I did a Kenya trip in January and after posting the trip report, I immediately got a request from an Irish friend to do a new trip in April. He wanted 16 days instead of my normal 14 days. He wanted to add Nairobi National Park and Shaba Nature reserve. Otherwise, we were to follow my normal itinerary. We did do another twerk in the trip and visited Jeff Mwok in Kapkai under the recommendation of my main guide Wislon Tiren. This turned out to be quite and adventure for me as well with no less than 5 lifers in less than 24 hours. In total on the trip, I got 10 real lifers and some more East Africa Lifers and East Africa Photo lifers bringing my total East African List to 1105 Species seen and 1046 species photographed according to IOC 12.1. We registered a total of 541 species on the trip.  My friend got a total just shy of  150 lifers. Selvine and I drove up from our home in Tanzania on March 31st and I briefly met with my friend who flew in late that night. The trip were supposed to start the day after.

Day 1, April 1: Nairobi National Park

We met with Wilson in the morning and took the short drive from Hotel Troy to the park gate in the morning. Nairobi National Park is a gem when it comes to birds and we recorded more than 120 species that day. Of the more interesting species, I would mention Grey-capped Warbler, Speke´s Weaver, African Yellow Warbler, Lesser Swamp Warbler, Spot-flanked Barbet, Pectoral-patch Cisticola, Long-tailed Fiscal, Long-toed Lapwing, Palm-nut Vulture, Whinchat, Isabelline Wheatear, Kenya Sparrow, Rosy-throated Longclaw, European Roller, Red-faced Crombec, Short-winged Cisticola, Rüppel´s Vulture, Grey-crowned Crane, Kori Bustard, Fischer´s Sparrow-Lark, Pale Flycatcher, Yellow-necked Spurfowl, Northern Pied Babbler, White-headed Barbet, Shelley´s Francolin, Yellow-crowned Bishop, Rüppel´s Starling, Hildebrandt´s Starling, White-bellied Go-away-Bird, Pale White-eye, Singing Cisticola, Fischer´s Lovebird (probably an escape), Moustashed Grass Warbler, Reichenow´s Seedeater, Striped Kingfisher, White-backed Night Heron (EA lifer for me), Yellow-billed Oxpecker, Red-backed Shrike, Common Kestrel, White-bellied Bustard, Gabar Goshawk, Dusky Turtle Dove, Tawny and Martial Eagle and in the evening back at the hotel we heard a Montane Nightjar calling. All in all a very successful start of the trip. We returned to Hotel Troy for the night.

Some pictures from Day 1:

Rufous-naped Lark race, athi, Mirafra africana

Long-tailed Fiscal, Lanius cabanisi, Endemic to NE Africa

Rosy-throated Longclaw, Macronyx amelae

Whinchat, Saxicola rubetra

European Roller, Coracias garrulus

Kori Bustard, Ardeotis kori

Fischer´s Sparrow-Lark, Eremopterix keucopareia, Endemic to SE Africa

Northern Pied Babbler, Turdoides hypoleuca, Endemic to E Africa

Secretarybird, Saggitarius serpentarius

Reichenow´s Seedeater, Chritagra reichenowi, Endemic to NE Africa

Marabou Stork, Leptophilos crumenifer

Yellow-crowned Bishop, Euplectes afer

Shelley´s Francolin, Scleroptila shelleyi

Yellow-billed Oxpecker, Buphagus africanus

Dusky Turtle Dove, Streptopelia lugens

Gabar Goshawk, Micronisus gabar

Day 2, April 2: Nairobi via Sagana to Castle Forest

We left the hotel and had our first stop near Sagana. The target here was the Kenyan endemic Hinde´s Babbler. We found that bird very quickly amongst other birds like: Baglafecht Weaver, Purple Grenadier, Southern Black Flycatcher, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, D´Arnaud´s Barbet, African Harrier-Hawk, Northern Brownbul, Eastern Golden Weaver, Slate-coloured Boubou, Klaas´s, Black and Red-chested Cuckoo, Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu, Brown-crowned Tchagra, Rufous Chatterer, Spotted Palm Thrush, Black-bellied Sunbird, Brown-backed Honeybird, Orange-breasted Bushshrike, Eurasian Hobby, Shikra, Bearded Woodpecker and Eurasian Golden Oriole.

We made a stop in Sagana to visit the super market and fill up the diesel and were soon on our way to Castle Forest. We birded our way from the gate and up to the lodge. These are some of the birds we encountered: Yellow-whiskered Greenbul, Black-throated Apalis, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Northern Double-collared Sunbird, Olive-breasted Greenbul, White-tailed Crested Flycatcher, Rüppel´s Robin-Chat, Hartlaub´s Turaco, Grey Apalis, Black-collared Apalis, Fine-banded Woodpecker, Moustached Tinkerbird, Chestnut-throated Apalis, Hunter´s Cisticola, Streaky Seedeater, Abyssinian Thrush, Eastern Double-collared Sunbird and African Olive Pigeon.

