April has been another lovely month, packed full of exciting moments and incredible wildlife viewing. April is usually an incredibly wet month for us here in northern Tanzania, however this year we have definitely received less rain than in years gone by. Only at the end of the month have we seen a noticeable change in the weather and experienced our first heavy downpours. Thankfully there seems to have been just enough to keep the grasses looking green and although the heavy rains have arrived late, an encouraging green flush is spreading across the grasslands.
Resident herds of topi, zebra, buffalo, Thompson’s gazelle, eland, Grant’s gazelle and impala are flourishing as usual and have remained as a great presence especially out on the Nyati Plain and the Nyasirori high ground. Reports of the migratory wildebeest were received towards the end of the month, and on the 27th we glanced from the top of Sasakwa Hill to see mega-herds of wildebeest, to the south of our border with the National Park, streaming onto the grasslands at the base of the Simiti Hills. We sit in anticipation and wonder where the great herds will move next.
Cat sightings have been great this month, again, despite the long seeding grasses. Members of our central and eastern prides of lions have been located most days with dynamics remaining stable within the social structures. Three lionesses seemed to have isolated themselves from the Butamtam Pride for considerable time now, and two of these lionesses have cubs. They have been spending a considerable amount of time on Sasakwa Hill and in the immediate vicinity, and have been sighted hunting close to Sasakwa Lodge and Serengeti House on many occasions.
A total of 71 lion sightings have been recorded this month. This is considerable given the time of year and the occupancies, and testament to how fantastic the lion populations are on the reserve.
A total of 26 Leopard sightings have been recorded this month. Again, our popular drainage lines and riverine have produced fantastic viewing opportunities.
A total of 22 cheetah sightings were recorded for this month.
Elephant movements at this time of year are often rather sporadic with herds dispersing over the property. There have been fantastic concentrations on the Grumeti River, south of Faru Faru, with aggregation of over 100 individuals.
• Much of the hyena activity observed was in the Nyati plain region and the Nyasirori area.
• Two new editions to the Boundary Pan clan were observed towards the end of the month, taking the number of youngsters at this den-site to 14.
The resident herds not moving far from their ranges.
Interesting bird sightings
This month we have had some wonderful bird sightings. Many migratory storks have been recorded on the wetland areas adjacent to the Raho drainage including white, Abdim’s and black storks.
We have seen the arrival of golden-winged sunbirds on Sasakwa Hill which has been a real treat as this is not a bird that is usually observed in this area. Tending to stick to highland montane forest, these birds may well have dispersed during the rainy season.
We have had some fantastic sightings of the long-crested eagle which are resident on the property, however, sightings seem to have exploded during this time! They are so striking with their yellow eyes, black and white plumage and long crests.