Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Day 12--Tsavo East NP

We were on the road by 7:30 AM to make the full day drive to and thru Tsavo East National Park.  Brian told us the park is larger than the country of Wales, and became a park in 1948. The spring (April/May) rainy season in Kenya was abnormally light in 2012, so we found the park to be quite dry which caused us to miss a key bird--the chestnut-backed sparrow-lark.  We did see the chestnut-headed sparrow-lark (photo taken by Bob--click on any photo to enlarge). 

One of the raptors we saw several times is the bateleur which means acrobat in french (photo taken by Bob).

We found a nice sized group of vulturine guineafowl which were pretty oblivious to our vehicle.

The dryness of the park is very apparent in this photo of 2 warthogs trucking along.  We did see a pygmy falcon along the way.

We kept looking for both black-bellied and Kori bustards, but instead found a buff-crested bustard.

We also found our first Somali ostrich of the trip (photo taken by Bob).

At one point we were able to get out and walk around a bit, and Bob got nice shots of a Somali bee-eater (photo above), and the Tsavo sunbird (below).  We saw some other birds in the same area including the amazingly colorful, large golden-breasted starling but none of Bob's photos turned out clear enough to add here. 

We saw some small groups of zebras, and elephants including 2 trying to find some shade.  At the major road intersections we came upon large directional monuments.

We stopped for lunch hoping that it would be better since we had asked them to put some of the tasty pork rice pilau from the buffet dinner in our box lunch.  They had, but it was in a paper bag which had leaked oil all over the rest of the food--what a mess!  I asked Brian if he ever got upset about how "crummy" things could be in E. Africa--a seeming lack of caring about providing a quality experience.  He said no, and his clients would be happier if they just accepted that was the way it is in E. Africa.

We continued to find new trip birds along our way including a golden pipit, and a gabar goshawk (both photos taken by Bob).

We also found a group of helmeted guineafowl which was the last species of this family of birds for us to see during our trip.

We arrived at Village Shasha Camp just after dusk.  Our meal was not particularly inspired.  My shower was a bit tricky--you had to turn on the single water faucet first, and then flip a switch for a small water heating mechanism to work.  If you did it in reverse, you would get shocked when you touched the faucet.  Bob and Stu ended up having no hot water at all in their hut.  We at least had good beds with mosquito netting.  Tomorrow we would be searching for the Taita Hills endemics.  Stay tuned!

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