We set up camp and went to have lunch at the Castle Forest Lodge. After lunch we walked the grounds on the lodge and here are some of the birds we registered that afternoon: Silvery-cheeked Hornbill, Grey Cuckooshrike, Red-fronted Parrot, Thick-billed Seed-eater, Jackson´s Spurfowl, Blue-headed Coucal, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, Kikuyu White-eye, Scarce Swift, African Citril, Long-crested Eagle, Red-backed Mannikin, Yellow-bellied Waxbill, Tacazze Sunbird, White-bellied Tit, Brown-capped Weaver, Western Yellow Wagtail and at dusk some overflying  Olive Ibis´s.

We had dinner at the lodge and retired early to bed.

Some pictures from Day 2:

Hinde´s Babbler, Turdoides hindei, Endemic to Kenya

Brown-crowned Tchagra, Tchagra australis

Northern Double-collared Sunbird, Cinnyris reichenowi

Rüppel´s Robin-Chat, Cossypha semirufa, Endemic to NE Africa

Black-throated Apalis, Apalis jacksoni

Black-collared Apalis, Orealais pulcher

Grey Apalis, Apalis cinerea

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

Cinnamon Bracken Warbler, Bradypterus cinnamomeus

Grey Cuckooshrike, Ceblepyris caesius

Brown-capped Weaver, Ploceus insignis

Tropical Boubou, Laniarius major

Day 3, April 3: Castle Forest

We were birding our way down to the gate on Day 3. Just after coffee, we found a Red-fronted Parrot for once sitting low in a tree and we all got some good pictures. We continued downhill and here are some of the new species encountered before breakfast: Tree Pipit, Giant Kingfisher, Slender-billed Greenbul, Mountain Wagtail, African Hill Babbler, Spectackled Weaver, Tambourine Dove, White-browed Crombec, Mountain Oriole, African Emerald Cuckoo, Orange Ground Thrush, Abyssinian Ground Thrush, Bar-tailed Trogon, White-starred Robin and Placid Greenbul. We returned to the Lodge for breakfast. After breakfast it was getting hot and the birding were slow. We added only Crowned Eagle to our Castle Forest List. We returned for lunch and after lunch, we added: Cape Robin-Chat, Olive Sunbird, Amethyst Sunbird and Scaly Spurfowl to our list. Dinner at the Lodge and early to bed. Of course we got a lot of birds we saw on the day before and managed to get better pictures of some of them.

Some pictures from day 3:

Red-fronted Parrot, Poicephalus gulielmi

African Hill Babbler, Sylvia abyssinica

Red-backed Mannikin, Spermestes nigriceps

Chestnut-throated Apalis, Apalis porphyrolaema, Endemic to E Africa

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

Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater (Juvenile), Merops Oreobates, Endemic to East Africa

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

Yellow-bellied Waxbill, Coccopygia quartina

Day 4, April 4: Castle Forest

That morning we heard a Buff-spotted Flufftail calling while we had coffee, but we did not manage to get it out. Besides getting some pictures, we only added these birds to our list this day: Grey-headed Nigrita, Mountain Buzzard, Evergreen Forest Warbler, Abyssinian Crimsonwing, Purple-headed Cuckkoshrike, Montagu´s Harrier and Waller´s Starling.

Some pictures from day 4:

Grey-headed Nigrita, Nigrita canicapillus

Abyssinian Thrush, Turdus abyssinicus

Placid Greenbul, Phyllastrephus placidus, Endemic to SE Africa

White-tailed Crested Flycatcher, Elminia albonotata

White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher, Melaenornis fisheri, Endemic to E and C Africa

Purple-throated Cuckooshrike, Compephaga quiscalina

African Citril (female), Chritagra citrinelloides, Endemic to NE Africa

Day 5, April 5, Castle Forest to Buffalo Springs National Reserve

We left the lodge with packed breakfast. We birded down to the gate and added White-headed Wood Hoopoe and Lemon Dove to our list. The drive to Buffalo Springs went smooth and we were at the gate a quarter 2:15. We started to pick up birds in the reserve: Bristle-crowned Starling, Blue-naped Mousebird, White-headed Buffalo-Weaver, Somali Courser, Donaldson Smith´s Sparrow-Weaver, Purple Roller, Jacobin Cuckoo, White-throated Bee-eater, Brubru, Lesser Masked Weaver, African Grey Flycatcher, Marico Sunbird, Bateleur, Eastern Chanting Goshawk, Yellow-vented Eremomela (Lifer), African Hoopoe, Eastern Violet-backed Sunbird, Banded Parisoma, Red-bellied Parrot, Northern Red-billed Hornbill, Abyssinian Scimitarbill, Chestnut Weaver, Somali Ostrich, Pink-breasted Lark, Parrot-billed Sparrow, Tawny Eagle, Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, Rosy-patched Bushshrike, Golden Palm Weaver, Golden Pipit, Vulturine Guineafowl, Black-faced Sandgrouse, Buff-crested Bustard, Black-capped Social Weaver, Lichtenstein Sandgrouse (quite a few on a spot that Wilson had for them). We were now far inside the park with a long way to the gate. I wanted to go to the springs that the park is named after, but time would not allow it. We drove towards the gate and checked out at 6:29PM one minute before the park closed. The last three new birds before the gate: Foxy Lark, Namaqua Dove and Taita Fiscal. We drove to our hotel at Archer´s Post where dinner were already prepared for us. After dinner, we retired early to bed.

