Day 2, Saturday July 7 - Sagana to Castle Forest

We woke up early and started hunting for the Hinde´s Babbler. It took some time before we located a single bird. It was hard to get him to perch nicely for us, but we both managed pictures, so the first lifer was in box. We picked up more than 45 species in the garden that day, some of the better were: Moustached Grass Warbler, Rufous Chatterer, Northern Brownbul, Bar-eyed Thrush, Orange-breasted Bush-Shrike and some overflying Scarce Swifts. We finished the birding, had some breakfast, packed up and headed for our next destination: Castle Forest.

Here´s some pictures from the morning of day 2

Southern Black Flycatcher, Melaenornis pammelaina

Red-chested Cuckoo, Cuculus Solitarius

Black-headed Oriole, Oriolus larvatus - Picture by Florence

Hinde´s Babbler, Turdoides hindei - Endemic to Kenya - Picture by Florence

Rufous Chatterer, Turdoides rubignosa - Endemic to NE Africa

Moustached Grass Warbler, Melocichla mentalis

Day 2, Saturday July 7 - Sagana to Castle Forest Continued

We left the Great Sagana Lodge and it´s very friendly proprietor John and drove to Sagana center. Here we stocked up on supplies and headed to Castle Forest in the southern foothills of Mount Kenya. It was only around 40 km, so very nice compared to the

almost 400 km we drove the day before. We were soon in the forest and stopped at regular intervals listening for birds. We soon heard  both Grey, Black-collared and Chestnut-throated Apalis, but only managed bad pictures. We stopped at a bridge and had a Juvenile Black Sparrowhawk perched nicely. We made one more stop and racked up nice species like Yellow-whiskered Greenbul, Slender-billed Greenbul, Tullberg´s Woodpecker, Grey-headed Nigrita, Brown-capped Weaver, Olive-breasted Mountain Greenbul, African Hill Babbler and White-headed Wood-Hoopoe. We drove further up and found a fantastic campsite on the top. Florence and I rigged the tent and then we were ready for lunch at the balcony of the lodge. At the campsite there were plenty of Streaky Seed-eaters. We took a small walk around camp and found a few more birds: Abyssinian Crimsonwing, Northern Double-colared Sunbird, Streaky Seed-eater and Hunter´s Cisticola. We walked our to the lodge for a late lunch and sat down waiting for the food, cameras at our side. We did not wait long before we saw plenty of birds right next to the balcony: Grey Cuckooshrike, Thick-billed Weaver, Brown-capped Weaver, Kikuyuy White-eye, Brown Woodland Warbler, Abyssinian Thrush (Picture lifer) and Tacazze Sunbird. 12 lifers before lunch! After lunch, we decided to walk the ground of the lodge. We managed to get better shots of Grey Apalis, White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher and Hartlaub´s Turaco. We started to loose light now, so we decided to rest a little before dinner. Francis told a bad story about the crazy Kenyan Elephants and scared the shit out of Florence. Suddenly she did not feel like sleeping in the tent anymore. I told her that we had not seen any Elephant dung at all the entire day, so she finally calmed down after I carried all the food to a nearby chack. Francis did not want to take the risk and slept in the lodge :-). We brought cameras for the dinner in the dark. Francis had a stake out for Montane Nightjar. Sure enough, after dinner, we played the call of the Nightjar once and it came out and perched on a tree right next to us. 13 lifers in one day!

