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Kenya: a west-to-east birding + mammal safari January 14-29, 2017

Kenya birding offbeat mara mara north

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#1 offshorebirder

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Posted 09 February 2017 - 02:30 AM

Blue-headed Tree Agama

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This prologue is for a trip report covering a recent Kenya safari I took with my friend Roger, who is a fellow birder-naturalist.  Conditions were DRY throughout our travels, which ran from January 14 - 29.  Throughout much of Kenya, we learned that the short rains came late or little this year, or almost failed completely - depending on the area in question.

After reading @michael-ibk's recent Kenya trip report, I suspect places like Kakamega Forest (that seemed OK when he visited) had dried out by the time we came through a few weeks later. Our guide Ben Mugambi said it was the driest he had ever seen Kakamega Forest - and also Aranbuko-Sokoke Forest on the coast.  The forest trails and forest floor in Kakamega and Arabuko-Sokoke were carpeted with crispy dry leaves - which made moving quietly or stealthily pretty difficult.  

Dry Kakamega undergrowth - January 18

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In the Mara, Musiara Swamp was almost completely dry, with dust devils blowing round. Orange-leafed Croton bushes were either shriveled or bare all around Mara North.

Dry and dusty Musiara Marsh with Governor's Camp and  the Mara River in the  background

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-- But we still did very well - and the theme of the trip was "quality over quantity".  Another theme was "improbable chance meetings". We got almost all our major bird and critter targets and the Mara delivered fabulously again.

Some highlights of the safari included:  

- Three big cat species in 19 minutes in Mara North Conservancy, followed by a sighting of the "Offbeat male Leopard" from the porch of our tent #4 after lunch.   Viewing two male Leopards within a couple of hours of each other was a real treat!

Leopard stalking

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Leopard resting

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Cheetah

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- 18 Suni in Nairobi National Park!  Photos and video obtained.

- Black Rhinos parading and sleeping in the open in Nairobi National Park.  And the first Verreaux's Eagle sighting in Nairobi NP in over 10 years.  And a pair of Crowned Eagles over the forest just west of Nairobi Tented Camp.

Black Rhinos

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- Golden-rumped Elephant Shrew in Arabuko-Sokoke Forest.  (wait for that day's report for a photo)

- Frank and Jesse the Offbeat pride males, are still large and in charge in Mara North.  Had good quality time with the Offbeat Pride of Lions with cubs of varying ages.

Jesse

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- A very enjoyable birding over lunch experience at Little Governor's Camp and finally meeting a "nemesis bird" - Schalow's Turaco.

Crossing_Mara_River

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- Great shorebirding and coastal birds at Mida Creek and the Sabaki River Mouth.

- A neat boat excursion on Lake Victoria to break up the drive from Kakamega Forest to the Mara.

- Stumbling on a great birding spot at a crest in the Tugen Hills and photographing a Narina Trogon.

Narina Trogon

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- Great birding at Lake Baringo and Lake Bogoria.

Heuglin's Courser

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Pygmy Kingfisher

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- Ongoing evolution and improvements at Offbeat Mara camp.  They are so flexible and accommodating to guest desires.  For  example: one day we did a bush breakfast and all-morning game drive, then afternoon game drive, transitioning into a fine bush dinner with some other  guests and then straight into a night drive ending up back at camp after a couple of hours.

Birding behind Offbeat Mara - down behind the dining tent, beside the Olare Orok River.

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- Shy and difficult-to-observe birds in Kakamega Forest

Spotted Flufftail

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Dusky-crested Flycatcher

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-- Before the trip, I had warned Roger that "something will go wrong" and that we would just go with the flow and with Ben and  his network's help, things would work out.  Sure enough we had a few blips during our time on the coast, but things worked out just fine.

