Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Birding in Kenya II

Continuing to share our birding experience over the past two weeks,  on an island in the dam, we watched a group of Cattle Egret roosting in the thorn bushes. These are small shortish-legged herons, entirely white, except when breeding - I posted a photo of this on my Lake Bogoria post in April. The bird has a short yellow bill which turns coral-red for a few days when breeding. They are gregarious and tame and occur in swamps, grasslands and pastures.

Cattle Egret

Cattle Egret are gregarious birds and we often see them grouped together like this

I took many photos of these neat little birds and decided to share this one with you. Don't you just love the reflections in the water?

Green-backed Heron

I next spotted a heron in the reeds in the middle of the dam. (If you weren't looking for birds, you'd probably miss this one.) The heron sat very still for a long time so I could take numerous photos!  

The Green-backed Heron is a small heron with an erectile black crown (not displayed in photo), dark grey-green back and paler grey underparts. The motionless, hunch posture is characteristic. This birds legs are yellow (they are orange in pre-breeding birds)  
 Yes, another photo of the Pied Kingfisher which I posted about in my previous post today. This one is a male as it has two black breast bands. The female has a single incomplete black breast band 

 Near the edge of the dam, I watched an African Jacana walked along a reedbed in the water. It's not easy to focus clearlyon this bird as it moves too fast

When I looked up from the camera screen, I saw Grant, who was quite a way from me along the bank, waving his arms as if calling me. I walked towards him, he gave me the binoculars and told me to take a look.
On the opposite side of the bank, sunning itself on a grassy patch beside the water, was a...

...LARGE crocodile!
After taking many photos of the crocodile, I turned my camera towards a bird which I noticed flitting about in the bushes in front of me.

African Grey Flycatcher
This all-grey flycatcher, paler below and with indistinct streaking on the crown, is often difficult to see. It's found singly or in pairs in dry bush (where it was when I took the photo) and acacia woodlands. I love little brown birds known as little brown jobs (Lbj's) in South Africa, and added this one to my lifer list. It was a first for me. I dont know if Grant noticed the bird as he was still fascinated by the crocodile on the other side of the dam. 
By now it was becoming very hot on the bank and we drove around the dam to a wooded and bushy area. More about that in another post tomorrow.


  1. So many interesting birds! I think it's fascinating that the cattle egret's bill turns red at breeding time. It must make them much more attractive. Kind of like lipstick, I guess. :)

  2. Kingfishers are so cute!

    Are cattle egrets the ones that ride on the backs of cattle and eat bugs off their backs? I think I saw that on a documentary on TV once.

  3. Jo, you do a FANTASTIC job capturing all of this wildlife; Even those birds which move quickly!


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