Day 3, Wednesday August 2 - Taita Hills

Today James wanted to take us to the top of the Vuria mountain. He had some nice habitat for the endemic species there. We drove for a while without picking up much besides a Striped Pipit. We started driving up the mountain, but had to give up after a while. The road was in such a bad condition so we had to walk instad. The mist was bad and we could hardly see anything. Florence returned to the car while James and I pushed up to the forest patch. The mist was still bad and there were no birds to hear or be seen. We eventually gave up and descended the mountain. We saw an Augur Buzzard soaring in the sky before we came back to camp. After lunch we decided to bird the area around camp for better shots of the Taita White-eye. We saw the bird high up in the canopy many times, but did not manage to get any better shots.

Day 4, Thursday August 3 - Taita Hills - Mombasa.

We were supposed to bird the Taita Hills this morning, but the wet morning weather made us decide to push onwards. We were heading towards Mombasa. At Voi we dropped off James and Florence and I drove on. The main road was congested with heavy Lorrys heading from Mombasa towards Nairobi. Once in Mombasa, we had not booked any hotel, but drove on the sea side to look for anything suitable. At the end we came to the sign for the Serena Mombasa beach hotel. We knew it is hard to go wrong with the Serena Hotels, so despite the stiff price we booked in for a couple of nights there.

Taita Apalis, Apalis fuscigularis - Endemic to Taita Hills, Kenya

Taita Thrush, Turdus helleri - Endemic to Taita Hills, Kenya

Taita White-eye, Zosterops silvanus - Endemic to Taita Hills, Kenya - Picture by Florence

In Mombasa

Day 5, Friday August 4 - Mombasa

We spent the entire day at the Serena hotel, but was very happy to find a colony of Golden Palm Weavers at the hotel grounds. This was a lifer for Florence.

Golden Palm Weaver, Ploceus bojeri - Endemic to S. Somalia and Kenya

Day 6, Saturday August 5 - Mombasa - Watamu

We left Mombasa after breakfast and headed for Watamu. Once there we had to find a hotel. Our local guide (Willy Kombe) had given us some options and after checking the 3 options out we ended up at Turtle Bay Beach. At lunch we found out that it was actually an all inclusive hotel. After lunch we drove off to meet up with Willy. The plan was to do an afternoon in Arabuko Sokoke Forest. We met up with Willy and headed to the forest. We drove on for a bit but the forest was very quiet. Willy knew that Florence did not have the Sokoke Scops-Owl, so we kept on driving to a spot he had for the owl. At a junction, Willy told me to stop the car. He went in to the forest and soon came back and asked us to follow him. We heard some East Coast Akalat´s, but could not see them. Willy took us further in and sure enough he had found 2 Sokoke Scops Owls nicely perched. They were also in 2 different morphs. It was quiet, so we headed back to the hotel.

Sokoke Scops-Owl, Otus ireneae - Endemic to E Africa

Day 7, Sunday August 6 - Arabuko Sokoke Forest

Florence wanted to sleep in today, so I met with Willy at the gate of the forest reserve. I had 2 target birds Clarke´s Weaver and Sokoke Pipit. We saw both, but did not manage to get good pictures of the Weaver. Other birds we saw in the morning: Dark-backed Weaver, Plain-backed Sunbird, Amani Sunbird, Little Yellow Flycatcher, Chestnut-fronted Helmetshrike  and Pale Batis. I returned to camp. Florence did not feel too well, so we decided to skip the afternoon birding. That night Florence wanted to go partying in Malindi. We ended up with some locals. To my dismay, an ATM machine ate my card. Not a good ending of the night.

Some pictures from Day 7

Chestnut-fronted Helmetshrike, Prionops caniceps

Plain-backed Sunbird, Anthreptes reicenowi - Endemic to East coast of Africa

Sokoke Pipit, Anthus sokokensis - Endemic to coastal forest of Kenya and N Tanzania

Having breakfast in Arabuko Sokoke Forest

Day 8, Monday August 7 - Midas Creek

We needed to spend the morning going back to Malindi. It turned out that the ATM had swallowed all cards that night, so I was not the only one looking for my card. I got my card and we returned to the hotel in Watamu.  We had lunch and then picked up Willy. We were heading for Midas Creek this afternoon. When we arrived the tide was not in, so we had some wait. We picked up Little Egret, Yellow-billed Stork a flock of Crab Plovers, Whimbrels, Lesser and Greater Sandplovers ++, but nothing of real interest.

