Birding with Brian Finch 25th November

Mike Davidson kindly conducted Heather Elkin, Karen Plumbe and myself
around Nairobi National Park on 25th November 2009.
We met at 6-30am at the Main Entrance, there had been light rain, and
this continued as we drove down to the Ivory Burning Site but soon
cleared up for the remainder of the day which for much of the time was
At Ivory Burning Site there were a few migrants, but the hoped for
fall didn’t eventuate and the migrant presence was rather poor. There
were a few Eurasian Bee-eaters calling somewhere, many Nightingales
and one Sprosser in the bushes, several Willow Warblers, a Garden
Warbler, the first of three Spotted Flycatchers met with today, a Tree
Pipit and a trio of Northern Hobbies in the area.
Along the back road, a Croaking Cisticola was a surprise in this part
of the Park, a few more Nightingales, a Marsh Warbler and a Black
Rhino with a calf suddenly appeared before us and gave us a mock
charge with considerable snorting. We lost our concentration on a
small group of birds that were mobbing something cheer-led by a
Moustached Warbler! At Hyena Dam there were a Spur-winged Goose, two
Common Kestrels, a couple of Eurasian Marsh Harriers and a flock of
Jackson’s Widowbirds. On the circuit through the run-off and back
round to Hyena Dam we found a Squacco Heron, two Great Egrets, a Fish
Eagle, two males and a female-type Pallid Harriers, a couple of Common
Buzzards, a pair of displaying Kori Bustards, a couple of Common Snipe
dropped into cover, at least eight Rosy-breasted Longclaws (and others
elsewhere), five Whinchats, the first of only three Red-tailed Shrikes
all day, and a couple of Parasitic Weavers. We passed birdless
Nagalomon and Olmanyi Dams across to Kingfisher Picnic Site. In this
area we had a pair of Eurasian Rollers, the first of eight Isabelline,
first of five Northern and first of four Pied Wheatears. At the site
a very attractive pale-phase Booted Eagle came over low, and disturbed
some Black-winged Plovers that we did not see. The female
Saddle-billed Stork was at the neighbouring swamp and a Green
Sandpiper. Driving around to Hippo Pools area, we had an adult
Black-chested Snake-Eagle, then we stopped at the ford below Baboon
Cliffs to look for the Finfoot that we did not find, but there was a
single Mountain Wagtail and a Nightingale. Whilst we waited the Parks
third record of Grey-olive Greenbul appeared and started displaying
with wing and body shivering in a horizontal pose, there was one
calling somewhere above the car, so the bird was not alone. Athi Dam
was low but we had an immature White Pelican, only one adult
Black-crowned Night-Heron, a dozen White-faced Whistling-Ducks, a pair
of Red-billed Teal, three Hottentot Teal, six Northern Shoveler, the
same five Avocet and Black-winged Stilt, on Spur-winged and fifteen
Kittlitz’s Plovers, fifteen Little Stint, one Ruff, ten Marsh and
three Common Sandpipers, three Greenshank and a Fish Eagle.
At Hippo Pools the first bird we looked at was a bird I had never seen
in the Park before, although it is found almost all around Nairobi, a
Green Wood-Hoopoe was feeding on a trunk and the shiny green back was
very obvious. Then, only thirty metres away a pair of Violet
Wood-hoopoes were feeding young in a nest in a dead tree! There were
single Greenshank, Green and Common Sandpipers along the river, a
number of Nightingales, a few Willow Warblers and a singing Red-faced
Cisticola. On the drive back there was a Long-billed Pipit on the Athi
Basin ridge, and in short grass there were a pair of Temminck’s
Coursers and a Hartlaub’s Bustard near the “Beacon.” There were a few
Barn Swallows but only in the northern parts.
The more interesting mammals were five Black and eight White
Rhinoceros, five Mountain Reedbuck, a Side-striped Ground-Squirrel
below Baboon Cliffs and an Egyptian Mongoose near Hyena Dam run-off.
There were plenty of plains game all through the Park and about fifty
cows were in the Athi basin.
We were through the gate at 4-15pm having had a great day

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