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WINGS Birding Tours – Photo Gallery

Tanzania: Kilimanjaro to the Serengeti

We’ll spend our first day in Mt. Meru National Park, where the crater lakes hold large numbers of waterbirds including Lesser Flamingos… …and this is also a reliable site for Greater Painted Snipe. Moving west, we’ll stop at the famous ‘lark plains’ where we hope to find Beesley’s lark, possibly Africa’s rarest bird. We’ll spend two nights in Tarangire National Park with wonderful views from our comfortable tented accommodation. Here we’ll start to encounter some of Tanzania’s endemics such as Ashy Starling… …and Rufous-tailed Weaver… …while the African Scops Owl can usually be found roosting in the lodge grounds. Venturing out into the savannah, we’ll encounter many Elephants, here framing one of the giant Baobab trees for which Tarangire is famous. We’ll also find a wide variety of birds such as Black-faced Sandgrouse… …and there will be lots of migrants from Europe and Asia such as this Eurasian Roller… …and Steppe Eagles, always on the look-out for a quick meal. Reaching the spectacular Ngorongoro Crater, our first animal predators are likely to be Cheetahs… …and the open grassland and wetlands of the crater are great for birds such as this Black-bellied Bustard… …Saddle-billed Stork… …and elegant Crowned  Cranes. Dawn at Ndutu, one of the lodges we use in the Serengeti. In the Serengeti our vehicle’s roof hatches come into their own as we find ourselves mingling with migrating Zebra and Wildebeest. Wildlife is simply everywhere we look in the Serengeti – here a flock of Fischer’s Lovebirds come to drink at a waterhole… …and here an endemic Grey-breasted Spurfowl calls loudly from the grassland. Magpie Shrikes are very social, often hunting in small groups… …and raptors can include Dark Chanting Goshawk… …or Greater (White-eyed) Kestrel. At midday Giraffes seek shade from an acacia tree… …while stately Kori Bustard strides across the open plains The rocky outcrops that punctuate the Serengeti skyline are great places from which to scan for birds…

…or game, if you’re a Lioness… …with cubs waiting for the next meal. Leopards prefer to snooze during the day and wait for darkness before hunting… …while Hippos like to spend the day wallowing in the pool. Moving to the shores of Lake Victoria, we’ll spend two night at Spekes Bay Lodge… …where we’ll find lots of birds in the grounds such as Heuglin’s Courser… …and a very confiding Square-tailed Nightjar. There are lots of birds right around our huts such as the local speciality, Swamp Flycatcher… …the more colourful Northern Brown-throated Weaver… …and the dashing African Paradise Flycatcher. …while Open-bill Storks share the shoreline with a variety of waders. Those who wish can visit a nearby fishing village. Here a woman sells firewood… …and here our guide explains how they make their fishing boats. Inland from the lake there are open plains where we’ll look for wintering Caspian Plovers… …and Double-banded Coursers. We’ll end the tour by travelling back  across the Serengeti where new sightings might include a Secretary Bird… …or cute Tree Hyrax. Perhaps we’ll see Yellow-billed Oxpecker riding on the back of an African buffalo… …and any roadside puddle might attract Yellow-throated Sandgrouse. Among the many new ‘dry-country’ species we expect to see on our last day are Black-headed Social Weaver… the aptly-named Pygmy Batis… Credit: Phil Farrer and the flamboyant Golden-breasted Starling.