Pics by ROSE MIYONGA:
By Will Knocker:
A mating bull hippo: don’t you love the look on his face? (The cow is completely submerged!)
Recently it has been very dry in the Park…
“Don’t mess with me,buddy!”
Elegant strider of the plains…the Secretary Bird. There are several breeding pairs in NNP…
Assemblage of waterfowl at Empakasi dam…
Downtown Nairobi…..how lucky is this city?
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!!
A herd of buffalo chewing the cud in the rapidly drying NNP
Kori bustards are doing well in NNP….
Cape chestnut in flower in the Langata forest after excellent short rains
Greenvein charaxes (Charaxes candiope) feeding on carnivore faeces
Many eland are back in the Park, having spent the rainy season in the Athi Basin & Sheep & Goat Land
An old veteran, blind in one eye & deaf…I’m surprised the 40 odd lions in the Park have not eaten him yet…
White bellied go away bird: a species of the dry bush: are they getting more common in NNP (ie is it becoming drier?)
In the current stormy weather: it is raining , but not enough, for example the Athi Dam is still low…..the park’s biffaloes are enjoying.
“mud mud glorious mud’
‘there’s nothing quite like it for cooling the blood’
By WILL KNOCKER (who has a new camera):
In NNP we’ve had 100 mm (4 inches) of rain in the last couple of weeks & the Park is looking beautiful…….as usual, at the first sign of rain the grazers head straight out of the park…..
Below, landscape & sky…..
The last ‘corridor’ remaining out of the Park is in the east of the Park in the glorious Athi Basin, where wildlife is now concentrated. (I shall post on the crossing shortly.)
My favourites-eland (which means moose in Dutch!!) with abundant young.
Zebra, kongoni & eland, as well as the gazelle sp. drop their young beginning December….
There are plenty of giraffe in NNP- 68 in the February count -definitely a MINIMUM number…
A solitary gnu in the park, Athi Basin in the background…
And gnu calves & cows on the Sheep & Goat land just outside (but contiguous with) the park. Notice what is behind -to the south -the daily expanding township of Kitengela…..
Buffalo at the Athi Dam, (247 counted in Feb Game Count.) I’m sure there are many more than this……
An Athi River mammal eater with his friends (White faced whistling duck)
NNP surely remains one of the best places in the wild to view Browse rhinos: here are 6 of them in the Athi Basin.
Story & pics by WILL KNOCKER:
Last sunday I went into the park for my customary’ blog-hunt’ & came across the huge gravel pit that has been dug by the roadbuilders improving the tracks above the Athi Basin.
A large herd of buffaloes had meandered up from the Athi River to the plains above.
They were having a whale of a time….
A family of Crowned cranes were using this new wetland area to forage for food… Brian Finch the birder has just identified his 539th sp. of bird in the park, showing how extraordinarily rich (& unspoilt by man) NNP habitats are……
Cranes or ‘kongoyings’ as they are known in my family, have bred well this year in the first 6 month period of good rain: it now seems set to get drier….
Here comes a black rhino: a male (females nearly always have calves for company….)
Zebras join the melee……
Whilst the rhino hangs out with buffalo chums…..timeless scenes on the African plain…….
Formidable bovids, with a fearsome reputation, Cape buffaloes were introduced to NNP, where they did not (in the last 100 years) exist….
Portrait of a bull: it is true you do not want to meet one of these on foot, but the record shows that generally speaking, buffaloes are intelligent -avoiding people if they can (on the southern boundary of the park, which is unfenced) & are more like (gentle) wild cattle than the monsters familiar from hunter’s tales. If you are hunted, of course you are aggressive….
NNP now boasts close to 1,000 of these large, social grazers & they are well distributed across the Park.
The significance of this number of large grazers on the 30,000 acres of the Park is considerable.
A few months ago & grass-a normally super-abundant resource in the NNP- a part of the one of the richest grassland ecosystems in Africa-was extremely scarce. Buffaloes are particularly vulnerable to drought owing to their massive bulk.
Now the Park is a sea of long-grazing grass & the migratory sp. -mainly zebra & wildebeest, are on the short grass plains OUTSIDE the park.
The daily increasing buffalo population should have an impact on the grasslands of the Park, keeping them sweet & precluding the need for controlled burns by the Park’s managers, KWS.
And will our lions (estimated at 35-40) learn to hunt this increasing source of prey?
Typical members of a herd: cows & calves (a distinctive light brown colour) whilst bulls come & go according to the Bull Politics of the herd, where the meanest & most powerful get to mate with the cows that are in oestrous…..
Buffaloes are nearly always accompanied by very useful tickbirds (ox-peckers) as they are invariably afflicted by masses of biting ticks….
Portrait of a bachelor herd…..
A herd on the plains in the Athi Basin……
and the herd bull……..