I drove up from Arusha to Nairobi on January 9th this year. Unfrtunately my friend from South Africa cancelled on me last minute, so I only had one friend with me on the trip. This is a Mzungu living in coastal Kenya. We met in the evening of the 9th and decided for an early departure out of Nairobi the day after.

Day 1, January 10, 2023: Nairobi – Sagana – Castle Forest

My new guide, James Apolloh was already there when my guest and I met up for coffee at 05:45. We loaded up the car and were soon on our way. Our first stop were for the Hinde´s Babbler, a Kenyan endemic bird I have never dipped on. That day despite several stops, we failed to locate it. Not a good start at all Some of the birds we located at our first stop included: Black-backed Puffback, Orange-breasted Bushshrike, Rüppel´s Robin-Chat, White-browed Scrub-Robin, Common Rock Thrush, Black Cuckoo (race Jacksoni), Crested Francolin, African Goshawk, Grey-backed Cameroptera, Brubru, Amethyst Sunbird, Northern White-crowned Shrike, Black-headed Oriole, Levaillant´s and Red-chested Cuckoo and Grey-headed Kingfisher. We continued towards Castle Forest, stopped at a few other places for the Babbler and picked up Slate-coloured Boubou, Variable and Northern Double-collared Sunbird. From there we drove straight to the entrance of the forest reserve that leads to Castle Forest Lodge. We stopped at the gate and added African Black Duck, Yellow-whiskered Greenbul and Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater to our list. We drove up to the lodge and while having lunch continued spotting birds. After lunch, we took a walk around the garden of the lodge. Here are some of the birds we encountered:  Black Saw-wing, African Citril, Thick-billed Seedeater, Hartlaub´s Turaco, Hunter´s Cisticola, Chestnut-throated Apalis, Abyssian Thrush, Red-backed Mannikin, Scaly Spurfowl, White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher, White-bellied Tit, Red-backed Mannikin, Kandt´s Waxbill, Chinspot Batis, Crowned Hornbill, Spectackled Weaver, Tropical Boubou, Baglafecht Weaver, Kikuyu White-eye, Olive-breasted Greenbul, Mountain Oriole, African Dusky Flycatcher, Mountain Wagtail, Cinnamon Bracken Warbler, Yellow-bellied Waxbill, Tacazze Sunbird and Cape Robin-Chat. We had dinner and on my way to the tent, I heard a Western Barn Owl.

Some Pictures from Day 1:

Black Cuckoo, Cuculus clamosus (race jacksoni)

African Goshawk, Accipiter tachiro

African Black Duck, Anas sparsa

Olive-breasted Greenbul, Arizelocichla kikuyuensis, Endemic to Albertine Rift and C Kenya

Red-backed Mannikin, Spermestes nigriceps

Yellow-bellied Waxbill, Coccopygia quartinia

Female, Baglafecht Weaver, Ploceus baglafecht

Baglafecht Weaver, Ploceus baglafecht

Day 2, January 11, 2023: Castle Forest. 

On that day we were going to explore the road from the Lodge and down to the gate. Before we started we had some fly by Olive Ibis. We also heard a Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo calling again and again, but we could never find it. Some of the other birds before breakfast: Scarce Swift, Silvery-cheeked Hornbill, Eurasian Blackcap, Eastern Bronze-naped Pigeon, Black-collared Apalis and Tree Pipit. We only managed to drive down a little bit before breakfast, so we continued where we stopped after breakfast. Some of the new birds we found included Abyssinian Ground Thrush, Orange Ground Thrush, Waller´s Starling, Mountain Buzzard, Grey-headed Nigrita, African Hill Babbler, Bar-tailed Trogon, Moustached Tinkerbird,  and White-starred Robin.  We drove back to the lodge for lunch and went down again after lunch to finish the road all the way to the gate.  We stopped at a spot and tried hard to get better views of the Orange Ground Thrush, had views, but no pictures. Other birds we encountered that afternoon: White-headed Wood Hoopoe, Fine-banded Woodpecker, Waller´s Starling, Tambourine Dove and Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird. 

Black-collared Apalis, Oreolais pulcher 

Grey-headed Nigrita, Nigrita canicapillus

Mountain Oriole, Oriolus percivali, Endemic to East Africa

Kandt´s Waxbill, Estrilda kandti

Thick-billed Seedeater, Chritagra burtoni

Abyssinian Ground Thrush, Geokichla piaggiae, Endemic to NE Africa

Fine-banded (Tullberg´s) Woodpecker, Campethera taeniolaema

Kikuyu White-eye, Zosterops kiuyuensis, Endemic to Central Kenya

White-headed Wood Hoopoe, Phoeniculus bollei

Yellow-whiskered Greenbul, Eurillas latirostris

Tambourine Dove, Turtur tympanistra

Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Merops oreobates, Endemic to East Africa