Our first issue was before leaving the USA - our Emirates flight was very late departing JFK and we missed our connecting flight from Dubai to Nairobi.  But we were met exiting the plane in Dubai with tickets for the next morning's flight to Nairobi, a hotel voucher, and an explanation that we did not need to collect luggage - it would be put on tomorrow's plane for us.  So we got a free night in Dubai and had some good birding in the hotel garden that afternoon.  The downside was that we would miss our day trip to Nairobi National Park on January 14 but I had a plan to address that.

Our itinerary ended up being:

January 14 - Arrive at JKIA one day late.  Hit the Nakumatt, do some birding along Red Cross Road. Overnight Boma hotel.
January 15 - Drive to Lake Baringo for lunch and afternoon birding, Overnight Tumbili Cliff Lodge.
January 16 - Lake Baringo + Lake Bogoria.  Overnight Tumbili Cliff Lodge.
January 17 - Drive to Kakamega Forest by way of Tugen Hills and Kerio Valley.  Overnight Rondo Retreat.
January 18 - Kakamega Forest, overnight Rondo Retreat.
January 19 - Kakamega Forest, overnight Rondo Retreat.
January 20 - Drive to Mara North, via Kisumu. overnight Offbeat Mara.
January 21 - Mara North Conservancy, overnight Offbeat Mara
January 22 - Mara North Conservancy, overnight Offbeat Mara
January 23 - All day in the Main Reserve, lunch at Little Governor's, overnight Offbeat Mara.
January 24 - Morning game drive in Mara North, after lunch bush flight to Malindi, overnight Ocean Sports Resort in Watamu.
January 25 - Arabuko-Sokoke Forest.  overnight Ocean Sports Resort in Watamu.
January 26 - Sabaki River Mouth and Mida Creek.  overnight Ocean Sports Resort in Watamu.
January 27 - Morning birding at Mida Creek, fly to JKIA in Nairobi.  Overnight Boma hotel.
January 28 - All day outing in Nairobi National Park.  Overnight Boma hotel.
January 29 - Morning birding along Magadi Road south of Nairobi.  Fly home in the late afternoon.

 

-- I talked to Ben and Roger and we agreed to cut a day off our time at the coast, in order to return to Nairobi a day early and get a full day in Nairobi National Park. 

For this safari, I had obtained a new camera backpack - Think Tank Photo's Airport Commuter.  I love this camera bag!   It held my camera, lens, a Swarovski spotting scope, Swarovski binoculars, laptop, iPad, memory cards, batteries, a La Cie portable hard drive, cables, camera cleaning kit, and 1 day's clothing.  I checked two bags, including a large duffel bag (Patagonia Black Hole Bag).  This was to take my tripod, beanbag, and other bulky gear.

When we arrived at JKIA, there was a long line of dozens, maybe hundreds, or people in the e-Visa line.  Roger and I walked up to an empty desk for Visa-on-arrival passengers.  I see no reason at all to put forth the effort and time (and online credit card activity) for an e-Visa.

We spent part of our first afternoon in Nairobi birding Red Cross Road - the road where the Boma hotel and Boma Inn are located.  We tracked down the  ATM near the gate of the Boma Inn and of course we had our binoculars with us and started birding from the gate and  out onto the sidewalk.  There is a nice hedge and some trees across the street from the Boma complex - we had close to 30 bird species just standing by the gate.  Both  young security guards - a gentleman and a lady - were interested in the birds we were seeing.  We loaned them our binoculars in turn - they could not both be distracted at once you know.   They both relished seeing the birds closer and clearer and the young man in particular looked and looked  at birds.  He had fun tracking swifts and swallows especially.

Boma birding

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We were guided throughout the trip by the incomparable Ben Mugambi, of Ben's Ecological Safaris.  I booked all the accomodations and bush flights through Ben's as well.  Ben and  his office staff handled everything deftly - including a few unforeseen hurdles.  Ben knew people everywhere we went, which came in handy a couple of times.

The vehicles:

Offbeat Mara won "Best Safari Vehicle" again - closely followed by Ben's Ecological Safaris.  

