A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about hoopoe

Ndutu X - lion, 1000 wildebeest, dung beetles, cheetah cubs

A perfect end to a perfect day


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

We set off after lunch to see what nature has to offer us here in Ndutu, and hopefully find a wildebeest herd where we can witness a birth.

large_96532910-9b9b-11ea-943f-77d21314db03.jpg
African Hoopoe

large_a2aaf350-9b9b-11ea-943f-77d21314db03.jpg
Juvenile Red Billed Buffalo Weaver

Lion

Under a tree we see a magnificent male lion. Initially just resting, he soon sits up surveying the tourists arriving.

large_f1797b70-9b9e-11ea-bfa8-89313557af81.jpg

Big yawn. And other funny facial expressions.

large_d6932210-9ba4-11ea-8ef8-d3e1ff5a467f.jpg

large_e02ed990-9ba4-11ea-8ef8-d3e1ff5a467f.jpg

large_f62d30c0-9ba4-11ea-8ef8-d3e1ff5a467f.jpg

He licks his chops and walks straight towards us.

large_07f5cd80-9ba5-11ea-8ef8-d3e1ff5a467f.jpg

large_17326830-9ba5-11ea-8ef8-d3e1ff5a467f.jpg

Too close for comfort, or at least for photography!

large_22c42350-9ba5-11ea-8ef8-d3e1ff5a467f.jpg

It's only when we drive away that we realise that Dickson (our driver during our first three safaris in Tanzania) and his clients are right behind us.

large_0397d520-9ba6-11ea-946b-3f97a3285a09.jpg
Two Banded Courser

Eurasian Avocet

large_4d743800-9ba6-11ea-946b-3f97a3285a09.jpg
"What are you looking at?"

large_a98bf6a0-9ba6-11ea-946b-3f97a3285a09.jpg

large_99eef700-9ba7-11ea-8fba-5b7b608b37a9.jpg

large_4b499a60-9ba7-11ea-8fba-5b7b608b37a9.jpg
Blacksmith Plover

Wildebeest Migration

Continuing on our way, we drive alongside thousands of wildebeest, running in an (almost) single file.

large_3a8a6ce0-a011-11ea-9792-bb4039411f15.jpg

The line seems to go on forever, then group into a HUGE herd, surrounding us on every side, and they just keep on coming.

large_443f60e0-9f91-11ea-a763-e984488c22f2.jpg

large_77771a70-9f91-11ea-a763-e984488c22f2.jpg

More and more and more arrive, a never ending stream of wildebeest join the mêlée, until there is just a sea of horns.

large_aa909da0-9f91-11ea-a763-e984488c22f2.jpg

We see very few babies in amongst this crowd though. A few of the females look like they are ready – they are fat, their nipples have developed and they are struggling to walk – but none are just about to drop. Oh well, we'll keep searching.

Zebra

A few zebras have joined the wildebeest, and we see a few babies too. Our hearts stop as we spot what appears to be a dead baby zebra in the grass.

large_8295a750-a013-11ea-884c-bb1a03622dcd.jpg

We hold our breath when the mother appears and starts nudging her little foal. Is he alive?

large_f08f7390-a012-11ea-884c-bb1a03622dcd.jpg

Yes, he is, and he soon runs off with his mother. Phew.

large_fb6f1cc0-a012-11ea-884c-bb1a03622dcd.jpg

Dung Beetles

So many wildebeest in one place means two things: 1. we are eaten alive by pesky flies, and 2. it is a dung beetle's paradise.

large_9a2b1de0-9f92-11ea-a763-e984488c22f2.jpg

Within a few minutes, large piles of dung are turned into neat little balls and rolled away.

large_b399bca0-9f92-11ea-a763-e984488c22f2.jpg

large_c5274c30-9f92-11ea-a763-e984488c22f2.jpg

large_ec72ce90-9f92-11ea-a763-e984488c22f2.jpg

With my love of dung beetles, I am totally in my element here, and before I know it I have taken over a thousand photos of... basically a pile of shit - plus these fascinating insects, of course.

large_13e4ebc0-9f93-11ea-a763-e984488c22f2.jpg

large_1e31f1e0-9f93-11ea-a763-e984488c22f2.jpg

large_275ebaf0-9f93-11ea-a763-e984488c22f2.jpg

It is now several hours since we last saw any other cars or human activity. This may be the height of the season in Ndutu, but it is still possible to have large areas all to yourself. Most people go back to the lodge for lunch, preferring to stay out of the sun in the midday heat. I can see why, as we are being cooked to perfection even in the shade of the car. I wouldn't want to miss an animal experience though!

large_c8e93200-9f99-11ea-8957-b3119c48c4ed.jpg
Greater Spotted Thick Knee

large_3d3c4a10-9f9b-11ea-8957-b3119c48c4ed.jpg
Light Tawny Eagle

European White Stork

A number of storks return to roost for the night, gliding effortlessly across the savannah.

