consists of

Chef's Salad

large_5798bf30-c0a0-11ea-b158-a14258070e1a.jpg

Fennel Soup (which we decline)

Beef Lasagne

large_6819c0c0-c0a0-11ea-b158-a14258070e1a.jpg

Chocolate Brownie with home made Toffee Swirl Brownie Ice Cream

large_7100f550-c0a0-11ea-b158-a14258070e1a.jpg

While we are eating, there is a terrific electric storm going on in the distance. I try to capture it on my phone, but it really isn't very successful. By the time we have finished dinner, the storm has passed.


And so we go to bed on the last evening here in Ndutu. As always, our thanks go to Calabash Adventures for such terrific arrangements.

large_e3ad57b0-c0a0-11ea-b158-a14258070e1a.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 16:22 Archived in Tanzania Tagged wildlife africa safari tanzania zebra eagle cheetah lion giraffe flamingo stork vulture avocet birdwatching starling weaver wildebeest ndutu calabash calabash_adventures marabou_stork wildebeest_migration tawny_eagle best_safari_operator plover wattled_starling sandpiper pond_life great_migration wildlife_photography greenshank red_bishop oxpeckers ndutu_lodge african_animals david_unwell giraffe_skeleton Comments (2)

Sunset Cruise from Mandina Lodges

What an amazing amount of birds!


View Galavanting in The Gambia 2019 on Grete Howard's travel map.

This afternoon we are taking another boat trip, this one with two added bonuses: a bottle of wine and the sunset! Hopefully. The sunset, that is, the bottle is most definitely present!

large_495dd520-aec4-11e9-ba05-2377c29eee6f.jpg

large_b5bf31a0-aec4-11e9-ba05-2377c29eee6f.jpg

large_0efb7930-aec6-11e9-9468-af3c2e977f6c.jpg

My plan of action this evening is to take photos of birds just as they take off. I always like a challenge and to step outside my comfort zone. I start with this Long Tailed Cormorant.

large_0a232b40-aec8-11e9-abcb-27ebc93ed2a1.jpg

large_5cf52850-aecd-11e9-9844-73cae9928b86.jpg
Fishing centre

large_90993840-aecd-11e9-b106-75d2fa348bb2.jpg
I have a soft spot for baobab trees

large_214abc00-aecf-11e9-8c73-19c619678c9f.jpg
Whimbrel

large_6c0bcf00-aece-11e9-8c73-19c619678c9f.jpg
Wattled Plover

large_494c3600-aed1-11e9-a4f8-833a99faa165.jpg
Black Kite taking off

large_a30d6730-aee1-11e9-bca0-295e59c1731a.jpg
Palm Nut Vulture

large_39bc0d00-aee5-11e9-831b-6306d8171314.jpg
Great White Egret

large_a2f11350-aee6-11e9-adb5-bd39c8ff2012.jpg
Preening

I think she's going to fly...

large_2c237370-aee7-11e9-adb5-bd39c8ff2012.jpg

Here she goes!

large_94027c20-aee7-11e9-adb5-bd39c8ff2012.jpg

It looks like she is having a blast!

large_0a6b7150-aee8-11e9-adb5-bd39c8ff2012.jpg

We see a tree full of Pink Backed Pelicans.

large_4bfd9000-aef5-11e9-8b6f-692b6f608cab.jpg

large_597a5240-aef5-11e9-8b6f-692b6f608cab.jpg

large_63e567b0-aef5-11e9-8b6f-692b6f608cab.jpg

large_bc2c8af0-af24-11e9-a2e0-9144e19566f6.jpg

large_da63e0b0-aef5-11e9-8b6f-692b6f608cab.jpg
Yellow Billed Stork

large_ab696cc0-af23-11e9-a2e0-9144e19566f6.jpg
African Spoonbill

large_88e96900-b240-11e9-a16f-df722d255168.jpg
Goliath Heron

large_3794ea50-b553-11e9-b011-e16c85473ec2.jpg
Black Kite

large_dd22d3d0-b6af-11e9-90aa-e55591e14d66.jpg
Blue Cheeked Bee Eater

The sun is getting low now, and depending which direction I point my camera, the sky glows a warm yellow, glistening in the ripples on the water surface.

large_c2ce7380-b6b0-11e9-90aa-e55591e14d66.jpg

large_81c6b220-b6b1-11e9-90aa-e55591e14d66.jpg
Great White Egret

large_bcf668d0-b6b2-11e9-90aa-e55591e14d66.jpg
Common Sandpiper

large_9bb5e0a0-b6b3-11e9-90aa-e55591e14d66.jpg
Sacred Ibis

large_d8507fb0-b6b9-11e9-9fb6-c1626cfb739f.jpg
Sacred Ibis

large_47a99100-b6bd-11e9-9212-5bc3cb40e6cb.jpg
Whimbrels

large_69983e10-b6bd-11e9-ac8d-f1b40a4219f3.jpg
And they're gone

large_7c381610-b6bf-11e9-9ff2-4f73c5657d79.jpg
African Darter

large_ad65b250-b6c0-11e9-9ff2-4f73c5657d79.jpg
Cattle Egret

The sun is only just above the horizon now, as we have entered an area enclosed on three sides by mangroves and an island in the middle.