Some pictures from Day 5:

Thick-billed Seedeater, Chritagra burtoni

White-headed Wood Hoopoe, Phoeniculus bollei

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

Lichtenstein Sandgrouse (female), Pterocles lichtensteinii

Lichtenstein Sandgrouse, Pterocles lichtensteinii

Golden Pipit, Tmetothylacus tenellus, Endemic to NE Africa

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

Martial Eagle, Polemaetus bellicosus

Somali Course, Cursorius somalensis, Endemic to NE Africa

Day 6, April 6: Shaba National Reserve to Samburu National Reserve

I had never been to the Shaba reserve before. Previous guides had told me it were too dangerous. I knew Wilson had taken a Dutch friend of mine there before, so we did go. At the gate we picked up an armed guide. Our primary target in the park were the Kenyan Endemic, William´s Lark. They recently had some rain, so the guard suggested that we took a detour to the lava rocks were the Lark were supposed to be found. On the way to the Lark spot, we picked up Fan-tailed Raven, Fischer´s Starling, Red-backed Shrike, Eastern Yellow-billed Hornbill, Red-billed Buffalo-Weaver and Abdim´s Stork. We were finally at the spot for the lark. Just after a 100 metres, Wilson flushed a nightjar. We were not sure which one it were so I sent some pictures to Adam Scott Kennedy. He were not quite sure either and circulated the pictures amongst some experts and the consensus were a Nubian Nightjar (lifer). It were also the first breeding record for this species in East Africa, so quite a find by Wilson. We walked and walked looking for the lark. After some time, we had one displaying very high in the sky. In the end we managed to find one on the ground. I only managed some bad long distance shots of William´s Lark (Lifer). Other birds encountered on the lava rock plain included Harlequin Quail, Chestnut-headed Sparrow-Lark and Kori Bustard. After having bagged 2 lifers, we drove slowly back towards the gate. Here are some of the birds we picked up on our way out: Diederik Cuckoo, Pygmy Falcon, Dodson´s Bulbul, Hunter´s Sunbird, White-bellied Go-away-bird, Somali Bee-eater, Magpie Starling, Nubian Woodpecker, Yellow-vented Eremomela (Got better pictures of the bird that were a lifer the day before), Golden-breasted Starling, Lesser Grey Shrike, Golden Pipit, Western Yellow Wagtail, White-throated Bee-eater and Grant´s Wood Hoopoe. We drove back to the hotel and had lunch. After lunch, we headed in to Samburu National reserve. Again we saw Yellow-vented Eremomela. Some of the other birds encountered that afternoon included: Somali Bunting, Red-fronted Prinia, Golden-breasted Starling, White-bellied Bustard, Northern Wheatear, White-browed Scrub Robin, Yellow-spotted Bush Sparrow, Common Rock Thrush, Somali Bee-eater (4 sightings that day including the one in Shaba), Kori Bustard, Wattled Starling, Cardinal Woodpecker, Northern White-crowned Shrike, Speckle-fronted Weaver, Eastern Violet-backed Sunbird, Chestnut Sparrow, Blue-capped Cordon-bleu, Pygmy Batis, Black-cheeked Waxbill, Black-throated Barbet, Diederik Cuckoo, Vulturine Guineafowl and Somali Ostrich. Again, we reached the park gate at exactly 6.29PM. We drove to the hotel, had preordered dinner and retired early.

Some pictures from Day 6:


