A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about stork

Araras Day Three - Bridge 3, swimming pool, anteaters

A great finish to our stay in Araras


View Pantanal and Amazon 2022 on Grete Howard's travel map.

Another early start this morning: up at 04:15 for a 05:00 safari.

We stop at the statue of São Francisco, the protector of ecology, to photograph the sunrise, before continuing to Ponte 3, our favourite bridge (I never thought I'd end up with a favourite bridge on the Transpantaneira).

large_69cb8440-14a8-11ed-b0a8-8bba6eb78aee.jpg

Bridge # 3
There are way more birds flying this morning than yesterday, and in greater quantities.

large_f0258520-14aa-11ed-8566-09bfb7b92aa9.jpg

Most birds roost near water at night, as the sun heats the water during the day, which helps keep the birds warm during the night. In the morning they fly off in search of food.

large_00d64940-14ab-11ed-8566-09bfb7b92aa9.jpg

It is mesmerising to watch.

large_00e0f7a0-14ab-11ed-9ead-31140360d781.jpg


Flash Gun
After the problems I had with low light necessitating high ISO (= noisy/grainy images) yesterday, I brought my Speedlight with me this morning, plus my Better Beamer.

large_f1d3d7c0-14b2-11ed-baa0-bf9685f77833.jpg
Ringed Kingfisher

The Better Beamer is basically a fresnel lens on a frame. Its main purpose is to extend the range of the flash, although it will also reduce the possibility of the lens hood casting a shadow.

large_f1ce3270-14b2-11ed-9138-2b2cfc5fa3ea.jpg
Green Kingfisher

large_f19dfab0-14b2-11ed-805f-39681c4c57ad.jpg
Caiman

I am impressed that it seems to work all the way across the other side of the pond!

large_cef7c800-14b3-11ed-9138-2b2cfc5fa3ea.jpg

As well as into the sky above.

large_b1a93320-14b7-11ed-bffb-a132aa643005.jpg
Large Billed Tern

large_32ca6170-14ba-11ed-bbd6-6d6e85def2df.jpg
Black Vulture

large_5bbd71f0-14bd-11ed-be85-f91c4cd8de74.jpg
Black Bellied Whistling Ducks

large_eaf93a10-14c8-11ed-a69f-999c5046c0f2.jpg
Orange Winged Parrots

After a while, I abandon the flash.

large_78020cb0-14c0-11ed-a0f6-99af71c9bbcc.jpg
Caiman

large_eef380e0-14c2-11ed-a8ff-abf342590bc1.jpg
Wood Stork

large_02146790-14f8-11ed-8adb-a385c317130e.jpg
Jabiru

Black Skimmers
I love watching the way these birds fish by skimming the water with their beaks open. The lower mandible is larger than the top one, allowing them to more easily hook up some breakfast.

large_562c28b0-14c9-11ed-a69f-999c5046c0f2.jpg

This one's got a fish!

large_56f0b130-14c9-11ed-9dc7-45d75504123d.jpg

large_6bd2ea00-14c9-11ed-9dc7-45d75504123d.jpg
Large Billed Terns having a bit of a domestic

large_c085ce50-14c9-11ed-9dc7-45d75504123d.jpg
Yellow Billed Cardinal with a colouration issue

This is what he is supposed to look like:

large_ba4a6360-14ca-11ed-9f10-e18cfe8c57f0.jpg

large_5d1bc110-14cb-11ed-a78b-e72efb44c91c.jpg
Southern Caracara

large_aa666850-14ce-11ed-9f10-e18cfe8c57f0.jpg
Black Capped Night Heron

large_2a73b5a0-14d1-11ed-8682-b39d701a3b79.jpg
Maguari Stork

large_504a3950-14d3-11ed-8682-b39d701a3b79.jpg
Peach Fronted Parakeet

large_b0637110-14d5-11ed-8be4-2911740df3af.jpg
Unicoloured Blackbird

large_9d3be090-14d5-11ed-8be4-2911740df3af.jpg
Striated Heron

large_2853c990-14d6-11ed-8be4-2911740df3af.jpg
Great Egret

Reluctantly we move on from the pond at Bridge # 3, and slowly make our way back towards the lodge.

large_f997e940-14d7-11ed-8652-9f8a960edc0b.jpg
Maguari Stork

large_89f9e2e0-14d8-11ed-8652-9f8a960edc0b.jpg
Savanna Hawk

large_3b0d3220-14da-11ed-91cd-2100ff82074e.jpg
Southern Lapwing coming in to land

large_9b6ab0c0-14da-11ed-91cd-2100ff82074e.jpg
Black Stilt

large_4bf31a90-14db-11ed-b95c-d96c74ca3251.jpg
Wood Stork

large_bcfacda0-14db-11ed-96b6-439f12612976.jpg
Wattled Jacana

large_2f09e1c0-14e0-11ed-b393-a9e8bba2b958.jpg
Monk Parakeets

large_1476d880-14e6-11ed-a32b-716451731efe.jpg
Roseate Spoonbill

large_4eea4410-14e7-11ed-912c-ed6012bf0092.jpg
Rufous Cachalote

large_be0980b0-14ea-11ed-855f-dd001b6ae4f4.jpg
Bared Faced Ibis

We see a Southern Caracara have a wrestling match with a stick.

large_938e1b20-14ea-11ed-9930-a51cdd62782c.jpg

large_938eb760-14ea-11ed-855f-dd001b6ae4f4.jpg

large_6ffa1090-14ec-11ed-9a8e-5ddf0fa4b6e5.jpg
Guira Cuckoo

large_517cbfb0-14f0-11ed-ad5a-b18c36a26985.jpg
Lesser Yellow Headed Vulture

large_89eed270-14f0-11ed-ad5a-b18c36a26985.jpg
Black Vulture

large_e292f8b0-14f1-11ed-ad5a-b18c36a26985.jpg
Snail Kite

Breakfast
By the time we get back to the hotel, we are too late for the breakfast buffet, but the lodge has laid our usual table in the shade of a tree on the patio, and they bring us a number of different dishes.

It seems the chachalaca have got to the butter, however, before we can.

large_b3caedf0-14f4-11ed-b465-eff6c521f3a5.jpg

Caught red-handed - or is that red-beaked - with a large knob of butter in his mouth.

large_b4b63850-14f4-11ed-8175-679f2ff9c52d.jpg

I bet the butter does melt in his mouth, though!

This is the most we've eaten for any breakfast so far. Disclaimer: we didn't eat everything served! We do feel obliged to eat more than we normally do, however, as they've brought us all this food.

large_b3e18330-14f4-11ed-861a-256d6be9ccb8.jpg

Chill time
Mid-afternoon we spend some time in the pool cooling down. We are the only ones around, so have the pool to ourselves. I guess everyone else has gone out for a strenuous walk or horse-riding.

large_f5a7ed50-157a-11ed-be49-b9e63b3256a0.jpg

large_f5f3ea70-157a-11ed-b836-57766c0f9698.jpg

large_f59db420-157a-11ed-be01-2beedf93c428.jpg
This is not a sign you really want to see right next to the pool

large_f59a31b0-157a-11ed-baa9-2918b140116b.jpg

large_f654cf20-157a-11ed-a35b-cdd14677ceee.jpg

Afternoon safari
At 16:00 we set off for our very last safari in the Pantanal, as tomorrow we are moving on to pastures new.

The first thing we spot is another armadillo.

large_459d5420-157c-11ed-8bfb-578c90164be3.jpg

large_442cad20-157c-11ed-8bfb-578c90164be3.jpg

Agouti
He is a long way away, there is lots of dust in the air, and I am shooting into the sun, so unfortunately I don't get any good pictures of the agouti.

large_44a73450-157c-11ed-be01-2beedf93c428.jpg

A Crab-Eating Fox rushes past us.

large_44a5d4c0-157c-11ed-8bfb-578c90164be3.jpg

Blue Crowned Parakeets

large_42fcb8a0-157c-11ed-be01-2beedf93c428.jpg

large_42b9e340-157c-11ed-be01-2beedf93c428.jpg

Yellow Collared Macaws

large_43019aa0-157c-11ed-baa9-2918b140116b.jpg

large_433fb510-157c-11ed-be01-2beedf93c428.jpg

Collared Anteaters
Leaving the best until last, Roberto slams on the brakes and reverses the car back a few yards before jumping out with his binoculars. Soon he beckons us over: he has seen an anteater in a tree.

large_4543c270-157c-11ed-8bfb-578c90164be3.jpg

Wow!

large_4394b2e0-157c-11ed-be01-2beedf93c428.jpg

Not just one, but there is another one in a nearby tree, which is quite surprising, as they are normally solitary creatures.

large_43d7fd70-157c-11ed-8bfb-578c90164be3.jpg

Once the sun's gone down, leaving the anteaters in very low light, we reluctantly return to the lodge for a shower, dinner and packing before bed.

Goodnight and goodbye from Araras. Thank you to Undiscovered Destinations for arranging this trip for us.

large_da83c470-157c-11ed-8bfb-578c90164be3.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 19:30 Archived in Brazil Tagged birds wildlife breakfast kite safari parrots pool hawk brazil birding brasil ducks fox swimming_pool south_america caiman swimmingpool heron egret stilt stork vulture ibis armadillo cardinal caracara blackbird kingfisher pantanal butter cuckoo bird_watching transpantaneira anteater jacana undiscovered_destinations tern lapwing parakeets bird_photography wild_birds flying_birds speedlight flash_gun skimmer araras sao_francisco bridge_three roosting_birds better_beamer cachalote chachalaca butter_wouldn't_melt_in_his_mou chill_time agouti Comments (0)

Araras Day Two - Bridge 3, Armadillos, night safari

Exciting morning, slow afternoon


View Pantanal and Amazon 2022 on Grete Howard's travel map.

It's a very early start this morning – we are up at 04:15, and leave the lodge at 05:00. Roberto wants to catch the sunrise!

large_c481da00-13eb-11ed-b1a3-d1aa568419ee.jpg

large_a1cfcf30-13e6-11ed-b945-5bfb6cb40771.jpg

The sky takes on a fiery red this morning, painting everything with a surreal warm glow.

large_a2147950-13e6-11ed-b33d-c5d85bd10ecb.jpg

large_a22d7f90-13e6-11ed-8456-8b3e72a435e9.jpg
Capybara crossing the road

large_55504680-13eb-11ed-8ffc-dbd88f3ed76c.jpg

large_e0803da0-13e6-11ed-8456-8b3e72a435e9.jpg
Dust on the bushes along the side of the road

large_dbe002c0-1400-11ed-a7c8-93c29cdde39f.jpg
It hasn't rained for well over three weeks here

While getting up so early for the beautiful sunrise and the flaming red in the sky is tremendous, it does mean that there is still not much light for bird photography by the time we reach the pond at Bridge Number Three (which goes on to become my favourite spot in the area). While the colour in the sky – reflected on the ground – is sensational, the quality and detail of the images are anything but.

