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KENYA

Thursday 30th October - Sunday 23rd November 2008

Nik Borrow

It is mind-boggling to sit down after a tour that has recorded 708 species of birds and 72 species of mammals in just over three weeks (no wonder we were tired!) and actually take it all in and sum it up in just a few words! Once again, Kenya had more than lived up to its reputation for not only producing an enormous bird list but also providing a marvellous mammal-watching experience as well. Our arrival in Nairobi coincided with the ‘short’ rains and news of recent flooding had reached our ears. However, we were remarkably fortunate with the weather as we mainly encountered the aftermath of the downpours during our travels rather than the deluges themselves! There were of course numerous avian highlights during our grand tour of the country and of the nine or ten endemics recorded for the country we encountered eight. Namely; Williams’s Lark, Sharpe’s Longclaw, Aberdare Cisticola, Hinde’s Babbler, Taita Thrush, Taita Apalis, Taita White-eye and Clarke’s Weaver (alas only heard!) thus only missing Kulal White-eye and the virtually unknown Tana River Cisticola. We also saw rarities such as Friedmann’s Lark, Turner’s Eremomela, Grey-crested Helmet-shrike and Abbott’s Starling. Of the other near-endemics and specials rarely recorded on other tours we managed to record the following: Somali Ostrich, Southern Banded Snake Eagle, Mountain Buzzard, Shelley’s and Jackson’s Francolins, Vulturine Guineafowl, Heuglin’s Bustard, Somali Courser, Sooty Gull, Black-faced Sandgrouse, Black-billed, Fischer’s and Hartlaub’s Turacos, Thick-billed Cuckoo, Sokoke Scops Owl, Mackinder’s (Cape) Eagle Owl, Scheffler’s Owlet, Montane and Donaldson Smith’s Nightjars, Forbe’s-Watson’s Swift, White-headed Mousebird, Blue-headed and Somali Bee-eaters, Grant’s Wood-hoopoe, Jackson’s and Hemprich’s Hornbills, Eastern Green Tinkerbird, 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, Malindi and Golden Pipits, Pangani Longclaw, Kakamega, Olive-breasted Mountain, Stripe-faced, Toro Olive, Placid, Fischer’s, Tiny and Joyful Greenbuls, Northern Brownbul, Dodson’s Bulbul, Scaly and Northern Pied Babblers, Mountain and Scaly-breasted Illadopsises, Equatorial and East Coast Akalats, Blue-shouldered Robin Chat, Schalow’s Wheatear, Brown-tailed Rock Chat, Little Rock Thrush, Gambaga Flycatcher, Uganda Woodland Warbler, Hunter’s, Chubb’s, Boran and Ashy Cisticolas, Pale and Black-faced Prinias, Somali Long-billed and White-browed Crombecs, Yellow-vented Eremomela, Banded Parisoma, Montane White-eye, Red-throated Tit, Little Yellow Flycatcher, Forest Batis, Jameson’s Wattle-eye, Long-tailed, Taita and Somali Fiscals, Three-streaked Tchagra, Black-fronted Bush-shrike, Rosy-patched Bush-shrike, East Coast Boubou, Pringle’s Puffback, Montane Oriole, Somali Crow, Kenrick’s, Stuhlmann’s, Bristle-crowned, Hildebrandt’s, Sharpe’s, Fischer’s and Magpie Starlings, Plain-backed, Amani, Eastern Olive, Hunter’s, Northern Double-collared, Eastern Double-collared, Tsavo Purple-banded, Golden-winged, Scarlet-tufted Malachite, Black-bellied and Shining Sunbirds, Parrot-billed, Kenya Rufous and Somali Sparrows, Donaldson Smith’s Sparrow-weaver, Golden Palm, Taveta Golden, Jackson’s Golden-backed and Northern Masked Weavers, Zanzibar Red Bishop, Jackson’s Widowbird, Red-headed Bluebill, Blue-capped Cordon-bleu, Black-cheeked Waxbill, Grey-headed Silverbill, Purple Indigobird, Straw-tailed Whydah, Reichenow’s Seed-eater, African and Southern Citrils and White-bellied and Southern Grosbeak Canaries.