Nubian Nightjar, Caprimulgus nubicus

William´s Lark, Mirafra williamsi, Endemic to Kenya

The guard, me and Wilson after the hunt for William´s Lark

Magpie Starling, Speculipastor bicolor, Endemic to NE Africa

Yellow-vented Eremomela, Eremomela flavicrissalis, Endemic to NE Africa

Golden-breasted Starling, Lamprotornis regius, Endemic to NE Africa

White-throated Bee-eater, Merops albicollis

Northern Wheatear, Oenanthe oenanthe

Crowned Lapwing, Vanellus coronatus

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

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

Taita Fiscal, Lanius dorsalis, Endemic to NE Africa

Vulturine Guineafowl, Acryllium vulturinum

Day 7, April 7: Samburu National Reserve to Naro Moru River Lodge

That morning we went back early to Samburu. We still had some birds my Irish friend needed. I also had a potential lifer namely Somali Crombec. Unfortunately, we never managed to get the Crombec. Here are some of the new birds we got from Samburu that day: Rosy-patched Bushshrike, Isabelline Shrike, Isabelline Wheatear, White-winged Widowbird, Three-streaked Tchagra, Grey Wren-Warbler, Dodson´s Bulbul, Blue-naped Mousebird, Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin, Spotted Palm Thrush, Upcher´s Warbler, Grey-headed Kingfisher, Crested Francolin, Water Thick-knee, Mourning Collared Dove, Crowned Lapwing, Grey Crowned Crane, Lilac-breasted Roller, Harlequin Quail, D´Arnaud´s Barbet, White-headed Mousebird, Green Sandpiper, African Hawk-Eagle, Spotted Flycatcher, Red-chested Cuckoo, Grant´s Wood Hoopoe, Slate-colored Boubou, Bearded Woodpecker, Shining Sunbird, Pale Prinia, Buff-crested Bustard, Brown Snake Eagle, Hunter´s Sunbird, Von der Decken´s Hornbill, Chestnut Sparrow, White-crested Helmetshrike, Brown-tailed Apalis and Straw-tailed Whydah. We were out of the gate around 12:30 and headed straight for Naro Moru. I ususally stop a little south of Isiola on my trips for the Boran Cisticola, but my friend did not need that bird. We arrived at Naro Moru River Lodge. We ordered lunch and I went birding a little bit in the garden while waiting for lunch to be ready. I got Northern Double-collared Sunbird and Yellow-whiskered Greenbul. After lunch, we went to the campground to pitch our tents. Then we did some birding around the campground. This turned out to be quite good with birds like Brown Parisoma, Golden-winged Sunbird, Purple-throated Cuckooshrike, Common Scimitarbill, Yellow Bishop, Purple Grenadier, Red-fronted Barbet, Bronzy Sunbird, Hartlaub´s Turaco, Horus Swift, Chestnut-throated Apalis and Rüppel´s Robin-Chat. We had dinner in the restaurant and on the way back to the camp ground managed to get a Montane Nightjar. We retired early to sleep.

Some pictures from Day 7:

Chestnut-headed Sparrow-Lark, Eremopterix signatus, Endemic to NE Africa

Isabelline Wheatear, Oenanthe isabellina

White-headed Mousebird, Colius leucocephalus, Endemic to NE Africa

D´Arnaud´s Barbet, Trachyphonus darnaudii, Endemic to NE Africa

Water Thick-knee, Burhinus vermiculatus

Grant´s Wood Hoopoe, Phoeniculus granti, Endemic to E Africa

Pale Prinia, Prinia somalica, Endemic to NE Africa

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

Namaqua Dove, Oena capensis

Northern Double-collared Sunbird, Cinnyris reichenowi

Brown Parisoma, Curruca lugens

Red-fronted Barbet, Tricholaema diademata, Endemic to NE Africa

Purple Grenadier (female), Granatina ianthinogaster, Endemic to NE Africa

Purple-throated Cuckooshrike, Campephaga quiscalina

Common Scimitarbill, Rhinopomastus cyanomelas

Bronzy Sunbird, Nectarina kilimensis

Day 8, April 8: Naro Moru to Lake Baringo

On that day, we were going to Lake Baringo with a few stops on the way. The grassland just west of Naro Moru are normally teaming with birds. Here´s a few of the ones we found: Cape Crow, Greater Blue-eared Starling, Rufous Chatterer, Pectoral-patch Cisticola, Black-lored Babbler, Klass´s Cuckoo, Pale Flycatcher, Grey-capped Social Weaver, Diederik Cuckoo, Plain-backed Pipit, Streaky Seedeater, Eastern Grey Woodpecker, Brimstone Canary, Meyer´s Parrot, Anteater Chat, Kenya Sparrow, Secretarybird, Black-winged Lapwing, Brown-crowned Tchagra, Brown-throated Martin, Bronzy Sunbird, Lesser Grey Shrike, Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Black-bellied Bustard and African Citril. We had now reached the main road and shortly after we stopped at the Mackinder´s (Cape) Eagle-Owl spot. Other birds at the place included Holub´s Golden Weaver, Singing Cisticola, Common Waxbill, Thick-billed Weaver and Rock Martin. We continued and took some back roads. We stopped for a colony of Fischer´s Lovebirds. Next stop at the petrol station just outside Marigat for the White-billed Buffalo Weaver before we finally arrived at Sandai Resort at Lake Baringo. We had lunch and went straight to the famous cliff face. It had been raining so it was extremely muddy and we had a hard time to walk in the mud. Just before the Cliff face, we stopped and got Three-banded Courser. We only stayed a little time at the cliff face. Here are some of the birds we saw: Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Lanner Falcon, Common Whitethroat, Jackson´s Hornbill and Bristle-crowned Starling. We abandoned the place and took the car to look for some other species. Here´s some of the birds we found: Wooly-necked Stork, Green Wood Hoopoe, Mocking Cliff Chat, Green-winged Pytilia, African Pygmy Kingfisher, Red-and-yellow Barbet, Little Weaver, White-bellied Canary and African Black Swift. We returned to Sandai, had dinner and retired.

Some pictures from Day 8:

