By Will Knocker:
Marabous all of a twitter…”isn’t that one of us in his mouth” ?
Sure looks like it….
“Ooo-err…it’s Fred !”
Plenty more where that came from…..
By Will Knocker:
A female bushbuck in it’s element in one of the many diverse habitats in Nairobi National Park, where it is common.
Although common (the most widespread antelope sp. in Africa) bushbuck are solitary creatures & usually difficult to spot (apart from in NNP!)
They can live easily near people, although they are widely hunted for their meat outside protected areas.
As shown here, if not persecuted, they can be very tolerant of people (this image actually from Aberdares NP)
The beautiful bushbuck is easily bayed up by pursuing dogs, but hopefully not in the protected areas of Nairobi National Park.
More info: http: //en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bushbuck
By Brian Finch:
On the morning of the final day of March, Mike Davidson, Heather
Elkins, Karen Plumbe and myself arrived at the Langata Entrance to
Nairobi National Park at 6.40am having had a fairly open Magadi Road.
At the gate we were all processed efficiently and cheerfully by
Customer Services, and through in no time.
It had been dry recently and the road around to Nagalomon Dam did not
have the mudholes of the previous week. As we passed the Langata
Forest dam there was an African Jacana, presumably the same individual
for the past couple of months.
We arrived at the Main Entrance and collected Jennifer, whilst Fleur
was there she had her daughter with her, and they went mainly
Not a lot was happening at KWS Mess, the usual Eastern Honeybird was
calling, a Spotted Flycatcher was on the fence, this being our first
of ten today, the Black-collared Apalis was noisy and that was about
it. Ivory Burning Site was also quiet with just the first of three
Olivaceous Warblers, but on the causeway at Nagalomon Dam were single
Great Reed Warbler (which could have been the wintering bird as no
more were seen today, and it was in the identical place), and a Garden
Warbler. The dam itself provided the first Great Cormorant in a long
while, an impressive five Darters, ten Black-crowned Night-Herons, the
small Great Egret, a pair of Swamphens, and a pair of Spotted
Thick-knees were back at the drift.
There was not a lot of activity along the back road to the new swamp,
one of just two Eurasian Hobbys, the first of three Willow Warblers,
the first of only three Red-backed Shrikes, whilst at the swamp there
was an African Water Rail, fifteen Wood and two Green Sandpipers.
Retracing, and on to Hyena Dam for anxiously awaited coffee, we found
the first of just four Black-shouldered Kites, a female Eurasian Marsh
Harrier, another African Water Rail, another Swamphen, another dozen
Wood Sandpipers with two Ruff of which one had just one leg, a Sedge
Warbler called from concealment, whilst a Eurasian Reed Warbler was
very showy sitting in the open basking and preening on a reed for a
long period. We tried along the side road, but the water was still
flowing from the new swamp, and just had our first of seven Whinchats.
Taking the run-off we found the grassland full of bouncing Jackson’s
Widowbirds, and a pair of very few Quailfinches were seen. Mbuni was
quiet, just a Willow Warbler, and no sign of the Tawny Eagles at the
nest, but they were probably not far away. The Crowned Crane was still
incubating, and four Yellow-crowned Bishops were in the sedges. Eland
Hollow Dam had nothing new, the African Jacana still there, as was a
Spotted Thick-knee, the same Greenshank that has wintered was still
here, with a few Wood Sandpipers, then in the sedges were three Sedge
Warblers and four more Yellow-crowned Bishops.
Driving through the grassland we had our first of three
Secretarybirds, single Lesser and Common Kestrels, two individual Kori
Bustards, and an additional female with two very small chicks above
Athi Basin, the first of two Turkestan Shrikes, and the first of only
three Lesser Grey Shrikes. At the Murrum Pits was a Red-throated Pipit
getting some colour, but only five White-backed Vultures were in to
bathe, and after quite a long time White-tailed Larks were singing
Athi Dam had a few birds, an adult Pink-backed Pelican, fifteen White
Storks with a party of five Open-billed Storks, five Black-winged
Stilts, six Spur-winged and eight Kittlitz’s Plovers, two
summer-plumaged Ringed Plovers, ten Little Stint, a Common Greenshank
and three Common Sandpipers. There were two roosting Black-crowned
Night-Herons on the causeway where the wintering Olivaceous was still
present in the same tree, and in very good voice.