Here´s some pictures from the afternoon of day 2

Orange-breasted Bush-Shrike, Chlorophoneus sulfureopectus

Yellow-whiskered Greenbul, Eurillas latirostris

Slender-billed Greenbul, Steigidillas gracilirostris - Picture by Florence

Grey-headed Nigrita, Nigrita canicapillus

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

African Hill Babbler, Pseudoalcippe abyssinica - Picture by Florence

Northern Double-collared Sunbird, Cinnyris preussi

Black Sparrowhawk, Accipiter melanoleucus

Streaky Seed-eater, Chritagra striolata

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

Grey Cuckooshrike, Coracina caesia

Thick-billed Seed-eater, Crithagra burtoni

Brown-capped Weaver, Ploceus insignis

Kikuyu White-eye, Zosterops kikuyuensis - Endemic to Kenya

Brown Woodland Warbler, Phylloscopus umbrovirens - Endemic to NE Africa

Grey Apalis, Apalis cinerea

White-eye Slaty Flycatcher, Dioptrornis fischeri - Endemic to E and C Africa

Hartlaub´s Turaco, Turaco harlaubi - Endemic to E  Africa

Montane Nightjar, Caprimulgus poliocephalus

Day 3, Sunday July 8 - Castle Forest

We started the day walking around camp. It was clouded over and the light was very poor.  In the early morning we had a couple of Red-fronted Parrots flying over our heads. Unfortunately, they flew off, so no pictures. We soon found some Kandt´s Waxbill that we stayed with for a while trying to get pictures in the bad light. We walked on and picked up Tropical Boubou, a female Oriole Finch, Augur Buzzard, Grey-capped Warbler and Tacazze Sunbird. We stopped for breakfast. After breakfast, we got in the car and started down the hill. We picked up Mountain Oriole, and a pair of Tullberg´s Woodpecker. Further down the hill we got Rüppel´s Robin-Chat and another Tullberg´s Woodpecker. This one, nicely posing for a fraction of a second. Then a noisy flock of White-headed Wood-Hoopoes. We drove all the way to the bottom of the hill and found only the following new birds: Black-throated Apalis, African Black Duck and Brown-chested Alethe (no picture).  We drove back up to camp and walked around the garden. The only new bird was a Blue-headed Coucal.

Here´s some pictures from day 3

Kandt´s Waxvill, Estrilda Kandti - Endemic to E Africa

Oriole Finch (Female), Linurgus olivaceus

Augur Buzzard, Buteo Augur

Florence and Francis birding Castle Forest

Mountain Oriole, Oriolus percivali - Endemic to E Africa

Tullberg´s Woodpecker, Campethera tullbergi

African Black Duck, Anas sparsa

Black-throated Apalis, Apalis jacksoni

Tacazze Sunbird, Nectarina tacazze - Endemic to NE Africa

Camp in Castle Forest

Day 4, Monday July 9 - Castle Forest - Samburu National Park

We started this day as well walking around the lodge. I finally got pictures of the Chestnut-throated Apalis, then right after the Black-collared Apalis. Those birds were followed by Abyssinian Crimsonwing and White-tailed Crested Flycatcher. We drove down the hill, stopped and listened, but could not pick up any more species before we reached the bottom of the hill. Here we added Spectacled Weaver and Bar-throated Apalis. We had picked up a total of 73 species in Castle Forest. It is a very nice birding destination.

Here´s a picture from Day 4 morning birding.

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

Day 4, Monday July 9 - Castle Forest - Samburu National Park (continued)

We had  230 km or close to a 5 hours drive ahead of us to reach Samburu National Park which was our next destination. We stopped briefly at Nanyuki where we crossed the equator for the first time. We did some shopping and pushed forward. Again the roads were quite nice so we managed to do good on time. We stopped at the gate of Samburu and paid the entrance fee. They did not have any maps or anything, so I ended up taking a picture of the map at the gate. Once our business at the gate was finished, we started driving slowly towards our campsite at the river. Here is some of the birds we saw on our way to camp: Fischer´s Starling, White-throated Bee-eater, Yellow-necked Spurfowl,  Eastern Yellow-billed Hornbill, Vulturine Guineafowl, White-headed Mousebird and just as we got to camp a Grant´s Wood Hoopoe. The last bird was in camp so we were busy setting camp and did not try to get a picture. Sadly, we never saw the bird again on the trip. Francis was very scared that night. His first sleeping in a tent in a National Park :-)

Here´s some pictures from the afternoon of day 4.

