Email me for a pdf report with map and pictures - sharadsridhar(at)gmail(dot)com
Bird Highlights: Total 357 species, including 2 heard only (Red-faced Cisticola & African Rail). 330 species photographed. 260 lifers to add to my bird list including Turner’s Eremomela, Great Sparrowhawk, pair of mating martial eagles at close range, 6 hornbill species, 7 Greenbul species, 8 Cisticola Species, 14 Sunbird species, Red-faced Tit, Grey-crested and White-crested Helmet-shrikes and a whopping 23 species of weavers !!
Major Misses: African Goshawk in Kakamega, White-starred Robin, Moustached Warbler and Yellow-bellied Waxbill in Nairobi NP that Moses saw and I missed.
Mammalian Highlights: 45 species total. Excellent pictures of nocturnal mammals – Large-spotted Genet and Greater Galago or Bushbaby, Leopard with Wildebeest kill in Mara, close views of 50+ lions in the trip including a pair mating, Cheetah, 2 species of giraffe, 2 species of Rhinoceros, over 0.5 million Wildebeest going through an early migration in Masai Mara and a mile away Roan Antelope in Masai Mara (that I need to get better views of on the next trip)
Road Conditions: Approximately 1800 kms driven with 1200 kms on roads and the remaining within parks. About half the journey by road was decent with the remaining half bad to very bad. Only major highways are well kept but mostly two-lane. Major district and other arterial roads are very poor to non-existent.
6-Jun-14 - 6.00 AM Arrival in Nairobi and depart for Naivasha after quick wash and breakfast. Afternoon safari in Hell's Gate NP. Crayfish Resort, Naivasha
7-Jun-14 - Depart for Masai Mara after breakfast and early AM birding at Crayfish Grounds. Lunch at Mara and afternoon game drive. Fig Tree Camp, Mara
8-Jun-14 - Whole day safari in Mara with packed lunch. Fig Tree Camp, Mara
9-Jun-14 - 3 drives in Masai Mara. Fig Tree Camp, Mara
10-Jun-14 - 6.00 AM departure from Mara to Kakamega with brief stopover at Hippo Point, Lake Victoria. Rondo Retreat, Kakamega
11-Jun-14 - Whole day birding at Kakamega. Rondo Retreat, Kakamega
12-Jun-14 - 7.00 AM departure from Kakamega to Lake Baringo after breakfast. Enroute birding in Kakamega and Keerio-View Resort, Kisumu and before Baringo for two species of Turacos. Soi Safari Lodge, Baringo
13-Jun-14 - AM boat ride on Lake Baringo and 9-1 PM birding in Baringo.
Departure after lunch to Nakuru. Lake Nakuru Lodge, Nakuru
14-Jun-14 - Half day birding at Nakuru and departure to Nairobi at 3.00 PM reaching Nairobi at 6.00 PM. Enroute stop at equator monument. Hotel Strand, Nairobi West
15-Jun-14 - Drop family to airport in AM and half day at Nairobi National Park. Hotel Strand, Nairobi West
16-Jun-14 - Early AM Departure from Nairobi.
About our Tour Leader – Moses Kandie
Originally from Lake Baringo, Moses is one of the most experienced birders in Kenya. He is simply amazing in the field recognising the faintest of calls in the deepest undergrowth and predicting spot-on where the bird would appear. He was at his element in Kakamega and Baringo where I was thanking myself every 15 minutes that we got him to lead our tour. His regular experience with birding in these areas showed, as every point he stopped at was bustling with activity and being a fellow photographer, he took care of small things like angle of light, position etc. I am deeply in debt to him for making this such a memorable trip.
I was apprehensive about doing a hard-core birding trip with my 5-year-old daughter in tow, but Moses was outstanding in organizing every aspect from regular (lavish) meals to regular breaks and stops during the journey.
Thanks to Moses, this has been the best wildlife vacation for my family.
His contacts are:
Mobile: +254 722273866
Day 1 (6th June):
We landed at Nairobi exactly on time at 5.40 AM and customs was a breeze and by 6.15 we were out and met by Moses, our tour leader and Charles, our driver for the next 11 days.