Abyssinian Thrush, Turdus abyssinicus

Hartlaub´s Turaco, Tauraco hartlaubi, Endemic to E Africa

Day 3, January 12, 2023 

That morning we decided to walk up from camp before Breakfast. Some of the new birds we saw that morning: Jackson´s Francolin, Grey-capped Warbler, Black-throated Apalis, Brown-capped Weaver, Abbott´s Starling, Eastern Double-collared Sunbird, Streaky Seed-eater, African Citril, Red-fronted Parrot, Bar-tailed Trogon, African Harrier-Hawk and  Willow Warbler. After breakfast we continued downhill. Only 2 new birds for the Castle Forest list: Black-fronted Bushshrike and Grey Heron. We returned for lunch and went looking for the Blue-headed Coucal in the afternoon. We could hear it, but never saw it. We saw Oriole Finch and Purple-throated and Grey Cuckooshrike. When we returned to camp, we finally got some long distance shots of Olive Ibis. We had dinner at the Lodge and turned to bed early.

Some pictures from Day 3:

Jackson´s Francolin, Pternistis jacksoni, Endemic to Kenya

Grey Apalis, Apalis cinerea

African Hill Babbler, Sylvia abyssinica

Mountain Buzzard, Buteo oreophilus, Endemic to NE Africa

Hunter´s Cisticola, Cisticola hunteri, Endemic to East Africa

White-eyed Slary Flycatcher, Melaenornis fischeri, Endemic to East and Central Africa

Great views of Mount Kenya in the morning

Streaky Seedeater, Chritagra stiolata

Abbott´s Starling, Poeoptera femoralis, Endemic to East Africa

Eastern Double-collared Sunbird, Cinnyris mediocris, Endemic to East Africa

Northern Double-collared Sunbird, Cinnyris reichenowi

Brown-capped Weaver, Ploceus insignis

Female, Brown-capped Weaver, Ploceus insignis

Olive Ibis,  Bostrychia olivacea

Day 4, January 13, 2023: Castle Forest to Samburu National Reserve

We decided to bird from the car on the way down the mountain this morning. We had several Eastern Bronze-naped Pigeons feeding on the road. Unfortunately a motorcycle in the other direction flushed them before we got any decent shots. At the bridge, we found a Giant Kingfisher. We stopped at the gate and finally managed to get semi decent pictures of the Yellow-throated Apalis. We drove on and stopped at a little Wetland just outside Isiola. Here we found amongst others: Little Grebe, Knob-billed Duck, Spur-winged Lapwing, Red-billed Teal, Egyptian Goose, Spur-winged Goose, African Sacred Ibis, Ruff and Common Greenshank. A little further on a flock of Abdim´s Storks. We were at the gate of Samburu at around 12:45. It was scorching hot, but we still managed to get some birds: Pink-breasted Lark, Isabelline Wheatear, Somali Ostrich, Von der Decken´s Hornbill, Donaldson´s Smith Sparrow-Weaver, Nubian Woodpecker, African Grey Flycatcher, Pied Wheatear, White-headed Buffalo Weaver, Parrot-billed Sparrow, Pygmy Falcon, Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, Bateleur, Eastern Chanting Goshawk, Blue-naped Mousebird, Taita Fiscal, Namaqua Dove, Buff-crested Bustard, Cut-throat Finch, White-browed Sparrow-Weaver, Northern Red Hornbill, Northern White-crowned Shrike, Crowned Lapwing, White-bellied Go-away-bird, Lesser Grey Shrike, Spotted Flycatcher, Lilac-breasted Roller, Rosy-patched Bushshrike, Fischer´s Starling, Yellow-spotted Bush Sparrow and Somali Bee-eater. We had been advised to take the road towards the Sopa Lodge in order to find the Somali Crombec, but no such luck. We continued and found amongst others these birds: Golden-breasted Starling, Purple Roller, Eastern Violet-backed Sunbird, Vulturine Guineafowl, Black-capped Social Weaver, Lesser Masked and Chestnut Weaver, D´Arnaud´s Barbet, Wattled Starling, Eastern Yellow-billed Hornbill, Straw-tailed Whydah, Purple Roller, Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin, Somali Bunting, Isabelline Shrike, Brubru, Common Rock Thrush, Common Kestrel, White-throated Bee-eater, Common Sandpiper, Grey-headed Kingfisher and Rufous Chatterer. We had now reached the public campsite along the river. We searched for Grant´s Wood Hoopoe, but it would not show. It were 17:00 so we had to turn and go back towards the gate. We now had the sun in our back and the light were getting much better. Some of the birds we saw on the 1 1/2 hour we used back in order to be out of the park before closing at 18:30: White-backed Vulture, Tawny Eagle, Slate-colored Boubou, Red-bellied Parrot, White-headed Mousebird a single Helmeted Guineafowl in a flock of Vulturines, Dodson´s Bulbul, Yellow-necked Spurfowl and Little Bee-eater. We stayed the night at Camel Gate Lodge at Archer´s Post and waited about 2 hours for our dinner :-). I had some local mechanics fix a minor issue with my Land Rover and we retired early to bed. 