Although not much of the Park had seen rain, Athi had obviously had a
downpour, and the dam was quite high again, and peripheral weeds were
It was not very eventful towards Cheetah Gate, but men were working on
the pylons again, and the closed road was open. Presumably just to let
the stima people in through Cheetah Gate, with their heavy machinery.
We had a look but nothing rewarded us apart from a few Speckle-fronted
Driving along the river we had our only Bateleur of the day, and the
same for Fish Eagle, there was also the first African Hoopoe in quite
a while. Near Rhino Circuit we had our best mammal of the day, with
only my second ever Kirk’s Dik-Dik in the Park!
It was quiet all around to Kingfisher, where on earth are all the
shrikes that should be here? There were eight Black-winged Plover on
the burnt piece, both they and Crowned Plovers had nested and had
We were out by 4.30pm and the traffic was flowing smoothly.
It had been a fairly disappointing day for migrants, just scratchings.
Barn Swallows were flowing through in fair numbers but nothing
Hippos were at Nagalomon, Hyena and Athi Dams, a few Black and White
Rhinos were seen. Plains game concentrated along the southern border
and the burnt area.
By Will Knocker:
On sunday afternoon I was at the Masai Gate (which borders on the Silole Sanctuary) when the KWS ranger on duty – Jackson ole Kuyioni- looked over my shoulder down towards the brodge over the Empakasi River…”Do you want to see a chui?” he asked in Kiswahili
“Look up in the big acacia!” Can you see the leopard here?
The binoculars revealed the cat just 75 m away, listening to us chatting: suburban leopard!
Hopefully the leopard population in NNP is going up since two of the big cats were poisoned by a new neighbour near the Sanctuary a year or two ago….
By Will Knocker:
Two bull Black (Browse) rhinos go nose to massive nose on who’s territory this is…
Massive pachydems face off to determine who is the Boss…in the middle of the road…
We kept our distance….(have you ever been charged by a rhino?)
Good old KWS had to spoil the show..
Visitors who had obviously NOT been charged by a rhino hoved in for a closer view & the rhinos, honour satisfied, trotted off back from the disputed border, back deeper into their territories….
Happy World Wildlife Day 3rd of March……..
By Will Knocker
Close-up of Parthenium weed, an invasive species rapidly encroaching on Nairobi National Park..this is in the Park, at the Athi dam… I have also seen invasions along the Athi River -Namanga highway & along the shores of Lake Victoria.
IF YOU SEE THIS PLANT PULL IT UP, (though gloves are advisable for big infestations)
Originally from Central America, this “noxious annual herb appears to have entered the Park in water flows , as well as on the wheels & radiators & under-carriages of vehicles & earth-moving equipment.
Parthenium infestations have CAUSED THE COLLAPSE OF MANY GRASSLAND ECOSYSTEMS AROUND THE WORLD in lands as widely spread as India & Austalia.”
“The FONNAP Natural History Guide to Nairobi National Park”
“No more than half a metre tall, Parthenium releases toxic allelo-chemicals into the soil that inhibit gowth & germination of other species. Its abundant seeds are readily dispersed by the elements. Each seed can grow within one month into a mature plant capable of producing another 25000 seeds viable for 2 years or longer…
Parthenium contains potent allergins harmful to the health of ungulates & people.”
Contact with this plant causes dermatitis and respiratory malfunction in humans, in cattle and domestic animals, due to the presence of toxin parthenin.