Crossing Equator

Samburu NP

Camp in Samburu

Day 5, Tuesday July 10 - Samburu National Park

We were to do a drive in the park that day. Vulturine Guineafowl, Pale Prinia, Foxy Lark, Donaldson-Smith´s Sparrow-Weaver, Lichtenstein´s Sandgrouse, Acacia Tit, Pygmy Falcon, Eastern Chanting Goshawk, Red-winged and Foxy Lark and Somali Ostrich were some of the birds we saw before breakfast. We came to the Bufflao Springs for breakfast. Plenty of birds around the springs including Dodson´s Bulbul and Parrot-billed Sparrow. We had the spring for ourself and took the opportunity to do some skinny dipping. Florence made breakfast/lunch and we were soon on our way again. We picked up Somali Courser, Black-capped Social Weaver, Abyssinian Scimitarbill, Bearded Woodpecker and Eastern Yellow-billed Hornbill later in the day. We did a lot of driving and had covered most of our target species except Somali Bee-eater. In the end, just before dark, we finally found it. We returned to camp and settled in.

Here´s a pictures from day 5.

Vulturine Guineafowl, Acryllium vulturinum - Picture by Florence

Lichtenstein´s Sandgrouse, Pterocles lichtensteini

Acacia Tit, Parus thruppi - Endemic to NE Africa - Picture by Florence

Red-winged Lark, Mirafra hypermetra - Endemic to NE Africa

Foxy Lark, Calendulauda alopex - Endemic to NE Africa

Somali Ostrich, Struthio molybdophanes - Endemic to NE Africa

Buffalo Springs - Skinny dipping

Buffalo Springs -preparing lunch

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

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

Somali Courser, Cursorius somalensis - Endemic to NE Africa

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

Black-capped Social Weaver, Pseudonigrita cabanisi - Endemic to NE Africa

Somali Bee-eater, Merops revoilii - Endemic to E Africa - Picture by Florence

Day 6, Wednesday July 11 - Samburu National Park

This was the day of our 5th wedding anniversary, so we had booked one night at the Samburu Simba Lodge. Before we could check in at the lodge, we had to drive out to the Archer´s Gate and get a permit for one new day. We found a very nice perched White-throated Bee-eater followed by Rosy-patched Bushshrike, Three-streaked Tchagra, Golden-breasted Starling, Donaldson-Smith´s Sparrow-Weaver, Northern Red-billed Hornbill, Pygmy Batis and Fan-tailed Raven before we reached the gate. Adam Scott Kennedy had told us to look for Somali Sparrow in the villages at the gate. We searched for one hour, but only came up with House Sparrows. We drove back to the gate and paid for permit for one additional day.  We headed for the lodge and it was very quiet. We checked in and had lunch at the lodge. I asked if they had any Bubbly for the evening and they assured us they had good stock. Florence wanted to enjoy a little bit of luxury, so she stayed behind while Francis and I went for an afternoon drive. It was still very quiet, to the fact I started taking pictures of both Fork-tailed Drongo and White-browed Sparrow-Weaver. Other birds we encountered were Vulturine Guineafowl, Northern Red-billed Hornbill, Donaldson-Smith´s Sparrow-Weaver and Purple Roller. We also so a Cheetah kill. We drove back to the lodge and freshened up. Florence and I ordered bubbly for our dinner, but was very disappointed when the first bottle was totally flat, the waiter understood and when the 3 next bottles were also totally flat, we gave up. The waiter said that they did not have a proper wine cellar, so due to the swings in the temperature, the corks increased and decreased in size letting all the fizz out. We were finished with our meal, when Florence finally got what we though were a glass of complimentary wine.

Here´s a pictures from day 6.

White-throated Bee-eater, Merops albicollis

Golden-breasted Starling, Lamprototnis regius - Endemic to E Africa - Picture by Florence

Fan-tailed Raven, Corvus rhipidurus - Picture by Florence

Fork-tailed Drongo, Dicrus adsimilis

White-browed Sparrow-Weaver, Plocepasser mahali

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

Northern Red-billed Hornbill, Tockus erythrorhyncus - Endemic to NE Africa

Purple Roller, Coracias naevius

Celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary at Samburu Simba Lodge

