Sunday, February 5, 2012

Postcard from Tanzania

Any trip to a new country is always going to produce some new birds, first up in the hotel garden in Dar was the stunning Zanzibar bishop and this was followed by another 35 ticks during the tour. Many were on my 'most-wanted' list and not a bad return for a trip that was primarily focussed on mammals and plants.

Primates stole the show in the Udzungwa Mountains though during the first week, with great views of the endemic Udzungwa red colobus on the trail up to the Sanje Falls.

Only discovered in 1979, the Sanje mangabey was an easy highlight of our time in the Udzungwas. We spent a pleasant hour with a habituated troupe in the park.

Angolan black-and-white colobuses are much more widespread but just a little bit more spectacular. They always look like they are auditioning for Boney M.

The undoubted stand-out site during the tour was Kitulo NP. Our two days here was packed with great plants and the birding was excellent. We failed to find a blue swallow this year but had a great encounter with a Denham's bustard.

Upland grassland at Kitulo. Packed with flowers and exciting birding and dragonflying too.

Vuma Hills tented camp at Mikumi put on a show after dark with some excellent habituated mammals. The small-eared galagos were especially tame...

Mikumi was great birding and provided ample savannah mammal moments too. Black-bellied bustards were common here and we had a few surprises too, the range maps in Stevenson and Fanshawe not being very good for this park...

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