Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Day 27--Akagera NP

The alarm went off all too soon.  We grabbed a quick breakfast and were on the road by 5:30 AM to make the 2+ hour drive to Akagera NP which covers almost 1000 Sq. Mi. in eastern Rwanda near the border of Tanzania.  On our way to the park we saw our first new trip birds for the day--a few ruaha black chats, and a pair of red-necked falcons.

As we got closer to the park we began to find small groups of birds including an African gray hornbill (click on any photo to enlarge).  Other new birds for the trip included spur-winged geese, black-throated barbet, yellow-fronted tinkerbird, greater honeyguide, and greencap eremomela.

At the park entrance we picked up a local guide who spent the next few hours with us driving a large loop road that covered the various park habitats.  Down by the lake we found marabou storks, and Senegal lapwings.  New trip birds included white-headed, red-faced and crested barbet (photo taken by Bob); flappet lark; tabora cisticola; miombo wren-warbler; white-winged black-tit and African penduline tit; and cinnamon-breasted and golden-breasted buntings.

About mid-afternoon the bird activity had slowed down, so we decided to make the drive back to Kigali.  Enroute we would as usual stop to check out promising habitat.  We found 2 intermediate herons and 1 little egret roosting.

All over E. Africa during our trip we would see people carrying water from the numerous village wells.  It was not uncommon to see a person walking a bike that was loaded with 6 or 7 forty gallon yellow water cans.  When they lost a cap, they would use a banana stopper.

We returned to our hotel in time to get cleaned up before dinner.  Bob took my photo to show how the seemingly everpresent red dust had tinted my hair and beard that day.

Dinner was pretty good including the traditional goat stew that Bob tried.  I had a nice bacon and avocado salad followed by a beef and mushroom stroganoff with french fries.  The bird list update showed we were tantalizingly close to 800 different bird species for the trip.  Tomorrow we would be getting up at 3:45 AM to make the drive to Ruhengere to do our gorilla trek.  Stay tuned!

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