1 January 1978. Drove to Mzima Springs for mid morning then out of Tsavo West and across to Amboseli looking at the marsh near the Observation Hill before dark. Camped outside one of the lodges. Best sightings were 4 Cheetahs, 50 Elephants and a good range of other mammals, Goliath Heron, three species of bustard including displaying Kori, Two-banded Courser, Long-toed Lapwing and our first Kitlitz’s and Blacksmith Plovers.
|the car made a perfect hide|
|Amboseli from Observation Hill|
|lower slopes of Kilimanjaro from Observation Hill|
|Kilimanjaro summit at sunset|
2 January 1978. We were confronted by one of the wardens in Amboseli as we were packing up the tents Apparently we should not have camped in the park as it was dangerous even right by a lodge, as we had been. Most of the day spent in Amboseli and wooded stream just north of Namanga. Then drove on to Nairobi and after dark on to Nyeri. Best sightings were Crested Francolin, Temminck’s and Two-banded Coursers, Red-billed Oxpecker and the usual mammals.
|common, but a very welcome|
3 January 1978. Spent morning outside Nyeri and in grassland between there and Nanyuki. This delayed us arriving at Mt Kenya where we only had the afternoon, taking the Sirimon track to its end at c11,000 feet. Birded different habitats at different altitudes. Drove overnight up towards Marsabit stopping N of Archer’s Post with a flat tyre where we decided as we were in the middle of nowhere to camp rather than change it. We’d earlier driven through what appeared to be a thorn bush across the road. We later realised it was probably to highlight a serious pot-hole or worse, which we’d also driven over, but at the time we feared it might be an impromptu roadblock set by bandits! Best sightings were Zorilla, Jackson’s Francolin, Hartlaub’s Turaco, Abyssinian Nightjar, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater and Long-tailed Widowbird.
|the lower slopes of Mt Kenya, the only photo I took on our fleeting visit|
4 January 1978. We continued up to Marsabit often stopping in good scrub. We’d changed the tyre but got another flat within 10 kms and had to drive to the next village on it. Here we spent several hours repairing punctures. We climbed up behind town of Marsabit and looked in woods there before driving north into Didi Galgala desert where we camped. Best birds were Somali Ostrich, Lappet-faced Vulture, Heuglin’s and Kori Bustards, Cream-coloured Courser and White-throated Robin.
|degraded image of Gabar Goshawk|
5 January 1978. We started at dawn in Didi Galgala desert and continued driving north until we realised we didn’t have a lot of petrol left.. We returned to Marsabit to fill up and continued south, stopping in woodland by the road, before continuing slowly towards Isolio. The last few hours were spent in very good scrub 60km north of Isolio. Overnight we continued driving down to Nanyuki where we camped. Birds seen included Heuglin’s and Cream-coloured Coursers, Chestnut-bellied and Black-faced Sandgrouse, Somali Bee-eater, River and Barred Warblers and Desert Cisticola.
|a nice representative of a superb family|
6 January 1978. From the outskirts of Nanyuki we drove down to Nyeri, through the Aberdares stopping for some time in bamboo zone on the west side without seeing much. Then on to Naivasha where the last hour of light was spent on the shore at Lake Hotel in Crescent Island Bay. Birds seen included Jackson’s Francolin and Black-winged Plover.
|Rift Valley from the Aberdares, the bamboo in the foreground we found to be fairly birdless|
|Rift Valley Lake from Aberdares|
7 January 1978. The whole day was spent at Naivasha where we drove around anti-clockwise looking for access points. Eventually spent afternoon on Crescent Island. We left at dusk and drove to Nakuru. Birds seen included African Fish Eagle, Verreaux’s Eagle, Hildebrant’s Francolin and White-browed Robinchat.
|African Fish Eagles at Lake Naivasha|
|noisy Crowned Plover|
|Defassa Waterbuck at Lake Naivasha|
8 January 1978. Whole day spent at Nakuru then drove overnight to edge of the Masai Mara. Best sightings were Hippos, thousands of flamingos, cormorants and pelicans, Secretary Bird, Malachite Kingfisher and Cliff Chat.
|flamingos at Lake Nakuru|
|at places the lake's edge was covered with birds|
|White Pelican, perhaps the smartest of Nakuru's big birds|
|I suppose I should be used to being looked at down one's nose|
|an exception to the rule that birds with white legs are usually brilliant. Perhaps it depends on how they became white?|
|eagle of sorts, possibly by its (parent's) nest. A reminder, if one was needed, as to why I generally dislike raptors!|