Offbeat continues to improve and evolve, and their vehicles are no exception.  They seem to have taken @pault's advice and added flat trays to the armrests of their game drive vehicles.  These trays are great platforms for photo beanbags.  

Offbeat photo tray

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While at Campi ya Offbeat, we had the same trusty Landcruiser as last time - with the photo tray improvements.  This vehicle has pop-top roof hatches over both rows of rear passenger seats, and another pop-top hatch over the driver and spotter's seats.  These hatches let you see and photograph birds and other things directly overhead.  Or stand on the seat and observe + photograph from above roof level.  Or sit on the roof in certain situations.  Or close the hatch if you need a break from the sun.

Offbeat vehicle

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We used two of Ben's vehicles during the safari - his large Landcruiser for most of the non-Mara safari, then his pride and joy - a 1980 Toyota Landcruiser VX  - in Nairobi National Park and Magadi Road the last two days of the safari. 

Ben's primary safari vehicle, with Ben and driver Simon parked in front of a Baobab Tree near Mida Creek.  

Ben's Safari Vehicle

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Ben's Landcruiser VX

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Ben's VX Landcruiser is the quietest safari vehicle (and quietest diesel SUV) I have ever seen!   It is a 12-cylinder turbo-diesel and Ben has the idle speed turned down low.  So it purrs along very quietly through field and forest. 

Ben has some real war stories about using it to deliver late-arriving clients to the Mara late at night in stormy weather and passing abandoned Landrovers and other Landcruisers stuck deep in the muck.

The companions:   We were fortunate  to have Ben Mugambi with us the entire time.  We also had great local guides helping in different areas.  Super-sharp Francis Cherutich guided us on his home ground of Lake Baringo and Lake Bogoria.  We were fortunate to have Josphat and Kapeen at Offbeat Mara.  At Arabuko-Sokoke forest  we had William (Willie), and on Lake Victoria and adjacent land birding we had Solomon.

I hope this teaser post stokes some interest.   

Maybe a few  videos will help:

 

 

 


 


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#2 Tom Kellie

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Posted 09 February 2017 - 02:38 AM

~ @offshorebirder

 

What a trip report!

 

You've combined adventure with discovery.

 

Many, many THANKS for sharing images of your birding and travels with us.

 

I love it!

 

Tom K.


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#3 xyz99

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Posted 09 February 2017 - 02:38 AM

Great teaser, I want more!!!


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#4 pault

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Posted 09 February 2017 - 06:08 AM

Trays good.


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Waiting again... for the next time again


#5 michael-ibk

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Posted 09 February 2017 - 08:15 AM

Love the teaser, very much looking forward to this! Fantastic shots of the Trogon and Flufftail.
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#6 Patty

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Posted 09 February 2017 - 06:13 PM

Great start!


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#7 amybatt

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Posted 09 February 2017 - 06:39 PM

Ah I've been looking forward to this!  More, more!! :-)


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#8 offshorebirder

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Posted 09 February 2017 - 07:48 PM

Thanks very much for the encouraging words @Tom Kellie, @zyx99, and @Patty.

 

@pault - I thought of you as soon as I saw the photo trays. 

 

@michael-ibk - I was wondering what you thought of Rondo Retreat when I was staying there - sounds like we had equal mixed emotions about the place.

 

@amybatt - thanks for your help getting updates on Amani and other aspects of Mara North Conservancy just before my trip.  I hope you have a fantastic time on your upcoming safari!


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#9 offshorebirder

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Posted 09 February 2017 - 07:52 PM

Traveling on January 13

After missing our flight to Nairobi on Friday January 13, we still had some daylight left after checking into the Copthorne Hotel in Dubai.  It is apparently owned and operated by Emirates - we showed our Emirates hotel voucher and boarding passes at check-in and everything went smoothly.

