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offshorebirder

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

118 posts in this topic

For some reason the embed code from xeno-canto did not display correctly on Safaritalk's web interface.

 

Here is a direct link to the player: http://www.xeno-canto.org/339412/embed

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One thing I forgot to mention in the post above was that we saw illegal grazing taking place well north of the Mbagathi River.

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Here you go @@penolva (see above). I hope you have a great outing on August 23!

What a day! Some beautiful birds and the Sunni, not seen one of those before! Pen

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Here you go @@penolva (see above). I hope you have a great outing on August 23!

What a day! Some beautiful birds and the Sunni, not seen one of those before! Pen

 

 

@@penolva - I bet you will have several sightings if you work those less-traveled forested areas.

 

Good luck Pen!

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@offhsorebirder

 

Sorry just seen this now. Been offline for a while. It is indeed the hermit crab, rather than the snail, which makes the little sand balls. I can't remember what the purpose is. I can try to look it up. My knowledge of marine life is woefully low. There's SO much to learn. I wish I could spend more time down there learning.

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@@offshorebirder Hi. We're a family of five from Texas and are planning a trip to Kenya in August. We have looked up many tour operators but have got the best quote from Ben's Ecological Safaris. However, I can't seem to find any reviews for Ben on tripadvisor but I can see that you have had a fantastic trip with Ben and Simon this year. Your pictures speak a thousand words and leaves me with no doubt that Ben's Ecological Safaris are reliable tour operators but I just thought to double check with you before we confirm our trip to Kenya with Ben.

 

Thank you very much.

Kind regards,

Elizabeth.

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Hi @@Lizblues - you are going to have a LOT of fun in Kenya. I can wholeheartedly recommend Ben's Ecological Safaris. Ben has contacts EVERYWHERE in Kenya - it is uncanny how he knows people everywhere you go - at airline counters, safari camps, game ranger stations, shopping centers, hotels, game reserves, airports, etc. etc.

 

Anything that goes wrong, Ben will be able to work around it with his staff, extra vehicles, business contacts, and so forth.

 

Ben also uses local guides to supplement his phenomenal birding and safari guide abilities. This is because the local expoerts know the current status of your target species and where to find them on any given day.

 

Ben is SUPER reliable - if he says it, you can take it to the bank. But don't be dismayed if it takes a couple of days for your email to be returned - sometimes his office staff doesn't want to give a wrong answer and they'll leave it to Ben to answer when he gets "back on the grid" after guiding in the wilderness.

 

I will PM you my email address - feel free to ask any follow-up questions you might have.

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On 2/24/2017 at 6:46 PM, optig said:

@@offshorebirder I'm ashamed to admit that I've been to Lake Baringo even though it's relatively close to me in Nairobi. I will defiantly go. I hope that @Zarek Cocker wiil be my guide.

 

~ @optig

 

This puzzles me, as it's unclear why you write “I'm ashamed to admit that I've been to Lake Baringo”.

 

I've also been there, but never felt any reason to be ashamed of that.

 

You also mention “I'll defiantly go.” Really? In defiance of who or what?

 

Unless my memory fails me, Lake Baringo is a pleasant location for visiting.

 

It's one Kenya location I regret having only visited once...and that's a shame as it merits another visit.

 

Tom K.

 

 

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33117800016_e8b1ba73e8_o.thumb.jpg.0838f2eab748fafa1d4168fc337fae51.jpg

 

~ @offshorebirder

 

This afternoon I've enjoyed reading through your trip report from start to finish.

 

Due to major difficulties in loading the pages, especially because of the videos, it's been impossible to see it until the present, when there was ample time to allow each page to gradually load.

 

The photo above, beside the Mara River, captured the spirit of your wonderful safari as I understood it.

 

A lovely setting, ideal weather, the finest companions, and worthy targets.

 

The salt lick images stood out to me, as did the suni sequence in Nairobi National Park.

 

Seeing the SGR trestle in Nairobi National Park was disconcerting.

 

Your sightings everywhere were matched in quality by the images you posted, as well as the delightful commentary.

 

Despite having been on many Kenya safaris, your trip report opened up Kenya's natural beauty allowing one to see it with fresh eyes.

 

Thanks to the support staff assembled by Ben Mugambi, you were able to make the most of every opportunity.

 

One must admire the resilient spirit, depth of understanding, realistic perspective and easygoing good humor which you bring on safari.

 

Lucky Roger to be out on safari with as fine a birder/naturalist as you.

