Welcome to Birdquest
Friday 11th November - Sunday 27th November 2011
It is mind-boggling to sit down after a tour that has recorded 564 species of birds and 61 species of mammals in 16 action packed days (no wonder we were tired) and actually take it all in and sum it up in just a few words! Again, Kenya had more than lived up to its reputation for not only producing an enormous bird list but for also providing a marvellous mammal-watching experience as well. Although we were aiming for a big list, our greater priority was to target the countries endemics and its most special and localised birds and by the end of the trip, our successes were definitely greater than our losses.
There were of course numerous avian highlights during our grand tour of the country and of the nine or ten Kenyan endemics we encountered five, namely; Williams’s Lark, Hinde’s Babbler, Taita Thrush, Taita Apalis, Taita White-eye thus only missing Sharpe’s Longclaw and Aberdare Cisticola (both seen on the linked Western Kenya tour), Clarke’s Weaver, Kulal White-eye and the virtually unknown Tana River Cisticola. We also saw rarities and restricted-range species such as Sokoke Scops Owl, Friedmann’s Lark, Malindi and Sokoke Pipits, Golden Palm and Taveta Golden Weavers and Violet-breasted Sunbird. Of the other near-endemics and specials rarely recorded on other tours we also managed to record the following: Somali Ostrich, Mountain Buzzard, Shelley’s Francolin, Vulturine Guineafowl, Somali Courser, Sooty Gull, Black-faced Sandgrouse, Fischer’s and Hartlaub’s Turacos, Mackinder’s (Cape) Eagle Owl, Scheffler’s (Barred) Owlet, Montane Nightjar, Forbes-Watson’s Swift, White-headed Mousebird, Somali Bee-eater, Grant’s Wood-hoopoe, Eastern Green Tinkerbird, Brown-breasted, Red-and-yellow and D’Arnaud’s Barbets, Pallid Honeyguide, Mombasa and African Grey-headed Woodpeckers, Foxy, Pink-breasted and Masked Larks, Fischer’s and Chestnut-headed Sparrow Larks, Golden Pipit, Pangani Longclaw, Olive-breasted Mountain, Stripe-faced, Placid, Fischer’s and Tiny Greenbuls, Northern Brownbul, Dodson’s Bulbul, Scaly and Northern Pied Babblers, East Coast Akalat, Brown-tailed Rock Chat, Little Rock Thrush, Hunter’s, Boran and Ashy Cisticolas, Pale Prinia, Brown-tailed (split from Yellow-breasted) Apalis, Chestnut-throated Apalis, Somali Long-billed and White-browed Crombecs, Banded Parisoma, Montane White-eye, Red-throated Tit, Little Yellow Flycatcher, Forest Batis, Long-tailed, Taita and Somali Fiscals, Three-streaked Tchagra, Black-fronted Bush-shrike, Rosy-patched and Red-naped Bush-shrikes, East Coast Boubou, Pringle’s Puffback, Montane Oriole, Somali Crow, Kenrick’s, Bristle-crowned, Hildebrandt’s, Sharpe’s, Fischer’s and Magpie Starlings, Plain-backed, Amani, Eastern Olive, Mouse-coloured, Hunter’s, Northern Double-collared, Eastern Double-collared, Tsavo Purple-banded, Golden-winged and Black-bellied Sunbirds, Parrot-billed, Kenya Rufous and Somali Sparrows, Donaldson Smith’s Sparrow-weaver, Zanzibar Red Bishop, Jackson’s Widowbird, Black-cheeked Waxbill, Grey-headed Silverbill, Purple Indigobird, Steel-blue and Straw-tailed Whydahs, Reichenow’s Seed-eater, African Citril and White-bellied and Northern and Southern Grosbeak Canaries.