large_0821bbc0-a014-11ea-884c-bb1a03622dcd.jpg

Not dozens, not hundreds, but thousands! They just keep on coming.

large_144e5750-a014-11ea-884c-bb1a03622dcd.jpg

And I just keep on photographing them.

large_2f5fa990-a014-11ea-884c-bb1a03622dcd.jpg

large_4369aad0-a014-11ea-884c-bb1a03622dcd.jpg

large_4d1eddc0-a014-11ea-884c-bb1a03622dcd.jpg

And the wildebeest just keep on walking.

large_3b8c0190-a015-11ea-884c-bb1a03622dcd.jpg

large_d94e0db0-a015-11ea-884c-bb1a03622dcd.jpg

The storks are followed by a large flock of Cattle Egrets.

large_4baa1ed0-a066-11ea-b7cd-1b5361a9f643.jpg

large_55625f00-a066-11ea-b7cd-1b5361a9f643.jpg

large_7be53a30-a066-11ea-b7cd-1b5361a9f643.jpg

Even a small chattering of Wattled Starlings join in. (chattering is the collective noun for starlings)

large_6839aca0-a066-11ea-b7cd-1b5361a9f643.jpg

Cheetah

A mum and her two cubs are very active in the late afternoon sun, running around and playing and for the next 30 minutes or so we delight in their antics. The dozen or so photos you will see here, are whittled down from a massive 1200 images – that amounts to around one picture a second!

large_7e4deed0-a371-11ea-b21c-4557f4d3726b.jpg

large_8a3459a0-a371-11ea-b21c-4557f4d3726b.jpg

large_9d549720-a371-11ea-b21c-4557f4d3726b.jpg

large_a84927e0-a371-11ea-b21c-4557f4d3726b.jpg

large_b4a7f700-a371-11ea-b21c-4557f4d3726b.jpg

large_c11b86a0-a371-11ea-b21c-4557f4d3726b.jpg

large_cce96060-a371-11ea-b21c-4557f4d3726b.jpg

large_d7f6a940-a371-11ea-b21c-4557f4d3726b.jpg

large_e50e8f30-a371-11ea-b21c-4557f4d3726b.jpg

large_f052c690-a371-11ea-b21c-4557f4d3726b.jpg

large_fa9aeab0-a371-11ea-b21c-4557f4d3726b.jpg

I have nothing more to say about this encounter, I think the note I made in my journal at the time sums it up!

large_3325f1c0-a374-11ea-9a6a-65c04bbeb1c7.jpg

Much as we'd love to stay and watch these adorable little animals for longer, we really have to go. We are still quite some distance away from the lodge, and have to be back by 19:00.

Sunset

As we approach Lake Ndutu, I gasp. I don't think I have ever seen such a spectacular sunset here in Tanzania before.

large_dfb9a3b0-a422-11ea-83df-a7ea8de339a4.jpg

I make poor Malisa stop time after time as a new vista comes into view.

large_ea519580-a422-11ea-83df-a7ea8de339a4.jpg

large_f5728d70-a422-11ea-83df-a7ea8de339a4.jpg

large_01175b60-a423-11ea-83df-a7ea8de339a4.jpg

Thankfully sunsets are over rather rapidly this close to the Equator, and we can continue on our way back to the lodge as originally planned.

Until we get to the Marsh.

large_4427fa30-a424-11ea-83df-a7ea8de339a4.jpg

The light is really poor now, too dark for photography, so I don't feel bad that we don't stop long.

We do, however, stop to help out this vehicle which is well and truly bogged down.

large_8318a5f0-a424-11ea-83df-a7ea8de339a4.jpg

Not sure I'd like to be out of the vehicle this close to two lions.

large_8e49ca80-a424-11ea-83df-a7ea8de339a4.jpg

And they're out!

large_a49186c0-a424-11ea-83df-a7ea8de339a4.jpg

Having to rush along the basic tracks that make up Ndutu's 'road system', we dislodge an enormous amount of dust. It seems almost incongruous that a few days ago there was heavy rain and every track was a mud bath.

Ndutu Lodge

We finally make it back to the lodge by 19:30, and after a quick shower and change we are the last to dinner. Again.

large_cd8e1480-a424-11ea-83df-a7ea8de339a4.jpg
Apple, feta and walnut stack with home made dressing

Somehow I forget to take a photo of the main course, which was lamb tagine with couscous, green beans and courgettes. I do, however, snap a picture of a large moth enjoying what's left on David's plate.

large_1e8eed50-a425-11ea-83df-a7ea8de339a4.jpg

large_28a41a90-a425-11ea-83df-a7ea8de339a4.jpg
A very tasty Malva Pudding for dessert

The excellent arrangements for this safari was made by Calabash Adventures, the best safari company by far.

