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NORTHERN & EASTERN KENYA

Saturday 10th November - Monday 26th November 2012

Pete Morris

The fantastic Heuglin's Bustard - a star of the show! (Pete Morris)

The fantastic Heuglin's Bustard - a star of the show! (Pete Morris)

Once again, Kenya lived up to its reputation of being one of the most diverse birding destinations on our planet. This was in effect the second part of our Ultimate Kenya tour (formed by the combination of this tour and our Western Kenya and the Masai Mara tour) which recorded a mind-boggling total of 817 species, only five of which were heard only. This was despite the fact that we were prioritizing Kenyan specialities (a task in which we were extremely successful) rather than going all out for a huge list!!! On this tour, in just 16 action-packed days around some of the prime birding sites in the north and east of the country, we recorded no fewer than 596 species of birds and 64 species of mammals! Amongst such a high number of species, there were of course numerous avian highlights, and of the nine or ten Kenyan endemics we encountered six on this tour, namely Williams’s Lark, Sharpe’s Longclaw, Hinde’s Babbler, Taita Thrush, Taita Apalis and Taita White-eye thus only missing Aberdare Cisticola (seen on the linked Western Kenya tour), Clarke’s Weaver, Kulal White-eye and the virtually unknown Tana River Cisticola. We also saw a number of rarities and restricted-range species. Amongst the most exciting of these were the brilliant Heuglin's Bustard, the difficult Dwarf Bittern, smart Swallow-tailed Kites, 1000s of impressive Amur Falcons, an unexpected Quail-Plover, the localized Somali Courser, Mackinder’s (Cape) Eagle Owl, Sokoke Scops Owl, colourful Fischer’s and Hartlaub’s Turacos, rarely seen Friedmann’s and Masked Larks, Malindi, Sokoke and fabulous Golden Pipits, Rosy-patched and Red-naped Bush-shrikes, the rarely seen Basra Reed Warbler, Steel-blue and Straw-tailed Wydahs and the lovely Grey-headed Silverbill to name but a few! There were also some terrific mammal sightings too, including Leopard, Cheetah and Lion!

The stunning Hartlaub's Bustard was also much appreciated (Pete Morris)

The stunning Hartlaub's Bustard was also much appreciated (Pete Morris)