Some pictures from Day 8

Little Egret, Egretta garzetta - Picture by Florence

Great White Egret, Ardea alba

Waiting for the tide to come in, Midas Creek

Day 9, Tuesday August 8 - Watamu Kenya - Fish Eagle Point Tanzania

The plan this morning was to bird Arabuko Sokoke Forest. I needed better pictures of the Clarke´s Weaver and Florence needed a lot of birds. We checked out early and called Willy. He told us that it was election day in Kenya and they did not allow anyone in to the forest! Very bad news for us since we lost the morning before in the forest as well. We did not really have any plans so I suggested to Florence that I try to get in contact with Simon at Fish Eagle Point Hotel. We had been there once before and we loved it. Simon had availability so we told them we were heading down from Kenya. Due to the election, traffic was very light. We ran in to some problems at the border since none of us had a Yellow Fever card. After paying a few TSH it solved it self in the end. We arrived quite exhausted at the hotel after a long day in the car. I arranged with Simon to rent a Dhow the day after to look for terns etc. on the offshore sandbanks.

Day 10, Wednesday August 9 - Fish Eagle Point Lodge.

Florence is not keen on boats, so she decided to stay at the hotel. We were soon under sail going towards the sandbanks. Not many birds in the air, but a few times we came across terns diving for fish, some of these flocks also contained Noddys. We came to some sandbanks and I went ashore. I found Common, Roseate, Lesser-crested and Swift Terns + Lesser Noddys. On the return, nothing else of interest showed up. Florence was waiting for me a little anxious :-). We had lunch and then walked the area around the lodge a little: Red-fronted Tinkerbird, Black-bellied Starling, Sombre Greenbul and Amethyst Sunbird were some of the birds we found. Florence and I were treated to a special dinner that night. The Lodge had a new deck on the other side. We had a special sunset dinner there.

Some pictures from Day 11:

On the Dhow.

Lesser Noddy, Anous tenuirostris

Lesser Crested Tern, Thalasseus bengalensis

Swift Tern, Thalasseus bergii

Roseate Tern, Sterna dougallii

Sombre Greenbul, Andropadus importunus

Red-fronted Tinkerbird, Pogoniulus pusillus

Day 11, Thursday August 10 - Fish Eagle Point - Magamba Forest, West Usambara

Before breakfast I did a small walk around the lodge, but did not pick up anything special. On the way out, we saw some Northern Carmine Bee-eaters. We drove down to Tanga and then onwards to Muheza where we picked up Martin Joho. We stocked up on some food, beer & Whiskey in Muheza before we drove on. We had lunch in Korogwe and was soon on our way up the mountain towards Lushoto. Last time we were there, the road was very bad to the village on the top, but now the road were tarred all the way. We got our permits at the gate and drove up and camped at the top of Magamba Forest. Florence made some nice supper and we turned in early.

Some pictures from Day 11:

Black-bellied Starling, Notopholia corruscus - Endemic to Coastal forests of East Africa

Northern Carmine Bee-eater, Merops rubicus

Camp in Magamba Forest - West Usambara

Day 12, Friday August 11 - Magamba Forest, West Usambara

We knew the car would be parked for 3 days in the forest, so we had lots of time now to do some hardcore birding. Magamba Forest is forest birding at its best. Long walks, birds singing everywhere, but hard to spot and even harder to get decent pictures. The first morning, we walked down from camp. Many birds revealed themselves by their call: Black-headed Mountain Greenbul, Stripe-cheeked Greenbul, Shelley´s Greenbul, Waller´s Starling, Bar-tailed Trogon, Red-capped Forest Warbler, Fülleborn´s Boubou, Usambara Double-collored Sunbird, Short-tailed Batis, Yellow-bellied Waxbill, Black-fronted Bush-shrike, Hartlaub´s Turaco, White-tailed Crested Flycatcher, African Hill Babbler, Yellow-throated Woodland Warbler, Bar-throated Apalis, Sharpe´s Starling and Spot-throat. We heard the Evergreen Forest Warbler calling everywhere, but only managed some glimpses of the bird as always. On the way back, we saw 2 Oriole Finch (Lifer), but no picture. The afternoon walk revealed pretty much the same birds.

