Category Archives: bustards

Bustards in NNP

By Will Knocker:

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In the current dry spell, bustards are more visible as the long grass dissipates.

NNP is a haven for at least 4 sp. of bustard (see Bustards category on the menu on the left for more stories.)

This is a male White-bellied bustard..

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And the female (White-bellied)….the loud braying ventriloquial calls of this sp. are a typical sound of the plains.

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Cryptic in her colouring & blending perfectly into her grassland habitat…

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A  male Black-bellied bustard…

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Kori Bustard

By Will Knocker:

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The Kori bustard, one of at least 4 sp. of these grassland specialists to be found in NNP, that Haven of Peace for so many forms of Life.

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At 20 kg, the Kori is one of the heaviest flying birds……

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Plumping himself up for The Show…..

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Last minute preparations…

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Strutting His Stuff on the African Plain…..

 

 

A Day in the Park 17th Jan

By Will Knocker:

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I was woken up by this Variable Sunbird (male of course) fighting with himself in my bedroom window…..

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And at Main Gate, my guest Jess & I got caught up in the early morning circus: 2 male lions rubbing themselves in a buffalo pat!

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The 2 males: looking thin: c’mon guys, you are supposed to be Super Predators & the Park is full of Prey!

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A Blacksmith plover….

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Kanga……Guinea-fowl have done well this year, with many grown chicks evident….

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Chandler’s Mountain reedbuck in the Sosian valley….

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A Yellowneck spurfowl with a runny beak….

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And 2 African spoonbills………spoooning…….

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Athi Dam megacroc getting some dirty looks…..

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Lone bushbuck……(called Abu Naba in Arabic…any Arabic speakers out there?)

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As Jess said “wall-to-wall” zebras in the Athi Basin, where wildlike is concentrated at present….

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Upupa epops, the African hoopoe…what a lovely bird!

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And to end a splendid day in the incomparable NNP: a monitor lizard at Nangolomon Dam (it should be Narok Omom): “Black Head” in Maa, referring to the Langata forest…..

 

Kori bustards in NNP

Images by Will Knocker……

NNP Drying Up Fast After Good Rains

Images by Will Knocker:

I am finally back online after numerous setbacks, including kids melting down computer settings, including for this blog, over Xmas. Please excuse abscence!!

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A herd of buffalo chewing the cud in the rapidly drying NNP

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Kori bustards are doing well in NNP….

 

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Cape chestnut in flower in the Langata forest after excellent short rains

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Greenvein charaxes (Charaxes candiope) feeding on carnivore faeces

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Many eland are back in the Park, having spent the rainy season in the Athi Basin & Sheep & Goat Land

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An old veteran, blind in one eye & deaf…I’m surprised the 40 odd lions in the Park have not eaten him yet…

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White bellied go away bird: a species of the dry bush: are they getting more common in NNP (ie is it becoming drier?)

MORE birds of NNP

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Saddle -billed stork

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Martial eagle looking bellicose….

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Crowned plover

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Hadada ibis

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White-faced whistling ducks

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Superb starling (feeling cold? Or sexy?)

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Egyptian geese

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Harlaub’s bustard

529 sp. Birds & Counting…….

Photos by WILL KNOCKER:

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Brian Finch the NNP afficianado & bird expert has just identified the 529th sp. of bird for NNP.

Above a Crowned eagle with it’s leopard-like talons…..

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Kori bustard, the world’s heaviest flying bird…..

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Marabou stork which breeds in the city centre & feeds at the city rubbish dump…..

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Malachite kingfisher on the Empakasi river….

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The park is a major breeding area for Crowned cranes….

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Great white pelicans pass through from time to time……..

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Hamerkop- a frog-eater, in it’s element……

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There are currently large numbers of Helmeted guineafowl in the park after a successful breeding year: food for Martial eagles (2 pairs at least in the park: see next post………)

Richness of Nairobi Park

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The plains turn from green to tawny as Nairobi Park  gradually dries out & the usual aridity replaces the moisture of an exceptional rainy season. The oceans of grass are setting seed, along with the trees & shrubs which make up this superb savannah park.

Plenty to eat for all the birds that have reproduced,probably twice since the Rains began 6 months ago…..

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Helmeted guineafowl

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Water birds have enjoyed the season, such as these Egyptian geese.

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Mother with plenty of goslings

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Kori bustards are running out of habitat on the Athi Plains, but they still have the park:these female has successfully raised 2 young-great news for the future of the world’s heaviest flying bird!

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A Secretary bird feeds it’s young:there are several breeding pairs in Nairobi National Park.

Peculiar Display in the Grasslands

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What on earth is this weird design?

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Extraordinary neck contusion & vocally a quiet ‘click!’ then a slightly louder ‘pop’ followed by a deep mooing boom…..

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A male Hartlaub’s  (or Maasai -this sp. only occurs in or nearby Maasailand!) Bustard trying to impress an invisible female hidden in the grass nearby…

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The Click??

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The Moo??

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What do I look like from behind?

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The things we do to TRY & impress…..

Wet Season Wonders

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Rain has been falling in NNP since January & was particularly heavy over Easter…wet weather often means it is unusually clear & for a few minutes last week the mass of Mount Kenya (17,000 foot) was visible over the usual smog of the Industrial Area. On a VERY clear day one can also see Mt Kilimanjaro far to the south……

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A Crowned Eagle in the Langata forest. At least one pair of these magnificent forest eagles nests in the park. Leopards of the air (notice talons in this pic), these birds eat fully grown monkeys & small antelope……

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All over the park, seasonal wetlands brim with water & with life.

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Water lilies in the top Langata dam. Brian Finch reports at least 8 pairs of Crowned Cranes (see previous post) have raised chicks in the park this season & conditions are so fecund most pairs have managed to raise more than one chick!

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Apart from resident large mammal sp : giraffe, buffalo & rhino & the kongoni that have now decided to stay in the park permanently, the most numerous sp., plains zebra, are mostly out of the park now. Out of an estimated population of 4,000, only a few hundred are now in the park. Of the est. 1,000 gnu, which calve in March, we saw just a couple yesterday along with a large nursery herd of eland (see above) in the Athi Basin where most wildlife is now concentrated owing to the short grass & proximity of the fast diminishing ‘dispersal area’.

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The Athi Dam -nearly empty in the drought -is now full up, though no sign of the large crocs that used to be there: have they migrated to the river??

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The park is one enormous ocean of long waving grass right now, full of the sound of buzzing grasshoppers trying to attract mates: all life seems to be displaying, mating & breeding as the ecosystem is transformed by rain into a bountiful natural bread-basket for all life……this hen Kori bustard had a half grown chick with her!

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We saw several large herds of buffalo on the plains & hopefully their increasing numbers will help to keep the long grass grazed, otherwise the gnu & the gazelles will be tempted to stay out on the overgrazed areas outside the park.

Still no cheetah cubs alas…….