Raining morning in the bush
02.02.2020 - 02.02.2020
Despite the long journey, I was way too wired to sleep last night: I only managed one hour and 20 minutes in total and am really hanging this morning. Malisa didn't get much sleep either apparently, as sharing out the presents we brought for his family created a Christmas Day atmosphere.
It is still raining when we leave the hotel this morning, and I am amused to see a number of motorcycles with large umbrella attachments. This is not something I have seen before, but my attempt at photographing them through a wet windscreen is rather unsuccessful.
Arusha National Park
Another change of plan this morning – as a result of recent heavy rains, large parts of Lake Manyara National Park is under water. The lake itself has swelled so much that some lodges – including Maramboi, which we have stayed at three times previously – are closed due to flooding. Tillya therefore suggested we go to Arusha National Park instead. Another reason for doing so is that the flamingos are largely still there, rather than having migrated to Lake Natron, where we were hoping to see them tomorrow.
It is still raining as we enter the park, but that does not deter the animals, of course.
Cape Buffalo at an area known as Little Serengeti
A somewhat damp Olive Baboon
One of the rarer species, which is not found in the other larger northern parks, is the Black and White Colobus Monkey
I can't believe how small the Dik Dik looks next to the giraffe.
The tiniest little Olive Baboon baby - probably no more than two hours old, still struggling to walk
A sounder of warthogs are startled by our approach, and make a run for it.
Others join in, not realising why they are running. Warthogs are known for their stupidity and the way they blindly follow their leaders. These two, however, appear to be unsure about which way to run initially.
They soon realise the errors of their ways
They reach the road and cross right behind us, much to our delight.
They might be ugly creatures, but they have such elegant legs!
A little one gets left behind and makes a mad dash for it.
This surely has to be one of the highlights of today: a warthog mother in her den with a two-week old baby suckling.
I find it interesting how certain birds and animals are more prevalent at certain times of year - we've only had a couple of brief sightings of this bird on our previous six safaris in Tanzania, whereas here there are a number of them!
Trying to balance on a thorny bush, he has a bit of a flap on.
They are seriously impressive birds when they spread their wings.
It is interesting how different cameras and lenses render colours differently. The previous images were taken with a Canon 1DXII with a Canon 100-400mm and a 1.4 extender; whereas the one below was a Canon 7DII with a Canon 600mm f/4. Both shot with a Cloudy White Balance, yet the green colour is very different.
A six-week old baby giraffe - look at those ears!
We stop for ages in this one place, as it seems to be all happening around us: birds aplenty, mongooses, giraffes, buffalo, warthogs.
I always find it amazing how giraffes can eat around the thorns on the acacia trees
Ashy Starling on a giraffe
The Cape Buffalo attracts the flies and the flies attract the Red Billed Oxpecker
Common Fiscal Shrike
Red Billed Oxpeckers
While photographing the backside of this antelope to demonstrate the difference between a Common Waterbuck (with the toilet seat shaped white marking on its rear), and the Defassa Waterbuck with its more solid markings (see inset), we notice that he is struggling to walk.
On closer inspection, it seems he has a nasty flesh wound on his upper thigh, probably caused by a hyena. It is causing him a great deal of distress, and he appears very weak and painfully thin. Not long for this world I fear.
We move on to “see what else nature has to offer us”.
Hippo in Big Momella Lake
African Scops Owl
Without warning, Malisa grinds the car to an abrupt halt and reverses back. What has he seen? There, skilfully camouflaged in a tree, is an owl. An African Scops Owl – one of the handful of birds / animals on my wish list this year. Good job Malisa!
He is well hidden, but we leave the vehicle and explore on foot to try and get a good viewpoint. Thankfully there are no big cats here in Arusha National Park, so it is reasonably safe to do so.
He changes position, we follow.
Owls looks seriously weird when they blink!
Eventually he flies off to another tree, and we move on.
Juvenile Augur Buzzard
He is such a noisy bugger, squawking loudly
African Pied Wagtail
Big Momella Lake
As I said at the beginning of this blog entry, today's visit to Arusha National park is totally unscheduled, with a plan to see the flamingos. And see them we do!
Lesser Flamingos are much smaller but brighter in colour than the Greater Flamingos.
And thus ends the first morning in the bush. Thank you once again to Calabash Adventures for arranging our latest safari.