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Tanzania Trip -- Saturday, July 14, 2012

July 14
Mount Kilimanjaro (view south-ish)

Day 08. Saturday, July 14. Arusha, TZ.

Day 1 in Tanzania.

We never really slept last night, and while up and wandering about during the dark hours, I noticed many, medium-sized, reddish bats hawking moths around outdoor lights by the gates. The bats were very busy, and a nocturnal Cattle Egret was picking up moths that dropped to the ground in an effort to evade the bats. In the early morning hours, I saw two species of swifts, Superb Starlings, Red-winged Starlings, Speckled Doves, a Black Kite, and Pied Crows flying around the airport.

Link to trip map.

July 14
Three Speckled Mousebirds (Colius striatus)

At 0900 hrs, we caught a 35-minute flight from Nairobi to Kilimanjaro International Airport (Moshi town) on Kenya Airways. It was cloudy when we left, but there was a short break in the clouds over Kenya, and Mount Kilimanjaro was visible above the clouds. When landing, we dropped below the clouds and could see the Tanzanian landscape below. We could see areas of small subsistence farms, commercial greenhouses (probably cut flowers), and pasture lands. When we were low enough, we could see cows, goats, and a few people.

On the ground at Kilimanjaro Airport, we were greeted by flocks of Wire-tailed Swallows, Pied Crows, two storks, and trees alive with the calls of birds. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to take a careful look, but there were, at least, a couple of mousebirds in the parking lot.

July 14
A shy, Ochre Bush Squirrel (Paraxerus ochraceus)

We took a 1-hr shuttle van from Kilimanjaro Airport to Arusha. Most of the land was rolling hills, and it was either farmed or urban with a little pasture land along the way. It appears there is no "unused" land around here. We saw extensive fields of corn and sunflowers.

At the Le Jacaranda Hotel in Arusha, I stayed awake long enough to see Variable Sunbirds, Speckled Mousebirds, and even a squirrel-like creature (perhaps an African squirrel?) outside the room.

In the late afternoon, Cathy and I walked to downtown Arusha to get TZ sim cards for our phones and bottled water. Lydia, Cathy's local assistant, arrived in the evening. I was really tired and went to bed early, but not too early to see a House Gecko on the wall catching moths attracted to outdoor lights. I was able to light up the gecko with my new super-duper Dorcy high-tech LED flashlight and get good photos of it without a flash.

July 14
Boarding Kenya Airlines to Kilimanjaro Airport
July 14
Everyone has "trash birds," but here they get Superb Starlings!
July 14
Tanzania farm fields near Moshi
July 14
Tanzania pasture lands near Moshi
July 14
Kilimanjaro International Airport
July 14
Cathy entering Kilimanjaro International Airport
July 14
Shuttle bus at Kilimanjaro International Airport
July 14
In shuttle bus on the highway to Arusha
July 14
Corn fields along the highway (lots of sunflower fields too)
July 14
Corn fields along the highway
July 14
Stuck behind a fuel truck; note small farm plots on left
July 14
Highway business (note cell tower in back)
July 14
Clock Tower in downtown Arusha
July 14
Getting ready for dinner
July 14
Vegetable curry and tortillas for Cathy
July 14
Mayai ("my-eye" -- french fries cooked with eggs) for me
July 14
Speckled Mousebird (Colius striatus)
July 14
Family of Red-billed Firefinch (Lagonosticta senegala)

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 120818

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