Black-lored Babbler, Turdoides sharpei, Endemic to E Africa

Greater Blue-eared Starling, Lamprotornis chalybaeus

Pale Flycatcher, Melaenornis pallidus

Speke´s Weaver, Ploceus spekei, Endemic to NE Africa

Common Rock Thrush, Monticola saxatilis

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

Holub´s Golden Weaver, Ploceus xanthops

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

Wilson and I at the Cliff Face in Lake Baringo

Wooly-necked Stork, Ciconia episcopus

Day 9, April 9: Lake Baringo

We went to the cliff face again that morning. It had dried up, so it were more comfortable walking. We found all the birds of the day before and in addition: Dark Chanting Goshawk, Brown-tailed Rock Chat, Red-winged Starling, Northern Crombec, Purple Roller, Hemprich´s Hornbill, Mouse-coloured Penduline Tit, Shiny, Beautiful and Eastern Violet-backed Sunbird. My Irish friend needed a Gambaga Flycatcher, which I saw and photographed there on my January trip. He and Wilson spent a considerable time searching for it, but to no avail. It were getting hot so we returned to the Lodge for breakfast. After breakfast, my friend and I spent some time in the pool and then had lunch. We met up with Wilson again after lunch. My friend already had many of the special Baringo birds, so we drove around looking for some of the birds he missed. We stopped for a Northern White-faced owl and then  photographed the Three-banded Courser again. Other new birds for Baringo included Red-fronted Prinia, Greater Honeyguide, Nubian Woodpecker and Red-headed Weaver. We returned to the Lodge. Wilson also felt that we were running out of birds and told us about his friend Jeff Mwok and all the mouth watering birds he had around his place at Kapkai. We then decided to cut Lake Baring from 3 to 2 nights and visit Kapkai on the way to Kakamega Forest instead.

Some pictures from Day 9:

Northern Crombec, Sylvietta brachyura

Bristle-crowned Starling, Onychognathus salvadorii, Endemic to NE Africa

Beautiful Sunbird, Cinnyris pulchellus

Shining Sunbird, Cinnyris habessinicus, Endemic to NE Africa

Brown-tailed Rock Thrush, Oenanthe scotocera

Little Weaver, Ploceus luteolus

Three-banded Courser, Rhinoptilus cinctus

Day 10, April 10: Lake Baringo to Kapkai

As decided the day before, we went for the scheduled boat ride on Lake Baringo and then later headed to Kapkai to meet with Jeff Mwok. The boat ride provided amongst others these species: Dusky Turtle Dove, Purple Heron, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Great Egret, Northern Masked Weaver, Malachite Kingfisher, Sand Martin, Woodland Kingfisher, African Darter, Lesser Swamp Warbler, Village Weaver, Goliath Heron, African Spoonbill, African Jacana, Black Crake, Common Snipe, African Swamphen, Hamerkop, Yellow-billed Stork, Common Ringed Plover, Striated Heron, Golden-backed Weaver, Squacco Heron, Senegal Thick-knee, Kittlitz´s Plover, African Openbill, White-faced Whistling Duck, Glossy Ibis, Black-crowned Night Heron, White-browed Coucal, Crimson-rumped Waxbill and Buff-bellied Warbler. After the boat trip, we stopped to get some better shots of the Northern White-faced Owl before we took off. We stopped about 18 km from Marigat and got the White-crested Turaco, African Harrier-Hawk and Grey-headed Bushshrike. We had some problems finding Jeff´s place in Kapkai since Google Maps took us to another house :-). We soon sorted it out. We wasted little time and were soon out birding with Jeff as a guide. Here are some of the birds we found: African Thrush, Augur Buzzard, European Bee-eater, White-browed Robin-Chat, Spectackled Weaver, Marico Sunbird, Blue-spotted Wood Dove, Yellow-throated Leaflove, African Grey Woodpecker, White-headed Barbet, Yellow-billed Shrike (Lifer), Wahlberg´s Eagle, Southern Citril, Northern Double-collared Sunbird, White-crested Turaco, Chubb´s Cisticola, Brown Babbler, African Blue Flycatcher, African Firefinch, Northern Black Flycatcher, Northern Grey-headed Sparrow, Woodland Kingfisher, Red-faced Cisticola and last, but not least Heuglin´s Masked Weaver (Lifer). What a fantastic birding destination and more were to come the morning after. Jeff´s wife had made us a delicious meal and soon after we retired to sleep.

Some pictures from Day 10:

