Sunday, 23 August 2015

East Africa - Day 32, Seeing my 4000th bird species in Kenya

Kenya 19 August 2015

Today is the first day of our start of our birding trip to Kenya which we have organised through local ground agent and bird guide Moses Kandie of Birdwatching Express Tours (  He provided lots of references, who all said that Moses was a brilliant guide and well organised.

Considering I got to bed at 11.00 pm or even half past, I was exhausted getting up at 5.00 am for our 5.30 am breakfast and leaving at 6.00 am.  We had to try and get out of Nairobi before we got stuck in traffic.

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig and Chris Craig
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

We had agreed an itinerary to visit Limuru Ponds and Lake Naivasha in the morning but having looked at our target birds for Kenya that Dad had sent him at the end of Rwanda, Moses decided we wouldn't see many new water birds.  So instead, we went to Swara Plains, a savannah south of Nairobi.  This location had lots of birds that were at the northern edge of their range, occurring from here down through southern Kenya down into Tanzania.  

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

We arrived early and were bombarded with new birds, just from a slight change in geography.  At the start of the day, I knew that I needed just 6 birds to get to 4,000 birds in the world.

Good birds for the day include Yellow-necked Spurfowl, Yellow-throated Sandgrouse, Red-fronted Barbet, Rufous Bush Chat, White-brown Scrub-Robin, Fischer’s Sparrow-Lark, Cut-throat Finch and Reichenow’s Seedeater.

My 4,000th bird was Red-throated Tit at only about 8.00 am. That was something to celebrate.  It’s only a number really, but by saying you have seen that many, you are really saying that you have done lots of world birding and worked hard at it.  

Red-throated Tit, Swara Plains, Kenya
Photograph taken by and copyright Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

Anyone who does world birding knows that it is not about just ticking a bird. Otherwise every new bird would have an equal value, but there’s no way Green-Breasted Pitta has the same meaning and value as say, House Sparrow.

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

After an excellent morning of birding with lots of new birds, we drove north to Crater Lake.  We got there in time for a very late lunch, followed by a rest and afternoon birding. We were planning to come out for the whole afternoon, but rain put us off for a while.  After the rain, we went out to the Crater Lake Sanctuary, where we saw Scaly-throated Honeyguide, Grey-crested Helmetshrike and Ruppell’s Robin-Chat.

The lodge was lovely but had a lot of steps down to the restaurant and rooms which were at the same level as the lake.

Trip List – We also had an amazing Trip list – 585 birds for Uganda, 183 birds for Rwanda, total trip list of 612 for Uganda and Rwanda, 29 trip for Kenya and 294 lifers for me. 

About the Writer

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig on Scilly
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig

Mya-Rose Craig is a 13 year old young birder, conservationist, writer and speaker. She is based near Bristol and writes the successful Birdgirl Blog, with posts about birding and conservation from around the world. She is loved going Mountain Gorilla Trekking in East Africa and is looking forward to watching Penguins in Antarctica in December 2015, which will be her 7th continent. She has recently been listed with the singer songwriter George Ezra and actress Maisie Williams from Game of Thrones as one of Bristol's most influential young people. Please like her Birdgirl Facebook Page and follow her on Birdgirl Twitter

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