Welcome to Birdquest
Saturday 15th August - Saturday 29th August 2015
It is mind-boggling to sit down after a tour that has recorded hundreds of species of birds and numerous species of mammals in 17 action-packed days, take it all in and then sum it up in just a few words! Once again, Kenya has more than lived up to its reputation for not only producing an enormous bird list but also providing a marvellous mammal-watching experience. There were numerous avian highlights during our grand tour of the westernmost part of the country that took the in the dramatic landscapes of Mount Kenya, the dry thorn-bush and lava deserts of Shaba, Buffalo Springs and Samburu National Reserve, the open waters of Lake Nakuru and the rocky cliffs of Lake Baringo, the verdant forests of Kakamega and of course the absolutely amazing Masai Mara. This tour was definitely about enjoying all the birds that we saw no matter whether they were rare or common and our favourite bird sightings reflected the amazing diversity that the country has to offer. We targeted some elusive specialties and for rarity value none came any more threatened than the endangered Hinde’s Babbler in the foothills of the imposing peaks of Mount Kenya and our views were close up and personal. On the barren lava flows of Shaba National Reserve we found the localized Williams’s Lark. There were some ‘pure’ Grey-crested Helmet-shrikes amongst the hybrids at Nakuru, we spotted Jackson’s Hornbills easily at Baringo, watched the diminutive Turner’s Eremomela in the treetops of Kakamega, witnessed the migration of the wildebeest as they made their legendary crossings of the Mara River and had front row seats as a Cheetah and her four cubs made a kill in front of our vehicle. For sheer spectacle we marveled at bizarrely quilled Secretary Birds and the enormous Kori Bustard. For beauty we admired the colours of glittering Golden-winged and Eastern Double-collared Sunbirds and an assortment of kingfishers, bee-eaters and rollers. We also enjoyed the displays of amorous Somali Ostriches, tail wiggling Usambiro Barbets and the sight of a pair of White-spotted Flufftails wandering around in the open totally amazed us all. Amongst the other highlights and species rarely recorded on BirdQuest tours we managed to record the following: Vulturine Guineafowl, Shelley’s and Hildebrandt’s Francolins, Somali Courser, Black-faced Sandgrouse, Schalow’s, Hartlaub’s and Ross’s Turacos, Mackinder’s (Cape) Eagle-Owl, Montane Nightjar (heard only), Slender-tailed Nightjar, Scarce Swift, White-headed Mousebird, Blue-headed and Somali Bee-eaters, Grant’s Wood Hoopoe, Hemprich’s Hornbill, Brown-and-white, Red-and-yellow and D’Arnaud’s Barbets, Least Honeyguide, Eastern Grey Woodpecker, Jameson’s Wattle-eye (heard only), Rosy-patched Bushshrike, Three-streaked Tchagra, Long-tailed and Taita Fiscals, Mountain Oriole, Red-throated Tit, Buff-bellied Penduline Tit, Fischer’s Sparrow-Lark, Pink-breasted, Foxy and Athi Short-toed Larks, Dodson’s Bulbul, Kakamega, Olive-breasted, Joyful, Toro Olive and Placid Greenbuls, White-headed Saw-wing, White-browed Crombec, Uganda Woodland Warbler, Chubb’s, Hunter’s and Boran Cisticolas, Pale, Black-faced, Black-collared, Brown-tailed (split from Yellow-breasted) and Chestnut-throated Apalises, Scaly-breasted Illadopsis, Northern Pied Babbler, Abyssinian and Kikuyu White-eyes, Grey-chested Babbler, Southern Hyliota, Hildebrandt’s, Bristle-crowned and Stuhlmann’s Starlings, Silverbird, Chapin’s Flycatcher, Grey-winged, Blue-shouldered and Rüppell’s Robin-Chats, Equatorial Akalat, Little Rock Thrush, Brown-tailed Rock Chat, Schalow’s Wheatear, Hunter’s, Tacazze, Northern Double-collared, Eastern Double-collared, Black-bellied and Orange-tufted Sunbirds, Donaldson Smith’s Sparrow-Weaver, Kenya, Parrot-billed and Swahili Sparrows, Golden Palm, Northern Masked, Speke’s, Layard’s, Golden-backed and Chestnut Weavers, Jackson’s Widowbird, Red-headed Bluebill, Blue-capped Cordon-bleu, Grey-headed Silverbill, Steel-blue and Straw-tailed Whydahs, Pangani Longclaw, African Citril, Reichenow’s Seedeater and White-bellied Canary.