large_b40568a0-a425-11ea-83df-a7ea8de339a4.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 15:59 Archived in Tanzania Tagged birds sunset wildlife africa safari tanzania zebra eagle birding cheetah lion stork egrets avocet starlings migration wildebeest courser bird_watching hoopoe wild_animals dung_beetles ndutu calabash_adventures lake_ndutu thick_knee wildebeest_migration tawny_eagle plover lapwing game_viewing blacksmith_plover annual_migration wildlife_photography big_marsh wild_birds cheetah_cubs ndutu_lodge the_great_migration african_birds cattle_egrets africa_safari aniams african-animals thickknee Comments (2)

Ndutu VIII - lions, sunrise, wildebeest, flying eagle

A glorious start to the day


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

There are dik diks in the grounds of Ndutu Lodge as we make our way from he room this morning, but it is still silly o'clock and pitch black so no point in trying to take a photo.

Lions

It is still dark when we reach the lake and encounter the lions we saw mating last night. The lack of light really pushes my camera to the limit, but I figure grainy photos is better than no photos.

large_e81908f0-87fa-11ea-b9ec-1138491295ee.jpg

They get up and start walking, but soon disappear into the thick undergrowth, probably to mate.

large_f448d8d0-87fa-11ea-b9ec-1138491295ee.jpg

large_ff025c60-87fa-11ea-b9ec-1138491295ee.jpg

large_92390460-87fc-11ea-b9ec-1138491295ee.jpg

We are hoping they'll come out from the bushes, as the female needs space to be able to roll around after copulation, in order to distribute the sperm. We hang around for a while.

Moon

The moon seems to be particularly bright this morning.

large_e4120a30-87fb-11ea-b9ec-1138491295ee.jpg

Sunrise

For a few minutes the colours are glorious, with a heavy dew hanging over the water.

large_67e403d0-8802-11ea-afc4-65224f25b22e.jpg

That moment does not last long, although the mist lingers for a while longer.

large_73043870-8802-11ea-afc4-65224f25b22e.jpg

large_7d8f5900-8802-11ea-afc4-65224f25b22e.jpg

More Marabou Storks

They make great foregrounds for sunrise photos.

large_c0d14190-8872-11ea-bd0a-3d09e9286a4c.jpg

large_638468e0-8873-11ea-bd0a-3d09e9286a4c.jpg

We even get a couple of hot air balloons thrown in for good measure.

large_92ff1a70-8873-11ea-bd0a-3d09e9286a4c.jpg

Bearded Woodpecker

large_0b584db0-8802-11ea-afc4-65224f25b22e.jpg

large_28d23b80-8802-11ea-afc4-65224f25b22e.jpg

It doesn't look like the lions are coming back out again, so we move off to try and find the 'maternity ward' and see if the midwife is on duty (ie a place where the wildebeest are ready to drop their babies).

large_38c531a0-8875-11ea-a42a-c550c5ebc4b0.jpg
Red Bishop

Augur Buzzard

From his lofty position atop a tree, he is busy doing his ablutions and morning exercises.

large_811ab0f0-8876-11ea-a42a-c550c5ebc4b0.jpg

large_93e5f0a0-8876-11ea-a42a-c550c5ebc4b0.jpg

large_9c9ced70-8876-11ea-a42a-c550c5ebc4b0.jpg

Wildebeest

Such fickle animals, they run along at speed, stop and then walk back the way they came.

large_f7ba3b20-88a5-11ea-9062-375eb2b8468d.jpg

large_030cca60-88a6-11ea-9062-375eb2b8468d.jpg

large_0de8ca10-88a6-11ea-9062-375eb2b8468d.jpg

While Malisa and David are busy looking our for pregnant mamas who may honour us with the spectacle of their birthing; I spend the time photographing the birds that make wildebeest their home, or at least their dining table.

large_331934a0-88a6-11ea-9062-375eb2b8468d.jpg
Wattled Starlings

large_3c957d40-88a6-11ea-9062-375eb2b8468d.jpg

large_460f54e0-88a6-11ea-9062-375eb2b8468d.jpg

I love to watch them as they try to stay upright while the wildebeest is walking, often with very comical results. The birds, I mean, not Malisa and David.

large_74bea020-88a6-11ea-9062-375eb2b8468d.jpg
Cattle Egret

large_7dd76c00-88a6-11ea-9062-375eb2b8468d.jpg

large_878e73b0-88a6-11ea-9062-375eb2b8468d.jpg

Secretary Bird

large_20aa20e0-88b5-11ea-85e7-5b3facf614ad.jpg

large_2a1a5b90-88b5-11ea-85e7-5b3facf614ad.jpg

large_33feb4d0-88b5-11ea-85e7-5b3facf614ad.jpg

Long Crested Eagle

large_c0d913a0-898c-11ea-af3a-e192e5a134d5.jpg

large_cdc79fa0-898c-11ea-af3a-e192e5a134d5.jpg

Dark Chanting Goshawk

large_60f9bc30-88bc-11ea-8db9-fbdaea2c728d.jpg

large_6d8b5b20-88bc-11ea-8db9-fbdaea2c728d.jpg

large_76cbd340-88bc-11ea-8db9-fbdaea2c728d.jpg

Yellow Necked Spurfowl

large_31a253a0-88c8-11ea-9724-5df5d3cb4756.jpg

Singing his little heart out!