Some pictures from Day 4:

Eatern Bronze-naped Pigeon, Columba delegorguei

Black-throated Apalis, Apalis jacksoni, 

Buff-crested Bustard, Lohotis gindiana, Endemic to NE Africa

Gerenuk, Litocranius Walleri

Eastern Yellow-billed Hornbill, Tockus flavirostris, Endemic to NE Africa

Somali Bee-eater, Merops revoilii, Endemic to East Africa

Purple Roller, Coracias naevius

Isabelline Shrike, Lanius isabellinius

Isabelline Wheatear, Oenanthe isabellina

Donaldson Smith´s Sparrow-Weaver, Plocepasser donaldsoni, Endemic to NE Africa

White-throated Bee-eater, Merops albicollis

Dodson´s Bulbul, Pycnonotus dodsoni, Endemic to NE Africa

Helmeted Guineafowl, Numida meleagris

Vulturine Guineafowl, Acryllium vulturinum

Red-tailed (Turkestan) Shrike, Lanius ohoenicuroides

Yellow-necked Spurfowl, Pternistis leucoscepus, Endemic to NE Africa

Day 5, January 14, 2023: Archer´s Post – Buffalo Springs – Isiola – Naro Moru River Lodge

The day before, I had given my friend 3 options 1. Go back and do morning birding in Samburu, 2. Do Buffalo Springs (as planned), 3. Shaba National Reserve (a place I had never been). My guest choose to stick to the plan so we went for Buffalo Springs. To my surprise, we never saw a single Somali Courser during our time in the park (My friend had it from Tsavo East, so no big miss). We saw plenty of the same birds as the day before, but some new ones: Speckled Pigeon, Tawny-flanked Prinia, Pallid Harrier, Fischer´s and Chestnut-headed Sparrow-Lark, Great Egret, Mourning Collared Dove, Malachite Kingfisher, Red-billed Buffalo Weaver, Chestnut Sparrow, Fischer´s Lovebird, Golden Pipit, Northern Wheatear, Yellow-bellied Eremomela, Golden Palm Weaver, Black-faced Sandgrouse, Abyssinian Scimitarbill, Bearded Woodpecker, Crested Francolin, African Hoopoe, Grey Crowned Crane and Black-throated Barbet. We left the gate of Buffalo Springs around 13:00 and drove to a spot for Boran Cisticola just south of Isiola. We tried for a long time, we heard it, but it would not show. We collected a few other species: Kenya Sparrow, Rattling Cisticola and Rüppel´s Starling. We continued towards Naro Moru, but stopped at a field where a huge flock of Abdim´s Storks were gathering. We arrived at the river lodge at around 16:00, ordered lunch and did some garden birding. Here is a partial list of the birds we recorded: Red-fronted Tinkerbird, African Paradise Flycatcher, Tacazze Sunbird, Mountain Wagtail, Rüppel´s Robin-Chat, Yellow-whiskered Greenbul, Black-headed Oriole, Chestnut-throated Apalis, Grey-capped Warbler and White-rumped Swift.

Some pictures from Day 5:

Bateleur, Terathopius ecaudatus

Female, Cut-throat Finch, Amadina fasciata

Cut-throat Finch, Amadina fasciata

Malachite Kingfisher, Corythornis cristatus

Black-faced Sandgrouse, Pterocles decoratus, Endemic to NE Africa

Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, Pterocles exustus

Pied Wheatear, Oenanthe Pleschanka

Northern Wheatear, Oenanthe oenanthe

White-headed Buffalo Weaver, Dinemellia dinemelli, Endemic to NE Africa

Golden Palm Weaver, Ploceus bojeri, Endemic to S Somalia and Kenya

Parrot-billed Sparrow, Passer gongonensis, Endemic to NE Africa

Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin, Cercotrichas galactotes

Somali Ostrich, Struthio molybdophanes, Endemic to NE Africa

Female Lion, Panthera leo

Black-throated Barbet, Tricholaema melanocephala, Endemic to NE Africa

Abdim´s Stork, Ciconia abdimii

Tacazze Sunbird, Nectarina tacazze, Endemic to NE Africa

Yellow-whiskered Greenbul, Eurillas latirostris

Day 6, January 15, 2023: Naro Moru River Lodge to Sandai Resort, Lake Baringo.