Some pictures from Day 12:

Red-capped Forest Warbler, Artisornis metopias - Endemic to Eastern Arc Mtns of Tanzania and Mozambique

Yellow-throated Woodland-Warbler, Phylloscopus ruficapillus

Day 13, Saturday August 12 - Magamba Forest, West Usambara

Up with the light again and the entire day spent walking up and down the forest trying to find new species to photograph. Bad light in the forest, high ISO, same story again. Florence often wander off by herself. She can sit for half an hour to wait for a bird to come out. In such way, she managed to get a very good shot of a Fülleborn´s Boubou. She also got the Cinnamon Bracken Warbler. We added Usambara Weaver and Usambara Greenbul, Mountain Buzzard, Southern Citril, Red-faced Crimsonwing, Placid Greenbul, Usambara Akalat, Grey Cuckooshrike, Black-headed Apalis, Green Barbet, White-starred Robin, Olive Woodpecker and Montane White-eye to our list this day.

Some pictures from Day 13:

Short-tailed (Forest) Batis, Batis Mixta - Endemic to coastal East Africa

Fülleborn´s Boubou, Laniarius fuelleborni - Endemic to Eastern Arc montane forests of Tanzania, N Malawi and NE Zambia - Picture by Florence

Black-fronted Bush-Shrike, Chlorophoneus nigrifrons

Southern Citril,  Crithagra hyposticta - Endemic to South Eastern Africa - Picture by Florence

Black-headed Mountain Greenbul,  Arizelocichla nigriceps - Endemic to Highland Forests of S Kenya and N Tanzania

Stripe-faced Greenbul,  Arizelocichla striifacies - Endemic to S Kenya and N Tanzania

Usambara Double-collared Sunbird,  Cinnyris usambaricus - Endemic to South Pare and Usambara Mountains, Tanzania

Day 14, Sunday August 13 - Magamba Forest, West Usambara - Dar es Salaam

We were now ready to return to Dar es Salaam. However; we did some morning birding. We birded first a little around camp, before we drove down to the bottom of the Forest and birded in that area. We did add amongst other the following birds to our list: Ayres+s Hawk-Eagle, Silvery-cheeked Hornbill. Scaly-throated Honeyguide, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater and Eastern Bronze-naped Pigeon. In addition I managed to get pictures of the Oriole Finch. During the 3 days we found almost 60 species in the forest.

At 10 in the morning, we had to head off. We dropped Martin off at the Segera intersection and headed towards Dar. We stopped briefly at the Wami River bridge to look for Böhm´s Bee-eater, but no luck. We arrived safe back in Dar that afternoon.

Some pictures from Day 14:

Oriole Finch,  Linurgus olivaceus - Lifer

Eastern Bronze-naped Pigeon,  Columba delegorguei

Waller´s Starling,  Onychognathus walleri

So I left Dar es Salaam on June 24 and was back on August 13, quite a long trip. I drove a total of 6500km. We saw more than 450 birds, but did not get many lifers. Florence have now pictures of 586 birds in Tanzania, whilst I have seen 721 birds and have pictures of 668. I have now pictures of 1108 species from Africa and have seen 1140. I only got 3 lifers in Tanzania on this trip: Black-billed Barbet, Swamp Flycatcher and Oriole Finch, but I got 5 lifers in Kenya (3 Taita endemics + Sokoke Pipit and Clarke´s Weaver). We had a fantastic time and cannot wait to get back. Thanks to everyone helping us making our trip a success.