After dumping our luggage in the room, we hurried out to the lush gardens and enjoyed some good birding before the sun began to set and bird activity died down.  I did not unpack and assemble my DSLR so no photos of the Dubai garden birds unfortunately.  
 
We saw some stunning all-blue Sunbirds that turned out to be Purple Sunbirds.   We saw both males and females.  Other life birds for me included Graceful Prinia, White-eared Bullbul (abundant and vocal), Red-eared Bublbul, Common Mynah, Rose-ringed Parakeet, Bank Mynah, Indian Silverbill and Indian House Crows.  We also saw Laughing Doves, Eurasian Hoopoe, Eurasian Collared-Dove, House Sparrows and Rock Pigeon.  Plus several unidentified passerine species (including a couple of sunbirds) that gave poor or fleeting looks.  A lot of gulls flew over in the early morning but it was too dark to tell much about them.  


Arriving in Nairobi on January 14

Saturday morning waiting for our flight to Nairobi, we met a delightful elderly Australian couple who were heading to Kenya for another lengthy stay.  We compared notes on what we had heard about the drought and how it might affect things where we were going.  

Upon arriving in Nairobi we went through immigration and customs quickly.  Our checked baggage appeared quickly as well.  Walking out the front of the airport, we saw Ben waiting; he greeted us warmly and led us to the vehicle to unload the luggage carts.  After a quick stop at a Nakumatt for beer, shampoo and a few other items, we were delivered to the Boma hotel.  I stayed at the Boma instead of the good old Purdy Arms in Karen this trip.  Ben had dropped the most delicate of hints last year that getting out to Karen to pick us up in the mornings was a bit of a hardship for him; he lives on the north side of Nairobi up near Tigoni/Limuru.  So for convenience's sake and the nice "Boma experience" we stayed there and enjoyed it a lot.  But I do plan to stay at the Purdy Arms at least at the start of my next Kenya trip.

After birding a bit with the friendly gate guards, we went to dinner in the downstairs restaurant.  We sat at an outdoor table, keeping an eye to the sky of course, and Roger kept pricking up his ears at the next table's conversation.  It was two pilots talking about avionics apparently - and Roger is an Electrical Engineer on the aviation systems that are used at USA airports.  Before Roger could introduce himself, one of the pilots said "Did you go to USC?  Are y'all from the Carolinas?"    Roger was wearing a University of South Carolina hat.  Roger replied in the affirmative and it turned out the pilot was also a USC Alumni - from not long before Roger attended.  

Then we learned that the pilots worked for Emirates, that the elder one was an instructor, and they had flown us to Nairobi!  And that the USC Alumni lives in Charlotte - well his family does - and he is based out of Dubai. And he and his family spend a lot of time in Charleston and nearby Isle of Palms.  Then Roger and the pilots got talking about all kinds of avionics systems and geeking out more than somewhat.  The younger pilot was South African and we chatted about safaris and wildlife photography.  

Funny how the small-world thing goes. 


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#10 xyz99

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Posted 09 February 2017 - 08:16 PM

Can't wait for you to get out your camera and work on those pictures. Not sure what you should do first...tell us about it, do the pics? Can you hurry up and do them both?


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#11 Treepol

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Posted 09 February 2017 - 09:49 PM

@offshorebirder what a fabulous start to to your TR, so looking forward to reading more when you have time. I always enjoy birding and safari with the locals - it sad that so few Africans have had the chance to see and appreciate the wildlife of their countries.

 

I like the photo of the Pygmy Kingfisher very much.


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#12 janzin

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 12:54 AM

Always look forward to your bird-centric reports :)  And someday I hope to get back to Kenya for some serious birding, so I will follow this eagerly.

 

Question: how much did your camera bag weigh and did Emirates give you any problems (I assume it was over the 7 kg they allow!) We may end up on Emirates for our Zambia trip but I am always worried about that issue...


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#13 Hads

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 04:31 AM

@offshorebirder thanks for a great start and wonderful photo's. Jesse is an impressive cat!