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Merops persicus

Great Egret, Ardea alba

Pied Kingfisher, Ceryle rudis

Malachite Kingfisher, Corythornis cristatus

Mourning Collared Dove, Streptopelia decipens

Purple Heron, Ardea purpurea

Goliath Heron, Ardea goliath

African Darter, Anhinga rufa

Common Snipe, Gallinago gallinago

Yellow-billed Stork, Mycteria ibis

Senegal Thick-knee, Burhinus senegalensis

African Swamphen, Porphyro madagascariensis

Northern Masked Weaver, Ploceus taeniopterus

Northern White-faced Owl, Ptilopsis leucotis

White-crested Turaco, Tauraco leucolophus

African Harrier-Hawk, Polyboroides typus

Yellow-billed Shrike, Corvinella corvina

Chubb´s Cisticola, Cisticola chubbi

Wahlberg´s Eagle, Hieraaetus wahlbergi

Southern Citril, Chritagra hyposticta, Endemic to SE Africa

Brown Babbler, Turdoides plebejus

Heuglin´s Masked Weaver, Ploceus heuglini

Day 11, April 11: Kapkai to Kakamega Forest

We had a morning birding with Jeff. We struggled a little to find my first lifer, Foxy Cisticola, but when we first found it, it was quite photogenic. The second lifer Green-backed Eremomela were easier to find. We struggled again a little to find my third lifer Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-Weaver, but also got some record shots in the end. Time were not on our side so we dipped on Stone Partridge and Bronze-tailed Starling. Besides the 3 lifers, we got a good list: Silverbird, Rüppel´s Starling, Black-crowned Tchagra, Yellow-fronted Canary, Singing Cisticola, Slate-colored Boubou, Black-winged Red Bishop,Green Wood Hoopoe, Lesser Blue-eared Starling, Golden-breasted Bunting, Meyer´s Parrot, Yellow-bellied Hyliota, Amethyst Sunbird, Double-toothed Barbet and Ross´s Turaco. We were birding mostly in Shambas (farms, deforested areas) with just some pockets of natural forests around. I need to go back to this place since there are at least 2 lifers waiting for me there. We dropped Jeff off at a junction near his house and continued on the road to Kakamega Forest. Winstone were waiting for us at Smith´s Camp and we took off birding around 4 PM. Winstone decided to bird the forest nearest to the camp and we had a very good outing. Here are some of the birds we came across: African Blue Flycatcher, Angolan Swallow, African Stonechat, Black-and-white Casqued Hornbill, Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Plain Greenbul, Yellow-whiskered Greenbul, Uganda Woodland Warbler, Black-faced Rufous Warbler, White-chinned Prinia, African Thrush, Little Greenbul, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Slender-billed Greenbul, African Pygmy Kingfisher, Red-tailed Bristlebill, Blue-shouldered Robin-Chat, Brown-chested Alethe, Olive Green Camaroptera, Sharpe´s Drongo, Turner´s Eremomela, Blue-headed Bee-eater, Yellow-crested Woodpecker, Jameson´s Wattle-eye, Northern Yellow White-eye, Northern Black Flycatcher, Grey Capped Warbler, Green-headed Sunbird, Vieillot´s Black Weaver and Red-headed Bluebill. We returned to camp, had dinner and retired early to bed.

Some pictures from Day 11:

Jeff and I early morning in Kapkai

Singing Cisticola, Cisticola cantans

Foxy Cisticola, Cisticola troglodytes

Lesser Blue-eared Starling, Lamprotornis chloropterus

Golden-breasted Bunting, Emberiza flaviventris

Green-backed Eremomela, Eremomela canescens

Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-Weaver, Plocepasser superciliosus

Greater Blue-eared Starling, Lamprotornis chalybaeus

Common Buzzard, Buteo buteo

Plain Greenbul, Eurillas curvirostris

Blue-shouldered Robin-Chat, Cossypha cyanocampter

Brown-chested Alethe, Chamaetylas poliocephala

Sharpe´s Drongo, Dicrurus sharpei

Yellow-crested Woodpecker, Chloropicus xantholophus

Northern Black Flycatcher, Melaenornis edolioides

Day 12, April 12, Kakamega Forest

We started that morning with the path by the stream on the other side of the Forest. When we parked, the very shy Scaly-breasted Illadopsis were calling. There were still not enough light, so we birded by the road for a short time. We registered Green Hylia, Mountain and African Pied Wagtail, Purple-throated Cuckooshrike, Buff-throated Apalis and Black-necked Weaver before we started the path. The forest were alive. Here are some of the species we observed: Blue Malkoha, White-tailed Ant Thrush,  Grey-throated Barbet, Snowy-crowned Robin-Chat, Yellow-billed Barbet, Violet-backed Starling, Kakamega Greenbul, Dusky Tit, Petit´s Cuckooshrike, Cabanis´s Greenbul, Yellow-spotted Barbet, Bocage´s Bushshrike, Ashy Flycatcher, Black-billed Weaver, Uganda Woodland Warbler, Turner´s Eremomela, Brown-eared Woodpecker, Red-headed Malimbe, African Emerald Cuckoo, Hairy-breasted Barbet, White-headed Wood Hoopoe, Olive-bellied Sunbird, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Olive Sunbird, Grey-headed Nigrita, Mountain Illadopsis (picture lifer), Luhder´s Bushshrike, Dark-backed Weaver, Pink-footed Puffback, Brown-capped Weaver and African Dusky Flycatcher. What an incredible morning. We were running a little late and were back for breakfast at around 10:30. After breakfast, we walked from camp again, it were getting very hot, but still with bird activity. We were heading for some grassland and on the way we picked up Ansorge´s Greenbul, Black-collared Apalis, Blue-spotted Wood Dove and Slender-billed Greenbul. We had a few targets in the grassland and a big surprise: Stout Cisticola, Plain-backed and African Pipit, White-headed Saw-wing, Yellow-mantled Widowbird, European Roller, Fawn-breasted Waxbill and the big surprise: Orange-tufted Sunbird (lifer). Winstone had been guiding in Kakamega Forest for almost 20 years and this were only the third time he had seen that bird! We returned to camp for lunch. After lunch we drove to The Rondo retreat. In the garden we picked up Mackinnon´s Shrike. Other new Kakamega birds we registered on the paths surrounding the retreat included: Great Blue Turaco, Grey-winged Robin-Chat, Stuhlmann´s Starling, Dusky Crested Flycatcher and Black-faced Prinia. We returned to camp freshened up and had dinner.