 

Thank you so much for the care you gave to posting these images and preparing the accompanying commentary.

 

May your next safari be as wondrous as this one was!

 

Tom K.

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Thanks so much for the kind words @Tom Kellie - I really enjoy your Kenya trip reports as well.

 

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I have been meandering through this wonderful trip report for the last week or so. I am absolutely in awe of the wonderful sightings and photos you have shared with us. You saw more species of birds in two weeks than i have knowingly seen in my whole life!

 

But, being who I am, i would love to know more about Ben's V12 cruiser. I can find no mention on the internet of Toyota ever having put V12 engines in Cruisers, nor indeed of them manufacturing any V12 diesel engines, although i did find mention of a 5l petrol V12 made for and fitted only to a Japanese-market-only limousine.

 

Do you perhaps know what engine this is, and whether it was a conversion or an obscure factory model?

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Well that's put me firmly in my place @offshorebirder I was feeling pleased with ID'ing 120 birds in a week, you got that many in a day in Nairobi NP.  

A truly incredible variety of birds in your report and some super photos too.

I need to set my sights higher.

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10 hours ago, Peter Connan said:

I have been meandering through this wonderful trip report for the last week or so. I am absolutely in awe of the wonderful sightings and photos you have shared with us. You saw more species of birds in two weeks than i have knowingly seen in my whole life!

 

But, being who I am, i would love to know more about Ben's V12 cruiser. I can find no mention on the internet of Toyota ever having put V12 engines in Cruisers, nor indeed of them manufacturing any V12 diesel engines, although i did find mention of a 5l petrol V12 made for and fitted only to a Japanese-market-only limousine.

 

Do you perhaps know what engine this is, and whether it was a conversion or an obscure factory model?

 

@Peter Connan - thanks for the kind words.   Bird tour groups see even more than we did, but they tend to race from place to place to maximize their number of species.  As you know, I like to spend longer at each stop and soak things in properly.

 

In terms of the engine in the Landcruiser VX - I was mistaken when I said it was a 1980.  I just checked my journal notes, and it was a 1989.   In addition, it was a "Landcruiser VX Limited"  but maybe the engine is also a retrofit.

 

I just googled "land cruiser VX limited"  and found this video, which is a 1994 VX limited and looks highly similar to Ben's:

(be sure and turn the volume down, the music is obnoxious)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5a60aaa7NPg

 

I will ask Ben about whether the V12 was a retrofit next time I see him, which if everything lines up will be next April-May when he comes to visit the USA (South Carolina, Arizona, North Carolina) for 3-4 weeks.  I can't wait to be his guide and show him American Alligators, Black Bears, Coyotes, Desert Bighorn Sheep, Pronghorn, White-tailed Deer, Raccoons, skunks, and of course lots of birds.

 

Then he can feel like a fish out of water while I identify every little sound, critter and plant.   In the Carolinas anyway.   :-)

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, Soukous said:

Well that's put me firmly in my place @offshorebirder I was feeling pleased with ID'ing 120 birds in a week, you got that many in a day in Nairobi NP.  

A truly incredible variety of birds in your report and some super photos too.

I need to set my sights higher.

 

Thanks for saying so @Soukous - but in the same week you are doing much better photography - especially landscapes and mammals - than I.  

 

As I often say, birding and photography are at odds - you can't see as many birds with your face in a viewfinder.   

 

 

 

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Thanks @offshorebirder. I am about as familiar with the 80-series cruiser as one can be who has never sat in one. They are very similar to the Y60 and Y61 Nissan Patrols, of which i drive a 1996 Y60. Both are great cars under challenging conditions.

 

An American safari with someone as knowledgeable as you would be a real treat!

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17 hours ago, offshorebirder said:

As I often say, birding and photography are at odds - you can't see as many birds with your face in a viewfinder.   

 

 

 

 

How true, you don't see as much of anything if you are looking through a camera. 

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On 7/2/2017 at 10:32 AM, Soukous said:

 

How true, you don't see as much of anything if you are looking through a camera. 

 

Yes, but without the camera, how do you remember? In fact, I usually can't even identify the bird without the photo to refer back to.

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Spent a nice evening catching up on the birding extravaganza. I appreciated the specifics on the different vehicles. I also can't believe you tallied up 484 species of birds! The mousebird interaction/fight was especially interesting, and I too have been struck by the meadowlark/longclaw similarity.

 

Also enjoyed the hidden hyena and the cheetah/jackal video (and, well, everything else!).

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