A number of birds fly over us, heading to a spot to chill for the day.

large_e0a259b0-13e8-11ed-b9fd-0bbcf95b6ec6.jpg
Black Bellied Whistling Ducks

large_6de16110-13ec-11ed-b1a3-d1aa568419ee.jpg
Snail Kite

large_c8332cc0-13ec-11ed-b1a3-d1aa568419ee.jpg
Jabiru

Black Skimmer
These birds fascinate me – their lower mandible is larger than the top one, allowing them to skim the surface of the water for small fish or insects.

large_e0632dd0-13e8-11ed-b9fd-0bbcf95b6ec6.jpg

I am captivated by this, and watch them for ages, just whooshing from one side to the other, around and around.

large_fb7040b0-13f0-11ed-9a3e-1916da0b331a.jpg

As the sun gets higher on the horizon, the light gets brighter, and the deep colours fade, making it easier for photography as the day goes on.

large_4a19e310-13f1-11ed-9a3e-1916da0b331a.jpg
Caiman

large_91b1b7b0-13f2-11ed-9a3e-1916da0b331a.jpg
Little Blue Heron

large_08f603a0-13f1-11ed-9a3e-1916da0b331a.jpg
Wood Stork and Snowy Egret

large_50ddb080-13f3-11ed-82ac-5bf58fc99d34.jpg
Little Blue Heron

large_08be03b0-13f1-11ed-9a3e-1916da0b331a.jpg
Black Bellied Whistling Ducks

large_5fb3f2d0-13f4-11ed-b464-ff06480a9f09.jpg
Lesser Yellow Hooded Vulture

large_f8579230-13f4-11ed-b464-ff06480a9f09.jpg
Boat Billed Heron

large_625c12f0-13f5-11ed-b464-ff06480a9f09.jpg
Anhinga

large_7bb140d0-13f6-11ed-b613-051dd9040007.jpg
Greater Kiskadee

large_dabb8b80-13f6-11ed-b613-051dd9040007.jpg
Black Collared Hawk

large_3115b730-13f7-11ed-b613-051dd9040007.jpg
Immature Rufescent Tiger Heron

large_996200a0-13f7-11ed-b613-051dd9040007.jpg
Adult Rufescent Tiger Heron

large_19ca9f40-13f8-11ed-b613-051dd9040007.jpg
Roadside Hawk

large_59255770-13f8-11ed-b613-051dd9040007.jpg
Black Collared Hawk

large_b9f32410-13f8-11ed-b613-051dd9040007.jpg
Capybara

large_346ce690-13f9-11ed-96f1-898b062d260a.jpg
Wattled Jacana

large_356f9410-13fa-11ed-a81c-1befa2802cbe.jpg
Guira Cuckoo

large_f1db3460-13fa-11ed-a81c-1befa2802cbe.jpg
Black Capped Donacobius

large_640435f0-13fb-11ed-a81c-1befa2802cbe.jpg
Black Howler Monkeys. Only the males are black, the females are golden brown.

large_1a13b960-13fc-11ed-a81c-1befa2802cbe.jpg
Rhea

large_acee0600-13fc-11ed-a81c-1befa2802cbe.jpg
Muscovy Duck - the oldest domesticated duck in the world (although this one is wild)

large_cd3b1b90-13fd-11ed-a4ac-c5b7d701fa4a.jpg
Great Egret

large_4c065de0-13fe-11ed-aaa9-c50d7896adcf.jpg
Brazilian Teal

large_c10fa690-13ff-11ed-a7c8-93c29cdde39f.jpg
Cocoi Heron

large_19d6e530-1401-11ed-a7c8-93c29cdde39f.jpg
Snail Kite

large_5b1dae90-1404-11ed-b651-4969005c96d7.jpg
She's got a snail!

large_464cd380-1407-11ed-9478-f56fa2e7a297.jpg
Monk Parakeet nest

They are everywhere on the trees and the ground around here

large_40e448f0-1408-11ed-9478-f56fa2e7a297.jpg

large_6df9ebf0-1409-11ed-a924-7f460764adf5.jpg

large_c99d7a10-140b-11ed-8962-cb8582e8611e.jpg

large_66326a20-1407-11ed-9478-f56fa2e7a297.jpg
Roadside Hawk

large_45fb5820-1407-11ed-9478-f56fa2e7a297.jpg
Savanna Hawk

large_bbe36b40-140c-11ed-86a3-6b75bc325bc7.jpg
And a nearby juvenile

large_dcc77860-1407-11ed-9478-f56fa2e7a297.jpg
Maguari Stork

large_633639c0-140a-11ed-8808-0724459833c8.jpg
Limpkin

large_cd587ee0-140e-11ed-9cd1-97a5203b629f.jpg
Blue Fronted Piping Guan

large_1e4d97e0-140f-11ed-9cd1-97a5203b629f.jpg
Rufescent Tiger Heron

large_b00c3b50-140f-11ed-9cd1-97a5203b629f.jpg
Black Tailed Marmoset

large_4f7f0f40-1411-11ed-917e-89fb49da0957.jpg
Chaco Chachalaca

The Chachalaca are such noisy birds, we hear them in the morning at the resort.

large_fc4ba990-1411-11ed-9b4c-4bdfc034a8e7.jpg

large_b4716d60-1413-11ed-83c2-9d05a22fbceb.jpg
Neotropic Cormorant drying his wings, his wet feathers glistening in the sun

We return to the lodge for breakfast, I can't believe it is only 9 o'clock, considering the number of birds and animals we've seen already.

Later this morning I take a walk around the grounds to see what birds are around.

large_edcebd80-14a2-11ed-a938-430d264af806.jpg
Chaco Chachalaca

large_ed792370-14a2-11ed-b2be-0bac2c6f68b4.jpg
Yellow Billed Cardinal

large_ed556ed0-14a2-11ed-80c3-01eec5cf9f1f.jpg
Greater Kiskadee

large_ed0bbba0-14a2-11ed-886d-991669d512bf.jpg
Saffron Finch

I join Tina, a German lady, and Alexandria, her local guide, for a cool drink in the shade. Tina, in her own words, is on a “one-woman mission to show the world that Germans do have a sense of humour”. By sheer coincidence, Alexandria is the sister of Julinha, the pilot who flew us here. It's a small world.

Lunch
The barman has got the message that we like to sit out on the patio rather than under the straw roof for lunch. It is less to do with the roof keeping the heat in and that area being crowded, and more to do with the fact that the tables on the patio have proper chairs with backrests rather than the picnic-style benches.

Jeep Safari
For our afternoon excursion today, we head off-road opposite the lodge rather than along the Transpantaneira. Initially, there is not much to see, but then Roberto spots something in the dry grass.

Armadillo
We follow this little guy for quite some time as he munches his way across the field.

large_a8f4f010-14a4-11ed-a157-bb70a26afe4a.jpg

He rarely looks up from his food.

large_a8e22b60-14a4-11ed-8f51-cb1b90921a2f.jpg

Red Legged Siema

large_d42b6840-14a4-11ed-a157-bb70a26afe4a.jpg

large_d37b5220-14a4-11ed-a157-bb70a26afe4a.jpg

Crab-Eating Fox
We see a couple of foxes lurking around the edge of the field.

large_d636a190-14a4-11ed-8f51-cb1b90921a2f.jpg

large_d5c9d600-14a4-11ed-8f51-cb1b90921a2f.jpg

large_d5754d60-14a4-11ed-8f51-cb1b90921a2f.jpg

Stopping to photograph the sunset, we make our way back to the lodge as the light fades fast.

large_bba1b5d0-14a5-11ed-a157-bb70a26afe4a.jpg

large_baa55470-14a5-11ed-a157-bb70a26afe4a.jpg

large_bb75eae0-14a5-11ed-a153-2961be2b82b3.jpg

large_bb704590-14a5-11ed-a157-bb70a26afe4a.jpg

large_d5068600-14a4-11ed-a157-bb70a26afe4a.jpg
Rufescent Tiger Heron

large_d5422f70-14a4-11ed-a157-bb70a26afe4a.jpg
Capybara

Dinner
It's the job of our favourite barman to decide who sits where at meal times, and this evening he has placed us with a lovely Brazilian couple from São Paulo and their two young children.

While the buffet dinner is nothing special, the milk pudding with a fruit (plum?) sauce is delicious.

large_a7e351a0-14a7-11ed-b0a8-8bba6eb78aee.jpg

Night Safari
At 20:00, we go out for a night safari to get a different perspective of the Pantanal wildlife. To be honest, the trip is probably not worth it. The only wildlife we see is two rabbits and a rhea, plus domesticated buffalo and zebu cows.

Thank you to Undiscovered Destinations for arranging this trip.

large_811d4040-1415-11ed-9f0e-2d899ebaea00.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 19:37 Archived in Brazil Tagged animals monkeys bird sunrise kite safari hawk brazil birding brasil ducks south_america caiman dust heron stork vulture anhinga parakeet egrets cormorant capybara howler_monkeys birds_nest bird_watching rhea teal jacana undiscovered_destinations wildlife_photography kiskadee skimmer black_howler_monkeys araras birds_of_brazil no_rain jaribu donacobius marmoset black_tailed_maromset chacalaca Comments (0)

Araras Day One - walking tour and Jeep safari

A bird-watcher's paradise


View Pantanal and Amazon 2022 on Grete Howard's travel map.

Another slightly later start this morning: up at 05:30, breakfast at 06:30, leave at 07:00 for a wee walk around the hotel grounds to check out what's about.

large_57377390-131b-11ed-ba2b-6f15182c37f4.jpg
Red Breasted Cardinal

large_78eaec60-131b-11ed-ba2b-6f15182c37f4.jpg
Little Woodpecker, hiding

large_79dfd3b0-131b-11ed-9cb8-0da36273f65b.jpg
Roseate Spoonbill and Wood Stork

large_3e65bed0-1320-11ed-a47c-719c6d9a19fe.jpg
One in, one out!

large_9ac7f0c0-131c-11ed-ba2b-6f15182c37f4.jpg
Wattled Jacana

large_0ca17d50-131e-11ed-a460-5dfa668ec063.jpg

We see Mr & Mrs Hornero, and this is their somewhat unusual nest.

large_608b2bf0-1323-11ed-85b1-557586c4dca3.jpg

large_0cea1f10-131e-11ed-81a9-ad039d85c8b9.jpg
Greater Kiskadee

large_d9e1ab80-1320-11ed-a47c-719c6d9a19fe.jpg
Ringed Kingfisher

large_3489df20-1322-11ed-96f1-451d3336202a.jpg
Chopi Blackbirds

The grounds are surrounded by ponds covered in vegetation, amongst which caimans hide, waiting for an unsuspecting breakfast.

large_f5037120-1323-11ed-ad08-c1655c91a5f4.jpg

large_ec5ad6c0-1324-11ed-a927-d563298b6318.jpg

We hear several loud grunts and look around expecting to see wild boar or something similar. “It's the mating call of the caiman” explains Roberto.

large_a8ece040-1324-11ed-a927-d563298b6318.jpg
Monk Parakeets

Black Collared Hawk
The hawk has caught something, although at first, I cannot make out what it is.

large_5c4fa850-1327-11ed-a0d9-373ae32c8173.jpg

On closer inspection, I can see it's a fish, and he is having quite the feast!

large_5c637e70-1327-11ed-9fd7-d10bd1e153f6.jpg

large_5c5a0890-1327-11ed-a377-6dccd79c2aa1.jpg

large_123fe2f0-1333-11ed-822b-b11f6d924521.jpg
Cattle Tyrant - it is the first time we have seen that red crest on the top of its head

large_acfef2d0-1334-11ed-be6a-03221f6131d2.jpg
Yellow Rumped Cacique

large_e06a2c90-1341-11ed-ad78-31175fcacd42.jpg
Rufous Bellied Thrush

large_35c64b60-1351-11ed-9f4d-ffd402ac9738.jpg
Rufous Cachalote. That is one very ambitious nest builder!

large_c84a1160-1342-11ed-844e-b590d13a409c.jpg
Boat Billed Heron

large_2d9421e0-1344-11ed-844e-b590d13a409c.jpg
She is feeding her young

large_6362f680-1343-11ed-844e-b590d13a409c.jpg
Black Vulture

large_fb4e84f0-134d-11ed-9e4b-4fa7d4a61376.jpg
Thrush Like Wren

The property owns a lot of land surrounding the lodge, and several boardwalks lead out across the marshland into the jungle beyond. There is also an observation tower, but neither of us feels up to climbing it.

On one of the boardwalks, we see a couple of spoonbills. I suggest Roberto walks onto the bridge so that I can catch the moment they fly away.

large_215c4fd0-1351-11ed-9e01-0952996903ef.jpg

Unfortunately, they both fly in the opposite direction from what I wanted them to do.

large_21726fe0-1351-11ed-9b76-e11c732a068a.jpg

large_217fdd60-1351-11ed-9f4d-ffd402ac9738.jpg

A caiman looks as if he is heading to the swimming pool.

large_88ea94e0-135b-11ed-ae91-9179391a2d2f.jpg

Another is making a beeline for David.

large_19b9cf40-135c-11ed-a7ee-0bb09792c4e9.jpg

This one makes me laugh - I don't think the camouflage is working!

large_89afb9a0-135b-11ed-a7ee-0bb09792c4e9.jpg

They are awfully close to the hotel in my opinion.

large_0928d2b0-135d-11ed-837e-a57ad6dc36a8.jpg

Roberto assures me that no attacks on guests have been recorded. “They are more afraid of you than you are of them”

large_09549da0-135d-11ed-9afb-2df5af96a499.jpg

large_42f4f730-135d-11ed-9afb-2df5af96a499.jpg
Amazon Kingfisher

large_9d780c10-135d-11ed-837e-a57ad6dc36a8.jpg
Savanna Hawk

large_f1d30c60-135d-11ed-837e-a57ad6dc36a8.jpg
Purple Gallinule, hiding

large_1906a480-135f-11ed-837e-a57ad6dc36a8.jpg
Black Capped Donacobius

large_cf8f9db0-135f-11ed-af8c-1761d65d3f07.jpg
Plumbeous Ibis

large_e971f060-1360-11ed-b77f-6192f1c9ac32.jpg
South American Ground Lizard

This place really is a birdwatcher's paradise. On a three-hour walk, during which we strayed no more than a few hundred metres from the lodgings, we have seen 34 different bird species, 22 of which are new to us on this trip.

