Monday, October 1, 2012

Day 23--Lake Baringo to Kakamega

Our morning started overcast but dry.  On the way to breakfast I found an African Jacana walking thru the flooded lawn of the lodge (click on any photo to enlarge).  We also found our first purple herons of the trip. Right after we sat down the lodge staff poured bread crumbs and seeds on a large stone table just a few feet away from us.  We proceeded to enjoy watching a variety of birds come in to feed as we ate our eggs and toast.

A female Jackson's hornbill made an appearance, as did 3 white-billed buffalo-weavers, a vitelline masked weaver (center), and a female little weaver (just the head on far right).

Golden-backed weavers also came in to feed (photo taken by Bob).  After breakfast I did get a photo of the northern masked weavers weaving their nests, which was much more impressive in person since a photo can not show the motion of the nest building process. Day 23 proved to be the weaver highpoint of our trip as we also saw lesser masked, chestnut, red-headed and Baglafecht weavers.

After finishing breakfast, we had expected to see African scops owls, but the staff at the lodge informed us that the monkeys had chased them off their normal roost, and they had not been relocated.  When Willie came back to get us to do some more birding of the area, he also told us that he had been unable to find a white-faced scops owl.  So Lake Baringo proved to be an owl bust which was very disappointing for all of us owl lovers; plus we ended up with 3 fewer seen birds for our trip, and only the African scops owl had been heard so far.

We did locate a red-chested cuckoo high up in a tree near the lodge before spending about an hour walking in the area looking for more cuckoos that earlier in the year would have been more abundant.  We had no success, but as we were leaving Lake Baringo mid-morning in our landcruiser we did see a Jacobin cuckoo perched by the side of the road (photo taken by Bob).

The rest of our day was spent traveling further west in Kenya towards the Uganda border to reach the Kakamega forest.  We would stop on occasion at promising spots including the Kerio Valley where we found some more Ruppell's starlings. 

We also tracked down African thrush, gray-headed sparrow, chestnut-crowned sparrow-weaver, white-headed barbet, white-crested turaco and black-headed gonolek (reminded me of our scarlet tanager-both photos taken by Bob) to add to the trip list.

 We stopped at one particular wetland to find gray-rumped swallows for the trip list, and also found a gray-crowned crane.  Enroute we saw for the second time on our trip white-throated bee-eaters (photo taken by Bob).

Because our lodging for the next 2 nights--the Rondo Retreat--is a Christian establishment, and does not serve alcohol, we had stopped one more time on our way to buy some beer to drink with the dinners we would be eating there.  The large supermarket where we shopped had security guards passing wands over everyone as they entered.

We arrived at the Retreat just before dark in the rain.  Dinner was served "formally", and our beer had to be poured for us in the back and brought out to the table.  The food was pretty good, the wait staff was very good, and the grounds and cottages were excellent.  We all ended up staying in one large cottage, each with our own bedroom and bath, and a shared living room where we did our bird list update.  Brian informed us that tomorrow's birding, provided it did not rain too much, would be one of the best of the entire trip.  Stay tuned!

No comments:

Post a Comment