NW Tanzania - Minziro Forest (2) & Kyaka to Bukoba

The afternoon birding set off at pace with Red-faced Cisticola, Tawny-flanked Prinia and Grey Plantain-eaters. A Black Kite (the migrant - Milvus migrans migrans) was a surprise sighting - what the heck was it still doing here?! Village Weavers added another weaver to the growing list of weavers.

We parked up at the start of the forest proper and started walking, this is also where we encountered the
Rhinoceros Viper, a new species record for Tanzania.

If we thought species came thick and fast the previous day, we were about to be challenged. In quick succession, Vanga Flycatcher, African Shrike Flycatcher, Little Greenbul, Olive-bellied Sunbird, Western Olive Sunbird, Yellow-spotted Barbet, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Great Blue Turaco and Yellowbill at my 1st gps point.

The next produced
Narina Trogon (photo on left), Blue-breasted Kingfisher, White-headed Saw-wing, Rufous Flycatcher-thrush, B&W Casqued Hornbill, Little Green Sunbird and Spotted Greenbul.

Further on we had a stunning view of probably one of the most beautiful sunbirds, a
Superb Sunbird - with a female and 2 begging juveniles! Slender-billed Greenbul hung around on the periphery followed by 2 flyovers of White-thighed Hornbill, yet another new species for the country confirmed. Chased off by the barbaric hordes of mozzies at sundown, our last sighting on the way back was a pair of Wattled Lapwings.

Next morning was a relaxing morning as were setting off to Bukoba and wanted to do some more concentrated birding along the way. A lifer presented itself before we left - Splendid Starling! And splendid it was indeed!

Stopping every now and then along the road we got more Afep Pigeon, Purple-banded Sunbird and yet more flocks of the Fan-tailed Widowbird males and their entourages.

Not many new species for our trip list initially but then it got going with African Marsh Harrier females flushing in excess of 100 Red-headed Queleas, Stout, Zitting and Siffling Cisticolas and a pair of White-browed Scrub-robins calling clearly enough to get me a couple of good call recordings. The next stop was to be our highlight of the day!

Parking near a little bridge over a wetland, Grey-capped Warbler and Greater Swamp Warbler were calling like crazy. A pair of Banded Martins perched low nearby but good enough for good views. Yellow-backed Weavers were all over the shop and the a lifer in Orange Weaver - certainly a very aptly named bird with a distinctly orange plumage and not the 'normal' weaver-yellow!

As we were looking at the Orange Weaver, a Papyrus Gonolek (photo on right) popped out less than 2m from us and continued to test our cameras' fitness for awhile. Not to be outdone, Rufous-bellied Heron (photo below) appeared about 5m away! Whoaaa! Showtime! Lilac-breasted Roller, Malachite Kingfisher, Hooded Vulture, Swamp Flycatcher, Marico Sunbird, Northern Brown-throated and Slender-billed Weavers now all vied for our attention.

We spent our evening reminiscing about the last couple of days and trying to work our way through probably the worlds toughest chicken ever which we agreed must've been at least the world's oldest and scrawniest chicken till it met its fate on our plates.


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