Monday, December 07, 2009

Kenya - Friday, Lake Naivasha, morning boat trip

We decided that on Friday morning rather than do another game drive, we’d have breakfast when the restaurant opened and then head straight to our penultimate stop, the Lake Naivasha Country Club. One thing we did see clearly for the first time, before leaving the grounds of Lake Nakuru was a Hippopotamus in a field, of course!

We arrived at Lake Naivasha around 8:45 and booked a 9am trip out on to the lake, a feature that has shrunk dramatically, as have all the lakes of the Great Rift Valley. Some in fact, as we saw on our drive here, are at risk of ceasing to be, the consequences of this will be dramatic on the fauna of the region.

I should comment here that it’s strange to see a drought and dying animals on one side of a fence and see the staff watering the flower beds on the other side of the fence, sinks that don’t hold water and a general human profligacy with what is a very scarce and rapidly diminishing resource.

Another aside…

Water Rates:

1.5 litres of mineral water at Lake Baringo Island Camp cost 100 Kenyan Shillings (KES)
1 litre of mineral water at Savona Lion Hill Hotel at Lake Nakuru cost 240 KES
0.5 litres of mineral water at Lake Naivasha Country Club is 150 KES ($2 for 500ml!)

Beer at Baringo was also 100 KES, 240 at Savona, who knows what this lot will charge (250 it turned out)!

So, to the morning boat trip. They have a lot of hippos in Lake Naivasha:

Apparently they’ll all be out of the water, feeding, this evening, which sounds promising. The lake itself is surprisingly small, of course it has shrunk dramatically in the eight months since it last rained here. We were over-flown by a group of Great Cormorants:

Some Egyptian Geese, flew in to land on the water:

The lake supports a surprising number of African Fish Eagles:

Our first new species of the trip, African Citril:

Another new species followed shortly afterwards, a Streaky Seedeater:

A Pied Kingfisher had caught a days’ worth of calories in a single package:

More Hippos, looking thoroughly chilled out:

A non-breeding Gull-billed Tern, resting for a while:

Another new species, this is the very attractive Black-necked Grebe:

Next a Giant Kingfisher, that didn’t fly away!

A Marsh Sandpiper:

Followed by a Ruff:

Then our first gull of the holiday, a Black-headed Gull:

Followed rapidly by a second, a Grey-headed Gull:

I love the eye on this gull:

London buses anyone? Next-up a new duck, the Hottentot Duck, seen here with an Egyptian Goose and a Cape Teal, far left (also a new species):

And the by-now-familiar, Yellow-billed Ducks and Red-billed Teal:

A breeding plumage Whiskered Tern:

Almost glad I’ve never managed to see one on passage through Pitsford! We saw Little Grebes but they’re common the world over it appears… We got out of the boat around three-quarters of the way around to walk what used to be a channel between two parts of the lake but is now a big wide area of grassland, and spotted a Grassland Pipit:

In what remains of the river between the lakes, Goliath Herons, Yellow-billed Storks, four species of duck, various waders and African Spoonbill all have to make do with what is left of the water:

A small group of three Pelicans were of the Pink-backed Pelican species, another new one:

The last photograph of the boat trip, a couple of Whiskered Terns, showing plumage differences between breeding (left) and non-breeding:

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