Ed Swan Group Kenya Birding and Wildlife Viewing Trip Report For February, 2022.

Tour Summary
Tour Participants: Ed, Linda,Cavan,Susan and Meghan
Tour leader: Joseph Aengwo.
Photo acknowledgements: Joseph Aengwo and Ed Swan.
Temperature Range: 15 –30°C.
Total Birds Seen: 243.
Total Mammals and Reptiles Seen: 23.
Birds of the Trip: Martial Eagle, African Crowned Eagle, Hartlaub’s Turaco,Rufous-bellied Heron, Saddle-billed Stork, Coqui Francolin, Western Banded Snake-Eagle,Croaking Cisticola,Capped Wheatear ,Pallid Harrier, Pangani Longclaw,Red-collared and Jackson’s Widowbird.
Trip Report Compiled By: Joseph Aengwo.

Photo by Joseph Aengwo

I had previously gone birding with Ed in July,2018.At that time he was based in Eldoret where some of his group members were doing medical research work. As such Ed only had a day for birding owing to his busy schedule, so I suggested that we visit Kerio Valley which was in close proximity to Eldoret town. On that brief visit to the valley, we picked up species like Ross’s and White-crested Turaco,Little Rock Thrush,Boran Cisticola,Long-tailed Widowbird and Black-headed Gonolek among others.So he had fond  memories of the trip we had together in 2018 and after pandemic restrictions were lifted an opportunity arises for them to visit Kenya for work, he managed to squeeze 5 days of birding,two days of those were only done by the two of us and 3 days visit to Masai Mara, he was joined by Cavan,Meghan,Landa and Susan.

Red-faced Cisticola

February 14,2022.Karura Forest: I picked up Ed at Fair View hotel at Upper Hill and our destinations today was Karura forest located within the superbs of Muthaiga.The traffic jam didn’t do us a lot of justice this particular morning and we ended up being that forest at 8:00 am and after clearing things with the forest authorities we immediately embark on our birding. At the beginning of the trails we picked  Tawny-flanked Prinia,Hartlaub’s Turaco,Common Moorhen,Little Grebe,Red-faced Cisticola,Long-crested Eagle,Baglafecht,Holub’s Golden and Grosbeak Weavers.

African Goshawk By Ed Swan

Walking further inside the forest we encountered species such as Tambourine and Red-eyed Doves,Cabanis and Yellow-whiskered Greenbul,Lesser Striped Swallow,Plain Martin and Black Saw-wing.As we approaching the small bridge used for crossing the river,we picked up species like;Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird,Black-backed Puffback,Tropical Boubou,Slender-billed Greenbul,Chin-spot Batis,African Dusky Flycatcher.

African Pygmy Kingfisher by Juhani Vilpo

Sunbirds were plenty along Syke’s trails where Variable,Bronze,Collared and Amethyst,Eastern Double-collared Sunbirds were recorded.We briefly saw a Little Sparrowhawk , but African Goshawk  gave us some excellent views and Ed even managed to take some great photos.

As we were winding our day up around 3:00pm, we were treated to a spectacular views of African Crowned Eagle which was flying low between the trees, I guess he was hunting as the alarm call from the monkeys was evident enough.It finally patched and we had great views of this majestic raptor.

February 15,2022.Nairobi National Park:Today we visited Nairobi national park,a natural sanctuary located 8km away from the puzzling life of  the down-town. This 117 square km has a wealth of contrasting habitat of low altitude montane forest,grassland savanna and dry woodland in the southern part of the park.Just after entering the park, we picked species like Yellow-billed Kite,Pied Crow,White-backed Vultures,Cape Robin-chat,Red-cheeked cordon-blue,Purple Grenadier,Red-billed Firefinch and Yellow-bellied Waxbill.Swifts were flying around us and we managed to identify Little,White-rumped and Horus Swift.Red-rumped and Lesser Striped Swallow were also recorded.

Yellow-billed Stork

At Nugolomon dam,we recorded African Darter,Long-tailed Cormorant,African Fish Eagle,Lesser Swamp Warbler,Malachite and Pied Kingfisher,Yellow-billed Egret,Little Egret,African Sacred Ibis and an Osprey.We turned around and drive to Hyena Dam.On our way there we picked up species like;Little Bee-eater,Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Pactrol-patched and Zitting Cisticola,Gabar Goshawk, Yellow-throated Longclaw,Long-tailed Fiscal,Northern-pied Babbler and melodious Rufous-naped Lark.

