Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Birding in Kenya VI

Ever since Arija of Garden Delights introduced me to World Bird Wednesday, I regularly post about birding in Kenya. Do pop over and visit Arija's blog.

My post today contains about a dozen photos and captions; if I make a mistake, please just enjoy the post in the spirit with which I post it: simply, informatively and primarily to share with my loyal readers. I don't profess to be a expert birder; instead, I consider myself as a keen birder. My photos are sometimes slightly unfocussed, but I'm normally looking to capture the unusual rather than a perfect image for a coffee table bird book.

Above all, although I love all creation and enjoy nature, I worship the Creator, rather thank creation. For me to be arrogant about the plethora of birds and creatures around us (we don't have to travel or pay to see them, imagine that!) would disprove my life's testimony which is to bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control. God's love and kindness should be paramount in my life.

On Sunday,  Grant and I drove up a mountain, known on the mine as Choff 6. Before we'd even left the security area, we heard a bird party* taking place in the thicket beside the road. We stopped and saw mousebirds, bulbuls, cameropteras (warblers), sunbirds, weavers and drongos noisily flitting in and out of the bushes. The most vocal, however, were the robin-chats. While trying to focus on a warbler (who's so fast I still don't have a photo although they are very common)  I noticed a movement to my right. I moved the camera slightly in that direction. A White-browed Robin-chat sat on a branch about two meters from the car. Normally a vocal, but elusive bird here in the valley, I was thrilled to have it in full view.

Note: * A bird party is when different species of birds are found together in one place. Often these parties only last a few minutes, so if you are birding and hear or see this activity, stop and take a look.
White-browed Robin-chat warming itself in the early morning sun
Village (Spotted-backed) Weaver

Fork-tailed Drongo

While watching the various birds and trying to get a a few photos, Grant pointed out a movement on the side of the road. Moving silently amongst the grasses and succulents, was a Red-billed Fire-finch.
Red-billed Fire-finch

Eventually the party dwindled, all became quiet and it was time to move on.  A few meters along the road,  an African Paradise-flycatcher flew across our path and landed on a shrub deep in the bush.
African Paradise-flycatcher (white phase)

Continuing through the gate, we finally started up the mountain road to Choff 6. Shortly afterwards, Grant's workshop foreman, Tom and assistants, approached in their vehicle. They stopped alongside us and while the Grant spoke to them, I spotted a Pin-tailed Whydah on a thorn bush in an open area.
Pin-tailed Whydah

Business over, we carried on up the road. Around the next corner we saw a small flock of Speckled Mousebirds eating fruit.   This bird is generally brown with a very long tail and a distinctive head crest. The body feathers are edged with white giving them a speckled appearance.

Speckled Mousebird

At the field workshop at the top of Choff 6, Grant did a quick inspection, finding, as always, that everything was in order. We drove back down the hill, stopping frequently if we saw anything interesting and also to hand out sweets to the little children who live in the small settlements along the way.

This little boy is a regular recipient of sweets when I pass! We know who his hero is!

Sunday morning coming down...

Although it was a challenge to get a clear photo of the above bird, I just had to post it. This Black Saw-wing was a lifer for me and Grant

Not an exciting sighting but this pair of Black-eyed bulbuls caught my eye while they soaked up the morning sun

Once we were back in the company admin area, Grant popped into his office to sign orders;  I wandered around the garden...

Busy birds: weavers building nests...
...and displaying - with feathers puffed up and fluttering wings -  to attract  suitable females

Grant emerged from the office and we made our way up the road back to camp. With three  hours of successful birding behind us, we were happy with our bird sightings. However, a few hundred meters up the road, we had a last treat...

White-bellied Go-away-bird

Although this was our birding experience on Sunday morning, we also went out birding later that afternoon. (To be continued)

As I was about to log off last night, I saw I had two new mails in my inbox. Good news! I'd just received an assignment from an adventure magazine for not one, but TWO articles. I'm so excited and cannot wait to get them off to the editor.  Now I'm off to write another two proposals : one for South African farming magazine and the other for a women's magazine.


  1. Wonderful photos. I love photos of wildlife, including birds and photos of children. You've got both. It's amazing just how many different species of birds there are in Kenya.

  2. P.S. Congratulations on your successful proposals. How wonderful!

  3. Congrats, Jo... I am proud of you for your accomplishments...

    Love your assortment of birds. I always enjoy seeing all of the birds from different countries. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Congratulations on your two new assignments. I have a Pin tail wydah that terrorises my garden in the summer. Chases everything away, only the Indian Minah birds ignore him.

  5. You are a very good birder with a keen eye. Congrats on the articles.

  6. Beautiful photos! I'm in awe that you get such good ones.
    Now, why is the last bird called a "go-away"?

  7. Well done on the proposals. These pictures make me quite home sick, so many bird names that I took for granted in S.Africa and that I now never see in Europe. Diane

  8. Thanks everyone for the kind comments. Dedene, the Go-away bird is so called because of its "wah, wah" call. It sounds like a nasal "gway" !

  9. Great pictures. Bird parties are always fun to watch. I enjoy them when the fights are more interesting than the feeding.

  10. I better close this post before one of my cats see it ! I think they would be very much interested in "mousebirds" ! Especially Rosie ! what a dream, two in one !

  11. It is amazing to me how many different birds you see in your area, Jo. These are all good photos! I like the birds with red in their feathers and also the ones with l=really long tail feathers--so unusual. I do so appreciate God's creation.

  12. Breathtaking, Jo! The bird sightings are phenomenal and the countryside is Eden-like. And I always enjoy the addition of human elements such as the young boy in his Osama teeshirt here :) It's always interesting to see the local townsfolk going about their daily business in Africa.


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