Sunday, October 21, 2012

Day 32--Nyungwe to Kigali to Nairobi

We awoke to another beautiful morning, had an ok breakfast and then started working our way back towards Kigali.  We stopped fairly quickly along the main road to listen for birds.  Brian heard a short-tailed warbler calling right next to the road.  We had only heard this bird over the past 2 days, so we walked into the forest maybe 30 ft to try to call it in.  It took 15 minutes before we all got reasonably good looks at this skulker.

At another place we flushed an immature red-throated alethe out of the ditch by the roadside.  We also saw a fine looking cinnamon-chested bee-eater (photo above taken by Bob-click on any photo to enlarge).

We saw again both a northern double collared sunbird, and a red-faced mountain-warbler (both photos taken by Bob) as we moved down the main road.

We decided to walk down the side road that we had so much success with yesterday afternoon.  We saw and heard several birds including an African stonechat (photo just above taken by Bob). Our first new bird of the day was a heard only Lagden's bushshrike.  Soon after we totally lucked out when we found a red-breasted owlet (photo just below taken by Bob).  We would not know until the end of the day that this would be our last new seen bird for the trip.

Since it was the last birding day of the trip we had to have a photo taken of the group (left to right--Bob, Brian, me and Stu). We also stopped at the wetland we had visited 2 days earlier in an effort to find our last possible new cisticola--the Carruther's.  It was a no show, but we did get to see the Grauer's rush warbler again.

Our last major stop was at a large wetland, mostly grown up with papyrus grass, just outside of Kigali.  We spent at least an hour here trying to see more heard only birds like papyrus gonolek, white-collared oliveback, and white-winged warbler.  We did finally get to hear Carruther's cisticola calling, but could never get it to come out in the open.  Our efforts to find these birds attracted a small group of young boys who at one point I let look thru my binos (photo taken by Bob).

About 3:30 after seeing a giant kingfisher, we finally gave up trying to coax the calling birds out of the papyrus, and made the short drive into Kigali.  Isaac took us to a coffee bar for some drinks, and then we met Catherine at 6 PM to have dinner at an Indian restaurant.  This turned out to be the very best meal of our entire trip.  Unfortunately we could not linger over it because we needed to get to the airport for our flight to Nairobi which then was late in departing. At the Kigali airport we said our farewells to Isaac who had been so much fun to have as our driver while in Rwanda.

We arrived in Nairobi about 11:30 PM where we met Ben, the owner of the ground operation in Kenya, who would take us to our night's lodging.  Brian was headed home from the airport, so we said our profuse thanks and good-byes there. After a 30 minute ride, we arrived at the Oak Place Hotel.  As we were checking in we heard a montane nightjar calling just outside the office.  This was a bird Brian had heard during the night at the end of week #2, but it was the first time the 3 of us had heard it call.  Ben confirmed that was what we were hearing, but by the time we went outside it had stopped.

We were in bed by 1 PM.  Bob would be heading out before sunrise to catch a flight to visit an old friend who lives near Mpala, Kenya.  Stu and I would be hanging around the hotel all day before catching a night flight to London, and then on to the States.  I will be doing a wrap up post next on this amazing trip.  Stay tuned!

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