I will be following along.


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#14 offshorebirder

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 12:41 PM

@janzin - neither Emirates nor Jetblue ever hassled me about my heavy luggage!  Both this year and last January.  My carryon camera backpack was 20+ kilos.

 

Nobody batted an eye at my carryon throughout the journey.  I put it in the rear of the cabin on the Mombasa Air flight from Mara North to Mombasa (we were supposed to fly to Malindi but that flight got canceled 2 days beforehand).

 

In terms of heavy checked baggage - I had to pay a little overage fee on an internal JamboJet flight in Kenya but that was it.  The big bag weighed 25 kilos and the little one weighed 16.

 

Mombasa Air did not weigh the bags when they picked me up at Mara North airstrip. 

 

My experience with Emirates is that if your carryon fits through the gate security infrastructure and in the overhead bin, you're good to go.  But I'd recommend having it be able to fit under the seat in front of you, just in case of "carryon overload" on a particular flight.


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#15 offshorebirder

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 03:32 PM

In the prologue, I neglected to mention how many bird species we saw during the safari.  We ended up with just over 460 species for which everyone obtained clear positive identification views.  There were 15-20 more "heard-only" species and another 10 or so that not everybody was able to see.  We were pleased at our species total and how many target birds we saw, given the dry abnormal conditions.  

Sunday January 15.

We left the Boma early after a delicious 6am breakfast.  Once out of Nairobi, we made a couple of quick roadside birding stops to break up the journey.  Then we made our way up the A-104 past Lake Naivasha and Naivasha Town.  After Naivasha Town, but before Lake Elementaita, we saw four Southern Ground-Hornbills foraging in the grassy scrub to the left (east) of the highway!   I did not get any good photos - Roger was a bit quicker before they moved into the vegetation.  Looking at a map, the sighting might have taken place along the border of the Kigio Wildlife Conservancy.

Then at 9:30am as we approached the northeast corner of Lake Elementaita, Ben had a surprise for us.  We turned off the highway into the driveway of the Sunbird Lodge.  They have a great view of the lake and surrounding habitat, as well as bird feeders - both seeds and nectar.  They also have lots of Sunbird-attracting flowering plants near their deck.  So we enjoyed some relaxed birding over Espresso and Cappucino.  The owner came and chatted with us and appreciated a few suggestions for even birdier habitat.

Sunbird Lodge view

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Driving in, we saw an African Grass Rat foraging under a bush.  On the patio overlooking the lake, we scanned the lake with a spotting scope and saw Greater and Lesser Flamingos, White and Pink-backed Pelicans, Cormorants, Egrets, Grebes, and Herons.  With our binoculars we watched numbers of swallows and swifts wheeling over the lake. We had crippling views (as the Brits say) of a Grey-backed Camaroptera and Bronzed Sunbirds flitted between flowers.  Fischer's Lovebirds moved about in small flocks and White-browed Robin-Chats skulked in the undergrowth.   A few Yellow Bishops still had some dashes of color left.  We also had large flocks of Weavers and Starlings in the big Acacia trees surrounding the back of the patio.  

Back on the road, we passed through Nakuru town and turned onto the B-4.  Immediately the number of trucks dropped to zero.  What a relief!   We moved much faster despite all the speed bumps.  Roger remarked that on this trip to Kenya, he would go over 20 years' worth of speed bumps back in the USA.

After driving north a while, we started passing herds of donkeys being driven north along the highway.  Ben said they were being driven to the slaughterhouse - that rising Chinese demand for donkey meat was inflating donkey prices in northern Kenya.  Apparently donkey rustling and theft is also on the rise.  When we passed the slaughterhouse the smell was awful from a great distance up and down the road, and large numbers of Marabou Storks were spiraling down out of the sky to land in the area behind the slaughterhouse.  

We kept driving north and before long we reached Marigat.  Soon the Baringo Cliffs then Lake Baringo came into view.  

