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Old Sunday 24th May 2009, 23:56   #1
wee kayso
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Kenya ,may 09

Well,i had fancied something different this year from the usual european trip for birdwatching so i opted for a safari trip to kenya,and also some days relaxing by the pool too.i visited shimba hills and stayed at the shimba lodge on my first day,the second i stayed at tsavo west,then at tsavo east..arriving in mombasa after an all round 20 hours trip from glasgow ,to manchester then an 9 and a half hours flight to kenya ,i was pretty tired after the long bumpy drive to the lodge where we where giving a couple of hours to freshen up before going out on an evening safari trip,after checking in it was straight on to the balcony to see what birds where about.I was abit surprised as there was not that many birds around.i could only see 1 hammerkop in the watering hole,then suddenly an african fish eagle popped down onto a branch then made a spectacular dive for a fish.so watching this for a couple of minutes there was a loud noise comming from the tree tops it was a crested hornbill,an amazingly loud bird.i knew i would get many a life tick but to see these birds was just super,a black saw wing swallow would follow next skimming over the pool and a white eared barbet was chased from ther trees by the hornbills.then there was some more action further away it turned out to be 3 trumpeter hornbills,i could hear lots of bird calls but could not see many birds so i decided to go and freshen up for the safari drive.leaving the lodge i could see some large birds crawling around in the scrub wich turned out to be crested guinea fowl.so as we went into the game reserve there was some buffalo so i knew there would be oxpeckers and yip,red billed oxpeckers and yellow.next was mottled swift ? not to sure on this one with it flying so fast about the place.a super secretary bird wich was close buy giving good views ,also common drongos and common indigobird showing well and good views of little bee-eaters.i also saw giraffe and elephants ,buffalo and dik diks.We where only out for two hours and i was mighty impressed by what i had seen so far and was looking forward to a cold beer and a good nights sleep and a good look at my book to check on what i had seen and getting realy excited about going to tsavo west the next day.
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Old Monday 25th May 2009, 08:13   #2
Steve G
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Nice start to your report Jim.
We had a similar beach/safari holiday in 2007 -stayed at Watamu on the coast but had our safari much further west; to my shame I never did write up the report despite seeing lots of amazing stuff!

What was Shimba Hills like? Can you bird on foot around the lodge?
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Old Monday 25th May 2009, 23:08   #3
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we where told not to go out of the lodge as their was baboons about,but it did have a raised platform that went out a bit from the hotel wich would be very productive later in the year
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Old Monday 25th May 2009, 23:39   #4
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day 2. an early morning start for the long drive to tsavo west,we saw lots of birds on the road there but where to difficult to see.reaching the game reserve a common ostrich,yellow throated spurfowl followed with a giraffe and its young,zebra and bongo.we stayed at ngulia lodge wich was prime location with two small watering holes,liliac brested rollers,redwinged starling ,superb starling bulbul,grey headed sparrow . A raptor flew over the mountain ,it was auger buzzard .the first raptor of the trip.emerald spotted wood dove was also seen,a quick wash then on the road for another evening drive tawny eagle was spotted sitting on the bank of the river that flowwed into a couple of pool.3 white backed vultures where sitting high up on a tree and our driver said there must be a kill close by.we turned the corner and saw 3 lionesses and seven cups feasting on a buffalo ,what a sight the birds came second best as we got brilliant close up views,the sort of thing you dont normaly get to see that close.after watching the lions travelling up the track we came to another watering hole with wooly necked stork,black stork,three banded plovers,blacksmith plover,black crake and a malachitekingfisher,3 hippo where in that pool.just shortly after that a leopard was spotted lying on rocks under the shade.it was a very special place.returning back to the lodge a marabou stork flew over,long tailed fiscal,white crowned shrike and grey backed fiscal and a ground horn bill ,we where having dinner and a rhino and a black legged mongoose turned up for a drink followed by 2 crested porrcupine.breakfast was also a good time a couple of weavers flew over the lodge .we set out on a trip to mzima springs taking in good views of kilamanjaro.the spring was very good,alligator and lots of hippo ,a pied king fisher a striated heron,long tailed cormorant and an african darter,wire tailed swallow and woodland kingfisher...rock hyrax and vervet monkey was all over the place,after that we where heading to tsavo east...just at the gates we saw in a little pool,red cheeked cordon blue,blue naped mouse bird ,african pied wagtail and white crowned sparrow weaver.
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Old Monday 25th May 2009, 23:43   #5
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more pictures........
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Old Monday 25th May 2009, 23:52   #6
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more pictures........
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Old Tuesday 26th May 2009, 00:05   #7
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You saw an interesting range of birds & mammals Jim.

Bongos are very rare in Kenya being restricted to montane forest (Eburu, Mt. Kenya, Aberdares) - I think your image shows a male Lesser Kudu -a very nice find!
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