Glossy Ibis

At Hyena dam water birds were plenty.Black Crake,Long-toed,Spur-winged and Blacksmith Lapwing were seen.Yellow-billed Stork,Sacred and Glossy Ibis,Three-banded plover,Wood Sandpiper,African Snipe and Augur Buzzard.

Our drive toward Kingfisher campsite,we picked up African Moustached Warbler,White-browed Robin-Chat,Grey-capped Warbler,Yellow-breasted Apalis,Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater,Long-crested Eagle,Yellow-rumped and Streaky Seedeater and a soaring Black Stork.

We took a break to enjoy our packed lunches at Baboon Cliffs.Before we proceeded toward Athi basin,we quickly picked Red-fronted and Spot-flanked Barbet while enjoying the view.

African Moustached Warbler by Joseph Aengwo

As you drive toward Athi basin it becomes more drier and the birding really get enhanced here;we picked up White-headed Barbet,Hildebrandt’s Starling,Yellow-necked Spurfowl,Eastern Grey and Nubian Woodpecker, Fsicher’s Lovebirds,Diederik Cuckoo,Siffling Cisticola,Somali Short-toed Lark,Cinnamon-breasted Bunting,Pangani Longclaw,Desert Cisticola and Steppe Eagle.

Pangani Longclaw by Joseph Aengwo

At Athi Basin dam,we picked White Pelican,Open-billed Stork,Fischer’s Sparrow-lark.We progressively exited the park using East gate where we picked up Secretary Bird,Lesser Kestrel and Hartlaub’s Bustard.

Blue-headed Tree Agama

February 19-21,2022.Masai Mara National Reserve: After taking a 3 days break to concentrate on the medical research work in Lodwar,Turkana County.The travelling resumed on 19th February we traveled to Masai Mara Game Reserve.Our 3 days stayed were exclusively spend on the Mara Triangle which is one of the well managed part of the reserve.During our Stay there,we stayed at Mara Serena Safari Lodge.

The View of the Mara from Serena Lodge

During our travel from Narok to Olololo Gate located below the Siria escarpment, we picked up Jackson’s and Red-collared Widowbirds on the Mara North conservancy,Long-crested Eagle was seen close to Kichwa-Tembo lodge and just before the gate we recorded White-winged Widowbird.

Masai Giraffe

The park was teeming with wildlife,Elephants,Buffalos,Masai Giraffes,Defassa Waterbuck,Coke Hartebeest,Topi,Thomson and Grant Gazelles,Zebras,Impalas,Wildebeest,Warthogs and Baboons.We had lunch at the lodge and after  relaxing a bit we started afternoon game drives.We saw a pride of Lions who had killed a buffalo the morning before our arrival and the feasting was baffling to watch.The birds we recorded that afternoon includes;Grey-backed Fiscal,Yellow-throated Longclaw,Western Marsh Harrier and Montagu’s Harrier were hunting low over a swamp.Rattling,Black-backed,Winding,Zitting and Stout Cisticolas were recorded.

Lilac-breasted Roller By Joseph Aengwo

This morning we visited the famous Mara river,where a big family of hippos were wallowing in the mud and Crocodiles were basking in the sun.Little Bee-eater,Lilac-breasted Roller,Fan-tailed Widowbird and More Red-collared Widowbirds were seen in plenty.We were lucky enough to witness a hunting by a pride of three Lionesses which ended up being successful as they ended up killing the Warthog.The afternoon was not very successful as it rained heavily in the Mara forcing us to stick to the passable main roads only.

Topi By Joseph Aengwo

This morning was our last in the Masai Mara,so I guess we had to make the most out of it.The previous evening rain was a blessing in disguise! As we were driving from the lodge toward the Mara Bridge gate, we saw impressive list of birds; Western-banded Snake Eagle,Saddle-billed Stork,Rufous-bellied Heron,Rosy-breasted Longclaw, Coqui Francolin and Red-necked Francolin,Sooty Chat and African Pipit.

Rossy-breasted Longclaw

At the bridge we recorded Wire-tailed Swallow,Buff-bellied Warbler,Grey-capped Social Weaver,Bare-faced Go-Away-Bird and Martial Eagle and Two very strong male Lions.However,we missed our much sort after species;Long-tailed Cisticola and Magpie Shrike because we were running out time and we had to drive back to Nairobi.  

Mwanza Flat-headed Rock Agama
Masai Mara Serena Lodge