Awesome Day in the Park!

Story & pics by WILL KNOCKER:

On wednesday this week, Ed & Jeremy Hildebrand & I spent all day in the Park in superb weather & saw the best that the constantly surprising NNP has to offer….. first, these rhinos, note the bull on the right marking his territory with a horizontal blast of pee…

Early morning along the Empakasi was like a Vision of Eden…..

Then we came across this nursey herd of eland (calves suckle from any lactating female they find, an adaption to the nomadic way of life of these antelopes, who are constantly on the move.) NNP contains one of the most significant herds of eland in Kenya & the population is rising…

We definitely had a rhino day: we saw several unusual herds of Black (Browse) rhinos at close quarters….

We stopped for coffee at the Athi Dam, where zebra were watering & this kongoni posed for us. The kongoni population in NNP is exploding, bucking the trend in the rest of Kenya, where this sp. is in steep decline..

A spiral of large raptors brought us to this dramatic site: a kill…..

Ant the perpetrator, a stuffed lioness….

A pair of jackals tried to drive off the estimated 80 vultures gathered for the feast: an eland….but were ignored…..

But all soon moved off at the ‘owner’ returned to protect her kill….

There was masses of ‘plains game’ in the Athi Basin & on the top plains, where we found these zebra twins….

The Rains have not been good so far & so most biomass is in the park owing to overgrazing in the rangelands where they usually go at this time of year. The return of both Gran’ts & Thomson’s gazelles to the Park after many years of a ‘long grass’ regime is heartening. But where are the cheetah?

Ostriches under a big blue sky….

Proved to be a group with an adolescent chick: the last survivor (there is very heavy mortality amongst young ostriches…)

Then clever Ed spotted no less than six Black backed jackals: a pair of adults & four grown up cubs: great news for these little canids, which are not common in NNP…..

A bull Grass (White) rhino…..was this the individual translocated from the Mara after all his companions were killed?

As usual the Park was A1 for birds……this is a Superb starling, though we also saw the aptly named Hildebrandt’s……

And yet another bull rhino……

This was all BEFORE lunch, when we returned to Silole Cottage, where these piggies were enjoying a cooling wallow.

In the afternoon, yet more (Browse) rhinos…..

And in the Langata forest, Jeremy spotted this pair of magnificent Bateleurs, the only pair in the Park!!

And on our way home, in the distance, a new baby rhino…we couldn’t make out which type….

What a day! What a Park!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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8 Comments

  1. Trish Heather-Hayes
    Posted November 16, 2012 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Fantastic day in the park for sure Will !!….such a great sight to see so many vultures, maybe their numbers are increasing?
    Trish

  2. Posted November 16, 2012 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Great day, Will. Thanks for the wonderful tour and these excellent representative photos. The eland being torn apart by vultures intermittently chased off by the lioness was a highlight.

  3. Jimmy
    Posted November 16, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    Stunning images which I hope people will be able to enjoy for themselves into the future

  4. Monique
    Posted November 16, 2012 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    Wow , thanks for sharing Will.

  5. willknocker
    Posted November 17, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    Hi Will, Thanks for an amazing day at NNP. Unforgettable! Your insights and understanding of the park, habitat and history, made our day well beyond our expectations. Also many thanks for the splendid hospitality at the beautiful Silole Sanctuary and Cottage. Would be happy to stay with you and tour again one day! Sincerely, Jeremy

  6. willknocker
    Posted November 17, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    The new rhino in the park is a Grass rhino = 13……

  7. gareth jones
    Posted November 19, 2012 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Great to see the bateleur eagles still there !!! hope they breed !!!…there are amazingly 2 small baby rhino near No29 and towards Kingfisher , the one is a White rhino and the other a black rhino , i saw both of them last week within a Km of each other !!

  8. willknocker
    Posted November 20, 2012 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    Thanks Gareth: yes saw thast one too….NNP is a haven for rhinos (& so many other forms of life) indeed….

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