Thursday, 3 January 2008

100 species and Kenya - part I

Well, that's 100 for the year - and Devon - today. A meeting with a colleague found me Yellowhammer, Nuthatch, Marsh Tit and Jay, and I dropped in on the Exe on the way home. Missed out on the Cattle Egret at Powderham, but a handful of Sanderling on the mudflats and then an evening Water Rail at Exminster took me to the ton! Plenty left to see though...

Now I've had some time to load some photos from Kenya on my website, it's time to think about writing a bit about the trip!

We headed out to Nairobi on the night flight of the 1st December '07, transferring immediately to the car-hire offices, then headed straight to Tsavo NP. Had the road been OK, it would have been an easy trip, but much of the road is under temporary diversions whilst the main road is resurfaced and/or rebuilt.
Much of the road (not the section above, obviously!) is hammered by the amazingly overloaded lorries passing along it, with sections of tarmac having ruts deeper than many mud roads I've driven on! We passed a handful of roadkill lorries along the way, but eventually rolled up to our lunchbreak site - Hunter's Lodge. This was a welcome break in that we could have food and a beer, as well as a taste of some interesting birds and beasts: Giant and Malachite Kingfishers were fishing, whilst African Golden Weavers were busy weaving nests in the waterside reeds. A variety of dragonflies were also present: I found a single male Emperor (Anax imperator), whilst Red-veined Dropwing (Trithemis arteriosa) and Hagen's Sprite (Pseudagrion hageni) were common, along with a couple of unidentified damselfly species (pictures posted when I get them processed) and a single Pintail (Acisoma panorpoides).

The next stage of the journey was rather more interesting, as we began to pick up a few more wildlife sightings. A brief pee-stop was enlivened by a mixed bag of Amur Falcons, Booted and Wahlberg's Eagles overhead and the soon-to-become-monotonous sound of Slate-coloured Boubou. In short order we reached the gates of Tsavo NP, were admitted, and headed for the lodge. Brief stops were made for such avian goodies as Martial Eagle, Golden-breasted Starling and Hartlaub's Bustard, with a backup mammal caste of elephant, hippopotamus and what were the only Black-backed Jackals of the trip.

We finally arrived at Ngulia, unpacked and freshened up for dinner. The nets were already in place, thanks to the earlier arrival of some local ringers, so we were spared having to set up completely from scratch... Ringing began that very night... to be continued.

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