We had a long drive ahead of us on that day, but we took it slowly on a side road out of Naro Moru. There are some fantastic grassland habitat just west of Naro Moru. Here are some of the birds we recorded before we hit the main road: Grey-capped Warbler, White-headed Saw-wing and Bronzy Sunbird (in the garden before we left) On the road: Red-billed Firefinch, Brimstone Canary, Greater Blue-eared Starling, White-bellied Bustard, Yellow-throated Longclaw, Reichenow´s Seedeater, Plain-backed Pipit, Northern Wheatear, Rufous-naped Lark, Western Yellow Wagtail, Diederik´s Cuckoo, Red-faced Crombec, Tree Pipit, Anteater Chat, Red-capped Lark, Cape Crow, European Bee-eater, Pin-tailed Whydah, Blue-naped Mousebird, Pallid Harrier, Grey Crowned Crane, Black-chested Snake Eagle, D`Arnaud´s Barbet, Wire-tailed Swallow, Baglafecht Weaver and Yellow-billed Oxpecker. We had now reached the main road and from there it were not far to the stop for Mackinder´s (Cape) Eagle-Owl. The local guide where there and we found the Eagle-Owl in a very different location than I had seen it before. We had breakfast at the site and picked up Grey-capped Warbler, Singing Cisticola and a few other birds. We were soon on our way again. I actually took a wrong turn and ended up much quicker in Marigat than I anticipated. At around 15:00, I rolled in to the petrol station to fill up Diesel. I asked my friend and the guide, who we had decided to take with us for learning purpose, to go to a tree next to the petrol station for the White-billed Buffalo Weaver. When my car were topped up, I went over and got a few pictures myself. We drove on to Sandai Resort, checked in and waited for our guide Wilson Tiren. He soon showed up and we went in the afternoon to the cliff face. What fantastic birding we had that afternoon: Shining Sunbird, Jackson´s Hornbill, Mocking Cliff Chat, Spot-flanked Barbet, Fan-tailed Raven, Bristle-crowned Starling, Red-winged Starling, Brown-tailed Apalis, Little Weaver, Brown-tailed Rock Chat, Red-and-yellow barbet, Hemprich´s Hornbill, Beautiful Sunbird, Acacia Tit, Northern Brownbul, Green-winged Pytilia and Grey Wren-Warbler were some of the birds we recorded. We returned to Sandai, freshened up and had dinner. It felt like we had gotten three quarter of our targets already.

Some Pictures from Day 6:

Pied Wheatear, Oenanthe pleschanka

Western Yellow Wagtail, Motacilla flava

Female, Common Rock Thrush, Monticilla saxatilis

Tree Pipit, Anthus trivialis

Black-chested Snake Eagle, Circaetus pectoralis

Brimstone Canary, Chritagra sulpurata

Cape Crow, Corvus capensis

Diederik Cuckoo, Chrysococcyx caprius

Yellow-billed Oxpecker, Buphagus africanus

Mackinder´s (Cape) Eagle-Owl, Bubo capensis

White-billed Buffalo Weaver, Bubalornis albirostris

Shining Sunbird, Cinnyris habessinicus, Endemic to NE Africa

Jackson´s Hornbill, Tockus jacksoni, Localised endemic to Est Africa

Brown-tailed Apalis, Apalis flavocincta, Endemic to NE Africa

Spot-flanked Barbet, Tricholaema lacrymosa, Endemic to East Africa

Brown-tailed Rock Chat, Oenanthe scotocerca

Hemprich´s Hornbill, Lophoceros hemprichii, Endemic to NE Africa

Female, Little Weaver, Ploceus luteolus

Little Weaver, Ploceus luteolus

Grey Wren-Warbler, Calomonastes simplex, Endemic to NE Africa

Day 7, January 16, 2023: Lake Baringo

Wilson took us back to the cliff face that morning, but before that we tried for Pale Prinia with excellent results. Some of the other birds recorded at the cliff face included: Hunter´s Sunbird, Pygmy Batis, Yellow-spotted Bush Sparrow, Mouse-coloured Penduline Tit, Northern Crombec, Gambaga Flycatcher, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater and Grey-Tit-Flycatcher. Then Wilson decided to go on a hunt for Senegal Thick-knee (a bird I did not know were at Baringo). We found the bird an EA lifer for me, but not very good pictures. Other birds observed in the area included Lesser Swamp Warbler, African Openbill, Squacco Heron, Black Crake, Woodland Kingfisher, Shikra and Black-headed Lapwing. Our next target were the Brown Babbler. Wilson knew a spot and we parked under a tree, called and a flock of them came in. Some of the other birds recorded in that area included; Pearl-spotted Owlet, a surprise African Scops Owl, Northern White-faced Owl, White-crested Helmetshrike and Magpie Starling.  We returned to camp and while I were in the room, Apolloh and my friend had found some Meyer´s Parrots in the garden. I got some shots while waiting for breakfast to be ready. It gets very hot after breakfast at Lake Baringo, so the next few hours, we spent relaxing while Wilson were out searching for the day roosts of some of the nocturnal birds in the area. Wilson were back at 15:30 and took us to the Snake Park next door to have better views of the Northern White-faced Owl. We then moved on and got a family of Three-banded Coursers. Next stop: Greyish Eagle-Owl. In the area, we also found a Brubru on the nest. The last new bird for the day were a Green Wood Hoopoe. We returned to camp and there were still some light. I took a walk and got some good pictures of Rufous Chatterer. Time for dinner and bed.