Very satisfied, we return to the room for a few hours in the air conditioning before lunch. David is feeling only slightly better from his throat infection, and I still have the runs, so it is nice to chill for a bit.

Lunch
We make sure we go down to the restaurant as soon as the food is ready when they ring the bell at 11:30. I dislike buffets, and I dislike buffets that have been left out for an hour or two even more.

large_885f9950-1363-11ed-ae46-5d1e42db8366.jpg
Chicken stew, rice, and beans

large_8842e990-1363-11ed-bdbf-05d9f8a4ff8f.jpg
Caramelised payaya - very nice!

We have it on good authority that the large tree in the courtyard of the lodge attracts macaws most afternoons, so after a post-lunch siesta, I wander out there to see if I can spot any.

Hyacinth Macaw

large_91cb8dd0-13dd-11ed-af20-87b32c1bfbfd.jpg

This is the largest parrot in the world, and I hear them before I see them. They are loud, very active, and quite humorous to watch.

large_91fb9e80-13dd-11ed-94bb-3d013694eda4.jpg

They are not so easy to photograph, however, and for the best part of an hour, they play hide and seek with me.

large_91ef4270-13dd-11ed-bb94-e523cd4327d5.jpg

I swear they are laughing at me.

large_91f0f020-13dd-11ed-b0b3-c5907eb14298.jpg

Mind you, chasing them around the tree with a walking stick in one hand and a chair in the other must have looked quite amusing. My balance is pretty awful (David would say I am 'unstable'), hence the chair for when I want to look straight upwards holding a long lens up to my face.

large_91e97610-13dd-11ed-a486-2f8c766b4a69.jpg

Jeep Safari
Here at Araras, a number of activities are included in the package, such as trekking, climbing the observation tower, horseriding and canoeing. Obviously, I am unable to partake in any of those, so Roberto is taking us out on a Jeep Safari this afternoon.

large_670f78f0-13e1-11ed-b373-6fbba13fdfd0.jpg

The safari vehicles are converted pick-ups, where the tiered seating on the back can be removed if the Jeep is needed for something else, like transporting luggage.

large_67176830-13e1-11ed-977f-d72850b0c8d5.jpg

David sits on the back, while I sit inside the back seat – I choose the back rather than the front, as I then have unobstructed views out both sides.

large_66e115f0-13e1-11ed-b8d0-89c238810ac8.jpg

large_aabe9720-13e1-11ed-977f-d72850b0c8d5.jpg
Ringed Kingfisher

large_aada3570-13e1-11ed-b373-6fbba13fdfd0.jpg
Whistling Heron

large_aaf166f0-13e1-11ed-b8d0-89c238810ac8.jpg
Thrush-Like Wren

large_aafcffb0-13e1-11ed-977f-d72850b0c8d5.jpg
Purpleish Jay

large_ab3092d0-13e1-11ed-b8d0-89c238810ac8.jpg
Black Collared Hawk

large_abbb94c0-13e1-11ed-a2e3-2d8da148b593.jpg
Southern Lapwing

large_445d5f60-13e2-11ed-a2e3-2d8da148b593.jpg
Orange Backed Troupial

large_44944de0-13e2-11ed-b8d0-89c238810ac8.jpg
Great Black Hawk

large_44a95c80-13e2-11ed-a2e3-2d8da148b593.jpg
Green Ibis Eating a Frog

large_45189910-13e2-11ed-a2e3-2d8da148b593.jpg
Grey Necked Wood-Rail

large_7bd9a070-13e2-11ed-a2e3-2d8da148b593.jpg

Marsh Deer

large_7aa82550-13e2-11ed-a2e3-2d8da148b593.jpg

Before dinner, a group of guests have gathered around the camp fire, singing songs and playing the guitar.

large_7b8a47f0-13e2-11ed-a2e3-2d8da148b593.jpg

After the meal, David and I wander down to the boardwalk for some light painting.

large_7ab71970-13e2-11ed-b373-6fbba13fdfd0.jpg

large_e25325b0-13e2-11ed-a2e3-2d8da148b593.jpg

I also try my hand at some more astrophotography. I do think that I need heaps more practice!

large_a0dad2c0-13e4-11ed-9156-c3c683592316.jpg

Goodnight from Araras, and thank you to Undiscovered Destinations for arranging this trip.

large_d42f8a30-13e4-11ed-9156-c3c683592316.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 22:46 Archived in Brazil Tagged birds wildlife safari hawk brazil lunch lizard birding brasil deer jay caiman woodpecker heron stork vulture ibis cardinal spoonbill blackbird kingfisher macaw pantanal astro bird_watching eco_lodge camp_fire milky_way jacana undiscovered_destinations lapwing astro_photography light_painting thrush after_dark wildlife_photography parakeets kiskadee araras jeep_safari hornero pousada_araras_eco_lodge tyrant cacique chachalote troupial wood_rail marsh_deer wild-birds wren galinule caramelised_papaya rice_and_beans Comments (2)

Porto Jofre Morning Safari Day Two

Exploring further afield


View Pantanal and Amazon 2022 on Grete Howard's travel map.

We have a later start this morning: breakfast at 05:30, leave at 06:30. David is still feeling pretty rough, so again decides to stay behind when Roberto and I go off.

Having already seen eight jaguars (including the one at dinner the first night), we head to a different location this morning.

large_396cb350-117e-11ed-b928-17654d84d72d.jpg

The scene may look idyllic, but the water is dirty and certainly not good for swimming as there are a number of dangers lurking under the surface: caiman, piranha, and sweet-water stingray to mention a few.

large_38a82ad0-117e-11ed-b86a-bd631b1dddec.jpg

Capybara
These giant guinea pigs are the world's largest rodents, at twice the size of the beaver.

large_82430920-1184-11ed-830c-c92343ac37e3.jpg

The most interesting thing about capybara is that they are known to eat their poo in the mornings.

large_821c4740-1184-11ed-beef-ed1b4a3ab89f.jpg

I am disappointed that we don't see them do this (I think). We do see one of the youngsters drinking, however.

large_81d52c20-1184-11ed-beef-ed1b4a3ab89f.jpg

large_81be6fd0-1184-11ed-830c-c92343ac37e3.jpg
Pied Lapwing

large_ebe52920-1185-11ed-830c-c92343ac37e3.jpg
Amazon Kingfisher

large_6269a020-1187-11ed-9be2-97cedb4ed962.jpg
Wood Stork

large_3e3441f0-1188-11ed-9ab8-3b9e3c77bee2.jpg
Great Egret

large_57632320-1189-11ed-b6c9-4b1e4823a1b3.jpg
Roseate Spoonbill

large_9fb52000-118a-11ed-92e3-d3827be4404e.jpg
Black Crowned Night Heron

large_0ed33610-118c-11ed-9c24-8757d17f35aa.jpg
Rufescent Tiger Heron

large_972dacc0-118c-11ed-9c24-8757d17f35aa.jpg
Greater Ani trying to hide

Black Howler Monkeys
Today we see the male – which is actually black – as well as the golden-coloured female we saw yesterday.

large_ce037f30-118d-11ed-b1b2-8763511f2620.jpg

large_ce0553f0-118d-11ed-9252-3b49d3280f9c.jpg

large_d3864bb0-1190-11ed-86bf-0d460c6d59f7.jpg

large_a3298210-1191-11ed-85c3-dd1c4fcf93a6.jpg

One of the females has a baby on her back!

large_c9a0cf10-1192-11ed-b4ea-0f81bd942b8f.jpg

large_06099440-118f-11ed-b1b2-8763511f2620.jpg
Golden Tegu Lizard

large_862b76d0-1198-11ed-85b0-d19ea1bae735.jpg
Green Iguana

large_1f8d3610-1199-11ed-8d5d-61d87ee227df.jpg
More Capybara

Caiman
There are caimans everywhere!

large_38670320-117e-11ed-b86a-bd631b1dddec.jpg

large_d37f7aa0-11a0-11ed-bd38-cf6bc692d925.jpg

This guy is a real giant of a grandaddy!

large_db127bc0-119e-11ed-af2a-0110177dc3ae.jpg

I didn't realise until today, that caiman (and crocodiles) have no tongue as such. Well, technically they do, but the tongue is held in place at the roof of the mouth by a membrane. Because caimans spend so much time underwater, the tongue helps keep the throat closed, protecting the animal's airway. Unlike other species, the tongue plays no part in feeding.

large_dae59f60-119e-11ed-acf2-49efe8316a9f.jpg

This poor guy is missing the tip of his tail – he could have had an encounter with a jaguar, or possibly even one of his own. Caimans have been known to turn to cannibalism.

large_8dd27550-11bb-11ed-b5da-7391502e3318.jpg

large_4a47f4f0-11a1-11ed-a3e2-1fa95f27c98d.jpg
More Capybara

large_95261060-11a1-11ed-a3e2-1fa95f27c98d.jpg
Jabiru

Nesting Site
We arrive in an area where almost every tree has a birds' nest. It is a beautiful, peaceful place with lots of tall trees offering shade, and we are the only people here, so I ask if we can just hang around for a while.

large_3d992f10-11b7-11ed-95fd-97ecad776e6a.jpg

large_3d2f97d0-11b7-11ed-95fd-97ecad776e6a.jpg

large_54289e80-11be-11ed-869e-1d33e76275c6.jpg
Jabiru on her nest

I try to photograph some of the numerous birds flying above the canopies, without a great deal of success.

large_75fe4220-11ba-11ed-b5da-7391502e3318.jpg
Large Billed Tern

large_57a657c0-11b7-11ed-9073-3f577462cf23.jpg
Lesser Yellow Hooded Vulture

large_579a70e0-11b7-11ed-b5ec-e52cd38ed7f3.jpg
Southern Caracara

large_56e8d420-11b7-11ed-95fd-97ecad776e6a.jpg
Neotropic Cormorant

I have a bit more luck with the perched birds.

large_90c76f30-11b7-11ed-9073-3f577462cf23.jpg
Anhinga

large_909080b0-11b7-11ed-b9be-cbe526c0908f.jpg
Cocoi Heron

large_90a2d030-11b7-11ed-b5ec-e52cd38ed7f3.jpg
Lesser Kiskadee

large_90db6c60-11b7-11ed-b9be-cbe526c0908f.jpg
Southern Caracara

large_c734d850-11b7-11ed-9073-3f577462cf23.jpg
Cormorant and Anhinga

large_c74f3e20-11b7-11ed-b9be-cbe526c0908f.jpg
The Anhinga is not happy

large_c6a2d180-11b7-11ed-b9be-cbe526c0908f.jpg
She has more than her hands full with feeding her young. I am amazed at how far down her throat the youngster sticks his head!

large_c6b3e880-11b7-11ed-9073-3f577462cf23.jpg
His brother tries to muscle in on the action.

large_c6ef91f0-11b7-11ed-9073-3f577462cf23.jpg
Enough is enough!

We move on to see what else nature has to offer us today.

large_2a622350-11b9-11ed-96c7-177d6b7f844a.jpg
More Capybara

large_263d0ab0-11b9-11ed-96c7-177d6b7f844a.jpg
Southern Screamer

large_ddbe9f40-11ba-11ed-b5da-7391502e3318.jpg
Jabiru

large_d551dff0-11bc-11ed-8335-43de3788f1b3.jpg
Black Collared Hawk

large_6578cc60-11bd-11ed-8335-43de3788f1b3.jpg
Bare Faced Ibis

large_3ed14040-11bf-11ed-9808-5b33a233383c.jpg
Black Crowned Night Heron

large_62872de0-11c1-11ed-be7f-f984be4ecc4a.jpg
Green Iguana

large_02e05fa0-11c2-11ed-be7f-f984be4ecc4a.jpg

large_2a987f20-11c5-11ed-8f91-b3720ff0ee62.jpg
Cocoi Heron

large_a218b0b0-11c5-11ed-ad40-bff75f45c3a2.jpg
Another Jabiru - this large bird is the symbol of Pantanal

We return to the lodge for another buffet lunch.

large_dfcdd9c0-11c6-11ed-aa0f-5f17cf45d6e5.jpg

Goodbye from Porto Jofre for now. Thank you Undiscovered Destinations for arranging this trip.

large_f10bb820-11c5-11ed-ad40-bff75f45c3a2.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 13:01 Archived in Brazil Tagged animals boat wildlife safari iguana hawk brazil brasil south_america caiman heron egret stork vulture anhinga ibis spoonbill caracara kingfisher ani cormorant pantanal capybara howler_monkeys bird_watching boat_safari jabiru porto_jofre green_iguana undiscovered_destinations tern lapwing wildlife_photography kiskadee monekeys black_howler_monkeys birds_nests screamer Comments (2)

Porto Jofre Morning Safari Day One

A good start!