large_3d06bd30-88c8-11ea-9724-5df5d3cb4756.jpg

African Hoopoe

large_15828640-8986-11ea-bd4b-efe91698c234.jpg

large_24af9090-8986-11ea-bd4b-efe91698c234.jpg

large_2ec31020-8986-11ea-bd4b-efe91698c234.jpg

large_27ea4500-898d-11ea-af3a-e192e5a134d5.jpg
Pale Tawny Eagle

Dark Tawny Eagle

We hang around for ages waiting for this eagle to fly. Well worth the wait!

large_aa3c9bc0-bc91-11ea-a449-fd98a5d6e54e.jpg

large_3a399260-8997-11ea-bb7f-c1fe61c6d201.jpg

large_ab9dbd50-8997-11ea-bb7f-c1fe61c6d201.jpg

African Hoopoe

We see two more hoopoe on the road – it is a bird we rarely see, let alone in any great numbers, but this morning alone they have been around in double figures.

large_75ddf180-8a14-11ea-a02f-f5703c80e7a6.jpg

large_b62f2230-8a15-11ea-a02f-f5703c80e7a6.jpg
Augur Buzzard

It is time for us to stop for a picnic breakfast and me to finish this blog entry. Stay tuned for more.

This safari was arranged by Calabash Adventures, the best safari company by far!

large_069da610-8a16-11ea-a02f-f5703c80e7a6.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 03:19 Archived in Tanzania Tagged birds wildlife sunrise africa safari tanzania eagle moon birding lions serengeti woodpecker storks egrets starling wildebeest bird_watching hoopoe buzzard wild_animals ndutu calabash_adventures ngorongoro_conservation_area wildebeest_migration tawny_eagle secretary_bird dik_dik wattled_starling spurfowl augur_buzzard game_viewing cattle_egret annual_migration dark_chanting_goshawk goshawk wildlife_photography red_bishop bird_photography wild_birds african_animals the_great_migration marabou_storks crested_eagle Comments (2)

Serengeti III: lost lion cub, pond life, croc, leopard

What an amazing afternoon!


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

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.

large_fc0d69b0-60c6-11ea-a72c-e9f79a90b576.jpg
D'Arnaud's Barbet

large_0d8f8790-60c7-11ea-a72c-e9f79a90b576.jpg
Grey Headed Social Weaver

large_1dd295c0-60c7-11ea-a72c-e9f79a90b576.jpg
Rock Hyrax

large_2d14aeb0-60c7-11ea-a72c-e9f79a90b576.jpg
Hildebrand Starling

large_3beb82b0-60c7-11ea-a72c-e9f79a90b576.jpg
Speckled Fronted Weaver

large_4a6bab30-60c7-11ea-a72c-e9f79a90b576.jpg
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.

Warthog

large_ed3412c0-60c8-11ea-ad99-c3d565536f38.jpg
He looks like he is smiling

Impala

large_afbe51c0-60c9-11ea-ad99-c3d565536f38.jpg

large_ffa0c240-60c9-11ea-ad99-c3d565536f38.jpg

This poor guy has a bad limp and barely gets out of the way of the passing car.

large_34b997e0-60ca-11ea-ad99-c3d565536f38.jpg

I fear he will come a cropper sooner rather than later.

large_e7203790-60ca-11ea-ad99-c3d565536f38.jpg

Pond Life

We spend a long time watching the comings and goings at a small pond.

large_ae4178f0-60cd-11ea-ad99-c3d565536f38.jpg
Grey Heron

A baby baboon has found a bottle top that someone has dropped. He hope he doesn't choke on it.

large_605f3ab0-60cc-11ea-ad99-c3d565536f38.jpg

large_03a00690-60ce-11ea-ad99-c3d565536f38.jpg
Big Bertha* tries to get inside the nostrils of a hippo (*my 600mm lens)

large_23ea8410-60cf-11ea-ad99-c3d565536f38.jpg
Spur Wing Plover

large_77f604d0-60cf-11ea-ad99-c3d565536f38.jpg
Marabou Stork

large_b5bd99e0-60cf-11ea-ad99-c3d565536f38.jpg
"Look into my eyes..."

large_e53230f0-60cf-11ea-ad99-c3d565536f38.jpg
Another Grey Heron

large_fdb8eb40-60d0-11ea-ad99-c3d565536f38.jpg
Three Banded Plover

large_a65c0d40-612b-11ea-82b6-5372ef74f57e.jpg
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.

