Garth Peacock
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Tanzania - Day 1 - Arusha

Monday 13th May 2024

Spring Tide at RSPB Snettisham

Saturday 13th April 2024

Things didn't go to plan

Friday 5th April 2024

Fowlmere RSPB Cambs

Wednesday 20th March 2024

Another trip to Norfolk

Tuesday 12th March 2024

Frampton Marsh (again)

Tuesday 5th March 2024

Snettisham RSPB

Tuesday 20th February 2024

A new destination for me

Monday 5th February 2024

A change of plan

Tuesday 30th January 2024

Three hours at Grafham Water

Monday 22nd January 2024

A strange week overall.

Friday 19th January 2024

Norfolk Coast

Tuesday 16th January 2024

New Year - where to go?

Monday 8th January 2024

Coton Cambridgeshire

Wednesday 20th December 2023

Back to Burwell Fen

Saturday 9th December 2023

Short-eared Owls

Monday 4th December 2023

Back to Grafham Water

Wednesday 22nd November 2023

Grafham Water

Thursday 16th November 2023

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Sunday 19th May 2024

Tanzania - Day 2 - Tarangire National Park

Leaving Arusha at the unearthly hour of 06:30 - and Tanzania is 2 hours ahead of us - we headed for Tarangire National Park en route to our next main destination, the Ngorongoro Crater. The original destination was Lake Manyara but there had been more rainfall than ever recorded so Lake Manyara was inaccessible.

On the way, we stopped to see a rather distant bird and the first photo session of the morning - a Long-tailed Paradise Whydah.

Parking in the entrance car park at Tarangire, there were several Superb Starlings - common here but so photogenic.

In the park, we came across our first Cape Buffalo - menacing animals.

and a family group of Warthogs

Other mammal species to show were Olive Baboons

Vervet Monkeys

and Impala

But the stars of the park were the bird life - I photographed 25 species during the day - here are some of them.

Hadada Ibis

Northern Red-billed Hornbill

Crowned Plover

Three-banded-Plover

Grey-headed Kingfisher

and White-browed Coucal

When we broke for a packed lunch, a Bataleur circled in the mid-distance

and later, a bird that I have never photographed in Europe, a Honey Buzzard.

In fact, there were so many bird species around, it was just not possible in the time available to stop to photograph every one so many were missed - one of the frustrations of the trip that was to be repeated almost every day.

When you see wildlife like this, it makes you realise just how denuded of wildlife we are in the UK.

 

 

Monday 13th May 2024

Tanzania - Day 1 - Arusha

I hate early starts to the day but Monday 15th April saw me arrive at Norwich Airport at 04:00am for the connecting KLM flight to Amsterdam and then to Killimanjaro to begin a 14 day photo trip around Tanzania arranged by Wild Images. Just managed to arrive for dinner that evening, a good sleep and the next day to relax ready for the trip to formally commence with dinner on Tuesday evening to meet the Trip Leader, Oliver Kreuger and the three other participants from USA. The trip proper to commence on Wednesday morning - early again!!!

The hotel for the first two nights was at the Arusha Serena Hotel - really good with nice rooms and very attractive gardens. Looking out from my room after breakfast, there was a small bush with, would you believe it, birds. Out came the camera.

First species was Common Bulbul

and then several Speckled Mousebirds

There was one species that I could not identify until a friend made me aware of  Merlin Bird ID, a bird identification website. By uploading a photo, it will identify the bird. So I uploaded one photo that it immediately identified as a Golden-backed Weaver.

Being naturally very wary of such things, I investigated further and all seemed to add up.

So that was the first day, before the start of the trip. An encouraging start in my book.

Over the course of the trip, I took many thousands of photos so sorting those out will take a time.

In the meantime, I will still be chasing birds around East Anglia.

Saturday 13th April 2024

Spring Tide at RSPB Snettisham

Monday 8th April and, despite preparing for a photo holiday, I accepted an invitation from a friend to join him at the spring tide spectacle at RSPB Snettisham. He had booked a disabled parking space to avoid the long walk from the main car park and he had been advised to arrive around 5.00pm - plenty of time for see what else was around the area.

We met at the car park for RSPB Titchwell and preceed to see what that reserve had to offer. I had stopped going there because the water levels in front of the hides were too high but we started off at Fen hide where a Marsh Harrier entertained us for a while.

Moving on, the water levels are still too high for anything of real interest and there was nothing on the beach either. Eventually, on the walk back, a Linnet posed nicely

and a Meadow Pipit too.

Stopping off at Hunstanton cliffs, I was surprised that the usual Fulmers were not showing so off to RSPB Snettisham. We walked to the bottom hide (don't know the name as the original was destroyed in the flood a couple of years or so ago). A pair of Mediterranean Gulls were on view, not as close as I would have liked and ,with the high cloud, not the best light for distant shots.

Sometimes, you just have to make the best of the conditions.

A Brown Hare trundled past the hide - tried a back lit shot.

and then the Knot started to fly in as the tide rose. Apparently only around 25000 as the majority had moved north to their breeding grounds, but still a spectacle.

So many shots later, with the light going, it was time to depart.

 

Friday 5th April 2024

Things didn't go to plan

Tuesday 2nd April - I decided to visit Welney WWT to check out the kit that I plan to take on my forthcoming photo trip. Also, Little Gulls had been reported there on their migration - always an interesting subject.

On the way there, I noticed a pair of Stonechats by the roadside at Pymoor,. never coming close but still worth a pop.

At Welney, the water levels were still rather high so not much in front of the observatory hide but, surprisingly, a pair of Whooper Swans flew in in front of Nelson-Lyle hide. There are always the odd Whooper Swans year round at Welney - those unable to fly north - but this was rather later than I expected for a pair capable of flying.

Back to the observatory and there were some Little Gulls feeding in relatively close so a load of shots - only to find when editing that I had missed the Little Gulls and only photographed Black-headed Gulls. A beginners error. Still, I achieved one objective which was to make sure that my kit was all working OK for the trip.

On the way out, I was hoping for some Tree Sparrows around the feeders - again not this time but a House Sparrow posed for a shot.

So a disapponting day overall.

Wednesday 20th March 2024

Fowlmere RSPB Cambs

I appeared to have a problem with my gear the last time I was out. I happily took some photos from the car as normal but when reviewing them on the computer, none were sharp. I was using the Canon R5, the RF 100-500 lens with a 1.4 converter and it looked that the Image Stabilisation was not working. Some later shots were fine but what went wrong.

So, yesterday, I decided to have a trial session at RSPB Fowlmere. First, a walk around the perimeter track, hoping to see Water Voles. Everyone else seems to see them regularly - me never - and this visit was no different.

In fact there was nothing to point the camera at until mere hide and then only sleeping Greylag Geese. I was hoping for another closer shot of the Marsh Harrier but nothing stirred except for one Greylag in sentry position.

that is until a pair of Canada Geese paddled appeared from the reedbed and started to feed on the grass bank in front of the hide.

One of the Greylags took exception to the intrusion

so they left and everything settled down.

Later on, the male Marsh Harrier put in a distant appearance

and that was it. Not particularly scintilating but, at least, the gear worked OK and that was the main object of the visit.