View Pantanal and Amazon 2022 on Grete Howard's travel map.

I had a dreadful night: my shoulder, back, wrist, knee, pelvis, and ankle were all hurting at some stage, and my stomach felt very unsettled (I still have the runs); while David spent the night coughing and blowing his nose. I finally give in and get up just after 04:00.

David decides to stay in bed for the morning, so I go out with Roberto in a boat to see if we can find any jaguars. The Pantanal is said to have the world's highest density of these beautiful cats, and Porto Jofre is known as Jaguar Central, so I am hoping we'll get lucky.

large_601a1d30-0e9a-11ed-8f7f-8d6597dbd7bc.jpg

We agreed quite early on at the planning stage that we didn't want to be in a group (too many bad experiences as a photographer on group tours), so we paid extra and upgraded to a private tour. Seeing some of the bigger boats with up to 12 people in them, I am grateful for the small four-seater boat with me, Roberto and Captain Dinio.

large_5f1b98f0-0e9a-11ed-a665-e5bbb3304002.jpg

We leave the hotel before dawn, and the sunrise is beautiful with the early morning mist hanging over the water! It is surprisingly cold this morning with the wind from the moving boat. I am glad I listened to Roberto and put a wind-proof jacket on!

large_144ace80-0e9b-11ed-8f7f-8d6597dbd7bc.jpg

large_140d7760-0e9b-11ed-8f7f-8d6597dbd7bc.jpg

large_141a48a0-0e9b-11ed-a665-e5bbb3304002.jpg

large_14688fb0-0e9b-11ed-a665-e5bbb3304002.jpg

We are heading in a leisurely fashion towards an area where jaguars were spotted yesterday, stopping to photograph the birds and animals we see along the way.

large_ab86eea0-0e9b-11ed-a665-e5bbb3304002.jpg
Bat Falcon

large_abb5ede0-0e9b-11ed-a665-e5bbb3304002.jpg
Pied Lapwings making baby lapwings

large_aba747e0-0e9b-11ed-8f7f-8d6597dbd7bc.jpg
Black Skimmer

large_d6bc7c70-0e9b-11ed-a665-e5bbb3304002.jpg
Large Billed Tern

large_efd24cd0-0e9b-11ed-a665-e5bbb3304002.jpg
Green Iguana

All the boat captains are in touch via radio, and we get word that some guests from the hotel have seen a family of five otters, so we decide to go there to check it out.

It seems to take forever to get there, as the captain is very courteous and slows right down every time we pass fishermen in their boats. I worry that the otters will be gone by the time we get there.

Giant River Otters
The otters are still around, eating fish. They are quite large (I guess there's a hint in the name), and they have viciously sharp teeth. You can easily hear the crunching of the fish bones as they eat.

large_c4accf20-0e9c-11ed-a3d0-b321a52e1b3d.jpg

large_c3f58d10-0e9c-11ed-8f7f-8d6597dbd7bc.jpg

large_c3f45490-0e9c-11ed-a665-e5bbb3304002.jpg

Other Wildlife

large_faddf290-0e9c-11ed-a665-e5bbb3304002.jpg
Cocoi Heron

large_faaa3860-0e9c-11ed-a3d0-b321a52e1b3d.jpg
White Winged Swallow

large_faac0d20-0e9c-11ed-8f7f-8d6597dbd7bc.jpg
Wood Stork

large_fb3190d0-0e9c-11ed-a665-e5bbb3304002.jpg
Great Egret

large_fb506370-0e9c-11ed-a3d0-b321a52e1b3d.jpg
Neotropic Cormorants

large_49728650-0e9d-11ed-a3d0-b321a52e1b3d.jpg
Amazon Kingfisher

large_49fbb380-0e9d-11ed-8f7f-8d6597dbd7bc.jpg
Black Crowned Night Heron

large_49c53a30-0e9d-11ed-a665-e5bbb3304002.jpg
Wattled Jacana

large_49d73b90-0e9d-11ed-a3d0-b321a52e1b3d.jpg
Anhinga drying its wings

large_997cf130-0e9d-11ed-a3d0-b321a52e1b3d.jpg
Caiman

large_991fdd10-0e9d-11ed-8f7f-8d6597dbd7bc.jpg
Southern Screamer

large_99fca880-0e9d-11ed-a3d0-b321a52e1b3d.jpg
Brown Capuchin

large_996634e0-0e9d-11ed-8f7f-8d6597dbd7bc.jpg
Crane Hawk

large_c4aba130-0e9d-11ed-8f7f-8d6597dbd7bc.jpg
Lesser Yellow Hooded Vulture

large_c4a0a4b0-0e9d-11ed-a3d0-b321a52e1b3d.jpg
Toco Toucan

A passing boat indicates to us that they have heard of a sighting, so "hold on to your hats, it is full speed ahead!" Sod the fishermen, this is business!

large_5f264a80-0e9e-11ed-a3d0-b321a52e1b3d.jpg

Jaguar
The first hint that there is something of interest, is a boat jam!

large_a37fb270-0e9e-11ed-a3d0-b321a52e1b3d.jpg

At first, I can't spot the cat, as she is doing her best to be camouflaged (very successfully) while she stalks an unsuspecting caiman through the long grass at the riverbank.

large_8d3c9b00-0ea7-11ed-9664-570d6e7b7b2a.jpg

large_8df2cba0-0ea7-11ed-b5f1-8164d4492a9a.jpg

large_8e04a5f0-0ea7-11ed-8e31-d1e7fa43cf21.jpg

Her camouflage skills are better than her hunting skills this morning, however, as she pounces with a menacing growl, the caiman gets away with a large splash at the last minute!

large_8eb38390-0ea7-11ed-adad-49086ffb7efd.jpg

large_d3f21b60-0ea7-11ed-8e31-d1e7fa43cf21.jpg
The look of dejection on her face as the caiman gets away!

The jaguar walks along the bank. We follow.

large_e0fbdb10-0ea8-11ed-9664-570d6e7b7b2a.jpg

She stops. We stop.

large_e0e60920-0ea8-11ed-b5f1-8164d4492a9a.jpg

She turns around. We turn around. We lose sight of her for a while and thinking she might have wandered over to the other side of the peninsula, we check it out. Nope. We return to the original side just as she appears out of the undergrowth.

large_c5b307a0-0eb4-11ed-bfd4-5b7bf471217b.jpg

large_c6745bd0-0eb4-11ed-b2be-014d876dc086.jpg

large_c5a747d0-0eb4-11ed-9ab6-9f69e8df3aab.jpg

large_de3c7680-0eb4-11ed-b2be-014d876dc086.jpg

Soon she gets fed up with sitting on a log and disappears into the undergrowth again.

large_88bba8f0-0eb6-11ed-bfd4-5b7bf471217b.jpg

Our next spotting is one of her two sub-adult cubs in a tree further down the bank.

large_533eebf0-0eb7-11ed-9ab6-9f69e8df3aab.jpg

large_1820d940-0ffa-11ed-89ac-e368c2c2fcc0.jpg

large_1824f7f0-0ffa-11ed-b6fa-05b9a8f7162a.jpg

The other one is hidden in the thicket behind the tree.

large_181a70a0-0ffa-11ed-a853-5b9e23fd9354.jpg

Meanwhile, mum is keeping an eye on them from the riverbank.

large_9ba18d50-0ffa-11ed-89ac-e368c2c2fcc0.jpg

We're all getting roasted by the fierce sun while waiting for further action.

large_9bc82820-0ffa-11ed-b6fa-05b9a8f7162a.jpg

Mum is fidgety and heads along the edge of the river towards where her babies are.

large_deab91e0-0ffa-11ed-b6fa-05b9a8f7162a.jpg

large_ded58810-0ffa-11ed-89ac-e368c2c2fcc0.jpg

large_df04ae60-0ffa-11ed-b6fa-05b9a8f7162a.jpg

She looks straight at us and heads for the water.

large_43dda300-0ffb-11ed-89ac-e368c2c2fcc0.jpg

There is a strict code of conduct for boat safaris in the Pantanal, and keeping at least 25 metres away from any big cats is one of them. When it looks like she is going to swim across the river, all the boat captains move to a respectable distance.

large_441777b0-0ffb-11ed-b6fa-05b9a8f7162a.jpg

As it turns out, she swims away from us along the bank and disappears into the jungle further along.

large_43c69890-0ffb-11ed-b6fa-05b9a8f7162a.jpg

It's time to head back for lunch. Last night Roberto suggested we start at 06:00 this morning, and be back at the hotel between 10:00 and 10:30. It is now 12:30, and lunch is served in half an hour. David must be wondering what on earth has happened to us!

When I get back to the hotel, I find David sitting outside the room. While he is up and about, he does not look well, with his right eye swollen and watering. He tells me he is feeling slightly better and we both go off for some lunch.

large_d0e18b40-1000-11ed-9c06-6964d3bbfd2e.jpg

Thank you to Undiscovered Destinations for arranging this trip for us.

large_dc07e330-11e9-11ed-a059-914cf7e2c1e5.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 19:19 Archived in Brazil Tagged wildlife monkey iguana hawk brazil birding brasil toucan heron egret stork vulture anhinga jaguar kingfisher falcon capuchin cormorant pantanal bird_watching otter porto_jofre jacana swallow tern lapwing wildlife_photography undiscovered_destination skimmer river_otter giant_river_otter swollen_eye Comments (2)

Cuiabá - Porto Jofre

Entering the Pantanal


View Pantanal and Amazon 2022 on Grete Howard's travel map.

David is really suffering this morning with his sore throat, poor thing. After a decent breakfast and a leisurely start, we meet Roberto, our guide, and Ouzito. the driver, outside the hotel at 10 o'clock. They will be taking us by road to Pantanal today. I am excited. I am very excited. Pantanal has been on my wish list for the longest time, and having had this trip cancelled twice, I can't quite believe that I am here now, so very close.

The first part of the journey is on a sealed road with a relatively smooth surface. Alongside the road, we see fields where they grow soya beans or graze Brahma cows imported from India. The odd gold mine dots the landscape, and we see birds such as vultures and rhea, plus the odd capybara.

By the time we reach Poconé, the only town of any size in this region, I have diarrhea. Thankfully we are stopping here for lunch, in a BBQ restaurant known as a Churruascaria, and they have decent toilets.