As were entering our car a superb starling perched on a branch just 2 feet away and gave us splendid views saying “Welcome to Kenya”. After going through Nairobi traffic, we checked into the Hotel Strand in West Nairobi for a quick bath and breakfast and by 9.00 AM we were off to Naivasha.
We did not bird much en-route and arrived at Crayfish Camp on the banks of Lake Naivasha at noon. A quick lunch and 4 lifers later in the camp gardens, we were off to Hell’s Gate NP of the “Born Free” fame. At the park gates itself I ticked off the range restricted Schalow’s Wheatear.
Vandana suddenly spotted a small raptor, hunting in the grass and it perched some distance from us. A quick check revealed that it was an adult Lanner Flacon sitting at eye-level although a long ways off. I loudly wished we could walk in the park and Moses replied that Hell’s Gate NP was the only park where walking was aloud (as long as there were no buffalos around!!). I spent the next 15 minutes trying to get as close to the raptor as unobtrusively as possible and was rewarded with excellent pictures.
A quick drive ahead we flushed a Cinnamon-chested bunting and Moses pointed out to a few Rock Hyraxes sunning themselves on a small rocky outcrop. We also got clear though very distant views of a pair of Verreaux’s Eagles perched on a high cliff and a dark melanistic Augur Buzzard.
We were watching a close warthog when suddenly Moses was dashing out of the car after hearing a feeble call from the bush. Turned out to be a Red-faced Tit and we all spent the next 15-minutes trying to get clear shots of this rare and range-restricted bird.
A Nubian Woodpecker and what we thought initially as a Grey-headed Woodpecker and later turned out to be the Mountain grey-headed Woodpecker (on dark grey head and extensive red patch on belly) also put in an appearance along with the Black-lored Babbler. Our drive out of the park yielded excellent views of a pair of Hildebrandt’s Francolins and the beautiful White-fronted Bee-eater.
It was soon time to exit the park and we went to bed after dinner at 8.00 looking forward to the next day…. Our first family African safari had begun…
Day 2 (7th June):
We left Naivasha after an early breakfast though with a few delays as I kept going after every bird in the bush at the Crayfish parking lot adding 3 lifers in the process.
The trip from Naivasha to Mara took us 5 hours as the road we had planned to take was out of commission due to heavy rains. On the way we stopped on the escarpment to see the beautiful valley below with me wishing we had more time to do the twin mountain reserves of Longonot and Suswa.
We did not stop for much birding along the way except for a distant view of the secretary bird, which Moses said we’d find in plenty inside the park (as it happened we did not manage another sighting the rest of the trip). We drove on and reached Sekenani Gate around noon.
Moses and I had been discussing along the way how the Southern Ground Hornbill was more likely in Tsavo than Mara and that we should not get our hopes up for a Leopard sighting as this was rare indeed. As we left Sekenani gate behind we started seeing large herds of Wildebeest, Zebra, Impala and Grant’s & Thomson’s gazelles. Charles however decided not to slow down as we would miss lunch at the lodge.
As we turned at a sign that indicated that Fig Tree (our home for the next 3 days) was only 4 kms away, I screamed out to Charles asking to stop. About 200 meters away were 3 Southern Ground-Hornbill half hidden by the tall grass. After about 15 minutes of waiting, two of the hornbills suddenly changed course towards us and started walking towards us hardly even noticing us, busy foraging in the grass for food. They came within 5 feet of our van so much so that I had to remove the tele-converters and keep clicking.
5 minutes later, we were at fig tree camp which did not look like much from the parking lot. We got off and while porters picked up our bags, we heard the flowing of water and were pleasantly surprised to see a long wooden bridge that was to take us across the river to a paradise. Tucked away on a small island surrounded by the river on 3 sides were beautiful huts that covered very cute tents. Insides were very luxurious with tented canopy beds and a very clean bathroom.
After a quick wash we headed for what was to be the first of our many scrumptious meals with a large spread and many vegetarian options for me.
We left for our very first game drive at 2.30 PM and within minutes we were ticking off birds from the checklist.