Day 7, Thursday July 12 - Samburu National Park - Naro Moru River Lodge

When we were paying the bill the morning after at check out, I found 3 glasses of wine added to the tab. The waiter told us the wine was complimentary due to the hassle with the 4 bottles of flat Champagene, but the manager insisted that nothing was free. Hmmm, maybe a course in how to serve your clients might be in place? Anyway, I paid the bill and we were soon on our way. We had 157 km to drive to our next destination today, but were doing a morning drive to the southern gate. In the early morning light, we captured a Yellow-necked Spurfowl. Then a chestnut-banded Sandgrouse and a pair of Northern Crombecs building a nest just by the road. We took farewell with the Samburu National Park, the last bird was a lonely male Somali Ostrich. All in all we saw 115 species in Samburu NP in the 3 days we stayed there.

Here´s some pictures from the morning of day 7.

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

Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, Pterocles exustus

Northern Crombec, Sylvietta brachyura

Day 7, Thursday July 12 - Samburu National Park - Naro Moru River Lodge (continued)

We left the park and had a stop on the way at a place Francis had for Boran Cisticola. We searched for an hour and ended up with only Rattling. We continued and reached Naro Moru River lodge for a late lunch. With a river running through the garden it was a very nice place for birds. We racked up 47 species in the afternoon. Some of the better species: Yellow-whiskered Greenbul, Grey-capped Warbler, Grey Apalis, Hartlaub´s Turaco, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Rüppel´s Robin-Chat, White-bellied Tit, Purple-throated Cuckooshrike and African Citril. We had dinner at the lodge and camped at the campsite. Petra Allmendinger had followed us on Facebook and knew we were in the area. She very kindly invited us to come and stay with her one night. We decided to visit her after our trip to the Met station on Mt. Kenya the day after.

Here´s some pictures from the afternoon of day 7.

Purple-throated Cuckooshrike (female) Campephaga quiscalina

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

White-bellied Tit, Paris albiventris

Setting up camp in Naro Moru River Lodge

Day 8, Friday July 13 - Naro Moru River Lodge - Met Station, Mt. Kenya NP - Sandai

In the morning, we woke up to a fantastic view from our tent of Mount Kenya. We started driving and after quite a climb, we arrived at the gate to Mt. Kenya National Park. We paid the fee and was surprised that the road was tarred all the way to the top. We stopped a few times on the way to the top. Our target birds at the top were Abyssinian Ground Thrush and Jackson´s Spurfowl. We started looking for the Thrush and suddenly the Jackson´s Spurfowl appeared. It turned out to be very used to people and came all the way to my feet to eat some crumbles I gave them. We played the tape for the Abyssinian Ground Thrush and we saw a brief glimpse of a pair. We sat down for a while and a new one came closer. To our astonishment it broke cover and flew and landed close to our feet. It turned out to be a Juvenile. Then we heard a Cinnamon Bracken Warbler calling and it perched nicely for a few pictures. Having both of our target birds in box, we decided to descend the mountain. We made a few stops and picked up Abyssinian Crimsonwing, African Hill Babbler, Hunter´s Cisticola, Grey-headed Nigrita and Abyssinian Thrush on the way down to the gate. At the gate, we heard an African Emerald Cuckoo calling and we soon got it. Finally we also managed decent pictures of White-headed Wood-Hoopoe.

Here´s some pictures from the morning of day 8.

View from the tent in the morning: Mount Kenya

Florence at the gate of Mount Kenya NP

Jackson´s Spurfowl, Pternistis jacksoni - Endemic to E Africa

Abyssinian Ground Thrush, Zoothera piaggiae - Endemic to NE Africa

Cinnamon Bracken Warbler, Bradypterus cinnamomeus

An easy LIFER - Jackson´s Spurfowl

It was cold at 3000 meters

Abyssinian Crimsonwing, Cryptospiza salvadorii - Endemic to NE Africa

African Emerald Cuckoo, Chrysococcyx cupreus

White-headed Wood-Hoopoe, Phoeniculus bollei

Day 8, Friday July 13 - Naro Moru River Lodge - Met Station, Mt. Kenya NP - Sandai (continued)

