Halfway through

The Lesser Spot Finder temporarily migrated to Kenya in June 2008. Africa hands will find the trail worth following.
Lesser Spot Finder
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Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2007 11:25 am
Location: Farnborough and anywhere between there and Norfolk
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Halfway through

Postby Lesser Spot Finder » Thu Jun 19, 2008 9:16 am

Kenya has been a revelation. I came here last year on the recce and clocked up 100+ lifers and I now find myself in a country rich in avifauna where, despite the large numbers seen last year, I still get to see new birds. This missive is to summarize what I have seen since arriving over three weeks ago. I find something new most days and have recorded over 60 species within NSG itself.

Ostrich is an iconic African bird and I see one or two on most visits to Sweetwaters. It appears that males are currently holding territory as the same bird is in the same area on each visit. It is still weird to see this bird and I still get a buzz when one wanders into view.

Herons and their allies are well represented in this neck of the woods. Hadada Ibis are everywhere and most journeys produce Black-Headed Heron and Cattle Egret. A trip to Nairobi inevitably produces Sacred Ibis and Maribou Stork. Grey-crowned Cranes are common a Sweetwaters and during the last visit I found a flock of some 50 birds. As stated earlier in the exercise, this species is now on my ‘garden list’.

Raptors have been less in evidence this visit, that said, the ones I have seen have been amazing, with Augur Buzzard daily, Great Sparrowhawk and African Goshawk around NSG and Tawny Eagle, Long Crested Eagle, Brown Snake Eagle and Martial Eagle in the environs of Nanyuki. An unidentified falcon, possibly Lanner, was seen on the A2 to Nyeri yesterday,

Waders have again proved interesting with Blacksmith, Crowned and Senegal Plovers all at Liakipia Airfield and a single Three-banded Plover, a welcome tick, at Sweetwaters.

Passerines have provided the bulk of my lifers and the following list provides a snapshot of what can be seen easily around Nanyuki, the majority in NSG itself. Yellow-rumped Seedeater, Quail Finch, Singing Cisticola, Chin-Spot and Black-headed Batis’, African Citril, Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Nothern Combec, Blue-headed Bluebill, Purple Grenadier, Black Saw Wing and Pin-tailed Whydah have all been seen within minutes of my accommodation. Superb Starlings are as common as Starlings in the UK but much more colourful and provide the backdrop of sound in the late afternoon. Cape Robin Chats are extremely common around the dining area and a Common Indigobird, a stunning species, fed around my feet yesterday as I drank a welcome chocolate milkshake at the Cape Chestnut Café.

Woodpeckers and their allies have made the odd appearance. Cardinal Woodpecker, African’s equivalent to Lesser Spotted, is common whilst the widespread but uncommon Bearded Woodpecker is often seen at Sweetwaters. Rufous-necked Wryneck is currently nesting just outside the side gate at NSG and Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird and Black-throated Barbet have been welcome distractions. Geoff, you’d love it here, and I’m sure would find more woodies than I have seen here.

Watch this space for more to follow. I have booked another trip to Sweetwaters this weekend and hope to find that illusive Kori’s Bustard. Don’t worry Nicky, I have not used the credit card!!!

Richard

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