We got the news of a mating pair of lions close to the resort and we started on our drive back picking up two species of larks. When we reached the lions, they were resting and Charles our driver estimated that they would now take 45 minutes to an hour before they moved. We decided to bird nearby and heard a noisy pair of Meyer’s Brown Parrots which we decided to follow.
On our return, as Charles had predicted the lions were rousing and we positioned ourselves for a few pictures before other safari vehicles came around and blocked the view.
On our return to fig tree we ran into a large group of elephants numbering 14 going across the road. The adults formed a cordon and the young were kept protected till they were well clear of us. Our final 400 meters got us a pair of very vocal Coqui’s Francolin and a pair of little bee-eaters.
Day 3 (8th June):
A 6.15 AM departure, we met an Indian family during breakfast who were very disappointed as they had spent a full week in Mara without a single sighting of the cheetah or the leopard. We were going to the far end of the Mara today and had packed lunch ready to do an all-day 11 hour safari.
Soon, as we got out of the camp a group of female impalas decided to give us a feast by dashing and jumping around at top speed.
A little ahead a pair of Yellow-throated Sandgrouse decided to land just a few feet from the vehicle, and were fairly bold and posed nicely for us. A pair of hunting Bataleurs put in a fly past too.
We drove about 40 kms and reached Keekorok air strip for a quick break, while I photographed swifts and martins whizzing past us. A curio shop at the air strip was exorbitant and we decided to just have a look see.
Soon we set off for a valley not far away where we saw at least a half-a-million Wildebeest walking in lines merging into larger lanes almost like a super highway. The radio burst with a flurry of activity and Charles suddenly was off... there was a lioness feeding on fresh Wildebeest kill. We tried to get a spot for a few pictures but the lioness was surrounded by vehicles. A few rapid exchanges with other drivers in Swahili, he called out to us and said “be ready and very fast”. About 100 meters away hidden in a few bushes were a whole pride of lions – one gigantic male, about 4 females and 3-4 younger lions and lionesses…
We then decided to head towards the Mara Bridge hoping to sight a Wildebeest crossing.
About 30 minutes into the drive, the radio went wild again. Charles turned around, asked us to sit tight and that was going to drive non-stop as possible for about 25 kilometres. He wouldn’t say for what... just that we better hold on as the roads were bad. With us repeatedly asking, he finally said the magic word “Cheetah”. We hung on tight through bad tracks and finally in the distance saw a few vehicles clumped in a small area. We held on to our breaths for the next few minutes that it took for us to get close and on a mound saw an adult cheetah with a young one resting blissfully unaware of the flurry of activity around them. All cameras and phones were out.
The cheetahs finally wore us down and we drove off to the Mara Bridge hoping they would still be there when we got back.
At the bridge CI added a new weaver species, we drove to hippo point where we saw more than 50 hippos with young tightly clumped together around a sand bank. As we watched a Wildebeest carcass floated by… we had originally thought it was a croc!
As it was 3.00 PM, we decided to start on the long drive back to our camp hoping that we would see the cheetahs again, but it was not to be.
We made regular stops en-route adding at least a dozen lifers to our tally but the best was the nearly invisible quail finch and the majestic Kori Bustard.
Back at the camp we sat around the bonfire with other couples exchanging stories and we retired after a quick meal. I stayed on in the hopes of photographing the genet cats we had seen the night before. I was pleasantly surprised to also see and photograph another rare and seldom seen nocturnal mammal – a pair of melanistic Greater Galago or Bushbaby.
Day 4 (9th June):
Day four began with Moses and me leaving early for a safari along the riverside. The girls being very tired decided to sleep in till 8.00 instead of the usual 5.30 AM.
We had a great day with 12 lifers along the Talek river and some stunning pictures of bids and were returning to the fig tree for breakfast when Charles heard on the shortwave that a leopard was sighted killing a young Wildebeest some 45 minutes away from camp. We rushed back to pick the girls up as sighting a leopard, much less photographing it, is rare in Mara.a
At camp, I rushed in and found the girls just rousing and we all were seated in the vehicle 5 minutes later. Mustafa (Vanya’s favourite waiter) was gracious enough to throw in some bread, juices and idlis into a bag and off we were to get our leopard sighting.