Some pictures from Day 12:

White-tailed Ant Thrush, Neocossyphus rufus

Uganda Woodland Warbler, Phylloscopus budongoensis

Yellow-billed Barbet, Trachyphonus purpuratus

Mountain Illadopsis, Illadopsis pyrrhoptera, Endemic to East Africa

African Pipit, Anthus cinnamomeus

Stout Cisticola, Cisticola robustus

Orange-tufted Sunbird, Cinnyris bouvieri

Great Blue Turaco, Corythaeola cristata

Grey-winged Robin-Chat, Cossypha polioptera

Yellow-whiskered Greenbul, Eurillas latirostris

Grey-throated Barbet, Gymnobucco bonapartei

Day 13, April 13: Kakamega Forest

We started the morning with exploring a path not too far from camp. Western Oriole and Black-billed Turaco were added. We heard at least two African Broadbills. This were a target for my friend, but we could not get them to show. We drove on and Winstone took us to another path inside the forest. Here it were teaming with birds: Brown-throated, Yellow-bellied and Chestnut Wattle-eyes, Brown Illadopsis (could not get a picture) and Toro Olive Greenbul (only got bad pictures). We returned for breakfast. After breakfast, we went back to the Rondo retreat. We added only 4 new birds to our Kakamega list: Bronzy Sunbird, White-breasted Nigrita, Brimstone Canary and African Goshawk. After lunch, we headed back to Rondo. I relaxed by the path trying to get pictures of Snowy-crowned Robin-Chat and Black-collared Apalis. I only got the second one. The boys returned and they had gotten an African Shrike Flycatcher and good views of Black-faced Prinia. We had plenty of birds and improved on some of the pictures. We returned to camp in the evening.

Some pictures from Day 13:

Black-faced Rufous-Warbler (female), Bathmocercus rufus 

Winston and I in Kakamega Forest

Dusky Tit, Melaniparus funereus

Chubb´s Cisticola, Cisticola chubbi

Joyful Greenbul, Chlorocichla laetissima, Endemic to East Africa

Brimstone Canary, Chritagra sulphurata

Black-collared Apalis, Oreolais pulcher

Mackinnon´s Shrike, Lanius mackinnoni

Day 14, April 14: Kakamega Forest to Kisumu

It is a short drive from Kakamega to Kisumu, but we had decided to bird the path by the river before we returned for breakfast. The path were quiet that day compared to a couple of days before, but we managed to get some pictures and a fantastic interaction with Some Kakamega (Southern) Hyliotas. We also managed to see the first African Green Pigeon of the trip. We stopped at one spot on the way back to camp for the African Broadbill. Even though it were calling, it did not want to show itself. Instead we got magnificant pictures of Equatorial Akalat. After breakfast we started driving to Kisumu. My friend needed to fix his phone and I needed to take out some cash so we stopped for a while in town. We drove direct to the hotel where we had lunch before we made it to Hippo Point where we were supposed to meet Titus for a boat ride. The weather really looked unstable, but since we were ahead of time, we took a short walk. Here are some of the birds we registered before the rain set in: Black-headed Gonolek, Eastern Plantain-eater, Greater Swamp Warbler, Red-chested Sunbird, Black-headed and Slender-billed Weaver, Blue-spotted Wood Dove and Swamp Flycatcher. Then the rain started. We took shelter in the car during the heavy rainstorm. All plans of a boat ride disappeared with the rain, but lucky for us, it only rained for less than one hour. We decided to take another walk and Titus joined us shortly after. We added Highland Rush Warbler (lifer), Marico Sunbird, Common (African) Reed Warbler (EA photo Lifer), White-browed and Blue-headed Coucal, Papyrus Canary, Winding Cisticola, Fischer´s Lovebird, Papyrus Gonolek, African Thrush, Willow Warbler, Golden-backed Weaver and Grey-chinned Sunbird to our list. We only heard Carruther´s and White-winged Swamp Warbler. We returned to the hotel at dusk, had dinner and retired early to bed. 

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

Petit´s Cuckooshrike, Campephaga petiti

Dark-backed Weaver, Ploceus bicolor

Green-headed Sunbird (female), Cyanomitra certiccalis

Ansorge´s Greenbul, Eurillas ansorgei

Kakamega (Southern) Hyliota, Hyliota australis

Pink-footed Puffback, Dryoscopus angolensis

Equatorial Akalat, Sheppardia aequatoriais, Endemic to East Africa

Highland Rush Warbler, Bradypterus centralis

Swamp Flycatcher, Muscicapa aquatica

Marico Sunbird, Cinnyris mariquensis

Black-headed Gonolek, Laniarius erythrogaster

Common (African) Reed Warbler, Acrocephalus scirpaceus race cinnamomeus

African Thrush, Turdus pelios

Slender-billed Weaver, Ploceus pelzeni

Papyrus Canary, Chritagra koliensis, Endemic to East Africa

Black-headed Weaver, Ploceus melanocephalus

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

Papyrus Gonolek, Laniarius mufumbiri, Endemic to East Africa

Day 15, April 15: Kisumu to Aberdere National Park

We had the day before decided to not do a morning boat ride since we had gotten many of our targets just by walking the previous day. We met with Titus early in the morning and started birding. With only 3 potential targets left: Carruther´s Cisticola, Papyrus Yellow and White-winged Warbler, I knew we were dealing with 3 tough species. I have photographed the Cisticola before, The White-winged Warbler, I have heard many times and occasionally seen, but never gotten a picture. The Papyrus Yellow Warbler, I have never even heard. The Cisticola and White-winged Warbler, we had heard singing the day before, my hope were to get the Cisticola out in the open which we did with success. Other birds that morning included Fan-tailed Widowbird, Winding Cisticola, Little Bittern, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Sedge Warbler and Meyer´s Parrot. I believe we did extremely good just by walking in Kisumu on this trip and got all our targets but the “fantasy birds”.

