Saturday, September 8, 2012

Day 16--Masai Mara to Naivasha

We were up early to bird the lodge grounds before breakfast. Where I live in North Carolina I see white tailed deer regularly in my yard.  At Siana Springs there were bushbuck grazing around the tents.  There were also baboons on the grounds, so we had to tie our tents shut because the baboons had figured out how to work the zippers but not the tied strings. We heard and saw quite a few birds, including some new ones like tropical boubou, and Holub's golden weaver.  At one point we thought we had found a Verreaux's eagle-owl on a nest, but it was somewhat obscured, and once we we were able to get clear looks at it we realized that it was a white-backed vulture hunched over.

After breakfast we began the long, slow drive to Naivasha.  As we were leaving the lodge area we found several Usambiro barbets, a new trip bird (photo just above taken by Bob).  The first part of the day was spent being bounced around in our seats as we worked our way out of the Mara on some really bad roads.  We would see the occasional Masai village with the bomas (corrals) where their cattle spend the night.  But what stood out way too often was the vast number of plastic bags that littered the landscape around the villages.

We kept finding a few new birds as we made our way to Naivasha including the long-tailed widowbird just above (click on any photo to enlarge), and the cape rook just below.

We also found brown-backed scrub-robin, Schalow's wheatear, northern anteater chats just above, and a white-headed sawwing just below (photo taken by Bob).

We arrived in Naivasha mid afternoon as it began to rain.  We drove down to the lake in hopes that the rain would be short lived.  It was not raining all that hard, but it kept up for quite some time.  As a result, it was difficult for me to get good photos of the greater and lesser flamingos, and the African spoonbill.  A hamerkop did perch on a rock for us.  By the time the rain stopped it was near dusk, so we made the short drive to the Fish Eagle Lodge where we spent the night.

On the way to the lodge we drove by row after row of greenhouses used to grow cut flowers.  My sister-in-law, who is a sustainable farmer with my brother here in North Carolina, had the opportunity to visit Naivasha a few years ago to see the cut flower business.  The growers in Naivasha ship flowers daily by air to Holland for distribution to Europe and beyond. For someone who grows flowers for local markets, what she experienced at Naivasha must have been mind boggling.

The Fish Eagle Inn proved to be adequate as far as accommodations and food.  It was still lightly raining as we finished up our day by updating the trip bird list.  Amazingly at the half way point of our trip we had already passed 500 different species seen and/or heard.  I will be out of town for the next few days, and when I return Bob will have been able to get me many more new photos to share with you.  Stay tuned!


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