East Africa – Day 35

Kenya 22 August 2015

Today was our fourth day of birding in Kenya

We stayed at Soi Safari Lodge at Baringo Lake. This morning Dad grabbed a coffee before we headed off at 6.00 am for a boat trip across the lake. We didn’t get our hoped for African Skimmer but did see two new birds, Masked Weaver and Allen’s Gallinule

We got back at 9.30 am for a quick breakfast before heading out with Moses and a local guy who showed us White-faced Owl, Acacia Tit and Three-banded Courser. As the local guy knew where they were, we saw quickly and got brilliant views. By getting local people involved in bird Eco-tourism, they get a stake in the bird and care about protecting them. You can’t protect birds without it. It was hot now, so we returned to the hotel where I had a lovely swim in the pool with Dad before lunch.

We saw Nik Borrows and the Birdquest group for a quick chat before they headed out, which was great.

Due to the heat, we arranged to meet at 4.30 pm and try for some of the birds we missed yesterday. It was actually quite cool, with the breeze coming in from the lake so made pleasant birding. We saw Bristle-crowned Starling, Pygmy Falcon, Brown-tailed Rock-Chat and Spotted Eagle Owl.

Chatting to Moses, he said that you get both species Spotted and Greyish Eagle Owl here. Spotted have yellow eyes. Moses had the site details from another local guide, in a rocky valley. We tried to look from the top but couldn’t see it. Moses checked we were OK to climb down a rocky escarpment to see the bird, which I said was fine. We climbed down until we could see the owl, but only part of it. I decided to climb further down the stoney cliff, although I could tell I was getting Moses a bit worried. I took a whole load of photographs of the owl from my position down the cliff-face and as I started to climb back up, Moses moved down to help me, instead, I skipped up the stones and then climbed to the top. He was really surprised, as he wasn’t expecting me to be able to climb. Mum explained to him that I go to Scouts and go climbing with them.

About 5 years ago, I went to a talk by Steve Backshall who said it was good to learn skills at Scouts, which I think is really helpful for adventure birding.

The whole area is covered by a tree with sharp needles and small green leaves. The government introduced them for about 20 years to give cover but now they have taken over the whole landscape. The goats can’t eat it and the native plants that the hosts will eat can’t grow. The local community are now bringing a legal case against the government but it is taking years for the case to progress.

Mum and Dad had a long chat with a guy on the Birdquest Tour, Dr Jules Eadon. He writes a blog too and I’m looking forward to reading it. After dinner, a guard escorted me back to our room, because of the risk of hippos coming up from the water. I told him I didn’t mind being escorted as I was quite scared of Hippos, as I had been charged by one.

Trip List – We also had an amazing Trip list – 585 birds for Uganda, 183 birds for Rwanda, a total trip list of 612 for Uganda and Rwanda, 252 trips for Kenya and 347 lifers for me.

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