Dar es Salaam, South Beach: March 19, 2011

Aimee and I spent her last weekend in Tanzania relaxing at Ras Kutani, a lovely hotel along the beach south of Dar es Salaam. She's now in Washington D.C. training for her new career while I'm staying here unitl June to finish out the academic year at the International School of Tanganyika. It's exciting to wonder where we'll be living, and hopefully birding, next year, but I'm also disappointed to leave East Africa behind after less than twelve months. With little time remaining, I still need to visit the Usambara Mountains, a spectacular and isolated pair of coastal ranges with more than a few endemic bird species. I'd like to go on safari a few more times too, including a visit to the massive and diverse Ruaha National Park in southern Tanzania. I have some vacation time coming up soon, so hopefully I'll be able to add substantially to my country list before rejoining Aimee someplace new.

Regarding our stay in south beach, it was terrific, but we did have an unpleasant experience on the hotel's nature trail, which passes through coastal scrub and riverine forest. Having noted several good birds, including the Trumpeter Hornbill, Yellow-Breasted Apalis, and Giant Kingfisher, I suddenly fell through a rotten board on a footbridge. One moment I was walking quietly through the forest, and the next moment I was in agony, swinging precariously above a ravine. Unfortunately, I slammed my camera against the bridge, and it appears as if the individual lenses in my telephoto lens are out of alignment, which is giving the autofocus fits. Although I have another lens, it seems that my future photographs of Tanzania will be of much lower quality and detail than previous (I've edited these two much more than usual). As for me, I'm still a little banged up with bruised ribs and a hyperextended big toe. Aimee and I did see a few other nice birds afterward, including a female Greater Honeyguide, my first species seen of this cryptic family.

Notable birds seen: African Fish Eagle, Palm-Nut Vulture, Hamerkop, Greater Crested Tern, Giant Kingfisher, Malachite Kingfisher, Pied Kingfisher, Trumpeter Hornbill, Greater Honeyguide, Yellow-Breasted Apalis, Olive Sunbird.

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