Day 1, Saturday, December 23, Dar es Salaam to Mikumi

We left early in the morning and stopped at the Kerege pan, just short of Bagamoyo. The first pan had too much water on it so we continued down to the nearby salt pans. We picked up roughly 50 species there, but nothing of real interest. We continued past Bagamoyo and stopped on the Ruvu river to look for the Ruvu Weaver. We did not find any Weavers and soon continued on our long drive to Mikumi. We arrived just in time for me to set up camp and watch Manchester City demolish Bournemouth 4 - 0.

Some pictures from Day 1

Zitting Cisticola, Cisticola juncidis

Camp set up at Tan-Swiss in Mikumi

Day 2, Sunday, December 24, Mikumi to Hondo Hondo

We decided to do some morning birding in the Miombo woodland just north of Mikumi today. On the way in to the pipeline, we found  Arnott´s Chats, Greater Blue-eared Starling, Red-throated Wryneck, Violet-backed Starling and Speckle-throated Woodpecker. We spent quite some time along the pipeline road, but saw very little there besides some Grey Penduline Tits. We drove back to the main road turned left and picked up African Cuckoo, Bateleur, a pair of Racket-tailed Rollers, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird and Green Malkoha. We spent some time looking for Livingstone Flycatcher, but could not find it. On the way back to Mikumi, we saw several Arnott´s Chats, one more Speckle-throated Woodpecker and our third Red-throated Wryneck of the day. We picked up a total of 59 species in the Miombo.

We drove towards Hondo Hondo camp in the Udzungwas and arrived there in the afternoon. We had some lunch  and went in search for the Lesser Seed cracker. The first nice bird was Mannikin Magpie, followed by Trumpeter Hornbill and Orange-breasted Waxbill. We did see the Lesser Seedcracker, but unfortunately no pictures :-(. We returned to camp as the light disappeared and had a nice meal in camp.

Some pictures from Day 2

Arnott´s Chat, Pentholaea arnotti

Red-throated Wryneck, Jynx ruficollis

Speckle-throated Woodpecker, Campethera scriptoricauda

Racket-tailed Roller, Coracias spatulatus

African Cuckoo, Cuculus gularis

Magpie Mannikin, Spermestes fringilloides

Trumpeter Hornbill, Bycanistes bucinator

Orange-breasted Waxbill, Sporaeginthus subflavus

Day 3, Monday, December 25, Hondo Hondo - Ifakara

We did the early morning around the Hondo Hondo camp, but did not find anything of further interest. No sign of the Lesser Seedcrackers. It soon got very warm and we returned to camp and set off for Ifakara. Once in Ifakara, we drove towards the river to organize with a boat cruise the day after. Just before the river we found a huge flock of mainly male Kilombero Weavers. On the river edge we made arrangements for a boat trip the day after. We returned to Ifakara and checked in to the Mbega Resort. A local hotel, nice and clean with a working air conditioning :-). In the afternoon, we returned towards the river to do some more birding. We found the White-tailed and the Kilombero Cisticola, Anchieta´s Tchagra and a Coppery-tailed Coucal. We returned to the lodge and had a nice meal.

Some pictures from Day 3

Kilombero Weaver, Ploceus burnieri - Endemic to Kilombero Marsh, Tanzania

Kilombero Cisticola, Cisticola Sp - Endemic to Kilombero Marsh, Tanzania

Anchieta´s Tchagra, Bocagia anchietae

Day 4, Tuesday, December 26, Ifakara - Crocodile Camp

We arrived early at the river and I was very exited. I had been on the Kilombero river once before and had a lot of birds. The water was quite high. It turned out to be a very disappointing day with not many birds seen and certainly nothing out of the ordinary. after the boat trip we drove on to Crocodile camp.

Some pictures from Day 4

Ready for the river cruise.

Wire-tailed Swallow, Hirundo smithii

Pied Kingfisher, Ceryle rudis

Malachite Kingfisher, Alcedo cristata

White-crowned Lapwing, Vanellus albiceps

Day 5, Wednesday, December 27, Crocodile Camp - Iringa

We had morning birding around Crocodile camp. We picked up 53 species, but the only one of real interest was a Bearded Scrub-Robin, a new TZ bird for me. We drove on to Iringa and met up with Neil Baker and his family. We did a evening dog walk, but did not see anything of real interest. A Black-bellied Bustard was the highlight.

Some pictures from Day 5

Bearded Scrub-Robin, Erythropygia quadrivigata

Black-bellied Bustard, Lissotis melanogaster

Day 6, Thursday, December 28, Iringa

The day was spent relaxing in Iringa. Leons were busy organizing stuff, so we had a day off.

Day 7, Friday, December 29, Iringa

This was the funeral day for Liz Baker. We all drove up in the Iringa highlands. There was a very nice service before Neil spread Liz´s ashes in the nature. Leons and I had decided to camp at the spot at about 2000m with a fantastic view. The Service was over at about 1PM, Leons left to take some people back to Iringa. I figured he would be back well before dark, but he only arrived around 8 in the evening, so I had a long day alone up on top of a mountain. I had 7 of the local boys keeping me with company for a while :-)

Some pictures from Day 7

Local boys keeping me with company in camp

Not to shabby view?

Day 8, Friday, December 30, Iringa - Kisolanza

We did the morning birding up in the mountains. My target was the Brown Parisoma. We did see it, but I could not get any picture. We saw a total of 30 species including Mottled Swifts.  After the morning birding, we decided to take another route back to Neil´s house. Unfortunately, the Landy Leons was driving broke a gasket and he lost all the oil. He fixed it very quickly, but did not have oil. He called a friend in town to bring him new oil. He was safe, so I returned to Neil´s place and did some garden birding. We were supposed to go to Kisolanza later on. Leons, did not arrive before late afternoon, so we only arrived in Kisolanza at dusk, so no time for birding.

Some pictures from Day 8

Mottled Swift, Lissotis melanogaster

White-browed Robin-Chat, Cossyph heuglini

Golden-backed Weaver, Ploceus Jacksoni - Endemic to East Africa

Red-cheeked Cordonbleu, Uraeginthus bengalus

Laughing Dove, Spilopelia senegalensis

Jameson´s Firefinch, Lagonosticta rhodopareia

Day 9, Saturday, December 31, Kisolanza - Iringa

We birded Kisolanza farm all morning and managed to see 60 species, but not many photo opportunities. Some of the good species included Fülleborn´s Longclaw, Reichard´s Seed-eater, Fawn-breasted Waxbill and Collared Flycatcher. Around lunch, we drove back to Iringa where I celebrated new years with Neil

Some pictures from Day 9

Fawn-breasted Waxbill, Estrilda paludicola

Day 9, Sunday January 1,  Iringa - Dar es Salaam

We were supposed to do a couple of days birding in Mufindi, but somehow we managed to get the planning screwed up. At the same time heavy rain set in in the Iringa region, so we ended up going back to Dar. We arrived Dar well after dark.

I relaxed in Dar for a couple of days before we decided to go for a day trip to Pugu Hills on January 4. January (guide) came with us. We entered through a different point than before. It was quite a walk, but we ended seeing 44 species in total. Some nice birds like Red-winged Warbler, Red-throated Twinspot and Pallid Honeyguide. It soon got very hot and we returned to the car. Pugu Hills is still a nice place to visit even though the forest is rapidly disappearing.

We stayed a few more nights in Dar before returning to Norway. We did not plan much for this trip. The birding started very good in Mikumi, but the rest was below average. I learn something for every trip.

One picture from Pugu Hills

Red-winged Warbler, Heliolais erythropteus