On reaching the designated area, we found 6-7 vehicles already present. We got close views of a fabulous male leopard eating a Gnu young that he seemed to have carried almost 15 feet high up an almost vertical tree.
We then came back about 100 meters away and decided to wait for the leopard to finish eating and climb down from the tree. 30-minutes later we got fabulous views of the leopard climbing down like a trapeze artist and settle down in the grass 15 feet away. Clearly he was not done with the Gnu. About 5 minutes later a majestic Tawny Eagle came to have a bite. No sooner had he settled on the tree, the leopard was out of the bush in a flash charging at the tree. The eagle wisely decided to call it quits and off in a jiffy. The leopard now decided to guard his prize from closer quarters and once again like an acrobat climbed up the tree effortlessly and settled down lazily on a thick branch opposite the kill and then proceeded to lick his paws. We watched speechless… an experience we had only seen in documentaries before.
While returning we got news over the radio of a group of 3 black Rhinoceros a small detour away. Off we went again. The rhinos were very shy and wary but after a while decided to come out and give us excellent views of a pair and their year-old young.
We then decided to drive back to the lodge and bird around there till after lunch. I managed a few lifers while Vanya decided to go for a dip in a very cold pool. Another delicious meal later as we set out for our last safari in Mara, Moses suddenly set-off to get the Klass’s Cuckoo, a bird that we had been hearing the past 2 days but could not sight. 30 minutes later, after getting a good shot, we set off.
Driving through the first herd of omnipresent Wildebeest, Moses remarked that it might rain. We drove along the Talek River hoping to catch a sighting of a Wildebeest crossing but it was not to be. We did however sight about 40 hippos and the largest Nile crocodile we had ever laid eyes on.
While coming back from Hippo Point we saw a cape hare next to its burrow. Perfectly camouflaged and silent, we would have missed it completely if not for Charles’ eagle-eye.
Soon as Moses predicted, the skies opened up and while brief the rain was torrential. The worry was we would not be able to make it to the other side of a narrow gully we had driven through as a quick downpour would flood the gully and make it un-navigable. Charles once again drove without any stops for birds and we made the crossing with some difficulty.
Day 5 (10th June):
With a whole day’s long drive that lay ahead, we had planned to be out of Fig Tree by 6.15 AM. We however kept lingering, had a long breakfast and I got to tick off the Common Wattle-Eye, we were on the road at only 7.40 AM. Moses and Charles warned us that we may not make it into Kakamega by sundown as he had also planned a short stop and lunch at the famed Hippo point in Kisumu on the banks of the Lake Victoria.
The road out of Sekenani gate had been bad enough coming in, but the route we took towards Lake Victoria was worse than anything we had expected. Along the way we drove by many private conservancies bordering the Mara. On our way were two crossings through small rivulets that Charles was apprehensive of, but we went through smoothly. Moses suddenly signalled Charles and the vehicle came to a grinding halt. Just 30-feet away a magnificent Kori Bustard was feeding in an Acacia shrub.
On we trudged through non-existent roads but through some very beautiful country. Having Moses was a real blessing as he was able to plan not just the bird-list but also small things such as toilet stops and food. We finally reached Hippo Point on the banks of Lake Victoria at 4.00 PM.
About 45 minutes later we finally left, I had added 9 lifers to my list including the Black-headed Gonolek, the Swamp Flycatcher, Red-chested Sunbird, Black-headed, Lesser-masked, Northern Brown-throated, Slender-billed and Yellow-backed Weavers.
We reached Rondo Retreat at 7.00 PM and dinner was already served. We hurriedly washed up and had a wonderful meal followed by retiring to bed at 8.30 PM.
Day 6 (11th June):
The rains the whole night had caused the sky to clear up and the morning was fairly bright. Moses and I started at 6.00 AM while the girls decided to sleep in till 8.00 AM. The road to the right of Rondo’s Retreat was bustling with bird activity and I chalked up 15 lifers in the first hour itself… a rocking start to Kakamega, the highlight being a very confiding pair of Crowned Eagles.
