Saturday, December 05, 2009

Kenya - Monday, Island Camp, Lake Baringo, Birding Walk

Wherever you go in the camp, the staff precede you and fill the ideally located upturned soy bottles with some form of sugar solution. This means there’s always a crowd of Weavers to keep you entertained.

After tea we had booked the bird walk, with more optimism than the nature walk at the Mountain Lodge. The Mountain Lodge charged $30 per person, here the fee was 500 KES per person, so roughly ¼ of the price. The guide, it turns out, grew up on the Island with a fascination for the local birds, completed his initial schooling here, then, upon graduating from secondary school, started as the local bird guide. We were much more confident that we would experience correct identification and in fact spotting a decent number of birds on the walk. We weren’t disappointed. First were shown a distant Green-backed (Striated) Heron. Then a white-morph male African Paradise-Flycatcher:

A Black-headed Oriole:

This medium sized lizard captures the mood of the Island perfectly, a drowsy, warm and comfortable contentment:

The White-headed Buffalo-Weavers are stand-out birds:

An Intermediate Egret that the guide described as a Yellow-billed Egret:

A Hamerkop flew past, over the water:

On a marshy spot we saw Goliath Heron, Common Squacco Heron, Long-tailed Cormorant, Purple Heron, African Jacana and Yellow-billed Stork. Only the Common Squacco Heron was close enough for a decent shot in the now fading light:

There was time for one last treat though, a Spotted Eagle Owl of the race cinarescens:

We don’t see enough owls, so this was a real treat. We’d completed the outward bound part of the walk and headed back in, by now it was too dark for photography but we did get to see a large flock of Common Waxbills heading to roost before we got back to our room for the evening, having thoroughly enjoyed our bird walk. With all the clambering over rocks involved, Helen was pleased to report that it also counted as exercise, which was just as well, as, being the only guests, we were treated to a specially prepared 4 course vegetarian dinner that we felt obliged to eat all of!

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