large_cedd8220-612c-11ea-82b6-5372ef74f57e.jpg

large_5cc41b80-612d-11ea-82b6-5372ef74f57e.jpg
Black Crake

large_f3bdbef0-612e-11ea-b986-f9e98796429c.jpg
Marabou Stork

large_4e213de0-612f-11ea-b986-f9e98796429c.jpg
Nile Crocodile

large_09962220-6130-11ea-b986-f9e98796429c.jpg
Blacksmith Plover

Olive Baboons

Nearby a family of baboons eat their way through the vegetation.

large_9f151700-6132-11ea-8756-d75903fd6027.jpg

large_b61e9ca0-6132-11ea-8756-d75903fd6027.jpg

large_bfe35ff0-6132-11ea-8756-d75903fd6027.jpg

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.

Banded Mongoose

large_53aacbb0-6133-11ea-8756-d75903fd6027.jpg

large_b77de910-6133-11ea-8756-d75903fd6027.jpg

large_f4a23940-6133-11ea-8756-d75903fd6027.jpg
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?

Dik Dik

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.

large_ab22ce00-6134-11ea-8756-d75903fd6027.jpg

Lion Cub

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.

large_8203b230-6136-11ea-8c5d-11705ce6b505.jpg

large_af4df9c0-6137-11ea-b9e1-9b0cf1c1d881.jpg

He walks out onto the road, but is unsure of which way to go.

large_07ee9300-6138-11ea-b9e1-9b0cf1c1d881.jpg

large_35c44720-6138-11ea-b9e1-9b0cf1c1d881.jpg

Maybe she went this way?

large_8fc24d80-6138-11ea-b9e1-9b0cf1c1d881.jpg

Maybe not...

large_d80aa2e0-6138-11ea-b9e1-9b0cf1c1d881.jpg

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.

large_80863d20-613a-11ea-b9e1-9b0cf1c1d881.jpg

large_e379a8e0-613a-11ea-b9e1-9b0cf1c1d881.jpg

large_edbb3d50-613a-11ea-b9e1-9b0cf1c1d881.jpg

large_1af28e90-613b-11ea-b9e1-9b0cf1c1d881.jpg

Eventually he changes his mind completely, and walks back the way he came, right by our car.

large_4eae6c40-613b-11ea-b9e1-9b0cf1c1d881.jpg

large_79ee8160-613b-11ea-b9e1-9b0cf1c1d881.jpg

large_d95709f0-6141-11ea-a124-fb582e0ee04c.jpg

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.

large_efecbf20-6141-11ea-a124-fb582e0ee04c.jpg

Rain Storm

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.

large_bdb5de50-6142-11ea-a124-fb582e0ee04c.jpg

Followed by a rainbow.

large_3481e5a0-6144-11ea-a124-fb582e0ee04c.jpg

Nile Crocodile

This one is very much bigger than the one we saw earlier.

large_5a0b1e90-6144-11ea-a124-fb582e0ee04c.jpg

African Hoopoe

It is still raining, and the poor hoopoe is looking somewhat bedraggled.

large_037972b0-6145-11ea-a124-fb582e0ee04c.jpg

large_fd5168b0-6145-11ea-a124-fb582e0ee04c.jpg
Two Banded Courser

large_a4d280e0-6148-11ea-b1aa-b55d3745b4b1.jpg
Nubian Woodpecker

Giraffe

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.

large_92545d80-614d-11ea-9ce7-8f2a921cd45e.jpg

large_88aa3c30-614f-11ea-bffa-1df090d2390e.jpg

large_923eeed0-614f-11ea-bffa-1df090d2390e.jpg

large_9d767c00-614f-11ea-bffa-1df090d2390e.jpg

Unusually, he is feeding on the ground rather than from a tree.

large_f4b932f0-614f-11ea-bffa-1df090d2390e.jpg

large_0ea73ae0-6150-11ea-bffa-1df090d2390e.jpg

large_4a739c30-6150-11ea-bffa-1df090d2390e.jpg

large_9b7eae30-6150-11ea-bffa-1df090d2390e.jpg
Augur Buzzard spreading his wings to dry after the rain

large_d7a37dd0-6152-11ea-8a57-fb8af77c89fe.jpg
Fischer's Lovebird

Leopard

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)

large_fea662b0-62f8-11ea-84cf-9b06067574c7.jpg

This guy is posing beautifully for us.

large_18743870-62f9-11ea-84cf-9b06067574c7.jpg

large_27f221e0-62f9-11ea-84cf-9b06067574c7.jpg

He's a big male, and judging by his restlessness, he's about to jump down from the tree.

large_5e287570-62f9-11ea-84cf-9b06067574c7.jpg

large_a542f930-62f9-11ea-84cf-9b06067574c7.jpg

He is soon on the move.

