Sunday, December 06, 2009

Kenya - Wednesday - Lake Baringo, morning boat trip

Another lie-in and 05:45 alarm, tea at 06:15 and a morning boat trip to start the day! We departed, early again, at around 06:45 and headed out across the lake, spotting first another Giant Kingfisher, though again it didn’t hang around for long. From the lake side we could also see the Great White Egret sat in cover just under our room but to which we’d been oblivious just a few minutes previously. We stopped briefly off Gibraltar Rock to feed another African Fish Eagle, you can see here the bird stood on the fish at its roost:

Helen spotted this Whiskered Tern perched on a floating piece of tree as we crossed the lake:

It was still there around ninety minutes later, when we headed back to camp. It’s hard to tell from this picture, but this is a Red-knobbed Coot:

Hopefully we’ll get better views, more importantly in better light later on during this holiday. The tree from which the lightweight local fishing boats are made of, grows both within the lake as well as long its shoreline:

We were over-flown by a group of White-headed Whistling-Ducks (and a single Fulvous Whistling Duck). You gather pretty quickly why they were named this way

We approached the far shore line, spotting a number of new species (for Africa), first-up a Purple Gallinule:

A Black-winged Stilt:

As well as the Asian Spoonbill and Sacred Ibis, some Hadeda Ibis flew in to join the assembled throng:

Here a distant Long-toed Lapwing:

We’d been watching a number of Bee-eaters zoom around, it turns out they were from two distinct species, White-throated Bee-eaters, which only zoomed about, and Blue-Breasted Bee-eaters which were kind enough to perch for a picture:

We navigated a little further along the shoreline, finally getting a decent picture of a Goliath Heron:

A lone Wood Sandpiper:

An African Jacana:

A Grey-backed Fiscal, followed by a preening Black Crake, not a rare bird but as anyone who’s spent time birding will know, seeing reed-bed birds can often be a matter of luck, though as always you improve your luck by going to the right places:

A small flock of Spur-winged Geese flew past:

Also on the lake was a small flock of Greater Flamingo:

On the shore, a single Collared Pratincole, looking pretty much as miserable as the one we saw in Spain in April of this year (perhaps they are a permanently miserable species?), with a Hamerkop in silhouette, at least this is a big enough bird to actually show up in a distant photograph:

All the while we’d been along this part of the shore-line, good numbers of Geese and Ducks had been flying around:

We really enjoyed the second boat trip of our stay at Lake Baringo Island Camp and were genuinely impressed with our guide too. We’d recommend the experience unreservedly.

So, back to camp for breakfast. I made sure at breakfast that I had pictures of both the Little Weaver:

and the Black-headed Weaver, well I thought it was going to be a Black-headed Weaver, but it turns out in fact this is a Golden-backed Weaver, another addition to the both the holiday and the life lists :)

After breakfast we packed and headed down to settle our bill before the boat back to the mainland. In summary the island Camp is a little slice of (rustic) paradise. A few of the fixtures (chairs) and (light) fittings could do with refreshing but the staff are all very friendly and helpful, always smiling and polite and frankly we loved it. If you’re a birder, go to Lake Baringo!

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