Saturday, December 05, 2009

Kenya - Sunday morning at Sweetwater

We had decided the previous evening to forgo another game drive for a two-hour wander around the grounds of the camp, a decision that we didn’t regret. We woke before dawn to get ourselves sorted out for breakfast and some early birding. I sat by the front zip to our ‘luxury’ tent and opened it gently to see a small Southern Black Flycatcher that was moving around the entrance feeding on insects, it was too dark to take pictures but I really enjoyed sitting no more than two to three feet from the bird while it hunted and fed.

Before we even made it the restaurant for breakfast we got reacquainted with some of yesterday’s birds, including the Northern White-crowned Shrike right outside our tent. Our first new species was present in large numbers amongst a large flock of hirundines, namely Lesser Striped Swallows:

Other hirundines seen but not photographed included Little Swift, Common House Martin, Red-rumped Swallow, Barn Swallow and White-rumped Swift.

Breakfast was briefly disturbed by photographing this Sacred Ibis outside the window of the restaurant:

After breakfast we finished getting cleaned up then started birding our way around the campsite. First-up a Yellow Wagtail:

Beautiful in the morning sunlight. Outside the lodge itself, a Northern Crombec, though I only managed to photograph it mostly obscured; it called as it moved around within the cover of the tree. No tail at all either, which was unusual and helpful in sorting out what kind of bird it was:

By the watering hole we were starting to discount the various birds we were familiar with to spot those we didn’t know when a large bird of prey swooped in to settle on a tree, I think it is another Tawny Eagle:

Helen spotted this one first and snapped it with our ‘scenery’ camera, a Lilac-breasted Roller:

This next bird, when I first saw it, put me in mind of a Babbler. Looking at it later on it also reminds me, to some degree of Bearded Reedlings, I believe it to be a Rufous Chatterer, an ally species of the Babblers:

Still mostly within ten yards of our tent entrance, a Red-headed Weaver:

We caught up again with the bird from first thing in the morning, a Southern Black Flycatcher:

Yet another new species, a Black-headed Batis, though this one was in cover so the record shots I have are blurry, whereas the Red-eyed Dove was mostly obscured by foliage and the Red-billed Firefinch was in deep shade. Tricky thing this recording new bird species business.

More Speckled Mousebirds, they are quite common around the camp, and vocal too:

Yellow-crowned Canary:

This is a Cisticola like bird but a juvenile and the plumage is so indistinct as to render it unidentifiable (by us anyway!):

Laughing Dove:

A Brimstone Canary:

Emerald-spotted Wood-Dove:

I would like this shot to have been sharper as it doesn’t do the bird justice, sorry Wood-Dove. A pair of Bearded Woodpeckers flew over, landing high in a tree:

Crested Francolin:

Montane Oriole:

Yellow-breasted Apalis (spotted form):

As we reluctantly headed back to the lodge ready for our journey to the next camp, we spotted first a small group of Arrow-marked Babblers:


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