Some pictures from Day 7:

Pale Prinia, Prinia somalica, Endemic to NE Africa

Fan-Tailed Raven, Corvus rhipidurus

Gambaga Flycatcher, Muscicapa gambagae

Me, Apolloh and Wilson at the cliff face in Baringo

Parrot-billed Sparrow, Passer gongonensis, Endemic to NE Africa

Senegal Thick-knee, Burhinus senegalensis – East African lifer for me, only seen in Nigeria before

Brown Babbler, Turdoides plebejus

Pearl-spotted Owlet, Glaucidium perlatum

African Scops Owl, Otus senegalensis

Shikra, Accipiter badius

White-crested Helmetshrike, Prionops plumatus

Meyer´s Parrot, Poicephalus meyeri

Northern White-faced Owl, Ptilopsis leucotis

Three-banded Courser, Rhinoptilus cinctus

Greyish Eagle-Owl, Bubo cinerascens

Brubru, Nilaus afer

Rufous Chatterer, Argya rubiginosa

Day 8, January 17, 2023: Lake Baringo

That morning we were going on a boat ride on Lake Baringo. Here are some of the birds recorded on the lake: African Darter, Pied Kingfisher, Reed Cormorant, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, White-breasted Cormorant, Little Egret, Pink-backed Pelican, Gull-billed Tern, Striated Heron, Purple Heron, Northern Masked Weaver, White-winged Tern, Osprey, Giant Kingfisher, Black-crowned Night Heron, Temminck´s Stint, Common Greenshank, Three-banded Plover, Common Snipe, African Swamphen, Grey-backed Fiscal, Yellow-billed Stork, Common Ringed Plover, African Fish Eagle, Goliath Heron, Marsh Sandpiper, Black-winged Stilt, African Jacana, African Spoonbill, Lesser Swamp Warbler, Northern Carmine Bee-eater, Golden-backed Weaver, African Sacred Ibis, Red-billed Quelea, Western Barn Owl, White-browed Coucal and Sand Martin. We returned to Sandai for breakfast. Wilson knew we needed the White-crested Turaco, so he suggested that we started a little earlier that afternoon to reach a spot 18 km west of Marigat. So we did and were greeted by 2 pairs of White-crested Turaco and we also got another target: Northern Puffback. Other birds in the area included Southern Black Flycatcher and African Thrush. We returned to Sandai and there were still some light. I went in the garden and photographed Northern Masked Weaver, Rüppel´s Starling, Hunter´s and a juvenile Shining Sunbird, Red-faced Crombec, White-browed Sparrow Weaver and Green-winged Pytilia.

Some pictures from Day 8:

Pied Kingfisher, Ceryle rudis

Purple Heron, Ardea purpurea

African Darter, Anhinga rufa

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Merops persicus

Reed Cormorant, Microcarbo africanus

Northern Carmine Bee-eater, Merops nubicus

Temminck´s Stint, Calidris temminickii

Gull-billed Tern, Gelochelidon nilotica

Pink-backed Pelican, Pelecanus rufoscens

African Spoonbill, Platalea alba

Hamercop, Scopus umbretta

Grey-backed Fiscal, Lanius excubitoroides

Lesser Swamp Warbler, Acrocephalus gracilirostris

Lesser Masked Weaver, Ploceus intermedius

Female Village Weaver, Ploceus cucculatus

White-winged Tern, Chlidonia leucopterus

Black-crowned Night Heron, Nycticorax nycticorax

Western Barn Owl, Tyto alba

African Fish Eagle, Haliaeetus vocifer

Osprey, Pandion haliaetus

White-crested Turaco, Tauraco leucolophus

Northern Puffback, Dryoscopus gambensis

Northern Masked Weaver, Ploceus taeniopterus

Rüppel´s Starling, Lamprotornis purpuroptera, Endemic to NE Africa

Hunter´s Sunbird, Chalomitra hunteri, Endemic to NE Africa

Juvenile, Shining Sunbird, Cinnyris habessinicus, Endemic to NE Africa

Red-faced Crombec, Sylvietta whytii

White-browed Sparrow-Weaver, Plocepasser mahali

Green-winged Pytilia, Pytilia melba

Day 9, January 18, 2023: Lake Baringo to Kakamega Forest.

We had cleaned up Lake Baringo and decided to leave early for Kakamega Forest.

We stopped on the western wall of the Rift Valley to try for Boran Cisticola. Although we heard the bird, it did not show. Instead we got a little Rock Thrush. On the way there we saw a couple of Bare-faced Go-away-birds. We arrived at Mr. Smith´s camp in Kakamega Forest quite early. In camp we picked up Black-and-white Casqued Hornbill and Yellow-throated Leaflove. There were a conference at the Rondo retreat, so we were only allowed to walk the path towards the fish pond. Here are some of the species we picked up: White-browed Robin-Chat, Jameson´s Wattle-eye, Grey-winged Robin-Chat, Mountain Illadopsis, Northern Yellow White-eye, Joyful Greenbul, Pink-footed Puffback, Brown-chested Alethe, White-chinned Prinia, Black-billed Weaver, Snowy-crowned Robin-Chat, Vieillot´s Black Weaver, Dusky Tit, White-spotted Flufftail, White-tailed Ant Thrush, Yellow-billed Barbet, Yellow-crested Woodpecker, Uganda Woodland Warbler, Black-faced Rufous Warbler, Green throated Sunbird, Chubb´s Cisticola, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Black-collared Apalis, Yellow-whiskered Greenbul, Black-faced Prinia, Red-tailed Bristlebill, Stuhlmann`s Starling, Olive Sunbird and African Blue Flycatcher. We still had some time and birded by the Tea close to the house. That yielded White-headed Saw-wing and Great Blue Turaco.