large_7c333190-62f9-11ea-84cf-9b06067574c7.jpg

Is he going to jump or just rearrange himself in a different branch?

large_c7e20a80-62f9-11ea-84cf-9b06067574c7.jpg

As he disappears the other side of the trunk, I expect he will be gone without a sight now.

large_449c9540-62fa-11ea-84cf-9b06067574c7.jpg

There he is! He's coming down!

large_8c05d540-62fa-11ea-84cf-9b06067574c7.jpg

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.

large_9ab2da20-62fa-11ea-84cf-9b06067574c7.jpg

Having a high frame rate certainly increases the odds of capturing the animal just at the right time.

large_afe57ce0-62fa-11ea-84cf-9b06067574c7.jpg

large_cf1f4320-62fa-11ea-84cf-9b06067574c7.jpg

large_d8f8ee00-62fa-11ea-84cf-9b06067574c7.jpg

Soon all we can see is the top of his tail. I can't believe just how long the grass is!

large_f87e6340-62fa-11ea-84cf-9b06067574c7.jpg

It looks like he is making his way towards the road.

large_266ecb50-62fb-11ea-84cf-9b06067574c7.jpg

Could we be lucky?

large_31d027a0-62fb-11ea-84cf-9b06067574c7.jpg

There he goes, between the cars!

large_55e3fea0-62fb-11ea-84cf-9b06067574c7.jpg

He re-emerges briefly the other side of the road, and disappears into the bush for the night.

large_61d7d6f0-62fb-11ea-84cf-9b06067574c7.jpg

We really need to get going anyway, as the day draws to a close.

large_867fd7a0-62fb-11ea-84cf-9b06067574c7.jpg
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.

large_aec26760-62ff-11ea-95ac-df9471c7af68.jpg

large_b95bb8c0-62ff-11ea-95ac-df9471c7af68.jpg
Looks like rain in the distance

Sunburn

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.

large_39765e70-6300-11ea-95ac-df9471c7af68.jpg

Insect Bites

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.

large_c98b4980-6300-11ea-95ac-df9471c7af68.jpg

Dinner

We have company this evening in the restaurant: a Swedish couple and their driver.

large_f8e1d140-6300-11ea-95ac-df9471c7af68.jpg

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.

large_430bdef0-6301-11ea-95ac-df9471c7af68.jpg
Main course: tender steak with croquette potatoes, vegetables and a fruity salad

large_5d7e5920-6301-11ea-95ac-df9471c7af68.jpg
Peach cobbler to finish

Thank you Calabash Adventures for yet another amazing day on safari.

large_6d7d5970-6301-11ea-95ac-df9471c7af68.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 15:06 Archived in Tanzania Tagged animals birds sunset wildlife africa dinner safari rainbow tanzania crocodile lizard birding picnic lion giraffe hippo baboon serengeti leopard woodpecker heron stork sunburn steak impala starling weaver mongoose warthog hyrax barbet courser bird_watching hoopoe big_bertha calabash_adventures serengeti_visitors_centre plover dik_dik agama_lizard picnic_lunch pond_life wildlife_photography crake lion_cub lost_lion_cub rain_storm oxpecker lovebird pytillia dermititis insect_bites tsetse_fly tse_tse_fly peach_cobbler green_banana_soup Comments (2)

Ndutu Part II

A very rare sighting indeed!


View The Gowler African Adventure - Kenya & Tanzania 2016 on Grete Howard's travel map.

large_The_Adventure_Continues_2.jpg

large_Day_8_of_t..ture_Part_2.jpg

Ndutu Lodge

Food at Ndutu is always a pleasure and today’s lunch is no different. After a starter of soup and bread, we are served a ham salad, the taste of which is nothing short of exquisite!

large_Ham_Salad_8-1.jpg

I am feeling grateful for a relatively small portion at midday, until the accompaniments arrive: potato salad, capsicum salad, and coleslaw.

large_Lunch_at_Ndutu_8-1.jpg

large_8CB1585AED36FE3837A619EB254CB08A.jpg

Ndutu Lodge is one of the few remaining truly independent safari lodges in Tanzania, and also one of the oldest camps around, dating back to the 1960s when it was the domain of the flamboyant and eccentric professional hunter George Dove.

large_Ndutu_Safari_Lodge_9-2.jpg

large_Ndutu_Safari_Lodge_9-7.jpg

When he abandoned hunting in 1967, he made a tented camp here at Ndutu. The lodge was taken over and refurbished in 1985, with stone cottages replacing the original tents. The lodge remains an extremely popular place to stay, and rightly so.

large_Ndutu_Lodge_8-11.jpg

large_Ndutu_Safari_Lodge_9-3.jpg

Renowned wildlife researchers Jane Goodall and Hugo van Lawick used Ndutu as a base for much of their research about wild dogs and the lodge is popular with a lot of well-known wildlife photographers such as Nick Garbutt, Stu Porter and Steve Bloom. And not to forget Grete Howard and Lyn Gowler!