After filling our plates with salads from a buffet, a waiter comes around with various BBQ meats that he carves off as much or as little as we want. Every few minutes he brings something different: various cuts of beef, chicken, pork, sausages etc.

large_86ff2040-0d13-11ed-ac69-8fc8a01c9ef0.jpg large_87ca8690-0d13-11ed-ad25-175cb0708885.jpg

Transpantaneira
From Poconé it is a dirt road all the way, known as the Transpantaneira, a 150km journey through a range of landscapes - with drier grasslands in the north, while further south, closer to Porto Jofre, the landscape is wetter with more forest and swamp.

large_904b4640-0d15-11ed-935a-27448d8a1ad3.jpg

The road is unpaved, rough, and pot-holed, connected by 122 bridges in varying states of disrepair. A few have been replaced with newer concrete constructions, while some still remain old, rickety, and nerve-wracking. I am sure glad it is not me who is driving.

large_906c89e0-0d15-11ed-8dcb-e3131ce1de76.jpg

large_908b3570-0d15-11ed-a09b-2b0dab041b92.jpg

We drive slowly as we look out for birds and animals, stopping often when we see something worth photographing - safari Pantanal style.

large_1dfc9ed0-0d16-11ed-8dcb-e3131ce1de76.jpg
Savanna Hawk

large_1de3e6b0-0d16-11ed-a09b-2b0dab041b92.jpg
Ringed Kingfisher

large_1efc3480-0d16-11ed-8dcb-e3131ce1de76.jpg
Candle Tree

large_1e49ad60-0d16-11ed-8dcb-e3131ce1de76.jpg
Red Legged Serima

Termite Mounds
During the dry season, the termites live under ground, but as soon as the rains start, they commence building their nests on top of the existing mound, thus increasing the height year by year. Some of the mounds we see are taller than a human.

large_acbfb580-0d16-11ed-af35-cb87c474c831.jpg

large_c438c5d0-0d16-11ed-af35-cb87c474c831.jpg
Red Brocket Deer

large_c3f701e0-0d16-11ed-af35-cb87c474c831.jpg
Yellow Billed Cardinal

large_c42760b0-0d16-11ed-b5c9-893b0a2b412c.jpg
American Wood Stork

large_e99d5fc0-0d16-11ed-af35-cb87c474c831.jpg
Roseate Spoonbill

large_e9d7d0b0-0d16-11ed-bef5-cf247dc22a7c.jpg
Lesser Yellow Hooded Vulture

large_e9cd4960-0d16-11ed-b5c9-893b0a2b412c.jpg
Plumbeous Ibis

large_e9e73a00-0d16-11ed-af35-cb87c474c831.jpg
Cocoi Heron

large_180e4270-0d17-11ed-af35-cb87c474c831.jpg
Rufous Hornero

large_182ec2c0-0d17-11ed-b5c9-893b0a2b412c.jpg
White Woodpecker

large_188ebd10-0d17-11ed-b5c9-893b0a2b412c.jpg
Caiman

large_18b2bfd0-0d17-11ed-af35-cb87c474c831.jpg
Black Collared Hawk

large_46af0ec0-0d17-11ed-af35-cb87c474c831.jpg
Great Kiskadee

large_46fedc70-0d17-11ed-b5c9-893b0a2b412c.jpg
Sunbittern

large_46f84cc0-0d17-11ed-af35-cb87c474c831.jpg
Green Iguana

large_4741b1d0-0d17-11ed-af35-cb87c474c831.jpg
Yellow Anaconda

large_911ab950-0d17-11ed-af35-cb87c474c831.jpg
Marsh Deer

large_915e7910-0d17-11ed-af35-cb87c474c831.jpg
Finally half way - Bridge 61!

large_916026c0-0d17-11ed-b5c9-893b0a2b412c.jpg
Juvenile Rufescent Tiger Heron

large_dda80b60-0d17-11ed-af35-cb87c474c831.jpg
Jabiru, the symbol of Pantanal

large_ddc30d70-0d17-11ed-b5c9-893b0a2b412c.jpg
Black Crowned Night Heron

large_ddd16550-0d17-11ed-935a-27448d8a1ad3.jpg
Peach Fronted Parakeet

large_dde75e50-0d17-11ed-af35-cb87c474c831.jpg
Capped Heron

Roberto said the journey to Porto Jofre would take between three and four hours, depending on how many times we stop. We finally arrive at the end of the road and pull up at our hotel after 7½ hours.

Pousada Porto Jofre
Ouzito drives right up to our room. Roberto has arranged for our room to be in such a position that we have easy access to everything: the restaurant, the pool, the docks, the reception, and the car park with the least amount of walking. Good man. There is no check-in procedure, although our room does have our name on it.

large_db4c8a00-0d29-11ed-8c4c-b96cd9cead5d.jpg

large_db760b00-0d29-11ed-88ff-d53f5f67f947.jpg

large_dbf992e0-0d29-11ed-88ff-d53f5f67f947.jpg

The room is fairly basic, but more than adequate, and the AC is good, which is a definite bonus.

large_39465440-0d18-11ed-af35-cb87c474c831.jpg

The hotel started life as a fishing camp on a farm, and when the owner realised that not just fishermen wanted to visit this area, it grew into the mixed-use resort it is today, with the focus split between fishing and jaguar safaris by boat.

large_a4a70470-0d2a-11ed-8cdf-4971e5c84bdd.jpg

large_2919d620-0d2a-11ed-8c4c-b96cd9cead5d.jpg

large_394bf990-0d18-11ed-935a-27448d8a1ad3.jpg
Capybara in the grounds

While exploring the hotel and its grounds, I identify a spot that I would like to use later for astrophotography – an elevated boardwalk with a lily pond that I can hopefully get the Milky Way to reflect in.

large_2816e510-0d2a-11ed-88ff-d53f5f67f947.jpg

Dinner

large_28ed9600-0d2a-11ed-88ff-d53f5f67f947.jpg
The restaurant

At dinner we are one of the few smaller tables: there are several large groups, including an American party at a long table next to us. Suddenly there is quite a commotion, with scraping of chairs, screeching of guests, and everybody abruptly and quickly getting up and running around.

The reason soon becomes clear: a river otter has managed to get inside the restaurant, and now all the staff and guides are trying to catch it (while the guests are trying to get away from it). After finally managing to grab it and throwing it out, Roberto goes outside to make sure the otter isn't able to get back in again.

Waving his arms, Roberto comes running back in to the restaurant, shouting in excitement: “jaguar!” “jaguar”. We think he is winding us up, but apparently not. It appears the otter was chased into the building by the big cat, and when Roberto went out, it was just outside the restaurant.

By the time we get out there, he has moved further down onto the boardwalk, and all we can see in the darkness of night is the outline of the body and the torchlight reflecting in his eyes. What excitement!

large_ef4b4b30-0d2a-11ed-8cdf-4971e5c84bdd.jpg

We reluctantly return to dinner. Tonight is a buffet, and while I am generally not keen on buffets, there is a very nice beef in a tasty sauce, and the strawberry cake is delicious.

Milky Way
Even though the jaguar sauntered off into the jungle earlier, we decide that maybe the boardwalk isn't the best place for astrophotography this evening. Roberto suggests going out onto the Transpantaneira where it will be darker than the hotel grounds, and I reckon I can use the road as a decent foreground. The gates are locked shut, however, so we settle for the lawns.

The problem is the trees have spotlights pointing at them. Roberto tries his best to point them away from my camera, and cover one with his hat, one with my bag, and David stands in front of the third light.

It works (with a little help from Photoshop later).

large_38facc50-0d18-11ed-af35-cb87c474c831.jpg

Goodnight from Porto Jofre. Thank you to Undiscovered Destinations for organising this trip.

large_daac0440-0d29-11ed-88ff-d53f5f67f947.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 21:34 Archived in Brazil Tagged dinner safari iguana hawk brazil brasil bbq deer buffet caiman heron stork ibis parakeet cardinal jaguar kingfisher pantanal anaconda cuiabá termite_mounds milky_way pocone porto_jofre termites undiscovered_destinations astrophotography kiskadee tranpantaneira churrascaria wooden_bridges serima Comments (4)

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)

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 III: migration, dung beetles, hyena, heron with snake

In the midst of the action


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

After breakfast we continue on our quest to see the wildebeest migration and maybe even a female giving birth.

The first thing we come across, is a less-than-a-day-old baby suckling his mum.

large_a3159e00-6f93-11ea-bcfe-9947a99cfe88.jpg

Large herds of wildebeests attract a number of followers as they cut across the savannah, in the form of flies, which again entice birds, in this case Cattle Egrets, who ride along, hoping for a tasty snack.

large_a2a9a490-713a-11ea-97b4-778cd81073d0.jpg

large_acc20620-713a-11ea-97b4-778cd81073d0.jpg

large_bd0cb570-713a-11ea-97b4-778cd81073d0.jpg

Marabou Stork

large_4946bad0-713c-11ea-830b-5f11f15ace87.jpg

large_541ec2e0-713c-11ea-830b-5f11f15ace87.jpg

large_5dd02540-713c-11ea-830b-5f11f15ace87.jpg

Grant's Gazelles

large_db0fe590-713c-11ea-830b-5f11f15ace87.jpg

large_e540d830-713c-11ea-830b-5f11f15ace87.jpg

Thomson's Gazelle

The difference between Grant's and Thomson's (affectionately known as Tommies), is not just that the latter is much small (which of course isn't easy to see in a photograph), but also the shape of the horns, and the dark stripe along the side.

large_d1b4eb20-713d-11ea-915c-772c023c013d.jpg

Here you can see them together – Grant's in the front with the paler body and the curved horns, and Thomson's at the back: smaller with a distinctive dark stripe.

large_da17d480-713d-11ea-915c-772c023c013d.jpg

Dung Beetles

Hundreds of thousands of wildebeest in one place naturally produces a lot of waste, with the waste again attracting dung beetles. Lots of them. Malisa knows what a fascination I have with these cool little recyclers, and stops for me to take some photos as they roll away their prized balls of shit.

large_a49e3da0-71b3-11ea-bc9d-a35e5c8a41df.jpg

So, why do they do it?
While there are different types of dung beetles, these little critters we see here, start by converging on a fresh pile of dung and rolling it into a ball. Sometimes you see several beetles on a pile of dung, and they can transform a huge mount of manure into perfect balls in minutes.

large_b576d510-71b3-11ea-bc9d-a35e5c8a41df.jpg

large_146f1e60-71b4-11ea-bc9d-a35e5c8a41df.jpg

Usually it is the male doing most of the rolling – they can roll up to 50 times their own weight – with the female simply hitching a ride.

large_454679c0-71b4-11ea-bc9d-a35e5c8a41df.jpg

Things don't always go to plan.

large_5e0d8de0-71b4-11ea-a158-ed76b960c661.jpg

When a spot with soft soil is found, they stop and bury the ball.

large_9805cb70-71b4-11ea-bc9d-a35e5c8a41df.jpg

After mating under ground, the female lays eggs inside the dung. Once the new brood has hatched, they eat their way out of the ball, thus the dung doubles up as housing as well as food.

large_f0da6d00-71b4-11ea-bc9d-a35e5c8a41df.jpg

By burying and consuming dung, they improve nutrient recycling and soil structure; as well as the dispersal of seeds found in the animal waste. Additionally, by removing the manure, they decrease the number of flies that would otherwise be attracted to the wildebeest.

I just love these little animals!

Hyena

A pregnant hyena eyes up a zebra.

large_13765e20-71c2-11ea-9251-6b07ae3a01b9.jpg

While they are known to be opportunist predators, hyenas generally go after abandoned kills. In this case, our female is looking for placentas left on the ground after animals have given birth.

large_26b1c4c0-71c2-11ea-9251-6b07ae3a01b9.jpg

The zebra nearest us is limping badly, and we momentarily get quite concerned for safety, but either the hyena doesn't notice, or she has not got the energy in her at her current state to pursue a potential prey. There is less chance of losing her baby by foraging for leftovers than chasing a large animal.

large_38275f80-71c2-11ea-9251-6b07ae3a01b9.jpg

Marabou Stork

Meanwhile, a Marabou Stork circles above. They too are carrion eaters, so probably looking for placentas too.

large_620a7cb0-71c2-11ea-9251-6b07ae3a01b9.jpg

large_6c1c4e90-71c2-11ea-9251-6b07ae3a01b9.jpg

large_766cd720-71c2-11ea-9251-6b07ae3a01b9.jpg

And an Abdim Stork

large_137f6530-71ca-11ea-b7d8-c97fa34c19c1.jpg

Kori Bustard

Judging by his flamboyant courtship display, this guy doesn't have food on his mind, he is looking to attract a female.

large_5f9531c0-71d4-11ea-bfe5-996b5defd917.jpg

large_692af5d0-71d4-11ea-bfe5-996b5defd917.jpg

Zebra with Young

large_5e53a9b0-71d7-11ea-be99-3b34b88f177d.jpg

large_1bdf1b30-7283-11ea-9393-d134bfa5035b.jpg

large_683543d0-71d7-11ea-be99-3b34b88f177d.jpg

large_723b55e0-71d7-11ea-be99-3b34b88f177d.jpg

large_d3b8a5b0-7282-11ea-9393-d134bfa5035b.jpg

large_fcfc5e80-7296-11ea-b200-636b7acc5977.jpg

This guy seems to have a lot of passengers.

large_524a7f30-71d8-11ea-8303-3359b6ba0a50.jpg

large_e7ebd4a0-7294-11ea-8234-c3133a5d895d.jpg

large_f04f87c0-71d8-11ea-8303-3359b6ba0a50.jpg
Wattled Starlinsg

Black Headed Heron

large_11453fb0-72a6-11ea-9d3a-b1327eb44f65.jpg

Far in the distance we see him stalking something on the ground, then dip down and reappear with a snake in his beak!

large_93d22570-72c8-11ea-bafa-9197cc67e87d.jpg

For the next ten minutes we watch the battle of wits between the still-live snake and the hungry bird.

large_a082be10-72c8-11ea-bafa-9197cc67e87d.jpg

large_ab07eb30-72c8-11ea-bafa-9197cc67e87d.jpg

It is a tough flight. The snake keeps trying to slither out of the heron's mouth but obviously the heron gets the better of it.

large_b782f4e0-72c8-11ea-bafa-9197cc67e87d.jpg

While trying to re-arrange the snake within his beak, he drops it at one stage, but is very quick at picking it up again.

large_c6954b40-72c8-11ea-bafa-9197cc67e87d.jpg

large_d2c960e0-72c8-11ea-bafa-9197cc67e87d.jpg

We are fascinated by the spectacle unfolding before us - this surely has to be today's highlight!