We had dinner and went early to bed.

Some pictures from Day 9:

Little Rock Thrush, Monticola rufocinereus, Endemic to NE Africa

Female, Pink-footed Puffback, Dryoscopus angolensis

Pink-footed Puffback, Dryoscopus angolensis

Grey-throated Barbet, Gymnobucco bonapartei

Stuhlmann´s Starling, Poeoptera stuhlmanni, Endemic to NE Africa

Yellow-crested Woodpecker, Chloropicus xantholophus

Olive Sunbird, Cyanomitra olivacea

African Blue Flycatcher, Elminia longicauda

Day 10, January 19, 2023: Kakamega Forest.

We started the day on the other side of the forest, by a small stream. A place that have proved to be very good on previous visits. Here are some of the birds we encountered on the morning walk: Scaly-breasted Illadopsis, Mountain Wagtail, Green-headed Sunbird, Ansorge´s Greenbul, Black Sparrowhawk, Little Greenbul, Cabanis´s Greenbul, Dark-backed and Black-necked Weaver, Red-headed Malimbe, Diederik Cuckoo, Brown-eared Woodpecker, Kakamega (Southern) Hyliota, Brown-throated Wattle-eye, Equatorial Akalat, Red-headed Bluebill, Kakamega Greenbul, Blue Malkoha, Brown-chested Alethe, Lühder´s Bushshrike, Sharpe´s Drongo, Yellow-spotted Barbet, Great Blue Turaco Purple-throated Cuckooshrike, Black-faced Prinia and White-headed Wood Hoopoe.  After breakfast, we took a small path into the forest. Some of the birds we encountered included: African Thrush, Blue-shouldered Robin-Chat, Northern Yellow White-eye, Jameson´s Wattle-eye, Turner´s Eremomela, Yellow-billed barbet, Slender-billed Greenbul, Dusky Tit, African Pygmy Kingfisher and finally a lifer: Least Honeyguide. We returned to camp for lunch. After lunch, we decided to do a small forest path again. We just entered the forest when we heard a Black-billed Turaco near the road. We got eyes on it, but no pictures. We added Buff-throated Apalis to the list before we decided to spend the last daylight at the path near Rondo retreat. Again in the hope of getting a better view of the White-spotted Flufftail, no such luck. We had a young Yellow-whiskered Greenbul entertain us and we also recorded Chestnut Wattle-eye. On the way back to the car, I managed pictures of a Black-faced Rufous Warbler.  We returned to camp and had dinner:

Some pictures from Day 10

Mountain Wagtail, Motacilla clara

Green-headed Sunbird, Cyanomitra verticalis

Lühder´s Bushshrike, Laniarius luehderi

Equatorial Akalat, Sheppardia aequarorialis, Endemic to East Africa

Red-headed Malimbe, Malimbus rubricollis

Blue Malkoha, Ceuthmochares aereus

Ansorge´s Greenbul, Eurillas ansorgei

Red-headed Bluebill, Spermophaga ruficapilla

Sharpe´s Drongo, Dicrurus sharpei

Brown-chested Alethe, Chamaetylas poliocephala

Cabanis´s Greenbul, Phyllastrephus cabanisi, Endemic to Central Africa

Great Blue Turaco, Corythaeola cristata

Brown-throated Wattle-eye, Platysteira cyanea

Brown-eared Woodpecker, Pardipicus caroli

White-headed Wood Hoopoe, Phoeniculus bollei

Jameson`s Wattle-eye, Platysteira jamesoni, Endemic to EC Africa

Least Honeyguide, Indicator exilis – Lifer

Photographing the Least Honeyguide, Winstone (our guide), Apolloh and me.

Buff-throated Apalis, Apalis rufogularis

Juvenile, Yellow-whiskered Greenbul, Eurillas latirostris

Black-faced Rufous Warbler, Bathmocercus rufus

Dark-backed Weaver, Ploceus bicolor

Apolloh and I relaxing outside the gate of our camp after a long day of birding.

Day 11, January 20: Kakamega Forest.

Winstone had an idea about trying a different path into the forest this morning and we were well rewarded. Here are some of the species we observed: Green Hylia, Dusky Crested Flycatcher – Lifer, Yellow-bellied Wattle-eye, Blue-headed Bee-eater, African Broadbill, Ross´s Turaco, Olive-green Camaroptera, Black-billed Turaco, Equatorial Akalat, Black-faced Rufous Warbler, Hairy Breasted Barbet and  Western Oriole. We went back to camp for breakfast. After breakfast, we were finally allowed inside the garden of Rondo Retreat. Here are some of the birds we encountered: Bronzy Sunbird, Crowned Eagle, Viellot´s Black Weaver, Mackinnon´s Shrike, Yellow-spotted Barbet, Bocage´s Bushshrike and Purple-throated Cuckooshrike. We went back for lunch. After lunch I got pictures of Yellow-throated Leaflove and Northern Yellow White-eye in the garden while waiting for Winstone to come back from his break. When we left camp, we also managed a picture of African Thrush.  After lunch we went back to the path on the other side of the forest. Here are some of the birds we encountered: Uganda Woodland Warbler, African Shrike Flycatcher, White-breasted Nigrita and Hairy-breasted Barbet. When we got back to the road, we had great views of White-tailed Ant Thrush. We returned to camp for dinner.

