Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Birding in Kenya X

Last week when Grant spotted the stork with an arrow through its crop, he took me back to the dam the next day. To get to this particular body of water, we always cross the Kimwarer River which runs from the mountain down past the offices and towards the bottom of the valley. From habit we both look up and down the river as we drive across. I was looking to the left and Grant looked up - river. I drew a blank and he spotted a cat! Not a thin, feral cat. This was a large black-and-white cat who had to belong to somebody (there are huts just above this point of the river) This cat obviously sits here and hunts for it's supper. Many rats, squirrels, birds to choose from.
A large black-and-white cat on the banks of the river running past the offices

 One of the two resident Nile crocodiles basking in the midday sun

Fascinating reflections on the surface of the water

After photographing the "arrowed" stork on the opposite side of the dam, which I posted about on Monday, I focussed on a small flock of storks nearby. Several birds were crouched down in a relaxed manner. I panned in on one who seemed to have such long lower legs and feet that it looked hilarious.

A Yellow-billed Stork in repose. Note the long lower legs and feet. This bird's plumage is more diffused with pink and wing covert tips are almost crimson, which means it's a breeding adult

As usual, the Pied Kingfishers were there in their dozens and fishing constantly. Since I first saw these birds feeding at this dam, I've tried to capture the hovering, the dive and the upward swoop with a fish in its beak. Saturday was no exception. I focussed on a bird and clicked (missed more times than not,  LOL!) Eventually I managed to get a sequence but missed the fishing and rising from the water.

Pied Kingfisher looking for its food

Hovering between three and five meters above the water the kingfisher spots a fish

Rising up from the dive in which almost its entire body is submerged, the kingfisher is about to try again

On the way home, I saw a little brown bird (known to birders as LBJ's - Little Brown Jobs) sitting in a thorn tree. Grant stopped and I got my photo.
The African Grey Flycatcher is endemic to North East Africa and a common bird in the valley


  1. What a funny looking story, and a cute little flycatcher.
    That croc is huge. I'm glad he seems to be a safe distance away.

  2. I love them all--but that last picture is AWESOME.

  3. Great series, Jo! The Kingfisher are one of my favorites. And I love that big stork with its big feet. The last flycatcher is a cutie. Great birds and photos.

  4. Hope that croc doesn't find the cat. Nice shots of the Kingfisher.

  5. That stork is a winner Jo!

    For flight shots my photographer son recommended that I set my camera on multi-shot, focus on my subject and pan with it while keeping my finger down in shooting mode. As long as you can follow the bird, the camera will keep focus. I have to have mine on auto=focus since I don't see well enough anymore to do it myself. Hope this helps. Oh, and I have the camera on sports setting or if you use manual, on the fastest setting for available light.


  6. Hi Jo, great to see these birds close up, I did not know stork had such huge feet!The Kimwarer is definitely not a river to go paddling in with 2 resident crocs!

  7. Love Storks! Great shots Jo!

  8. I'd be a bit scared living near crocodiles! My sister Mary Alice lives in Orlando, Florida, and crocs live in many parts of FL, even in some housing subdivisions in ponds. The ponds hold water that has been pumped out of the swampy land in order to build houses there. The kingfisher shots are great, the big-footed stork is hilarious and the LBJ is too cute!


Thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate your feedback. Jo