Knob Billed Duck

As we are watching the heron, Malisa calls out to alert us to a Knob Billed Duck flying overhead. I grab my other camera (I have been using Big Bertha for the heron, but find that too heavy and cumbersome for birds in flight), but by the time I get myself sorted, it has almost passed us over.

large_4f51b0b0-72cc-11ea-a728-8b721afb0176.jpg

Wildebeests

As we continue our journey across the flat meadows near Ndutu, we find ourselves surrounded on all sides by wildebeest. There are literally thousands of them, everywhere we look, as far as we can see into the distance.

large_0e677780-72cf-11ea-b6c6-9b84c15e3d22.jpg

large_aff383f0-72cf-11ea-b6c6-9b84c15e3d22.jpg

Today's challenge is to find a wildebeest – or zebra – just about to give birth so that we can witness the beginning of a new life. It seems, however, that we are too early for the wildebeest, and too late for the zebra.

large_06f58860-72d0-11ea-b6c6-9b84c15e3d22.jpg

large_a144b4e0-72d0-11ea-8aa6-0d3c88dd496f.jpg

large_55616000-7334-11ea-bccb-c7b093321f2c.jpg

Zebra Dust Bath

large_ea73f1f0-734b-11ea-ac9a-c9f10765025d.jpg

large_f48e7660-734b-11ea-ac9a-c9f10765025d.jpg

large_fe2720a0-734b-11ea-ac9a-c9f10765025d.jpg

Zebra on Heat

Someone ought to tell this female zebra on heat that mounting another female zebra is not going to satisfy her sexual urges, nor is it going to produce baby zebra.

large_216b96b0-736d-11ea-9229-ed43b7960dac.jpg

large_2bd7e4a0-736d-11ea-9229-ed43b7960dac.jpg

“Stop it! You're scaring the children!”

large_3bfa4b70-736d-11ea-9229-ed43b7960dac.jpg

The other female is obviously not in the mood for lesbian love, and kicks out before making her escape.

large_5fd67b30-736e-11ea-9229-ed43b7960dac.jpg

Car stuck in the Mud

In the distance we see a car at an odd angle; obviously unable to get out of a bit of a hole, quite literally.

large_03907b60-7444-11ea-a5da-811003e457a7.jpg

The ground is so deceptive here: the savannah looks its normal grassy self on the surface, yet – in some place – as soon as you drive on it, it is all boggy underneath.

large_2c3a7c50-7444-11ea-a5da-811003e457a7.jpg

There are already other people helping the female driver of the grounded vehicle. A few years ago there were no female drivers here in th Northern Circuit, but that is slowly changing as the lodges prepare accommodation to support both genders. On this trip we see two lady drivers.

large_3c495b20-7444-11ea-a5da-811003e457a7.jpg

It rather concerns me seeing the vultures circle above – what do they know that we don't? The presence of a number of wildebeest, however, indicates that we are reasonably safe from predators.

large_4596f2a0-7444-11ea-a5da-811003e457a7.jpg

At the beginning of this trip, Malisa mentioned about making sure he had a couple of tow ropes in the car, now I am beginning to understand why, as a rope is attached to the stuck car, with another vehicle ready to pull them out. They are travelling together in a group of three cars, with the passengers being a bunch of very friendly Americans.

large_d3ba1fd0-7444-11ea-a5da-811003e457a7.jpg

The lead car goes full whack in top speed and makes it all look very easy. One of the passengers, however, makes the mistake of standing up in the vehicle as they are being pulled out, and ends up completely airborne. I am pretty sure she must have hit her head on the roof – that's gotta have hurt!

large_3a341a40-7445-11ea-a5da-811003e457a7.jpg

Malisa tells us to hold on for dear life as he drives across the boggy area at full speed too, creating some serious bounce, resulting in painful jarring of my back. We stop the other side of the bog to make sure all the vehicles get across. The atmosphere here is like that of a party, with everyone treating it as an adventure. There is lots of clapping and cheering going on.

large_66fc7d10-7445-11ea-a5da-811003e457a7.jpg
There's an enormous amount of surface water about!

Hyenas

We see four hyenas scattered in different places, in amongst the zebra. Neither species seem that bothered by the other.

large_fae20d00-74e6-11ea-816d-0b9785ac7c7f.jpg

large_04a94150-74e7-11ea-816d-0b9785ac7c7f.jpg

large_1d6c84e0-74e7-11ea-816d-0b9785ac7c7f.jpg

large_2753eb60-74e7-11ea-816d-0b9785ac7c7f.jpg

As we move to get closer, we almost run over this fifth one in a den.

large_91ecbce0-74e7-11ea-816d-0b9785ac7c7f.jpg

Eland

A small herd of eland appear on the horizon. Traditionally hunted for their delicious meat, these large antelopes are usually very skittish.

large_590afb90-74eb-11ea-af69-89fbc49afa3d.jpg

large_62de3dd0-74eb-11ea-af69-89fbc49afa3d.jpg

For that reason there is no point in trying to get any closer to get a better shot, so I grab Big Bertha instead (my 600mm lens). Because of how far away these critters are, there is a lot of atmospheric distortion in the air, making the images quite soft.

large_7ce35030-74eb-11ea-af69-89fbc49afa3d.jpg

large_7209c180-74eb-11ea-af69-89fbc49afa3d.jpg

large_db84ed30-751b-11ea-b9fc-2be10e837c16.jpg
Abdim Stork

Pee break

Unlike the Serengeti where there are a number of organised picnic areas with modern toilets, here at Ndutu it's au naturel. You'd think that after all these years I would have learned to face into the wind when 'marking my territory', especially on a gusty day like today. Not a chance. The only casualty is my knickers, my jeans remain unscathed, and thankfully there are no other tourist vehicles around as I take them off. The wildebeest don't seem to mind.

You - and I - will be pleased to know there are no pictures.

Thomson's Gazelle

A mother and her ten day old baby.

large_effc31f0-7599-11ea-80de-79329e39fdc6.jpg

large_e2f9cfd0-7599-11ea-80de-79329e39fdc6.jpg

large_d590bca0-7599-11ea-80de-79329e39fdc6.jpg

We race across the savanna – not because we're in a hurry, but in order to prevent ourselves getting bogged down in the marshes - to reach a tree which will provide shade for our picnic lunch.

More to follow in the next blog entry. Thanks to Calabash Adventures for arranging this safari for us.

large_66b40a70-759a-11ea-80de-79329e39fdc6.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 06:42 Archived in Tanzania Tagged animals birds wildlife mud safari tanzania zebra birding duck hyena heron egret stork starling wildebeest kori_bustard bird_watching bustard wild_animals eland ndutu dung_beetle calabash_adventures marabou_stork grant's_gazelle game_viewing thomson's_gazelle wildlife_photography wild_birds abdim_stork stuck_in_mud baby_animal wildebeest_baby heron_with_snake knob_billed_duck dust_bath zebra_on_heat car_stuck pee_break Comments (2)

Ndutu II: lion in a tree, lots of birds, migration

A cool morning at Ndutu


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

We go down to the lounge area early this morning to grab a coffee and check out the internet before we set off for the day; only to find the man with the key to the reception isn't there yet, so no internet.

large_a727b180-6deb-11ea-a644-49786dafbb9c.jpg
Moonlight over Ndutu Lodge

Lions

Our 'breakfast' this morning (Malisa's expression for the first sighting of the day), is a male lion purposefully striding through the undergrowth quite near to the lodge.

large_c155dd70-6df0-11ea-9748-5331b7fee472.jpg

He is taking a great interest in a couple of men working down by the lake.

large_dc1984e0-6df0-11ea-9748-5331b7fee472.jpg

Each lodge in the area have their own borehole at the edge of the lake, and fill their water tankers from there to take back to the lodges.

large_6cc0c4e0-6df1-11ea-9748-5331b7fee472.jpg

We are joined by another couple of vehicles.

large_5da7b060-6df4-11ea-b3d1-4fbb039f9176.jpg

Even more safari vehicles arrive

large_04ffceb0-6df5-11ea-ad64-2de1eed2bb43.jpg

The lion disappears out of sight into the bushes.

large_0f9fd6d0-6df5-11ea-ad64-2de1eed2bb43.jpg

But there's another one!

large_77e653e0-6df5-11ea-ad64-2de1eed2bb43.jpg

From behind us a third lion appears, walking right by the side of the car.

large_5fe9ed50-6df6-11ea-ad64-2de1eed2bb43.jpg

He disappears too, but we hang around for a bit watching the flamingos on Lake Ndutu.

large_6c4ed6f0-6df6-11ea-ad64-2de1eed2bb43.jpg

large_d0efa490-6df6-11ea-ad64-2de1eed2bb43.jpg

Suddenly someone notices that one of the lions has climbed a tree, so we set off, literally driving through the dense thicket to get nearer.

large_633a0d40-6df7-11ea-ad64-2de1eed2bb43.jpg

large_34730a90-6e13-11ea-8e15-cb5491f5d956.jpg

large_413ecc50-6e13-11ea-8e15-cb5491f5d956.jpg

large_6055a140-6e13-11ea-8e15-cb5491f5d956.jpg

large_6b24f6c0-6e13-11ea-8e15-cb5491f5d956.jpg

large_751759c0-6e13-11ea-8e15-cb5491f5d956.jpg

After a while of being settled on the branch, he starts to fidget. Is he going to jump down?

large_30f3d970-6e14-11ea-8e15-cb5491f5d956.jpg

No, he is just rearranging himself.

large_3aca9e20-6e14-11ea-8e15-cb5491f5d956.jpg

Meanwhile, I am distracted by a Beautiful Sunbird.

large_e039a9c0-6e17-11ea-9569-991a5044f6d4.jpg

large_ed69f9b0-6e17-11ea-9569-991a5044f6d4.jpg

This time our lion is definitely on the move.

large_76fc0600-6e18-11ea-9569-991a5044f6d4.jpg

He does not look overly confident here.

large_ee967650-6e18-11ea-9569-991a5044f6d4.jpg

large_e086a660-6e19-11ea-9569-991a5044f6d4.jpg

“Should I go this way?”

large_1ec6ede0-6e1a-11ea-9569-991a5044f6d4.jpg

“Hmm, maybe not...”

large_8dac5d30-6e1a-11ea-9569-991a5044f6d4.jpg

Here we go!

large_dba85a70-6e1a-11ea-9569-991a5044f6d4.jpg

He soon disappears into the bushes, probably looking for a female on heat. We continue on our way, “to see what nature has to offer us” as Malisa would say.

large_bbb93c00-6e1c-11ea-a93c-f1006794fe69.jpg
Jacobin Cuckoo

large_ade8e610-6e1d-11ea-a93c-f1006794fe69.jpg
Southern Red Bishop

Lesser Flamingos

large_33a34100-6e1f-11ea-a93c-f1006794fe69.jpg

large_3f2c97b0-6e1f-11ea-a93c-f1006794fe69.jpg

large_4a0f7530-6e1f-11ea-a93c-f1006794fe69.jpg

large_768db390-6eb7-11ea-8199-f5bfc068aa16.jpg
Marsh Sandpiper

large_8c2fe100-6eb7-11ea-8199-f5bfc068aa16.jpg
Kitlitz' Plover

large_9ee74a90-6eb7-11ea-8199-f5bfc068aa16.jpg
Lots of them flying

large_ac791b70-6eb7-11ea-8199-f5bfc068aa16.jpg
Crowned Lapwing

Mud

In a low-lying marshy area, we see a car stuck in the mud. A lot of helpers are milling around, assisting in towing the vehicle out.

large_38da9410-6ebb-11ea-b50c-b9ee819f54a4.jpg

large_eb5e2710-6eba-11ea-b50c-b9ee819f54a4.jpg

Fearful of suffering the same fate, Malisa drives across at great speed. It works, we are fine.

large_f7b26ee0-6eba-11ea-b50c-b9ee819f54a4.jpg

Southern Red Bishop

Usually very timid, this small bird surprises us by staying put on his perch as we pull up alongside him. It's not until another car drives past that he flies off.

