NOTE:  When Sharon adds comments, they will be in {curly brackets}.

Report 7. Friday, October 25, 2013. Ngulia Lodge, Tsavo West National Park


CORRECTION: In Reporty 6, I tagged the prey the young leopard was eating as a wildebeest. My Aussie friend Greg Anderson pointed out the white ring around the carcass's butt,

and said he figured that it was a Waterbuck, to which I 100% agree. Thanks Greg.

And now? On to the day...

{During the night we can hear some kind of large animals below our balcony. We try to see them with our flashlights but the LED lights don't illuminate out far enough. But the next morning, I can see a large herd of Cape buffalo. Our balcony looks out onto a stream that these have come to drink at, I suppose.}

Next morning, we're up early, go to breakfast, and as I'm filling my plate, I notice this incredible red sunrise. I drop my plate, grab my camera and start shooting. Gorgeous, gorgeous early morning sun and light.


Daughter Tara had surgery this morning in Istanbul, and I spend a little time before we go out for the morning, to learn from husband Cihan that she did just fine. All right! Let's go safari! Love you Tara. Sharon wants her picture taken with this native, a tall handsome dude.


I get a photo of the entry to Ngulia Lodge from the inside, as we wait to leave. Then it's off. An Eastern Yellow-billed Hornbill pops up early for us.


The weather is great, and we're all standing up as we travel. Elephants are out early also. {There is the most interesting entrance "guard" to keep the elephants out of the lodge area (I guess they would come to eat the shrubs). As our vehicle leaves the compound, we pass underneath 15-20 wires hanging down that scrape the top of our van. We can't tell if they are electrified but they are clearly there to discourage the elephants from touching them if they were to move through the gate. Kind of like cattle guards in the West.} We all dare each other to touch the wires, but there are no shakers, er takers.


We get a red, white and black eyeful of a Von der Decken's Hornbill, looking this way.. Sharon is vigilant as we travel on.


A White-browed Buffalo-Weaver studies its shadow intensely. "I move my head to the right, he moves his head to the right..." At right and the following picture is a great little Pearl-spotted Owlet, which our guide Steven is a master at imitating. When this little fellow perches in a tree, other birds swarm around it, trying to make it leave, especially if it does its repetitive single note whistle over and over. As Steve does.


Below is a bird with the wonderful-sounding name of Eastern Pale Chanting Goshawk. What's not to love about a giraffe, fer cryin' out loud. I'm captivated every time we see one, whether they're eating, with their talented tongues, or walking, balancing the long neck just right at every point in the stride, or frozen in place -- awesomeness.


We come back to Ngulia Lodge in the middle of the day to have lunch, and rest while the heat beats its chest. We'll go back out after a rest and a nap.


During lunch, we admire a White-naped Raven, sitting on the leopard's nighttime dinner table. A handsome bird, caw caw calling.


We get a kick out of the three legged animal stools at the bar. At right, a Bush Hyrax rests in the shade, hoping for a handout right next to the dining area. Looks a little like the critters I catch now and then in the attic. To paraphrase one Captain Quint, "We're gonna need a bigger trap."


I go back in the room for a nap, but out our balcony, I snap two photos, one super zoomed in, and the other at normal zoom, of a group of elephants, including a baby, watering up way down below us.


I like the door handle to our room. Not sure what this Agama's species is. Most lizards we see have bright red heads, but here is a more laid back version.


Below is the spectacular Saddle-billed Stork. See the yellow bit? That's the "saddle" I presume. Fantastic bird. A big eagle flies down to the ground and stands there long enough for me to get a shot. This may be a Steppe Eagle. I admire the feathered leggings. {And a hamerkop behind him. What a strange looking head he had.}


Driver Peter takes us to a watering hole just in time to meet upwards of 20 elephants coming to water. With the main herd in the water, still more come, in the form of mother and baby -- perhaps four or five more sets. Some of the babies start running when they get close to the water. It's elephandorable.


A handsome Black-faced Sandgrouse poses next to a waterhole. "An ostrich does a see-ya-later-Jack".


I admire a colony of weaver nests backlit by the sun. That's our van's raised roof at top of the photo. This Texas jack rabbit-appearing guy is actually a Scrub Hare.


An Impala and a Spotted (Laughing) Hyena walk into a bar... Ba dum bum.


A Verreaux's Eagle-Owl seems to be hiding one eye behind a leaf.


We finish up the day and go back to Ngulia to see what's going to come to the watering hole, and stop ourselves at our own watering hole, then have dinner. Sharon gets these super-low-light jaguar photos using a special setting she has discovered on her camera. They work great if the subject doesn't move during the light collection time of the camera.


And that's it for the day, man. A super day. Love, love, loved the elephant extravaganza at the watering hole.



Life Birds Today: 9
Life Birds, Trip: 67

Trip birds today: common ostrich, bataleur, eastern pale chanting-goshawk, augur buzzard, tawny eagle, steppe eagle, verreaux's eagle-owl, african hawk-eagle, secretary-bird, blacksmith plover, black-headed lapwing, three-banded plover, black-faced sandgrouse, african mourning dove, african green-pigeon, black cuckoo, blue-naped mousebird, european roller, green woodhoopoe, eastern yellow-billed hornbill, von der decken's hornbill, banded martin, rock martin, red-rumped swallow, rufous-tailed rock-thrush, yellow-breasted apalis, red-fronted warbler, grey-backed camaroptera, grey wren-warbler, somali crombec, common whitethroat, african grey flycatcher, spotted flycatcher, white-winged scrub-robin, pied wheatear, pygmy batis, rufous chatterer, somali (northern grey) tit, kenya violet-backed sunbird, scarlet-chested sunbird, tsavo sunbird, abyssinian white-eye, brubru (heard only), slate-colored boubou, sulphur-breasted bushshrike, white-necked raven, wattled starling, ruepell's glossy-starling, hildebrandt's starling, fischer's starling, red-winged starling, yellow-billed oxpecker, yellow-spotted petronia, red-billed buffalo-weaver, white-headed buffalo-weaver, black-necked weaver, vitelline masked-weaver, red-headed weaver, green-winged pytilia, purple grenadier, straw-tailed whydah, somali (golden-breasted) bunting.

Trip Birds Today: 62
Trip Birds, Total: 232

Best Birds of the Day: SADDLE-BILLED STORK, kenya violet-backed sunbird, scarlet-chested sunbird.

Left, scarlet-chested sunbird, right, kenya violet-backed sunbird. Both photos from the internet.

Mammals of the day: black-faced vervet monkey, unstriped ground squirrel, ochre bush squirrel, wahlberg's epauletted fruit bat, banded mongoose, dwarf mongoose, spotted hyena, MASAI GIRAFFE

Reptiles and Amphibians of the Day: five-lined skink

Insects of the Day: none

Night Again, All,

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