Friday, December 3, 2010

More Dar es Salaam

This blog has been a bit erratic and downright moribund lately so lets get back to it. I am going to begin by starting back in Dar es Salaam and continuing with posts about the rest of my trip. I will also throw in a post here and there concerning life here and now.
Let's see, I left off with a couple of post about my first day in Dar. Let start this again with my next morning on the coast.

Steve and I had decided that we would go birding for a bit the next morning prior to our meetings. We decided that we would go back towards the scrub habitat behind the hotel.

As we walked along the drive heading back toward the area a gentleman drove by and warned us that the area just to the north was a restricted area and that we should be careful because others had been harassed and had their binoculars and cameras confiscated. We decided that we would head back south of the hotel after that.
Just as we were turning around to head back south we spotted a large bird perched on the top of an agave stalk about 100 meters away (yes agave - one of the exotic plants found in Dar). We were just getting our binoculars on it when it starting flying towards us. As it passed by us just a few meters away it became very apparent that it was a hornbill of some sort. My first hornbill! I flew into the trees [no I didn't fly into the tree! Thanks Mom for the edits] just to the south of us and we were able to locate it again quite close to us after a brief search. We got great looks at this Red-billed Hornbill as he preened in the early morning light. I have been fascinated by the hornbill family for many years and it was really nice to finally see a member of this family in the wild.

We started back towards the hotel and it probably was a good thing we did. While we were watching the hornbill another person had drove up and seemed quite agitated that we were there and got on his cell phone. As we were walking down the street towards the main road he drove by, glowering at us as he went past.
So if you ever wind up staying at the SeaCliff Hotel in Dar and think the habitat just north of the hotel looks like a great place to go birding, it is. Just consider yourself warned!
We continued south from the hotel along the coast through some heavily modified habitat bordering the cliffs along the coast. We found many of the same species we observed before but one nice addition was a Brown-chested Barbet at the top of a tree in the residential neighborhood near the hotel.

The rest of the day was occupied by meetings and work sessions with the other team members, then packing all of our stuff to depart to the various wildlife management areas we were assigned to. Janet (my teaching partner) and I were heading to Enduimet Wildlife Management Area on the north western slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro.

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