large_784c7660-6ebe-11ea-b50c-b9ee819f54a4.jpg

large_8276b240-6ebe-11ea-b50c-b9ee819f54a4.jpg

large_6951f850-6ebf-11ea-b50c-b9ee819f54a4.jpg
Greater Spotted Thick Knee

Wattled Starlings

large_e729aa80-6ecd-11ea-b796-bfd136cde788.jpg

large_f10b1d90-6ecd-11ea-b796-bfd136cde788.jpg

large_fb372e30-6ecd-11ea-b796-bfd136cde788.jpg

Marabou Stork

large_30c74f50-6ed1-11ea-b796-bfd136cde788.jpg

large_3e8e39f0-6ed1-11ea-b796-bfd136cde788.jpg

large_1bbbf390-6ee5-11ea-b11d-c1be00de6b3e.jpg

large_5f4134e0-6ee0-11ea-a9f3-1dd9b1cbaf22.jpg
This baby wildebeest didn't make it

large_00688c10-6ee1-11ea-a9f3-1dd9b1cbaf22.jpg
Secretary Bird

large_e453ac80-6ee0-11ea-a9f3-1dd9b1cbaf22.jpg
Steppe Eagle

large_615c16e0-6ee6-11ea-b11d-c1be00de6b3e.jpg
Eurasian Roller

White Backed Vulture

large_a77900c0-6ee6-11ea-b11d-c1be00de6b3e.jpg

large_d4f9b710-6ee6-11ea-b11d-c1be00de6b3e.jpg

large_e0be6910-6ee6-11ea-b11d-c1be00de6b3e.jpg

large_a8f15370-6ee7-11ea-8aa3-3198f08f4178.jpg

large_013c52a0-6ee8-11ea-8e0c-d1300593e79d.jpg
Spotted Hyena

The Great Migration

We've seen the migration on our previous visits, including being right in the middle of huge herds of animals in Togoro; plus we have been lucky enough to witness the wildebeest and zebra cross the mighty Mara River in the far north of the country; but never before have we seen it like it is here: one single line. This is how I have always imagined the migration to look like. The reason they walk behind each other in this way, is a scent emitted from the hooves of the animals at the front, which leads other to follow in exactly the same pathway.

large_7e685d40-6f7f-11ea-a15b-13809f1d36b4.jpg

large_8fde9440-6f7f-11ea-a15b-13809f1d36b4.jpg

large_99b1fd90-6f7f-11ea-a15b-13809f1d36b4.jpg

large_a2e97500-6f7f-11ea-a15b-13809f1d36b4.jpg

This tiny little baby struggles to keep up with mum; he's two hours old at the most.

large_93ca7f00-6f80-11ea-a15b-13809f1d36b4.jpg

large_9c2b1e70-6f80-11ea-a15b-13809f1d36b4.jpg

There are a few more youngsters today than there were yesterday. The whole idea of coming this time of year was to see the babies, and hopefully even a birth.

large_f6299a00-6f80-11ea-804c-0b8f26a3c78c.jpg

large_33cb7ea0-6f81-11ea-804c-0b8f26a3c78c.jpg

We stop to have our breakfast in the car this morning, as there is a cold wind out. More to follow in the next blog entry.

large_55433e40-6f92-11ea-9bc3-6deb006e3fb2.jpg

Thank you Calabash Adventures forarranging this safari.

large_7f48fc70-6f83-11ea-925d-71650f33e9a4.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 01:21 Archived in Tanzania Tagged animals birds wildlife well africa mud safari tanzania eagle birding moonlight lion flamingo roller internet stork vulture starlings wifi migration wildebeest cuckoo bird_watching wild_animals sunbird ndutu calabash_adventures ngorongoro_conservation_area wildebeest_migration plover lapwing sandpiper borehole game_viewing great_migration wildlife_photography red_bishop ndutu_lodge african_animals lion_in_a_tree ndutu_lake stuck_in_mud sead_wildebeest baby_wildebeest Comments (6)

Ndutu I: chameleon, lions, migration, cheetah

Goodbye Serengeti, hello Ndutu


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

It's late afternoon as we leave Serengeti National park behind and head for pastures new, with five nights in the Ndutu region of Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

There are just as many zebras here as there were the other side of the park border. Of course the animals don't have to check in and out of the parks as we do, and there are no physical borders.

large_f0e58450-6913-11ea-864c-cb28ddf2f402.jpg

Wattled Starling

A tree by the side of the road is alive with these colourful and impressive-looking birds.

large_bbc4a2f0-6914-11ea-864c-cb28ddf2f402.jpg

large_c660da80-6914-11ea-864c-cb28ddf2f402.jpg

They get their name from the long wattles found on the throat of breeding male birds, who also display unfeathered yellow skin and a black forehead (the rest of the year they are a dull grey)

large_d3ef5000-6914-11ea-864c-cb28ddf2f402.jpg

large_dcefd8f0-6914-11ea-864c-cb28ddf2f402.jpg

large_f5913ca0-6914-11ea-864c-cb28ddf2f402.jpg

large_ff248fb0-6914-11ea-937d-2fac90657d54.jpg
Female

Jackson's Chameleon

Without warning, Malisa comes to a screeching halt on the apparently empty road. Except it is not so empty. Malisa's eyes never cease to amaze me – he has spotted a chameleon crossing the road!

large_b1e12cb0-6917-11ea-b0dc-4b753bedd9e3.jpg

They are seriously bizarre in the way they walk.


Having safely crossed the road, our little friend disappears up the bank and into the undergrowth. What an exciting sighting!

large_bc6f8190-6917-11ea-b0dc-4b753bedd9e3.jpg

large_52c48b20-691a-11ea-9af8-3b57b1d81955.jpg
European White Stork, a seasonal migrant

large_a189f2e0-691a-11ea-9af8-3b57b1d81955.jpg
The dark line you see just before the horizon is thousands upon thousands of zebra and wildebeest making their annual migration through the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem. Some 3-4 million animals in total are part of this spectacle.

Lions

Also watching this amazing phenomenon is a pride of seven lions, but not for the same reasons as us: they see it as a line-up of prospective lunch choices.

large_38d36400-691c-11ea-bc75-37280df93c28.jpg

Although this one seems to be watching us.

large_43e71580-691c-11ea-bc75-37280df93c28.jpg

Wildebeest

We soon find ourselves in the midst of the hoofed melee, surrounded by wildebeest on all sides.

large_ca583710-69fe-11ea-aa7d-5336bf737671.jpg

large_f9515c90-69fe-11ea-aa7d-5336bf737671.jpg
There are a few zebra amongst them too, but nowhere near the numbers we saw just a little bit further north in Serengeti.

At this time of the year, the plains of Ndutu are descended on by what is known as the 'Great Migration', and the animals are here to give birth to their babies before continuing on their never-ending quest for greener pastures. It is in the hope of seeing the young animals or even babies being born that we have chosen to come here now; we are therefore a little disappointed to see that there do not appear to be any little ones around, at least not in this herd.

large_e538dc60-69fe-11ea-aa7d-5336bf737671.jpg

We finally see this one single youngster in amongst all the adults.

large_12ea0270-6a08-11ea-b009-e7ffeed5ed77.jpg

He's full of life as he explores his new world.

large_456d0430-6ac7-11ea-b23e-4327cf48f350.jpg

large_4f7efd20-6ac7-11ea-8703-d341e2e13e99.jpg

large_58adc200-6ac7-11ea-b23e-4327cf48f350.jpg

At just a couple of days old, he doesn't know what to make of this egret.

large_9edf9370-6ac7-11ea-b23e-4327cf48f350.jpg

“I think I'll go back to mum.”

large_034fb420-6ac8-11ea-b23e-4327cf48f350.jpg

Mum, meanwhile, has a non-fare-paying passenger in the form of a wattled starling.

large_4d08b080-6ac8-11ea-b23e-4327cf48f350.jpg

The fare-dodger is soon evicted, however.

large_bda23870-6ac8-11ea-b23e-4327cf48f350.jpg

Cheetah

In he distance we see a few cars gathered and go off to investigate.

large_ebf2cc70-6ac9-11ea-bbfc-099fba8ceab3.jpg

Initially we can't see what they are all looking at, but then we spot a little head in the long grass.

large_15818b40-6ace-11ea-bbfc-099fba8ceab3.jpg

There is a mum and two young cubs, somewhere in the region of 5-7 months old, and they have a kill that they are feeding on. Their dinner, however, it completely overrun with flies!

large_400dd430-6ae3-11ea-b2ba-b3943a180500.jpg

large_3fb859d0-6ae6-11ea-8885-3f7f7b47317b.jpg

large_41509290-6ad1-11ea-a914-3da59606106b.jpg

Mum tries to move the carcass, but it proves too heavy for her.

large_8811de80-6aec-11ea-831c-0d5c12bb85ec.jpg

Having had enough to eat, they all join together and roll in the grass in an attempt to rid themselves of those pesky flies.

large_f4477600-6b6e-11ea-ac3b-efbc5fd82d13.jpg

large_feefbb80-6b6e-11ea-ac3b-efbc5fd82d13.jpg

large_088ad6c0-6b6f-11ea-ac3b-efbc5fd82d13.jpg

large_1d6128b0-6b6f-11ea-ac3b-efbc5fd82d13.jpg

large_11868ea0-6b78-11ea-8ad3-1961d8fe092d.jpg

large_27636a30-6b6f-11ea-ac3b-efbc5fd82d13.jpg

It's getting late and we need to be at the lodge before dark; and as we don't know what we might see on the way to delay us, Malisa wants to get going.

Great White Egrets and Abdim Storks

We are not the only ones heading for home – a great number of egrets and storks fly low on the way to their roosting sites for the night.

large_3d266730-6c4d-11ea-902d-0f61fcd3471b.jpg

large_4e9216e0-6c4d-11ea-902d-0f61fcd3471b.jpg

large_df7aa5a0-6c4d-11ea-902d-0f61fcd3471b.jpg

large_d1f6b770-6c4d-11ea-902d-0f61fcd3471b.jpg

Road Block

More and more ungulates are joining the migration this point, with the road being blocked in several places by wildebeest and zebra.

large_925c7250-6c5a-11ea-ba53-8f3deb0f5634.jpg

large_87824760-6c5a-11ea-ba53-8f3deb0f5634.jpg

Uh uh. It looks like there may be a road block of a different kind here; I hope we can manage to get through the puddles.

large_c0b0ba60-6c5c-11ea-9451-756f53dbf0b9.jpg

The cars in front of us have made it, so we should be OK. It probably looks worse than it actually is.

large_d6f62cb0-6c5c-11ea-9451-756f53dbf0b9.jpg

large_737c5d70-6c5d-11ea-9451-756f53dbf0b9.jpg

We're through!

Great White Egrets
As we cross the narrow strip of land between Lake Masek and Lake Ndutu, we see hundreds and hundreds of egrets fly low over the water as they are coming home to roost. The light is gorgeous with the setting sun giving the whole scene a warm, yellow glow.

large_382fca70-6dd1-11ea-b0c4-9b843c58933c.jpg

large_41102130-6dd1-11ea-a9cf-6587a9aa4c79.jpg

large_587eaa30-6dd1-11ea-a9cf-6587a9aa4c79.jpg

It's a spectacular sight, and we stay as long as we can before having to make the journey to the lodge for the night.

large_65ee7420-6dd1-11ea-a9cf-6587a9aa4c79.jpg

large_6f1bb260-6dd1-11ea-a9cf-6587a9aa4c79.jpg

large_812ace00-6dd1-11ea-a9cf-6587a9aa4c79.jpg

Ndutu Lodge

This is the third time we have stayed here at Ndutu Lodge, and as yet we've never arrived early enough to be able to have the time to sit around the camp fire before dinner.

large_8120a190-6de1-11ea-9c12-bf23da039322.jpg

Today is no different. By the time we have a shower and change, we are the last to arrive in the restaurant. The food here has always been excellent, but as they are under new management, we are a little concerned that this may have changed. We needn't have worried, it every bit as good as it always was.

large_0dabad20-6de3-11ea-9c12-bf23da039322.jpg
Another good thing about Ndutu Lodge which hasn't changed, is that they serve Savanna Cider.

large_b9d85360-6de2-11ea-9c12-bf23da039322.jpg
Mini tomato tart

large_c90ab4e0-6de2-11ea-9c12-bf23da039322.jpg
Chicken curry with coconut and banana, mango chutney, rice and poppadum; with vegetables on the side

large_005cb1a0-6de3-11ea-9c12-bf23da039322.jpg
Chocolate mousse

Thank you so much to Calabash Adventures for arranging this trip.

large_815f9470-6de3-11ea-9c12-bf23da039322.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 15:58 Archived in Tanzania Tagged animals birds sunset wildlife africa cats safari tanzania big zebra birding flies cheetah lions egret stork migration starling wildebeest chameleon bird_watching african_safari ndutu calabash_adventures ngorongoro_conservation_area lake_ndutu lake_masek wildebeest_migration game_viewing great_migration wildlife_photography flying_birds wildlife_viewing cheetah_cubs abdim_stork ndutu_lodge Comments (4)

Serengeti VII: lions, elephants, giraffes, zebra

From Serengeti to Ndutu


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

I slept well last night, but am awake at 4:30 this morning. As usual we set off before daybreak at around 6:00.

large_33823fc0-66b1-11ea-a4b5-b35b4b1ded36.jpg

large_3de67760-66b1-11ea-a4b5-b35b4b1ded36.jpg

With no rain overnight, the roads are slightly less muddy this morning, but there are some very deep ruts. Even when it dries up completely, it is going to take some major maintenance to get all these tracks back to 'normality'.

large_5e019cf0-66b1-11ea-a4b5-b35b4b1ded36.jpg

Safari Ants

It is still pretty dark out, so this photograph is not going to be able to show you how the soldier ants stand to one side of the 'path' created by the workers, in order to protect them as they collect building materials and food.

large_8c106270-66b1-11ea-a4b5-b35b4b1ded36.jpg

David recorded a couple of videos, however.


