Tanzania Travel Diary - p
left Ngorongoro Lodge. They had to drag me from the breakfast buffet.
I just had to have one more glass of mango juice.
We head northwest through Oldupai Gorge and then to Ndutu
Lodge, set in woodlands at the edge of the Serengeti plains. Now begins the real
safari, Steven says. As this is not a national park, he can drive off the
road, in fact cannot wait to do so. We roll across park-like savanna,
occasionally out onto the plains. How does he know where we are, I wonder.
Turns out he can triangulate, using three landmarks on the horizon: the
Ngorongoro mountains, Naabi Hill, and Twin Mountains. But if the clouds
become low enough, we're in trouble.
As if bee-eaters weren't enough, we have rollers that are
just as tame and photogenic. The Eurasian Roller, who will soon migrate
back to East Europe and the Middle East, is sky blue and chestnut. It's a
tad shy, but the Lilac-breasted Roller just begs to be photographed, and of
course we oblige.
trick to photographing owls is to have a guide who knows where to find them,
especially ones that perch in the open, like this Verreaux's Eagle Owl.
After that it's hakuna matata, as we say in Swahili, or 'no problem.'
They perch calmly, seemingly as curious about you as your are about them.
Steven also found a family of four African Scops Owls, but they remained
concealed behind limbs.
woodlands around Lake Ndutu abound in wildflowers this time of year, a nice
setting for the aptly-named Bat-eared Fox. They live in family groups and
have a passion for digging. A nature photographer working out of Kenya is
photographing them for a magazine article. She described watching the
foxes as they dug up buried dung beetle balls and ate the larvae inside.
bird I'm most keen to photograph here is Fischer's Lovebird. They
abound in the woodlands, feeding on acacia leaves of which there's an
endless supply. They nest in dead tree trunks, also in abundance.
Sometimes natural crevices suffice, but they often occupy holes dug out
by the Nubian Woodpecker.
Unfortunately they're shy along the road, flying up into the
treetops at the slightest provocation. The best place to photograph them
turns out to be the parking lot at Ndutu Lodge. The lovebirds have nests
in two acacias on either side.
So for two mornings we stand in the Toyota for over an hour,
watching and photographing lovebird goings-on. Steven seems mystified that
one would spend valuable safari time in the lodge parking lot. But you go
where the bird is.
These birds are well named, never happier than when perched on a
limb side by side, kissing like mad. This in fact is said to be an
exchange of food, which is supposed to strengthen the pair bond.
They also engage in mutual grooming, as with this pair at the nest hole.