We set out to another part of the forest at 9.30 AM. High on the priority list was the Tanner’s Eremomela. Just as we sat in the car Moses screamed out as the pair of Crowned Eagles came into the central tree in the Rondo retreat and sat down on a nest.
Also was a pair of noisy but magnificent Great-blue Turaco that regaled us and all the other guests for the next 30 minutes.
We set out finally but kept stopping repeatedly as Moses called out new birds. Highlights were a Great (Black) Sparrowhawk and a Black-faced Rufous Warbler. We then went to the forest nursery for the Eremomela and the Bar-tailed Trogon. Great (Black) Sparrowhawk Black-faced Rufous Warbler
We came back for a wholesome lunch of Paranthas, Rice and Moong dal. The clouds were getting dark and Moses and I decided to go out for a short trip and bird some more, while Vanya and Vandana decided to rest in the porch and relax. Soon enough it started to pour but not before I had chalked up another 4 lifers.
We all decided to spend the evening birding from our porch with hot cups of tea and wonderful marble cake.
The rain let up for a few minutes around 5.00 and Moses and I took a short walk to the lily ponds within Rondo Retreat looking for some new birds. We were rewarded with excellent pictures of a Great-blue Turaco at eye level and superb views of a pair of White-spotted Flufftail. We also found a nesting pair of Grey-green (Bocage’s) Bush-shrike 10 feet from our room.
As the sun went down I started looking at my images with Moses and we suddenly realized that a Greenbul I had ignored while focussing on the Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird was actually the rare and very shy Honeyguide Greenbul with clear white outer tail feathers.
Day 7 (12th June):
We got up as usual for a 6.00 AM breakfast and bid farewell to Rondo Retreat at about 7.00 AM with Charles regularly pointing to the watch saying we were late. We again stopped right at the Rondo Retreat Gate and I added another 4 lifers including Holub’s Golden Weaver.
A second stop down the road gave me half-decent shots of the Turner’s Eremomela and added 4 more lifers to the list including Ugandan Woodland Warbler, Black-throated Apalis and Slaty Flycatcher. A second brief stop yielded me a Mountain Wagtail.
We stopped enroute after crossing Eldoret at the Keerio-View Lodge overlooking the Keerio Valley for some tea (to gain us entry) and to get the Ross’s Turaco which Moses was sure of getting there. While we dipped on the Turaco, I did add another 5 lifers with tea including Fan-tailed Raven, Red-winged Starling, Chestnut-throated Apalis.
We had another brief stopover at a small lake near a school where Moses had observed the Lesser Jacana. We dipped on the jacana, but added cape Wagtail to the list. Driving down the Keerio valley into the Baringo rift we tried for the Ross’s and White-crested Turaco at a few other places but to no avail.
About 40 kms before Baringo Moses thought the site was good for the Ross’s Turaco. Almost immediately we had an individual flying in, giving us a brief photo op and then disappearing into the bushes again.
About 20 kms from Baringo, Moses said we’d do one last try for the final Turaco as we were now running behind schedule. We spent about 5 minutes on the roadside next to a tall acacia where Moses had seen a bird a few months ago and sure enough we had two birds coming out giving us wonderful flypasts as they briefly stopped on a ficus to feed (and for me to get a picture)
We hit Soi Safari at about noon, in time for lunch. The Soi safari resort is a large 86 room resort set on the lake and the compound yielded about 5-6 lifers including Bristle-crowned Starling, White-browed Sparrow-weaver, Golden-backed (Jackson’s) Weaver, Hunter’s Sunbird and the Diderick Cuckoo.
We left the hotel at 2.00 PM and headed off into the prosopis scrub around Lake Baringo. Not far away from the hotel, we were met by Wilson who took us immediately to a day roosting site for the Northern White-faced Scops-Owl. We also got a distant pygmy falcon on top of a tree.
