Tanzania Travel Diary - p 3

Flamingos on Parade7 April 2008
This being the end of Tanzania's main rainy season, Ngorongoro's Lake Magadi is filled with water and some 10,000 or more flamingos.  Most are Lesser Flamingos with a sprinkling of Greater Flamingos as well.
    We pause along the road to watch the Flamingo Parade.  This tight grouping of birds, complete with head tilts and coordinated marching back and forth, is part of their mating behavior.

Augur BuzzardAfrican birds of prey seem on the whole to be more tame than their North American counterparts.  And there are lots of them.  So far we've tallied Bateleur, Eurasian Hobby, Forest Buzzard, Dark Chanting Goshawk, Brown Snake Eagle, Yellow-billed Kite, and African Fish Eagle.  But none are more confiding than the Augur Buzzard, who posed on a rock out in the Ngorongoro plains on a dark overcast morning.  His chestnut tail, best seen in flight, reminds us of our Red-tailed Hawk.

Superb Starling

We are also rich in starlings here.  The most common is Superb Starling.  They're found in small flocks along the roadside, and are a fixture at picnic sites like Ngoitokitok Springs in the crater.  For this reason Steven relegates them to trash bird status, and cannot understand my passion for photographing them.  But I just love the play of light on their metallic plumage.  For me the bird is, well....superb.


ServalLeaving the picnic site and driving past Gorigor Swamp, we spot a Pygmy Kingfisher and then our third cat of the trip, a Serval.  Its large ears help it to hear small prey like rodents that it hunts near watercourses. 

Little Bee-eater

Near a stream, the late afternoon sun backlights the first of many Little Bee-eaters.  You can't help but get a good bee-eater photo:  they're colorful, semi-tame, and perch low where they sally out for insects including of course bees.  As well, they often return to the same perch.  If these birds were any more obliging, there would hardly be any sport in photographing them.



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