Baringo Cliffs

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Lake Baringo

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We reached Tumbili Cliff Lodge (Tumbili means 'Monkey' in Swahili) and checked in.   I really like this place!  Unfortunately we were the only guests during our stay.

While we were waiting for lunch to be served, we stood in the restaurant entrance facing the lake and watched a parade of birds coming by.  Some moved through the trees, some foraged on stage left in trees and shrubs, some foraged on the lawn and some came to the feeder platform.  Northern Masked Weavers got displaced by Red-billed Hornbills, which got displaced by Jackson's Hornbill.  Rupell's Long-tailed Starlings bounced around and the 'Dodson's' subspecies of Common Bulbul seemed to be everywhere.  Their vocalizations were subtly but distinctly different from the Common Bulbuls we had been hearing in Nairobi.  

Several of the bird species were opening and feeding on Acacia seed pods, which were plentiful on the ground and still on the trees.

Looking to the left, I had the best views I've ever enjoyed of Pygmy Kingfisher.  

Pygmy Kingfisher

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White-browed Sparrow-Weavers were foraging on the lawn and perching in the trees, but always kept an eye to the sky for danger.

White-browed Sparrow-weaver

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Emerald-Spotted Wood-Doves trudged back and forth - they are striking creatures when the light catches their emerald wing patches.  

Emerald Spotted Wood-Dove

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And some Unstriped Ground Squirrels crept in to eat some tender young shoots.

Unstriped Ground Squirrel

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After a delicious lunch, we briefly went to our room to grab a couple of things - on the way, Roger spotted a Verreaux's Eagle-Owl perched in a large tree.  

Verreaux's Eagle Owl

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We briefly birded the grounds of the Tumbili Cliff Lodge complex before going to meet Francis for some stakeout birding.  We enjoyed Black-headed Weavers, Jackson's Golden-backed Weavers, and Pygmy Batis.  Suddenly a GREAER HONEYGUIDE flew in and perched in the big tree between the restaurant and the lake.  Then we had Grey Wren-Warbler, Grey-headed Bush-Shrike, Spotted Morning-thrush and some Rufous Chatterers.

Rufous Chatterer

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Moving to the other side of the main building, we enjoyed Northern Beautiful Sunbird, Willow Warbler, a pair of Eastern Violet-backed Sunbirds, a Red-fronted Warbler and Hunter's Sunbird.   White-crowned Shrikes were also scattered about.  

Now it was time to go meet the "Big Boss Man" as Ben mischievously called Francis Cherutich.  The bird guiding business has not been enough to keep Francis busy all the time so he has opened a small general store.  But he took time from proprietor's duties to guide us, as he does with other clients.  

We met up with Francis, who was very glad to see me again and to meet Roger.  I made good on a promise to bring Francis an unused spotting scope that had been sitting on my shelf for a decade.  It is a nice little scope - a Swarovski ATS-65 HD.  Francis is now the envy of the "Baringo Boys" - local youth - now grownups - who Terry Stevenson started training long ago when he worked at the Lake Baringo Club.

We rode a little way to where Francis had the first nocturnal birds staked out.  The technique the local guides use is: be very familiar with the favored roosting areas of certain species.  Then when the guides have clients coming - go out the morning of their visit to find the particular tree, bush, crevice, etc. where each target is roosting that day.  Because most species will be somewhere else tomorrow and must be found again after the sun rises.

At our first stop, where we were looking for Northern White-faced Scops Owls, Francis advised us:  "be very quiet - they scare easily and if they fly, they will fly very far and we will not see them again today".   So we all moved with utmost silence.  Francis led us around and we had nice views of a pair of White-faced Scops Owls.   Some twigs and branches foiled any good photos but we were happy to see the cute little owls and glad to leave them completely undisturbed.