Around 08:30, we were ready to start the long drive towards Aberdere National Park. It was a Saturday, so traffic were fairly light. We picked up John Gitiri in Kinangop, stopped for a Long-tailed Widowbird on the way and birded up to the gate of the park. It were still hot, so not much activity. At the gate, we recorded Moorland Chat (smaller numbers than usual), Hunter´s Cisticola and Abyssinian Ground Thrush. I heard a Mountain Yellow Warbler when I went to pay the entrance fee with my card outside the gate so decided to go back to that spot on the way out. Our next target, The Kenyan Endemic Aberdare Cisticola proved again quite hard to find, but eventually we had one coping incredible well. We also saw several groups of the Kenyan Endemic Jackson´s Spurfowl on the way to the gate. Other birds seen inside the park: Eastern Double-collared Sunbird, Tacazze and Bronzy Sunbird, Streaky Seed-eater, Mountain Buzzard, Cinnamon Bracken Warbler, White-starred Robin, Mountain Yellow Warbler, Yellow-bellied Waxbill and White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher. We were now down the mountain and proceeded to our hotel. Had dinner and retired early.

Some pictures from Day 15:

Fan-tailed Widowbird, Euplectes axillaris

Red-chested Sunbird (female), Cinnyris erythrocercus, Endemic to NE Africa

Carruther´s Cisticola, Cisticola carruthersi, Endemic to East Africa

Sedge Warbler, Acrocephalus schoenobaenus

Meyer´s Parrot, Poicephalus meyeri

Grey-backed Camaroptera, Camaroptera brevicaudata

Titus and I in Kisumu

Abyssinian Ground Thrush, Geokichla piaggia, Endemic to NE Africa

Moorland Chat, Pinarochroa sordida, Endemic to NE Africa

Aberdare Cisticola, Cisticola aberdare, Endemic to Kenya

Jackson´s Spurfowl, Pternistis jacksoni, Endemic to Kenya

Mountain Yellow Warbler, Iduna similis

Day 16, April 16: Kinangop to Lake Naivasha, via Nairobi to Kiligolf

Last day of the trip. I normally finish the trip after birding Kinangop, but I promised my friend to go to Lake Naivasha too in order to look for a certain Helmetshrike. It was drizzling when we set off, but by the time we got to our birding spot, it had stopped. John showed up soon after. Here are some of the birds we found on Kinangop: Cape Crow, Anteater Chat, Kenya Sparrow, Streaky Seedeater, Rock Martin, African Citril, Hunter´s Cisticola, Hamerkop, Common Waxbill, Three-banded Plover, Golden-winged Sunbird, Scarce Swift, Cape Wagtail, Jackson´s and Long-tailed Widowbird, Rufous-naped Lark, Red-tailed Shrike, Sharpe´s Longclaw, Stout Cisticola, Long-crested Eagle, Yellow-billed Duck, Black-winged Kite, Wing-snapping Cisticola, Quailfinch, Levaillant´s Cisticola, African Goshawk, Cape Robin-Chat and Northern Fiscal. My friend needed Lyne´s Cisticola so we stopped on a spot that John knew, but no sign of it. On that spot, we got Plain-backed Pipit, Malachite Sunbird, Yellow Bishop and Lesser Striped Swallow. 

We continued to Naivasha. John knew the area and I had to pay a small fee. We even got a local guide. We found the Grey-chested Helmetshrike in no time. He also needed the Hildebrandt´s Spurfowl, but we could not find it. Instead they connected with a Coqui Francolin, a bird that had eluded us on the trip. 

Having finished the extension to Naivasha, we set off for Nairobi. Nairobi traffic can be really treacherous on a Sunday and I had agreed to drive my friend all the way to the airport. However, due to leaving early, we avoided the traffic. I dropped him off and continued my drive home. I arrived home just after dark and had covered exactly 2.990 km since I left my house on March 31st. The trip it self from Hotel Troy on April 1st to dropping my friend at the airport on April 16th were 2.390 km.

Sharpe´s Longclaw, Macronyx sharpei, Endemic to Kenya

Jackson´s Widowbird, Euplectes jacksoni, Endemic to Kenya and N Tanzania

Common Waxbill, Estrilda astrild

Streaky Seedeater, Chritagra striolata

Angolan Swallow, Mirafra angolensis

Levaillant´s Cisticola, Cisticola tinniens

Yellow Bishop (female), Euplectes capensis

Anteater Chat, Myrmecocichla aethiops

Grey-crested Helmetshrike, Prionops poliolophus, Localised Endemic to East Africa

I have now done 7 or 8 of these Kenyan trips. The destinations vary a little according to the target list of my friends coming to visit, but with 541 registered birds and 10 real lifers, this must be my most successful trip since I first did the trip in July 2018. My next trip is a Tanzania trip in July this year, then one in September and January and February next year. If anyone is tempted, please contact me since May, June, Oct-December, 2023 is currently open.