By Will Knocker:
Give it to me Baby…..
The male’s massive cloaca…
By Will Knocker:
It looks like the Rains have failed in Southern Kenya & the Park is getting very dry, causing the wildebeest population (c.250 animals) to come into the Park proper from the Sheep & Goat land across the Empakasi.
Eastern White-bearded Wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus albojubatus). This is a rare sub-species of gnu which consists of less than 5000 individuals East of the Rift Valley. In this respect Nairobi National Park is a very important haven for these creatures.
Plains zebra watering at the Athi dam.
Zebra & gnu in the Athi Basin.
Gravel pits become useful water points in dry years like this.
A wet August was not great for nesting ostriches, but these guys seem to be alright. Sadly very heavy mortality amongst young ostrich means that almost certainly these chicks will be eaten!
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!
By Will Knocker:
Throughout the plains of Southern Kenya, where Maasai ostrich such as these occur, courtship takes place from August, after the Long Rains, when health is at it’s peak.
Mating happens & by the end of September, egg incubation having been completed, the first chicks appear….
Sadly, nothing is as tastey to predators as an easily caught ostrich chick & mortality is very high….
The last survivor….
Sometimes, ostrich pairs team up with another, with masses of chicks. Others abandon their offspring altogether…
Whatever the case, this year has been very good for ostrich reproduction in Nairobi National Park & did you know that NNP holds (it is said) the densest population of wild ostrich in the world!
Pictures by Ravi Ram:
It is ostrich breeding season in NNP: this cock is hot to trot: he’s a redneck!
On espying his hen, he crouches down for a mating dance…
He rushes towards her…
And she indicates she is ready to mate….
And crouches down herself….
In the throes of passion….
Looks like he is enjoying!
She is completely covered….
And off she goes ready to produce the next generation of ostriches…
It is said that NNP contains the densest population of wild ostriches in the world!
Photos by DAVE McKELVIE:
It is said that Nairobi National Park contains the world’s densest population of wild ostrich.
Certainly this classic savannah park is primo ostrich habitat!
This year, dry conditions during the nesting period (July,August,September)ensured excellent survival rates for young ostrich.
Despite high mortality amongst young chicks (all predatory birds & mammals enjoy them if they can evade the parents) we have several large broods of half grown chicks in the park:keeping that density statistic up to scratch!!
Nairobi National Park is ostrich country; it boasts the densest population of wild Masai Ostrich anywhere…..
I recently came across the dead bodies of these 2 young ostrich chicks, newly hatched.
A sad sight, although one knows mortality amongst young ostrich chicks are very high.
Hatching clutches of eggs seems to have been delayed this year & although dry it is perhaps a good thing that violent & cold thunderstorms are not wreaking havoc on the many new ostrich chicks in NNP
Further along the track I came across (perhaps) the rest of the family…..no less than 32 chicks, with 2 hens & a cock…..
A hen in a typical courting, or in this case, protecting posture, with wings hanging limply
Some of the 32 survivors & let’s hope many will survive to adulthood to have many chicks of their own!