large_Ndutu_Safari_Lodge_9-4.jpg

large_Ndutu_Safari_Lodge_9-6.jpg

I love the lodge's motto:
“Don't expect five stars; from our campfire you will see millions.”

large_Our_Room_4.jpg

large_Ndutu_Lodge_8-13.jpg

large_Ndutu_Safari_Lodge_9-5.jpg

The lodge is also a cracking place for bird watching, with over 400 species recorded in the vicinity; so after lunch Lyn and I head out with our long lenses to see what we can shoot.

large_Ndutu_Safari_Lodge_9-1.jpg

Slate Coloured Boubou

large_Boubou__Sl..oloured_8-1.jpg

Blue Capped Cordon Bleu

large_Cordon_Ble.._Capped_8-5.jpg

Fischer's Lovebirds

large_Lovebirds__Fischer_s_8-23.jpg

Swahili Sparrow

large_Sparrow__Swahili_8-3.jpg

Speckled Mousebird

large_Mousebird__Speckled_8-5.jpg

Laughing Dove

large_Dove__Laughing_8-1.jpg

White Rumped Helmetshrike

large_Helmetshri.._Rumped_8-4.jpg

Common Drongo

large_Drongo__Common_8-1.jpg

Pool Party!

large_Canary__Wh..ax_Bill_8-1.jpg

Variable Sunbird

large_Sunbird__Variable_8-8.jpg

large_Sunbird__Variable_8-1.jpg

White Bellied Canary

large_Canary__White_Bellied_8-6.jpg

Grey Backed Camaroptera

large_Camaropter.._Backed_8-1.jpg

Scarlet Breasted Sunbird

large_Sunbird__S..hested_8-23.jpg

large_Sunbird__S..emale__8-11.jpg

large_Sunbird__S..reasted_8-2.jpg

Lesser Masked Weaver

large_Weaver__Lesser_Masked_8-2.jpg

Speckled Fronted Weaver

large_Weaver__Sp..Fronted_8-1.jpg

Steel Blue Whydah

large_Whydah__Steel_Blue_8-3.jpg

Ndutu Safari Lodge is located in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, just outside the border with the Serengeti National Park. Of course, there are no physical barriers separating the two reserves, and the migrating animals aren’t too good at reading maps, so they wander in and out of the parks at will.

Dik Dik

We see these dik diks in the lodge grounds as we leave for this afternoon's game drive.

large_Dik_Dik_8-1.jpg

large_Dik_Dik_8-2.jpg

Lake Ndutu

We head for the lake again this afternoon. Lake Ndutu used to belong to Ngorongoro Conservation Area, but the authorities decided to move the border so that the lake is now inside Serengeti National Park. The reason for doing this is to do with to off-road driving, which is not permitted in the Serengeti but can - and does – take place in the conservation area. The number of cars driving too close to the lakeshore caused erosion damage and was a threat to the environment and the wildlife.

The white post marks the border, and Malisa is very careful to stick to the designated tracks here.

large_Border_bet..al_park_8-1.jpg

Lesser Flamingo

On the lakeshore we find a few Lesser Flamingo – the ones that are darker with more pink colouring, are the younger birds; they get paler as they grow older.

large_Flamingo__..e_Ndutu_8-7.jpg

large_Flamingo__..e_Ndutu_8-8.jpg

large_Flamingo__.._Ndutu_8-10.jpg

large_Flamingo__.._Ndutu_8-11.jpg

Spotted Thick Knee

We also spot a Spotted Thick Knee in the grass.

large_Thick_Knee__Spotted_8-2.jpg

A mini tornado

large_Mini_Tornado_8-1.jpg

And a couple of wildebeest carcasses

large_Wildebeest_Carcass_8-1.jpg

large_Wildebeest_Carcass_8-2.jpg

Lions

Heading towards Lake Masek, we come across the lions we saw last night feeding on the zebra carcass. Today there are only eight, not nine, so one must have gone walkabout.

large_Lion_8-102.jpg

We can still see the dried blood on this guy's face from yesterday's feast!

large_Lion_8-103.jpg

large_Lion_8-120.jpg

Because they ate yesterday, there is no need for them to kill again for another three days.

large_Lion_8-106.jpg

large_Lion_8-107.jpg

Now they are just lazing around, digesting the food.

large_Lion_8-124.jpg

large_Lion_8-117.jpg

large_Lion_8-118.jpg

large_Lion_8-119.jpg

After eating, lions do not produce any solid waste for days: they poop blood!

large_Lion_8-109.jpg

It's always such a relief to be able to 'pass through' a big meal I find.

large_Lion_8-111.jpg

large_Lion_8-113.jpg

A family of Helmeted Guineafowl stroll by. As they do.

large_Guineafowl..hicks__8-11.jpg

There is not much left of yesterday’s zebra today, and the stench is nauseating.