Some pictures from Day 11:

Dusky Crested Flycatcher, Elminia nigromitrata

Blue-headed Bee-eater, Merops muelleri

Ross´s Turaco, Tauraco rossae

Black-billed Turaco, Tauraco schuetti

Female, Black-faced Rufous Warbler, Bathmocercus rufus

Mackinnon´s Shrike, Lanius mackinnoni 

White-browed Robin-Chat, Cossypha heuglini

Bronzy Sunbird, Nectarina kilimensis

Bocage´s Bushshrike, Chlorophoneus bocagei

Female, Purple-throated Cuckooshrike, Campephaga quiscalina

Purple-throated Cuckooshrike, Campephaga quiscalina

Yellow-spotted Barbet, Buccanodon duchaillui

Me and Apolloh in the garden of the lodge

Yellow-throated Leaflove, Atimastillas flavicollis

Northern Yellow White-eye, Zosterops senegalensis

African Thrush, Turdus pelios

Ugandan Woodland Warbler, Phylloscopus budongoensis

Hairy-breasted Barbet, Tricholaema hirsuta

White-tailed Ant Thrush, Neocossyphus poensis

Day 12, January 21, 2023: Kakamega Forest – Kisumo

We had decided to give it another try for the White-spotted Flufftail, still no luck. Other birds we encountered included: Vieillot´s Black Weaver, Joyful Greenbul, Olive-bellied Sunbird, Crowned Eagle, White-chinned and Black-faced Prinia, Green Hylia, African Harrier Hawk and Yellow-billed Barbet. We returned to camp, had breakfast, packed and were soon on our way to Kisumo. We drove straight to Hippo point. Even though it was a Saturday, there were not that many people there. Amongst other birds we registered: Bronze Mannikin, Angolan Swallow, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Greater Swamp Warbler, Black-headed Gonolek, African Openbill, Swamp Flycatcher, Village and Golden-backed Weavers, Sedge Warbler, Broad-billed Roller, Black-backed Puffback, Yellow-billed Kite, African Thrush, African Grey Woodpecker, Red-chested and Scarlet-chested Sunbirds, Woodland Kingfisher and Yellow-fronted Canary. Apolloh knew about a board walk a little further on, we went there and had the best views I have had so far of White-winged Swamp Warbler (still no pictures. It were sitting still inside the reeds and my camera could not focus on the bird). Other birds observed included Northern Grey-headed Sparrow, Yellow-billed Kite, Little Egret and Carruther´s Cisticola. We had lunch by Lake Victoria and returned to Hippo Point. It was now very crowded so we waited in the car. Then Titus our boat driver showed up and I finally got pictures of Papyrus Canary. Other birds included Blue-spotted Wood Dove, Eastern Plantain-eater, White-browed Coucal and Black-headed Weaver. We went back to the hotel, had dinner and retired early to bed. 

