Posts Tagged ‘sacred ibis’

 “A lion’s work hours are only when he’s hungry; once he’s satisfied, the predator and prey live peacefully together.” – Chuck Jones

Kim sitting at the table where we ate breakfasts and lunches while at Little Governor's. The roofed area in the background was where we ate our dinners, for which we dressed. -- Photo by Pat Bean

African Safari: Little Governor’s Lodge

We arrived at Little Governor’s Lodge in time for lunch. It was served outside beneath the trees in view of the marsh, where we could watch birds and other animals as we ate. This day we saw giraffe and water buffalo on the far side of the marsh and sacred ibis not far from our table.

Kim and I were enchanted with our new camp, and it would become our favorite of all the lodges during our Africa visit. So much so that I would love to go back and spend a whole month there one of these days.

A lion intently watching a wildebeeste which he later chased but failed to catch. -- Photo by Kim Perrin

After lunch, we were escorted to the river and then back across to meet up with Joseph, who would be our driver/guide for the Masai Mara. Normally there would be four of us safari goers in his Land Rover but today Kim and I had him to ourselves.

He was quieter than either Bilal or Emanuel, but when he did open up we discovered he had a wealth of knowledge to share about the landscape and wildlife we were seeing. And then I discovered that not only was he a birder, but one who kept a life list as I did. 

Sacred ibis — Photo by Johan Wesseks


We were always amazed at his successful efforts in finding lions and cheetahs for us to watch. He said he got his clues from the prey animals.

“Especially look where the topi and the zebra are looking. They act as lookouts for other animals as well,” he said. We did and soon we saw a lion make an unsuccessful attempt to chase down a wildebeest.

“Lions,” Emanuel said, “are successful only about 40 percent of the time. Leopards, on the other hand, have an 80 percent kill rate.”

Along with the four-legged wildlife we saw this day, I also added three new life birds, a grey-headed bush shrike, red-throated tit and a yellow-throated longclaw

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 “A journey is best measured in friends than in miles.” Tim Cahill

Morning pickup at the large Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge was somewhat of a traffic jam. -- Photo by Kim Perrin

African Safari

Our morning started early, supposedly with a packed breakfast. We thought Bilal would provide it, and he thought we were supposed to pick it up at the lodge before we left, which is the most likely.

Anyway, it was a day without breakfast, although thanks to another guide whom we met up with during a wildlife watching stop we did get coffee. He had brought some along for his two safari clients and was kind enough to share.

Zebras enjoying a patch of green grass in the crater. -- Photo by Pat Bean

His passengers were a delightful Irish couple, Des and Karen. Des had bought an African spear souvenir, and joked that he wanted to be able to protect his own woman and not have to depend on the guide.

The remark jogged my memory about Bilal’s comment about women guides, and so I asked his fellow guide what he thought about the idea.

Mom and young wildebeest. We would see a lot more in Kenya where most of the wildebeest had already migrated for the season. -- Photo by Pat Bean

“Oh they would be too scared,” he replied, echoing Bilal’s comment.

Karen, meanwhile, commented that Des actually bought the spear “to protect his beer from me.”

After we parted from our friendly interlude with the other safari team, Bilal began seriously searching for the rhinos that supposedly make their home in the Ngorongoro crater. I say supposedly because we never saw any.

Sacred ibis -- Photo by Steve Garvie

The crater is one of the very few places left in Africa where one can see black rhino, and the fact that we couldn’t find any brought home the fact that this species has been dwindling significantly in recent years.

Bilal, who kept muttering “no rhino” all morning seemed more disappointed than we were. He was on the radio frequently quizzing fellow guides in the area, but everyone it seemed no one was seeing any rhino .

One of the black rhinos in the Ngorongoro Crater that we didn't see. -- Wikipedia photo

But what we did see this morning included wildebeest, zebra, giraffe, elephants, hyenas, lions, buffalo and jackals. The latter always came in pairs with one leading and one following. Bilal said the female is always in front.

“She leads the male.”

The morning’s drive also turned up another nine life birds for me, as well as a lot of those I had already seen. Some of my new birds were now becoming old friends that I recognized on sight without the help of my bird field guide. That make me feel good.

Ruppell's griffin vulture -- Photo by Rob Schoenmaker

Bilal, however, was still bemoaning the lack of any rhino sighting when he dropped us off for lunch back at the lodge. I don’t remember what we had, except that it was good and Kim and I ate enough to make up for our skipped breakfast.

Bird Log of New Lifers: Rufous-tailed weaver, grey-crowned crane, black-bellied bustard, chestnut-bellied sandgrouse, Ruppel’s griffin vulture, sacred ibis, black-headed heron, wattled starling, and common stonechat. Aug. 26, 2007, Ngorongoro Crater.

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