large_Look_Away_..e_Squeamish.jpg

large_Zebra_Carcass_8-6.jpg

The lions have had their fill.

large_Zebra_Carcass_8-1.jpg

The vultures have finished it off, and now all that is left is for the bluebottles to clean it.

large_Zebra_Carcass_8-2.jpg

large_Zebra_Carcass_8-3.jpg

We let sleeping lions be, and move on.

large_Lion_8-125.jpg

large_Lion_8-126.jpg

large_Lion_8-127.jpg

large_Lion_8-128.jpg

Caracal

We’re busy looking up into a tree at a hiding hoopoe, when Malisa gets word on the radio about a caracal being spotted down on the flats between the two lakes. Seeing this elusive cat is very rare, so it is an adrenalin-filled vehicle that rushes off in the direction of the sighting.

We can’t believe our luck when he comes rushing out of the bushes, right next to our car. He certainly isn’t hanging around, and I only manage to get a quick bum-shot as he dashes for cover!

large_Caracal_8-1.jpg

Anticipating that he may – or may not – emerge the other side; we drive around the thicket, occasionally catching a very brief glimpse of his backside as he creeps deeper into the shrubbery.

This is where having a quality guide pays off – Malisa moves with some considerable haste towards a very small clearing, urging us to get our cameras poised, ready for action so that we can shoot on the move if he emerges.

And he does. And we do.

large_Caracal_8-3.jpg

What a wondrous sighting! Knowing that this is only the third time Malisa has ever seen a caracal – it is that rare – we feel extremely honoured to have managed to catch a brief three-second glimpse of one today.

Giraffe

large_Giraffe_8-11.jpg

African Hoopoe

We finally get a picture of the hoopoe that was so rudely interrupted by a caracal earlier.

large_Hoopoe__African_8-2.jpg

Speckled Mousebird

large_Mousebird__Speckled_8-12.jpg

Lake Masek

I don’t know what it is about trees on this trip – in Tarangire I remembered the tree I photographed two years ago, and today I recognised a tree under which we had a picnic in 2011. I really do need to get out more…

large_Lake_Masek_8-1.jpg
Lake Masek 2016

large_Picnic_at_Lake_Masek_2011.jpg
Picnic at Lake Masek 2011

Cape Teal

large_Teal__Cape_8-1.jpg

Common Stilt

large_Stilt__Common_8-2.jpg

Lesser Flamingo

large_Flamingo__..e_Masek_8-2.jpg

large_Flamingo__..e_Masek_8-9.jpg

large_Flamingo__..e_Masek_8-3.jpg

large_Flamingo__..e_Masek_8-5.jpg

Hippo

The hippo only stay down this end of the lake as fresh water from the stream that runs into the lake at this point means the water is not as brackish here.

large_Hippo_8-1.jpg

large_Hippo_8-2.jpg

Augur Buzzard

large_Buzzard__Augur_8-1.jpg

The Golden Hour

large_The_Golden_Hour_8-1.jpg

large_The_Golden_Hour_8-2.jpg

As the sun dips low on the horizon, painting everything in its path a rich golden orange, we encounter an elephant with her young baby – some 1½ years old.

large_Elephants_8-2.jpg

large_Elephants_8-4.jpg

large_Elephants_8-6.jpg

large_Elephants_8-7.jpg

large_Elephants_8-16.jpg

After a while the elephants wander in to the sunset, and so do we, heading for camp.

large_Elephants_8-22.jpg

large_Sunset_in_Ndutu_8-14.jpg

large_Eagle__Cre..t_Ndutu_8-3.jpg

large_Sunset_in_Ndutu_8-16.jpg

large_Eagle__Cre..t_Ndutu_8-2.jpg
Crested Eagle

large_1CA46F45C66589E380ECF4FC57F3E6AD.jpg

After another great dinner at Ndutu Safari Lodge, we join the genets for a quick drink in the bar, marking the end of yet another glorious day in the African Bush.

large_Dinner_Ndutu_Safari_Lodge.jpg

large_Genet__Lesser_Spotted_8-2.jpg

large_Ndutu_Safa..dge_Bar_8-1.jpg

As usual, I would like to thank Calabash Adventures and our ever-wonderful guide Malisa for allowing us to experience all this.

large_1C841B19FADA498CC41E721435400DDF.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 16:23 Archived in Tanzania Tagged animals birds sunset road_trip travel elephants adventure roads cute holiday fun africa safari tanzania lunch birding photography lions giraffe hippo flamingo roadtrip ngorongoro stilts kill good_food bird_watching hoopoe game_drive road-trip ndutu teal safari_vehicle canon_eos_5d_iii calabash calabash_adventures which_safari_company best_safari_company ngorongoro_conservation_area lion_kill thick_knee cape_teal lake_masek caracal ndutu_safari_lodge Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 4 of 4) Page [1]