“Even in mixed forage, the unpalatable leaves,” which blister the mouths of grazers,”taint the flesh & milk of grazing animals. The extent of the potential disruption to the foodchain in incalculable.”
These pictures are taken on the Magadi Road, next to the Media College bumps, but Parthenium is now established (forever…that is the reality of Invasive Species) along all of Nairobi’s new highway & bypass verges. This is within a few yards of the Park…
Thankfully, Parthenium finds it difficult to establish itself in pristine grassland, but alarmingly, it is spreading along the roads & rivers of NNP & especially in the Athi Basi with the new pylon lines. ( No thanks to KWS.)
What can be done?
‘ If the population in cultivated field is light, it should be removed manually. Otherwise it will spread very fast and the population will reach beyond control’… a situation already reached in some parts of the Park.
Last year I organised an Invasive sp. workshop at Silole Sanctuary through FONNAP: it was well attended & we told KWS we were ready to collaborate on removing this dangerous invader from the Park.
The response: nothing.
As far as I am aware there are no efforts being made to eradicate Parthenium, or any other Invasive sp. from the Park…..
By Will Knocker:
Pictures from the Athi Dam: surely one of the best corners (amongst many) in NNP:
Yellow-billed storks, with an African spoonbill in the background..
Why O why have KWS allowed pylons to be built & the ENTIRE Athi Basin aesthetically spoilt in an undeveloped area (ie this would be a perfect place for future tourist development) ? Who allowed this? So short-sighted….
Diederik cuckoo: what a beautiful bird!
Egyptian goslings have to beware……
The aptly-named Black-winged stilt ….
European storks have been numerous this year….
And this is for you to ID: sorry out of focus…..palearctic migrants….ruffs??
By Paula Kahumbu:
I was horrified today to see that KWS have started fencing off a huge piece of the Nairobi National Park for the major expansion of the Nairobi Orphanage. The fence follows the main road from the entrance all the way to the club house – which is almost to the ivory burn site.
I am writing to request that you help me to demand an immediate halt these plans. I have identified the following arguments; you may have others
1. Expanding the orphanage violates the very original purpose of the orphanage – to home orphans and act as a half way house before they are released. The orphanage was never intended as a zoo which is what it seems KWS wants to create. The Safari Walk on the other hand was created as a zoo – there is no need for two zoos in the same place in Nairobi. Moreover, wilderness in the National Park should not be sacrificed for the creation of or expansion of a zoo, instead a wholesome education experience through visitation to the park should be promoted as it is far more valuable.
2. The area for expansion will require the destruction of a sizeable piece of Nairobi Park. We are not aware of any EIA having been conducted, nor are we aware of any stakeholder consultation having taken place. As you know, FoNNaP which is 19 years old, has always defended the park and although our board meets regularly with the warden, there has been no consultation of these plans, and we have not been informed of these or any other plans for developments in the park.
3. We believe that these developments are in violation of the management plan of the park which is already out of date having expired a few years ago. It is also therefore a violation of the new Act which requires parks to have management plans that are developed through a stakeholder consultative process.
4. The area of land that is being fenced off will result in the destruction of highly endangered tropical highland forest including habitats for endangered add endangered species, as well as species of concern including lions, jackals, leopard, Crowned eagle (one of the only 2 nesting pairs in Nairobi nests in these trees), Suni, duiker, black rhino and bush pig all live in this part of the forest. I am sure there are also plants, birds and other animals that will also be threatened. By degrading this habitat and alienating it from the park the KWS will be violating the EMCA, and failure to consult the stakeholders is in violation of the constitution.
I have written to the Director KWS, NEMA Director and the CS to respectfully request the immediate halt to the ongoing fencing of the park, as it is not too late to restore any damage already caused.
I have also asked for an investigation to be initiated into how this proposal was developed and passed without any stakeholder consultation or EIA.
Please help by sending your own letter to the Cabinet Secretary, KWS Director (Director@kws.org) and NEMA DG on this issue so that they can see how serious this is.