May 2024

My Feathered Friends

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My Feathered Friends

Birding is one of my favourite aspects during a drive. After the long rains, over the last six months, life is restored once again to the grasslands and all the waterholes and drainage lines are full. These micro habitats are the perfect little places for interesting species of birds to reside. Many aquatic plants and vegetation types of these seasonally flooded depressions attract and support bird species such as kingfishers, ducks, geese, warblers, plovers and many other specials. The malachite kingfisher can be seen at most little waterholes, like this one I captured at Pelican Pan on the Grumeti River Road.

The rank wet grasslands become home to many rare and secretive birds such as flufftails, rails, snipes and crakes. These birds exist in an underworld of water and tangled tall grass. Sometimes you may be lucky enough to hear some of these bids call and this is often the only clue that we have that they exist!

We were fortunate enough to confirm the presence of a streaky-breasted flufftail which is probably one of the most difficult birds in Africa to view, and only a handful of people in the world have ever actually seen one! What an incredible find!

I was also happy to reveal a highland rush warbler just south of Sabora camp this month! This species had not been formally recorded here on the Grumeti Reserve before. There are over 450 bird species that have been recorded in the Serengeti ecosystem but just imagine how many other species frequent the area without having been recorded! We continue to log new species all the time and it really is quite exciting!

We were very fortunate to have a fantastic sighting of a violet-tipped courser here on Sasakwa Hill for the first time! This species is also known as the bronze-winged courser and is the largest and one of the most striking coursers. These birds obviously move around the country depending on agreeable habitat and conditions but we really know very little about where they go or where they have come from.

George Tolchard managed to capture the bird whilst a pair resided on the top of the hill close to the newly cut grass tracks of Farasi.

A very striking bird, I think you will agree. We were very fortunate to have seen and captured this species for records here on the reserve. This bird is largely nocturnal and does most of its foraging during the hours of darkness. Notice the large eye, giving us quite the clue that night vision is most likely pretty good!