Right after we found a Slender-tailed nightjar and while trying to get close enough without flushing it, we managed to flush 4 other individual which we had not seen. Right after we headed for a small Pokot tribal settlement where we were greeted warmly by a group of village elders who were gracious enough to show us their traditional crafts and the Pokot welcome dance. I meanwhile added a few more lifers including the Parrot-bill Sparrow and Yellow-spotted Petronia.
On our way back Moses suddenly signalled to Charles to screech to a halt. Sitting in the acacia was a group of White-crested Helmet-shrikes. On the lakeside I added a few more lifers to my list – Buff-bellied Warbler, Little Weaver and the African grey Hornbill.
Heading back to the Hotel we saw a few more pygmy falcon, got excellent shots of the White-throated Bee-eater and Moses signalled Charles to stop at a promising spot. Within 5 minutes with the Sun almost going down I was surrounded by a mixed hunting flock of birds. This moment would have to be my best 5 minutes where I added 6 lifers – Three-streaked Tchagra, Green-winged Pytilla, Spotted-palm Thrush, Slate-coloured Boubou, Brubru, and Grey-wren Warbler. Moses just told me to keep shooting and that we’d do the id later.
We got back to hotel and celebrated Vandana’s upcoming birthday over a sumptuous dinner of fish filet, veggies and whole fish.
Day 8 (13th June):
We celebrated Vandana’s birthday with a 6.15 AM push off in a boat ride on lake Baringo to see the African Fish eagles feeding on fish.
We first headed off into the area with acacia trees submerged 3-4 years ago when the water levels for Baringo had suddenly gone up. We also saw remnants of a large hotel and the old wildlife services building which had been inundated then.
We added quite a few birds to our list – Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl feasting on a hedgehog, Madagascar Bee-Eaters, a Black Crake Family, Lesser Swamp Warbler, a magnificent Goliath heron at close quarters. We saw a few fish eagles but the first two already seemed to have caught fish and weren’t hungry. We finally managed to find a hungry eagle and threw the fish out. No sooner had the fish landed; the eagle set-off giving us wonderful views of a quick smash and grab of the fish. This is again an experience that none of us will forget.
Coming back to the hotel, we had a quick breakfast and I headed out to a small camp nearby, where I added another 10 lifers in an hour including the Jackson’s Hornbill, Namaqua Doves, Eastern Violet-backed Sunbird, Pearl-Spotted Owlet, Brown Babbler, Rufous Chatterers, Red & Yellow Barbet, and the Bearded Woodpecker. We missed the African Scops-Owl that regularly roosts in a tree there and proceeded to a ravine where we had a good chance of seeing the Spotted Eagle-Owl. We did manage to get close views of this magnificent owl as well as add Black-throated Barbet, Magpie Starling, Black-cheeked Waxbills and a few White-headed Buffalo-weavers to the list. Our final birding foray in Baringo before we headed to a spot to see the three-banded courser, but we dipped on it.
We left the hotel after lunch and left for Nakuru at 2.00 PM. We had a deadline of 5.00 PM to enter Nakuru and reach our hotel before 6.30 PM. We stopped only briefly at the equator monument on the road where we dipped on the Silverbird but added Black-headed Lapwing to the list.
We reached Nakuru at about 4.30 PM and had to drive almost 25 kms to reach Lake Nakuru Lodge. On the way we added Long-crested Eagle, Common Scimitar-bill and Striped Kingfisher to the list.
We checked in to the hotel with just 10 minutes for the park deadline and had a wonderful buffet dinner. Lake Nakuru Lodge is very luxurious and the park gardens themselves hold a large variety of wildlife. Right opposite our room we had a large herd of Buffalo wallowing in the mud some 30 feet away! We were of course separated by an electrical fence.
Day 9 (14th June):
We set out early as usual with packed Lunch from the lodge and our plan was to drive the longer side of lake Nakuru with a lunch stopover at Baboon Cliff and then exit the park at 3.00 PM for a 3 hour drive to Nairobi. We got quite a few lifers soon after exiting including close views of another Black Rhino, Long-tailed and White-winged Widow-birds, both species of Longclaw, a pair of tawny eagles, a common and augur buzzard.