large_75650990-b6c1-11e9-9ff2-4f73c5657d79.jpg

Max, the captain, explains we will wait here for the sun to go down and the birds to come back to roost.

large_606de710-b85f-11e9-966b-4d2ca9a8fd2b.jpg

We see a few single birds flying around in the sunset, then coming in to the island to settle down for the night.

large_37a316a0-b6bd-11e9-9212-5bc3cb40e6cb.jpg
large_74f204e0-b860-11e9-966b-4d2ca9a8fd2b.jpg

large_ba96bc10-b861-11e9-966b-4d2ca9a8fd2b.jpg

large_9aff1700-b864-11e9-8a28-f1fdc4841ca7.jpg

The sun has painted the sky a deep orange now.

large_c89bcee0-b866-11e9-9835-6f8d3a03d1f8.jpg

large_d39a71c0-b866-11e9-9835-6f8d3a03d1f8.jpg
Beautiful reflections on the water

large_efcfed20-b870-11e9-9f73-c3059d9f662b.jpg

Where there were initially just one or two, they are now coming in thick and fast, it seems to be never ending, and they seem to appear from nowhere.

large_dd8da1a0-b872-11e9-9f73-c3059d9f662b.jpg

large_29e5b2e0-b873-11e9-9f73-c3059d9f662b.jpg

large_95595730-b877-11e9-ba7a-e335038ae3ff.jpg

large_a27a64e0-b877-11e9-ba7a-e335038ae3ff.jpg

large_e614e9a0-b877-11e9-ba7a-e335038ae3ff.jpg

large_a98d6470-b9d1-11e9-a759-d131d68c09f2.jpg

large_93743cd0-b9d2-11e9-a759-d131d68c09f2.jpg

More and more egrets are gathering in the trees, and when you think there is no room for any more birds, a whole lot of others arrive.

large_f3ee5940-b9d4-11e9-a99c-a577d66306f2.jpg

large_8fcc0310-b9d7-11e9-a727-a9240efb2c90.jpg

large_54af7ee0-b9d9-11e9-a727-a9240efb2c90.jpg

It is hard to know where to look, the birds are coming from three out of four directions, and seem to suddenly appear out of nowhere from behind us with a whoosh. It is an air traffic control nightmare!

large_e6afdbb0-b9d8-11e9-a727-a9240efb2c90.jpg

large_bb400d90-b9e4-11e9-a025-3ddb7d442764.jpg

When there is no more room at the inn and the light is fading rapidly, we start to make our way back to the lodge, stopping from time to time to take photos of the sunset. To say this evening's performance has been spectacular is an understatement!

large_cc503a50-b9e5-11e9-a025-3ddb7d442764.jpg

large_153f63c0-b9f6-11e9-9683-9f1c8878c4ae.jpg

large_6834abd0-b9f1-11e9-be68-5fce43d56dcb.jpg

large_336a9d00-b9f2-11e9-be68-5fce43d56dcb.jpg

large_b1607170-b9f3-11e9-9683-9f1c8878c4ae.jpg

By the time we reach the hotel, darkness has all but enveloped Makasutu Forest and the twinkling lights of Mandina Lodge welcome us back.

large_bce3a180-c0e1-11e9-986f-25d98c009784.jpg

large_7178eb90-c0e3-11e9-9419-07d3fe23298b.jpg

large_2cd1bc50-c0e4-11e9-9419-07d3fe23298b.jpg

Dinner

As time is getting on, we go straight to dinner from the sunset cruise; the boat conveniently lands at the jetty right by the restaurant anyway.

large_016961e0-c0e8-11e9-8197-3b07721b6384.jpg
Pre-dinner drink of Pina Colada

large_4f7eb380-c0e8-11e9-8197-3b07721b6384.jpg
Prawn Cocktail

large_a4f0a210-c0e8-11e9-8197-3b07721b6384.jpg
Butter fish with Lyonnaise potatoes and a delicious home made tartare sauce

large_Samosas.jpg
David's Samosas

large_986e14e0-c1c5-11e9-9c80-098154c165a4.jpg
Gambian Rice Pudding with ground peanuts - a very delicate flavour

We decline the offer of an early morning coffee in the room tomorrow, in favour of a lie in, and sneak off to bed after a magical day in Makasutu Forest.

Posted by Grete Howard 15:16 Archived in Gambia Tagged trees birds fishing reflections sunset pelicans kite africa dinner forest birding captain baobab stork vulture ibis egrets spoonbill birdwatching mangroves cocktail west_africa samosas cormorant gambia boat_trip fores sunset_cruise piña_colada darter roost plover bee_eater sandpiper the_gambia butter_fish mandina_lodges makasutu makasutu_forest whinbrel flying_birds birds_flying air_traffic_control prawn_cocktail rice_pudding Comments (5)

(Entries 1 - 2 of 2) Page [1]