We left the park and headed for Sandai where we were to meet with Petra Allmendinger. We drove on some very suspect roads in order to get there from Naro Moru, but in the end her road description matched up. We were received very good and had a nice tour of her magnificent estate. We also had a short walk with one of her guides, but did not pick up much of interest. After the walk, I was sitting outside the beautiful cottage that we had borrowed when I saw a bird in the bush right in front of me. I put my binoculars on it and sure enough a Little Rock Thrush. My camera was not at my side, so I went to fetch it. When I was finally ready, the bird flew off never to be seen again :-(. Petra invited us to dinner together with all the other guests at the lodge and we had a fantastic meal. After dinner, the party started. It involved some dancing on the tables etc. that I should not go further into now. Safe to say, we slept very good that night. :-)

Here´s a picture from Day 8

Petra & Per

Day 9, Saturday July 14 - Sandai - Robert´s Camp Lake Baringo

We had almost 300 km or 5 1/2 hours to drive today. We stopped for lunch and supplies in Nakuru and also had a brief stop at the Mackinder´s Eagle-Owl site (Sub-species of Cape Eagle-Owl). Francis managed to spot the Owl, Florence and I both got scope views, but it was too far for any pictures. We arrived at Robert´s camp in the afternoon in time to do some afternoon birding. Beautiful Sunbird, Northern Puffback, Rufous Chatterer, Rüppel´s Starling and Northern Masked Weaver were some of the birds we saw that afternoon. Francis lives around Lake Baringo, so we let him go to finally see his wife.

Here´s some pictures from the afternoon of day 9

Spotting for the Mackinder´s Eagle-Owl

Beautiful Sunbird, Cinnyris pulchellus

Northern Puffback (Female), Dryoscopus gambensis

Rüppel´s Starling, Lamprotornis purpuropterus - Endemic to NE Africa

Day 10, Sunday July 15 - Lake Baringo

This was going to be a great day. Francis picked us up early and we drove to the cliff face just behind Lake Baringo. It was beautiful habitat and it was teaming with birds. I had 14 birds on my target list for Lake Baringo and we started to tick them off one by one. Here´s some of the birds we saw in a very small patch: Brown-tailed Rock Chat, Bristle-crowned Starling, Magpie Starling, Little Weaver, Jackson´s Hornbill, Three-streaked Tchagra, Lesser Honeyguide, Mouse-coloured Penduline-Tit, Eastern Violet-backed Sunbird, Three-banded Courser, Pale Prinia, Verreaux´s Eagle and Hemprich´s Hornbill. Atound 10:00 it started to get hot and we returned to camp. Francis left us behind in camp to pick us up in the afternoon. He was going to locate a few Owls + a Nightjar for us to find in the afternoon. We relaxed and photographed some of the birds in camp amongst other a Northern Brownbul.

Francis arrived in the afternoon, He had seen some Bristle-crowned Starlings in camp and soon we were on to them. After that, we drove off. We stopped just a few 100 meters from the camp and sure enough, he had located the day roosting site for the Slender-tailed Nightjar. We then continued to another site where he flushed a Greyish Eagle-Owl a few times, before we finally managed to get the required pictures. Then off again to a third site where he quickly pointed out a Northern White-faced Owl. What a fantastic day it had been with many wonderful pictures

Here´s some pictures from day 10

Ready for the morning birding

Brown-tailed Rock Chat, Cercomela scotocerca

Mouse-coloured Penduline-Tit, Anthoscopus musculus

Three-streaked Tchagra, Tcagra jamesi - Endemic to NE Africa

Eastern Violet-backed Sunbird, Anthreptes orientalis - Endemic to NE Africa - Picture by Florence

