Saturday, December 05, 2009

Kenya - Tuesday, Island Camp, Lake Baringo

Tuesday was always planned to be a quiet day, so we had a lie-in to 05:45 before getting-up in time to have tea brought to us at 06:15. The service here is impeccable, we like it here a lot. Breakfast was huge and shared with the Lesser Masked Weavers, Little Weavers, Northern Masked Weavers and Common Bulbuls. Apparently sometimes the odd Hornbill pops in, though that’s more likely at lunchtime. There was much less cloud today so as a consequence it was much, much hotter. We did have a short walk after breakfast, seeing an African Grey Flycatcher:

Then, unexpectedly, a Crocodile swimming offshore:

A Gull-billed Tern, flying over said Crocodile infested waters:

Offshore a popular island which we saw five species settle on over the two days we stayed at Baringo:

A female African Paradise-Flycatcher, sunbathing:

A Grey-headed Kingfisher:

We did spot a Buff-bellied Warbler but too fleeting and deep for a photograph, followed by a Yellow-breasted Apalis, similarly obscured. White-browed Sparrow-Weavers fed on the ground, when they sing or shout they are very noisy and endearing birds:

We picked a spot by the pool that was in the breeze (when there is one) and also in shade, which attracts a lot of the local birds, so we got to watch Lesser Masked Weavers feeding (naturally):

and Common Bulbuls:

It got too hot even in this spot, so after a short spell sat on a promontory that looks over the lake, then watching a surprisingly quick (hence no photograph) and rather large tortoise marching up the path, we retreated to our room to see what was about. Entering flushed the Goliath Heron that was sat on the shoreline. While we were sat in the room before lunch we watched a pair of Eurasian Reed Warblers:

Lunch was a fulsome affair, very tasty. During lunch we learned the current British owner of the Island Camp intends at some point to close it for a few months and redevelop the accommodation, adding more and enlarging what exists to make it more of a luxury destination. That would mean removing a lot of the habitat that supports the wide variety of birds on the Island, which would be a real shame. The recession has suspended the plans, but like most of the rest of the planet, catch it while you can…

We had a quiet afternoon, catching-up on writing the blog for starters. I sat and watched the birds while Helen had a nap. A Green-backed Heron spent some time foraging at the water’s edge:

Shortly thereafter a Common Sandpiper bobbed around:

A Pied Kingfisher was also resting-up and preening:

The lizards liked the sesame snaps as much as the Weavers did and the dried fruit as much as the Bulbuls:

I believe this is a Willow Warbler, though it lacks any real supercilium and is really quite grey on top. I’m going to have to phone a friend on this one… a very small greyish Warbler with no supercilium or other distinguishing features, possibly a Garden Warbler, but it looks too small?

This female Lesser Masked Weaver obviously agreed with Helen that the combination of a good meal and a very hot start to the afternoon merited a nap:

I took this picture of a Northern Masked Weaver to make sure I had one, this being the only spot in all of East Africa where you can see these birds:

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