Northern White-faced Scops Owl

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Our second target was Slender-tailed Nightjar.  I had seen them in flight last January at Buffalo Springs but seeing them perched on the ground allows one to appreciate their exquisite camouflage.   Francis led us right to this beauty:

Slender-tailed Nightjar

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Our third target, and one of my major targets for the safari, was Heuglin's Courser.  They are a shy, beautifully patterned little shorebird that lives in dry scrubland habitat.  They are mostly nocturnal, and roost during the day in hiding places under bushes, or among rocks.

Francis led us to a gorgeous single bird roosting among some rocks.  The bird was partially hidden, and the angle was not great.  I would rather miss a good photo than push or disturb a bird off its roost, so the Heuglin's Courser photos are not the best...

Heuglin's Courser

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Francis led us to the final day's target in fading light - a pair of Spotted Thick-Knees roosting under a tree.  Again I settled for a substandard photo, rather than get too close trying to use flash or otherwise disturb the birds.  

Spotted Thick-knee

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By then it was getting dark so we went back to the lodge.  Before dinner Roger and I enjoyed a few cold beers while we did our countdown and recording of the day's bird species with Ben.   On the wall to the right of the bar were some interesting little spiders.  They seemed to have swallow-tails.  Perhaps @Zarek Cockar or another insect expert might know what they are.

Tumbili Cliffs spider

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Our driver Simon at first settled at another table to eat - we insisted he eat with us and that our entire team share meals together the rest of the trip.  We enjoyed talking with Simon - whose degree was as a chef in culinary arts.  Simon is a smart, funny person - Ben is lucky to have such a good driver and chef.  Having both abilities in one person makes a great combination for some of Ben's mobile camping trips.  
 


Edited by offshorebirder, 10 February 2017 - 03:40 PM.

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#16 Zarek Cockar

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 03:57 PM

@offshorebirder

Great start.  Really enjoyed the teaser at the beginning, especially the flufftail photo!
Your spider above is a Long-Spinnered Spider of some sort, from the Family Hersiliidae. Harmless, by the way (though I know you didn't ask, that question may have been on some readers' minds).


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Zarek Cockar

Private Guided Safaris

Africa & You

 

"To explore the unknown and the familiar, distant and near and to record in detail with the eyes of a child, any beauty, horror, irony, traces of utopia or Hell." - Dan Eldon

 

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EMAIL: zarek @ africaandyou . com

 


#17 TonyQ

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 04:51 PM

@offshorebirder

I have been looking forward to this.

The Pygmy Kingfisher is stunning. I really like your enthusiasm, and your care for the welfare of the birds shines through.


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#18 offshorebirder

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 05:46 PM

Wow - thanks very much @Zarek Cockar!   Glad to know the type of spider - I am amazed at your extensive insect knowledge. 

 

Thanks for the kind words @TonyQ - I thought of you and @Thursday's Child a few times when good birds popped into view and posed for photos.  For what it's worth, I cannot understand how anyone could fail to be enthusiastic on safari.  Being in Kenya is like trying to drink from a fire hose - so many disciplines to explore.   I really need to get my cousin the geologist to go - he would be in heaven!


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#19 Tom Kellie

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 05:53 PM

~ @offshorebirder

 

The Baringo Cliffs! Your photo is the one that I failed to take.

 

The Emerald-spotted Wood Dove — lovely.

 

The inquisitive White-browed Sparrow-Weaver is a delight!

 

What @TonyQ wrote is what I feel. Your deep and abiding love and respect for the environment shows through your commentary.

 

Many thanks for all of this.

 

Tom K.


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#20 offshorebirder

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 05:55 PM

@Treepol - thanks for your kind words.  I completely agree that it is fun to help locals appreciate their treasures when one has a chance.

 

The Pygmy Kingfisher was a challenging setup - I shot it from the porch of the dining area, through a little window in some branches and I had to contort a bit to get lined up and shoot things handheld.  A handful of the 50 photos I shot ended up coming out OK.


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