We stopped by the lakeside where I added another 10 lifers and a large number of birds to our trip list including – Blacksmith Plovers, Red-billed, Hottentot and Cape Teals, a surprising Broad-billed Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpipers, Pick-backed Pelican and about 2000+ Greater and Lesser Flamingo.
We also added a new mammal for the trip in the Rothschild Giraffe. The fellow had about 15-20 red-billed ox-peckers on his neck.
A second stop at a ranger’s station and canteen produced about 8 more lifers including a very confiding group of the endemic Grey-crested Helmet-shrike, and 3 species of honeyguide.
Our final drive to the exit gate was extremely productive and we kept regularly adding to the list including some excellent shots of the Diederick’s Cuckoo, Red-billed Oxpeckers, Black-bellied Bustard, Crested Hornbill, Red-chested Cuckoos and a tree full of Speke’s Weaver at the Park ranger main office.
We reached Nairobi on schedule at about 6.30 and had a 7.30 PM dinner.
Day 10 (15th June):
Moses and I sat down over breakfast trying to sort through the images and clear up any doubts. Vandana and Vanya had a late sleep-in and we left the hotel at about 10.00 AM and headed for the airport. Traffic was light today being a Sunday and I dropped them off at the airport at about 10.40 AM. Bidding them a good-bye Moses, Charles and I headed for Nairobi National Park.
We entered the park with packed Lunch and got a few more missing species including Black Cuckoo-shrike and Pale Flycatcher. We dipped on the Brown-backed Woodpecker in the parking lot and the Ayre’s Hawk-eagle and Narina Trogon right after entering the park in the woodland. For some reason we did not see a single trogon on the trip which was a first for Moses.
Along a pond near the ivory burning site we heard an African Water Rail less than 3 feet away but could not get any views. The same pond yielded another 2 lifers in a pair of Long-toed Lapwings and a very skulking Little Rush Warbler as well as close views of a Nile Monitor passing by mobbed by 10+ Egyptian Goose and 20+ Sacred Ibis.
We saw two prides of lions in the park and heard of a leopard sighting perched on a tree not far from us (very rare for Nairobi NP) but decided to skip the leopard in favour of a few raptors we had seen perched far away. Closer investigation yielded a White-backed Vulture and a Long-crested Eagle. Disappointed on our raptor count Moses and I were talking about how few raptors we had seen on the trip and we saw a Martial Eagle in the distance. The eagle seemed almost not to notice our presence as I clicked away madly when it was joined by another on the same branch and the eagles started mating. Suddenly my 300 mm was too close but there was nothing we could do but sit back and enjoy the spectacle.
Our drive out the park added a Brimstone Canary to the list and we exited the park driving back to the Strand Hotel in Nairobi discussing the species we missed and planning a second itinerary for November. Sadly my birding vacation had come to an end.
Birds not photographed
African Palm Swift
Somali Short-toed Lark
African Pied Wagtail
Birds heard only
Common Squacco Heron
African Open-billed Stork
African Fish Eagle
African Crowned Eagle
Grey Crowned Crane
African Wattled Lapwing
African Mourning Dove
Great Blue Turaco
African Emerald Cuckoo
African Black Swift
African Pygmy Kingfisher
African Grey Hornbill
Lesser Striped Swallow
Cameroon Sombre Greenbul
Northern Anteater Chat
Lesser Swamp Warbler
Little Rush Warbler
Uganda Woodland Warbler
Black-faced Rufous Warbler
Northern Black Flycatcher
White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher
African Grey Flycatcher
Northern Pied Babbler
Northern Grey Tit
Northern Double-collared Sunbird
Eastern Violet-backed Sunbird
Northern White-crowned Shrike
African Black-headed Oriole
Greater Blue-eared Starling
Ruppell's Long-tailed Starling
Lesser Masked Weaver
Vitelline Masked Weaver
Northern Masked Weaver
Northern Brown-throated Weaver
Holub's Golden Weaver
Vieillot's Black Weaver
Cinnamon-breasted Rock Bunting