Sunrise

The sun is just starting to make its appearance over the horizon. We are hoping for another rainless day.

large_c4200e40-66cf-11ea-af13-4d75c4624408.jpg

large_ce73cb20-66cf-11ea-af13-4d75c4624408.jpg

large_fe29d800-66cf-11ea-a782-1b5b7c6c2c25.jpg

large_09583d70-66d0-11ea-a782-1b5b7c6c2c25.jpg

large_79beacd0-66e3-11ea-a6c6-1d270cd273db.jpg

Not only does the pond provide a great setting for the sunrise, there is quite a bit of wildlife around here too.

large_a3bf8b30-66e3-11ea-a6c6-1d270cd273db.jpg
Hippo

large_a75f16c0-66fc-11ea-89c0-61702c63c33c.jpg

large_af0967e0-66e3-11ea-a6c6-1d270cd273db.jpg
Black Crake

large_bba39250-66e3-11ea-a6c6-1d270cd273db.jpg
Marabou Stork

large_8e98ed00-66fc-11ea-89c0-61702c63c33c.jpg
Helmeted Guineafowl

large_beac5c20-66fc-11ea-89c0-61702c63c33c.jpg
Common Sandpiper

large_def98e30-66fc-11ea-89c0-61702c63c33c.jpg
Grey Heron

Elephant

We see a lone old chap in the green grass.

large_f2b20fe0-6703-11ea-9c17-09b5c62818c0.jpg

large_0f9d2b30-6704-11ea-9c17-09b5c62818c0.jpg
And a hot air balloon on the horizon

large_2016b2b0-6704-11ea-9c17-09b5c62818c0.jpg

large_6e1d2fe0-6707-11ea-a948-0d033a3d3222.jpg

large_7b60b9b0-6707-11ea-a948-0d033a3d3222.jpg

large_0469c740-6705-11ea-ad2d-bb607e8a4b35.jpg
White Browed Coucal

Amethyst Sunbird

An exciting lifer.

large_e269adb0-6707-11ea-a948-0d033a3d3222.jpg

I am so busy photographing this bird, that I totally miss a hyena walking right by the car.

large_eca2ddb0-6707-11ea-a948-0d033a3d3222.jpg

Cape Teal

The newly formed puddles in the road provide a great place for various ducks to hang out.

large_b2c59040-6709-11ea-8e69-c3736745386b.jpg

large_bd6f8370-6709-11ea-8e69-c3736745386b.jpg

Elephants

Word has it there are elephants up on the hillside. We go to check it out.

large_5e023bc0-670a-11ea-8e69-c3736745386b.jpg

The tracks are not in a good state, however.

large_7bf6d7d0-670a-11ea-8e69-c3736745386b.jpg

large_612928d0-670b-11ea-8e69-c3736745386b.jpg

large_7328db20-670b-11ea-8e69-c3736745386b.jpg

large_83d5a7a0-670b-11ea-8e69-c3736745386b.jpg

large_9fb06460-670b-11ea-8e69-c3736745386b.jpg

The car ahead is abandoned, with the passengers rescued and taken off in another vehicle. It must be bad around here. Malisa goes off on foot to check out the conditions before continuing.

large_11b5ff70-670c-11ea-8e69-c3736745386b.jpg

Not even the grassy verges look solid enough to drive on. Malisa deems the risk of getting bogged down too great, and decides to turn around.

large_bff0f6d0-670c-11ea-8e69-c3736745386b.jpg

As it is, the puddles are so deep, the water goes over the top of the bonnet of the car!

large_f351bc30-670c-11ea-8e69-c3736745386b.jpg

Secretary Bird

large_fa6d6c30-6793-11ea-9b65-c3d0959d1e6c.jpg

large_04da7d70-6794-11ea-9b65-c3d0959d1e6c.jpg

large_0eacd550-6794-11ea-9b65-c3d0959d1e6c.jpg

large_21fb00a0-6794-11ea-9b65-c3d0959d1e6c.jpg

large_2aeb35e0-6794-11ea-9b65-c3d0959d1e6c.jpg

Lions

We see two male lions in the far, far distance, extremely well hidden by the long grass. They are watching a herd of wildebeest even further away.

large_2f8d42b0-67c0-11ea-aae8-fbfb58c7146d.jpg

Topi

large_d4e5c3a0-67c4-11ea-8fc9-adfd03404c3f.jpg

Serengeti Visitors Centre

We stop at the picnic area for breakfast, and as usual the place is overrun with rock hyrax.

large_47ae7010-6853-11ea-955a-115847d5a050.jpg

large_4e83e040-67d2-11ea-be6e-65e61fb6756a.jpg

large_5817f6a0-67d2-11ea-be6e-65e61fb6756a.jpg

large_62e158b0-67d2-11ea-be6e-65e61fb6756a.jpg

And a pair of Marico Sunbirds – another nice little lifer.

large_8345bc40-67d2-11ea-be6e-65e61fb6756a.jpg

large_8d77e760-67d2-11ea-be6e-65e61fb6756a.jpg

large_96f652e0-67d2-11ea-be6e-65e61fb6756a.jpg

large_eb7459a0-67d4-11ea-b0eb-6d6a3c42fd9b.jpg
Lilac Breasted Rollers

We leave the picnic site and continue this morning's game drive.

Stuck Car

We see a car leaning dangerously to one side, stuck in the mud on the track. There are lots of people helping, with many hands making light work.

large_ecbc6d30-67d8-11ea-9223-8b0a8d1e2969.jpg

They're out!

large_f7de9da0-67d8-11ea-9223-8b0a8d1e2969.jpg

They're a little bit muddy, but otherwise fine; and the clients are still smiling. It's all part of the fun.

large_5c1d4e10-67d9-11ea-9223-8b0a8d1e2969.jpg

We rush through as I have some 'urgent business' to attend to. I do not understand what Malisa shouts out at the other drivers for them to move aside as you would for an ambulance; but I gather it is in the vein of “toilet emergency”. We are heading for the small airstrip at Seronera, and the same thing happens there: the gates magically open as Malisa calls out to the security guard. The toilets at the airstrip are clean, modern and there is thankfully no queue. Phew.

After my urgent visit, we are able to continue on our quest to “see what nature has to offer us”, along more muddy tracks and through more dirty puddles.

large_2e90e210-6854-11ea-955a-115847d5a050.jpg

large_3bb969d0-6854-11ea-955a-115847d5a050.jpg

Giraffes

I still think giraffes are my favourite animal, and seeing them close by like this is always special.

large_60f19a60-6845-11ea-aa7c-31282105f5e1.jpg

large_6a94cbf0-6845-11ea-aa7c-31282105f5e1.jpg

large_74286d20-6845-11ea-aa7c-31282105f5e1.jpg

Fan Tailed Widowbird

A colourful widowbird flits around, but never gets close enough, nor sits still long enough, to get a decent photo of him.

large_a57e3460-6852-11ea-955a-115847d5a050.jpg

large_ae34e310-6852-11ea-955a-115847d5a050.jpg

large_b75d6660-6852-11ea-955a-115847d5a050.jpg

Lions

As usual, a lion sighting has attracted quite a crowd, and there is a bit of a queue to get near enough to actually see these three males. While we wait for our turn, I amuse myself by taking photos of tourists taking photos of.... themselves (despite being in a prime viewing spot for the lions).

large_7d200220-6855-11ea-955a-115847d5a050.jpg

large_85e7eee0-6855-11ea-955a-115847d5a050.jpg

While big cats have always been big draws, this is currently compounded by the fact that huge parts of the Serengeti is out of bounds as a result of flooding and inaccessible roads; concentrating safari traffic in a much smaller area.

large_43f09630-687e-11ea-83a2-b9a47c4bcaac.jpg

large_4dd2f3a0-687e-11ea-83a2-b9a47c4bcaac.jpg

This guy decides to leave the cool shade under a tree to go and lie in the midday sun. Is he mad?

large_5aea1640-687e-11ea-83a2-b9a47c4bcaac.jpg

large_65ca5bb0-687e-11ea-83a2-b9a47c4bcaac.jpg

large_6fb1e940-687e-11ea-83a2-b9a47c4bcaac.jpg

large_7a4ee420-687e-11ea-83a2-b9a47c4bcaac.jpg

His brother looks very old and scruffy – look at the state of his mane and the skin in folds across his torso. He seems to have lost the will to live!

large_11e85af0-6889-11ea-acee-3185ac4a584e.jpg

We leave the lions – and the crowds they've drawn – behind and head south towards the park gate at Naabi Hill. We had been hoping to drive down to Ndutu via Moru Kopjes, but that whole area is inaccessible at the moment, which only leaves us this one option.

Verreaux's Eagle Owl

He is one large owl!

large_bf5376d0-6897-11ea-aed0-0fb33129a145.jpg

large_ce3435e0-6897-11ea-aed0-0fb33129a145.jpg

large_d7c2ce00-6897-11ea-aed0-0fb33129a145.jpg
Look at those pink eyelids.

Zebra

As we get nearer the gate, we see lots of tiny specs on the landscape: literally thousands of zebra! I don't think I have ever seen so many in one place over such a large area before.

large_87859250-68a2-11ea-976e-77a11099183e.jpg
Naabi Hill behind

large_98421640-68a2-11ea-976e-77a11099183e.jpg

large_a4ce36f0-68a2-11ea-976e-77a11099183e.jpg

large_b2f67b70-68a2-11ea-976e-77a11099183e.jpg

Dust baths seem popular.

large_f5a826d0-68a2-11ea-976e-77a11099183e.jpg

large_03c8f140-68a3-11ea-976e-77a11099183e.jpg

large_10e6a390-68a3-11ea-976e-77a11099183e.jpg
The other three zebra seem to be looking on with bemusement

large_292ffc30-68a3-11ea-976e-77a11099183e.jpg

There are not as many babies as I expected to see.

large_3fc3b590-68a3-11ea-976e-77a11099183e.jpg

large_4a1aa6c0-68a3-11ea-976e-77a11099183e.jpg

We enjoy our packed lunch while watching the zebra.

large_6e56fb80-6d10-11ea-b2cc-27c5a1c5ee5c.jpg
I love these sweet little finger-sized bananas

We do, unfortunately, have to leave this stripey spectacle in order to get to our lodge at Ndutu before dark.

Thank you Calabash Adventures yet again for all the arrangements.

large_edfaedc0-6d14-11ea-aae1-f388c71e2b7a.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 05:30 Archived in Tanzania Tagged animals birds wildlife elephant sunrise safari tanzania zebra birding lions hippo giraffes ants roller serengeti heron stork topi owl bird_watching game_drive sunbird teal calabash_adventures naabi_hill serengeti_visitors_centre rock_hyrax coucal secretary_bird guineafowl sandpiper naabi_gate wildlife_photography crake widowbird abandoned_car afroca toilet_emergency Comments (6)

(Entries 1 - 12 of 28) Page [1] 2 3 » Next