Little Weaver, Ploceus luteolus

Magpie Starling, Speculipastor bicolor - Endemic to NE Africa

Pale Prinia, Prinia somalica - Endemic to NE Africa

Three-banded Courser, Rhinoptilus cinctus

Verreaux´s Eagle, Aquila verreauxii

Hemprich´s Hornbill (Female), Tockus hemrichii - Endemic to NE Africa

Lunch at Robert´s Camp, Lake Baringo

Northern Brownbul, Phyllastrephus strepitans - Endemic to NE Africa

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

Slender-tailed Nightjar, Caprimulgus clarus - Endemic to NE Africa

Greyish Eagle-Owl, Bubo cinerascens

Northern White-faced Owl , Ptilopsis leucotis

Day 11, Monday July 16 - Lake Baringo

Today we were going on a boat trip on Lake Baringo. We were picked up at 07:00. We had 2 targets today, Northern Red Bishop and better pictures of Northern Masked Weaver. We started with plenty of African Darters and White-breasted Cormorants. Then Francis spotted a flock of birds quite far away. He confirmed my suspicion, they were Cardinal Queleas. Unfortunately we did not get close enough for decent pictures, but we got some record shots. Then we had a Northern Masked Weaver perching beautiful for us. We continued with a Green-backed (Striated) Heron, before we had a Yellow-crowned Bishop giving us quite a display. We finally saw a Northern Red Bishop, but at quite a distance. This repeated itself a few times before we finally had one at close range. We spent the rest of the trip cruising and picked up an Allen´s Gallinule and a Pied Kingfisher struggling with a fish. We ended the trip and went back to relax. Francis took off in search for a certain Lapwing that was on my target list. Francis came back quite early and had found the Black-headed Lapwing. We went to the place he had seen them, but they were gone. He said he knew another likely spot not too far and as we got there we quickly spotted 3 of them. We were in the car, so they allowed us to approach quite close for some nice pictures. It was very hot, so we went back to camp to search for the Brown Babblers that were supposed to hang out there. We got nice pictures of the Jackson´s Hornbill and a Pearl-spotted Owlet, but the Babbler were no where to be seen. Francis knew another spot for both the Babblers and the last one on my target list for Lake Baringo: White-billed Buffalo-Weaver. We stopped at several likely spots for the Babbler, but it was no where to be seen. We approached Lake Bogoria and at a Lodge there, there were many of them roasting in a big tree. The light were not good, but we managed to take a few pictures of the White-billed Buffalo-Weaver. It started to get dim and we had 40 km back to Camp, so we headed back. Francis left us and we had dinner in camp and settled in for the night.

Here´s some pictures from day 11

African Darter, Anhinga rufa

White-breasted Cormorant, Phalacrocorax lucidus

Cardinal Quelea, Quelea cardinalis

Northern Masked Weaver, Ploceus taeniopterus - Endemic to NE Africa

Yellow-crowned Bishop, Euplectes afer

Green-backed (Striated) Heron, Butorides striata

Northern Red Bishop, Euplectes franciscanus

Allen´s Gallinule, Porphyrio alleni

Pied Kingfisher, Ceryle rudis

Black-headed Lapwing, Vanellus tectus

Jackson´s Hornbill, Tockus jacksoni - Localised endemic to E Africa

Pearl-spotted Owlet, Glaucidium perlatum

White-billed Buffalo-Weaver, Bubalornis albirostris - Picture by Florence

Relaxing after a successful boat ride on Lake Baringo

Day 12, Tuesday July 17 - Lake Baringo - Kakamega Forest

Francis arrived early that morning and we had our last chance for the Brown Babbler. We walked out of the camp and after 5 minutes search, Francis located a single bird for me. I was very happy when I walked back to camp. Florence were still sleeping, so I encouraged her to go with Francis to find the bird too. So she did and came back with even better pictures than me as usual :-). We had 220 km or a little more than 4 hours to drive that day, so we started to drive. We stopped very briefly just outside camp to pick up a Mocking Cliff-Chat. We saw a total of 138 species in the Lake Baringo area and I got 15 of my 14 target birds. The Cardinal Quelea was a bonus.

Here´s some pictures from the morning of day 12

Brown Babbler, Turdoides plebejus

I will stop part 1 of the Kenyan birding trip here. Stay tuned for Part 2, where I will reveal what happened on the trip to Kakamega Forest and which birds we saw in Kakamega Forest, Kisumi, Nakuru National Park and Aberdere National Park. I hope you enjoyed this report.

Mocking Cliff-Chat, Thamnolaea cinnamomeiventris