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The Art in Finding New Species - Ruaha National Park


Birding in Ruaha National Park is extremely interesting and rewarding. Ruaha is located in south-central Tanzania, a location that until recently has been difficult and expensive to get to. Due to its vast size,  thanks to a massive extension to incorporate the Usangu wetlands,Ruaha has doubled from 10,200 to 20,220 In addition to this, Ruaha is fortunate to be surrounded almost 360 degrees, by Game Reserves, plus west of these Reserves are yet more Forest Reserves, so the whole ecosystem, is a vast, virtually untouched, wilderness area of more than 45,000 sq. km. The remote areas are difficult to access particularly during the wet season, therefore, little ʻseriousʼ birding has been done in these seldom visited places. Rob and I are both artists, Rob a sculptor and I am a painter, and in our spare time we are avid birders. We have been extremely privileged to have lived in Ruaha National Park for 17 years, during that time Rob compiled the official, Annotated Park Bird list, which now stands at 572 species. We have managed to pull up some very interesting records, two of them new species. 

Whilst birding is good at all times the inclusion of migrant species would be from September to late May. There is only one rainy season, generally it begins in December and ends late March or mid April. During the rains the Park is very lush and green, with wonderful flowers and breeding birds, the Ruaha River looks superb too. In my view, April through to the end of June is an extremely beautiful time of year, especially for flowers and trees, though game viewing is not as rewarding as it is later in the dry season. From end of July the vegetation begins to dry, by September it looks very grey with little greenery, these drier months are however, a great time for game viewing. October and November tend to be very dry, and hot, but at all times Ruaha holds its own charm, and every season has its own particular magic. Most areas of the Park are accessible all year round, however, some of the more remote Miombo areas are difficult during the rainy season but are accessible from July to December.

The Art in Finding New Species by Sue Stolberger & Robert Glen

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