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TANZANIA'S EASTERN ARC

Wednesday 3rd October - Wednesday 24th October 2018

DANI LOPEZ-VELASCO

Uluguru Bushshrike was one of the stars of our 2018 Tanzania's UEA! (Image by Dani Lopez-Velasco)

Uluguru Bushshrike was one of the stars of our 2018 Tanzania's UEA! (Image by Dani Lopez-Velasco)

Our 2018 “Tanzania: Ultimate Eastern Arc” tour, including an Udzungwa Mountains extension, turned out to be a fantastic adventure that way-surpassed our expectations. For most of the tour we were accompanied by our ever reliable, super friendly and efficient local driver and excellent local guide, and were blessed with largely good weather, except for a couple of days in the Udzungwas. With such a good set up and conditions, there were few excuses, so we efficiently set about our task of hoovering up the endemics, whilst enjoying the other wonders that this great country has to offer. The main tour saw us first visiting the attractive Pemba Island and then travelling through the East and West

Usambaras, the remote Uluguru and Ukaguru Mountains, the impressive Mikumi National Park and its surrounding miombo woodlands and the little explored Kilombero Plains. The good birds were almost too numerous to pick from, but special mention must go to the amazing Usambara Eagle Owl, gorgeous Green-headed Orioles, Long-billed and Red-capped Forest Warblers, Pemba Scops Owl (and all other Pemba endemics), colourful Böhm’s Bee-eaters and striking Racket-tailed Rollers, the hulking Uluguru Bushshrike, the little-known Rubeho Akalat, the sneaky Spot-throat, the rare Usambara Weaver, both Winifred’s and Rubeho Warblers, colourful Hofmann’s Sunbirds and a delightful Lesser Seedcracker. Our post-tour extension to the Udzungwa mountains was also a superb experience. Although more arduous, both in terms

of the physical effort and living conditions, the targets all fell. The near-mythical Udzungwa Forest Partridge was the obvious star, but the stunning Swynnerton’s Robin, unique Rufous-winged Sunbird, delightful White-winged Apalis and skulking Dapple-throat were just a small part of the excellent supporting cast! It was actually my first time around many of these sites, and I have to say I was very impressed with it as a birding destination and certainly relish the prospect of another visit to see my friends there… both avian and human!!

Keeping up the black-and-yellow theme Usambara Weaver was another regional speciality seen very well on our 2018 tour (Image by Dani Lopez-Velasco)

Keeping up the black-and-yellow theme Usambara Weaver was another regional speciality seen very well on our 2018 tour (Image by Dani Lopez-Velasco)