Exceptional Encounter With Quail-plover in Tsavo West National Park.

In life, sometimes you encounter episodes that are hard to describe, or for others to believe. One such episode, happened to me with a group of Italians ornithologist I was guiding at Tsavo West national park in Kenya in 2018.

The park is 9065 km.sq and is themeing with wildlife. Wildlife of all sorts. Mammals are the main attraction but there is plenty more to see. Birds, reptiles, insects, amphibians, you name it you have it. There is an abundance, of both variety and numbers. It is a haven of natural wonders, for anyone with an interest in wildlife. From biologists to conservationists, from keen enthusiasts to ametuer naturalists, all can be entertained. There is plenty for everyone to enjoy.

Quail-plover in Tsavo West.Photo by Michael Sammut

Our main targets for this park was Red-naped Bushshrike,Friedmann’s Lark and Quail-plover .We managed to get the first two with minimum effort, the third one proved to be a hard-nut to crack .After one and half day of searching, we gave up, there was no point spending a lot of time looking for one bird while we had more places to go and things to do. While we were leaving Tsavo West for Taita hills the next morning, something happen! While our driver was busy cruising through the vast park, one of my clients notice a lark like flight with unique black-and-white wing pattern with is a clear indicative that it might be our golden-priced target.

Photo by Michael Sammut

Our driver-guide had no choice but to reverse for approximately 800m, I really admire his patience with us. The six of us had our eyes all over the place and suddenly our guy was there, standing still just by the side of the road next to our car. It certainly started running away from us on the road and that is how we picked this photos that I’m sharing with you today.

That was an incredibly rewarding trip for my guest and I.Everybody was happy!

Kenya Big Year Birding with Arjan Dwarshuis

Arjan and Ethan 049

After Noah Strycker Big year in Kenya July Last year, Arjan Dwarshuis came for his Big Year in April 16-29 2016.His visit coincided with April rains and therefore,  everything was green and all the Whydahs,Bishops, Widowbirds and Weavers were all on their full breeding plumage. We were even lucky with some migrants on their way north. The trip was put together by African Birding Safaris and my friends Zarek Cocker and Stratton Hatfield were kind enough to have invited me to provided some guiding services to this experiences birder. joining Arjan in this trip  was Ethan Kistler from Birding Africa in South Africa, an exceptional birder who has done extensive birding in Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Uganda,Tanzania Ethiopia, South Africa and and Malawi. He was blessed with musical ears and for that reason we put him in judge of bird calls confirmation, a duty he diligently performed.

Our choice of destination included; Mt.Kenya, Shaba and Samburu game reserve, Aberdare National park, North Kinangop grassland, Lake Nakuru National park, Lake Baringo, Kerio Valley, Kakamega forest, Lake Victoria, Masai Mara national reserve, Tsavo West and East National park, Taita Hills and Arabuko sokoke forest, Mida Creek and Sabaki estuary

  In 16 days, we recorded 634 species, using our clement list, and some the highlights of the trip included; William’s Lark, Aberdare Cisticola, Sharpes Longclaw, Gray-crested Helmet Shrike, Boran Cisticola, White-crested and Black-billed Turaco, Blued-headed Bee-eater, African Broadbill, Yellow-crested Woodpecker, Amur Falcon, Karamoja Apalis, Bronze-winged Courser, Red-naped Bush-shrike, Sokoke Pipit and Sokoke Scops Owl. He is now in Uganda keeping up with the chase, and I wish him well, as you may know, Noah isn’t a pushover.