What an amazing afternoon!
06.02.2020 - 06.02.2020
Serengeti Visitors Centre
Always busy at lunchtime, we get the last free picnic table in the grounds. The place may be commercialised, but it has a very decent toilet block these days, and there are always lots of birds, rock hyraxes and lizards around to amuse us.
Grey Headed Social Weaver
Speckled Fronted Weaver
Mwanza Flat Headed Rock Agama
Once we have finished eating, we move on “to see what else nature has to offer us” - Malisa's favourite saying.
He looks like he is smiling
This poor guy has a bad limp and barely gets out of the way of the passing car.
I fear he will come a cropper sooner rather than later.
We spend a long time watching the comings and goings at a small pond.
A baby baboon has found a bottle top that someone has dropped. He hope he doesn't choke on it.
Big Bertha* tries to get inside the nostrils of a hippo (*my 600mm lens)
Spur Wing Plover
"Look into my eyes..."
Another Grey Heron
Three Banded Plover
A Rueppell's Long Tailed Glossy Starling shows off his beautiful feathers
He later also shows off his singing voice – he's a bit of an extrovert, this one.
Nearby a family of baboons eat their way through the vegetation.
We reluctantly tear ourselves away from all the activities that are going on here by the water's edge, and move on to pastures new.
A young giraffe
The sky is dark and foreboding and a sudden gust of wind blows across the savannah. Are we in for a storm?
I love how names in Swahili are very often repeated, such as Dik Dik. These, the smallest of Tanzania's antelopes, mate for life, and when you see one of them, there is usually another one nearby - here you can see his mate in the bushes behind.
When a lioness with young goes off hunting, she will leave her cubs behind, with strict instructions to stay where they are (we have seen this in action previously – fascinating!). This little cub obviously did not do as he was told, and wandered off. Now he can't find his siblings, nor his mum.
He walks out onto the road, but is unsure of which way to go.
Maybe she went this way?
He strikes a lonesome, forlorn figure. We follow him for a while as he makes his way along the road, aimlessly darting into the grass on the left, only to pop over to the right hand side soon after.
Eventually he changes his mind completely, and walks back the way he came, right by our car.
Providing he doesn't deviate too far from where she left him, there is every chance that they will be reunited. When the mum gets back, she will call out for him.
I was right earlier when I surmised we'd get a bit of a storm – after some huge lightning bolts and deafening thunder, the heavens open.
Followed by a rainbow.
This one is very much bigger than the one we saw earlier.
It is still raining, and the poor hoopoe is looking somewhat bedraggled.
Two Banded Courser
An old male giraffe is being greatly bothered by the Oxpeckers all up his spine. His tail cannot reach that far so he shakes his neck violently to try and rid himself of the birds.
Unusually, he is feeding on the ground rather than from a tree.
Augur Buzzard spreading his wings to dry after the rain
Seeing a leopard on safari is always rewarding, as they are the most difficult of the three big cats to spot. Seeing two leopards is lucky! Seeing THREE leopards in the same day is just greedy! (we saw two others earlier in the day at two different sightings)
This guy is posing beautifully for us.
He's a big male, and judging by his restlessness, he's about to jump down from the tree.
He is soon on the move.
Is he going to jump or just rearrange himself in a different branch?
As he disappears the other side of the trunk, I expect he will be gone without a sight now.
There he is! He's coming down!
All around me I can hear the high speed clicking of cameras. Unlike everywhere else we've been at any time in Tanzania, this sighting has attracted a number of serious photographers, including half a dozen other Big Berthas.
Having a high frame rate certainly increases the odds of capturing the animal just at the right time.
Soon all we can see is the top of his tail. I can't believe just how long the grass is!
It looks like he is making his way towards the road.
Could we be lucky?
There he goes, between the cars!
He re-emerges briefly the other side of the road, and disappears into the bush for the night.
We really need to get going anyway, as the day draws to a close.
We make a brief stop at a very exciting lifer - the Green Winged Pytillia
There is not much of a sunset tonight, but Malisa does stop a couple of times for me to photograph some dramatic cloud formations.
Looks like rain in the distance
My lips feel very sore this evening when I get back to the tent. After a couple of incidents over the years, my bottom lip in particular has developed photosensitive dermatitis, and I am quite paranoid that they have become sunburnt. Three years ago an innocent sunburn turned into a secondary infection covering my entire mouth is open sores, something I really don't want a repeat of.
My arms are itching like mad and I soon discover why – the bites from those horrible little tsetse flies have turned into blisters and angry red patches. I smother them in antihistamine cream and hope they get better overnight.
We have company this evening in the restaurant: a Swedish couple and their driver.
After another delicious dinner, starting with green banana soup (which tastes much better than it sounds); we retire to bed to the sounds of a not-so-distant lion.
Main course: tender steak with croquette potatoes, vegetables and a fruity salad
Peach cobbler to finish
Thank you Calabash Adventures for yet another amazing day on safari.