Some pictures from Day 12

Jouful Greenbul, Chlorocichla laetissima, Endemic to East Africa

Vieillot´s Black Weaver, Ploceus nigerrimus

Green Hylia, Hylia prasina

Olive-bellied Sunbird, Cinnyris Chloropygius

Yellow-billed Barbet, Trachyphonus purpuratus

Greater Swamp Warbler, Acrocephalus rufescens

Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Pogoniulus chrysoconus

Red-chested Sunbird, Cinnyris erythrocercus, Endemic to NE Africa

Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Chalcomitra senegalensis

African Grey Woodpecker, Dendropicos goertae 

Sedge Warbler, Acrocephalus schoenobaenus

Village Weaver, Ploceus cucculatus

Black-headed Gonolek, Laniarius erythrogaster

Yellow-billed Kite, Milvus aegyptus

Little Egret, Egretta garzetta

Eastern Plantain-eater, Crinifer zonorus

White-browed Coucal, Centropus superciliosus

Day 13, January 22, 2023: Kisumo to Aberdere National Park

We were supposed to meet Titus at Hippo Point at 07:00 that morning. He were half an hour late. We birded a little around the point before he arrived: Papyrus Canary, Woodland Kingfisher, Wire-tailed Swallow and Mourning Collared  Dove were some of the birds we saw. To my surprise, he had another couple of non birders in the boat. The gentleman were playing Bob Marley on his phone. I do like Bob Marley, but on a birding trip, I rather prefer no music. I asked the gentleman to turn off the music which he refused. It became an amputated boat ride, but we still managed to register amongst others: Papyrus Gonolek, Long-crested Eagle, Little Bittern, Blue-spotted Wood Dove, Grey-capped Warbler, Black-headed, Slender-billed and Northern Brown-throated Weaver, Malachite and Pied Kingfisher, Pink-backed Pelican and Black Crake. Our three our boat ride we booked, lasted only one and a half hour. Titus came with us for a walk and we added Double-toothed Barbet and Red-collared Widowbird to our list. We left Kisumo and headed for Aberdere. It were a long drive with quite a lot of traffic besides, I had been food poisoned and were struggling all the way visiting multible toilets :-). We arrived at the climb up to Aberdere NP around 15:00 and it were very quiet all the way up to the gate. Harlaub´s Turaco, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater and Black Saw-wing were the only birds we observed on the way up. I had to make another toilet visit at the gate. We did not find any Moorland Chats at the gate before suddenly 7 of them showed up. We also registered a Yellow-billed Duck at a pond close to the gate. Our prime target inside the park were Aberdere Cisticola, it would not show. I drove deep into the park and we tried several patches with the right habitat. On the way back, we finally got a response, but no show. There were plenty og Hunter´s Cisticola in the area, maybe they had taken over the territory? Other birds observed included Malachite Sunbird, Baglafecht Weaver, Jackson´s Spurfowl, Pallid Harrier and Cinnamon Bracken Warbler. I needed to make another pitstop for the toilet at the gate and due to our extensive search for the Cisticola, we were running late. We drove down the mountain without registering any new birds. We stayed at a hotel, I had never stayed at before and after another toilet visit and a shower, my stomach remarkably recovered. The dinner were nice and we retired early to bed.

Some pictures from Day 13: 

Papyrus Canari, Chritagra koliensis, Endemic to East Africa – Lifer

Mourning Collared Dove, Streptopelia decipens

Woodland Kingfisher, Halcyon senegalensis

Wire-tailed Swallow, Hirundu smithii

Malachite Kingfisher, Corythornis cristatus

Little Bittern, Ixobrychus minutus

Female, Northern Brown-throated Weaver, Ploceus castanops, Endemic to East Africa

Northern Brown-throated Weaver, Ploceus castanops, Endemic to East Africa

Black-headed Weaver, Ploceus Melanocephalus

Moorland Chat, Pinarochroa sordida, Endemic to NE Africa

Day 14, January 23: Kinangop via Nairobi and home to Kiligolf.

We met our guide John Gitiri at the hotel and we set out to explore Kinangop. Our first stop were for some Black-winged Lapwings. Then we went to our normal spot. On the right side of the road, we found amongst others: African Citril, Cape Robin-Chat, Cape Wagtail, Yellow-crowned Canary, Streaky Seed-eater, Kenya Sparrow, Augur Buzzard and Anteater Chat. We crossed the road and here are some of the birds we registered: Long-tailed Widowbird, Dusky Turtle Dove, Red-collared Widowbird, Abyssinian Thrush, Red-rumped Swallow, Long-crested Eagle, Yellow Bishop, Sharpe´s Longclaw, Common Buzzard, Wing-snapping and Levaillant´s Cisticola, Jackson´s Widowbird – Lifer, Quailfinch, African Snipe and Common Waxbill. We returned to the car and drove to the next stop for Stout Cisticola. We found it quite easy and again drove off to the last stop of the trip. Here we had very good views of Golden-winged Sunbirds. We said goodbye to John and started our drive back to Nairobi. I left them at Hotel Troy in Nairobi and started my journey back to Kiligolf. I left Hotel Troy at 11:45 and parked my car in my driveway at exactly 16:15. Four and a half hour from Nairobi to home including the border crossing in my slow Land Rover must be some kind of a record?

Some pictures from Day 14:

Black-winged Lapwing, Vanellus melanopterus

Anteater Chat, Myrmecocichla aethiops

Kenya Sparrow, Passer rufocinctus, Endemic to Kenya and Tanzania

Red-rumped Swallow, Cecropis daurica

Sharpe´s Longclaw, Macronyx sharpei, Endemic to Kenyan highlands

Levaillant´s Cisticola, Cisticola tinniens

Wing-snapping Cisticola, Cisticola ayresii

Common Buzzard, Buteo buteo

Jackson´s Widowbird, Euplectes jacksoni – Lifer

Long-tailed Widowbird, Euplectes progne

Quailfinch, Ortygospiza atricollis – EA Photo Lifer

Cape Wagtail, Motacilla capensis

John, me and Apolloh at the Kinangop grasslands

Stout Cisticola, Cisticola robustus

Golden-winged Sunbird, Drepanorhynchus reichenowi, Endemic to East Africa

All in all a good trip although we dipped on a few species. We managed to register 462 different birds. My coastal Kenyan friend got 97 lifers. I also got a couple of lifers. My current total for East Africa according to IOC12.1 stands at seen: 1094 and photographed: 1031. This might change a little once I update my list to IOC 13.1. I currently have no new trips booked before in July, so for February to July I am wide open if you want to explore the birds of East Africa. I offer trips to friends for a reasonable price and prefer 2 guests, but max 3 for a personalised experience. Great thanks to my guides on this trip Apolloh, Wilson, Winstone and John. Without you, the trips would not be possible.