Brian Finch identifies 529th bird species in Nairobi Park

NAIROBI NATIONAL PARK 13th November 2010 – Black Coucal, Eurasian
Wryneck and a new bird for the Park.

Dear All,
I was through the Main Gate of Nairobi National Park at 6.30am, it was
such a dark and gloomy morning. Drizzling but not particularly cold,
little was moving. These conditions continued for a couple of hours,
then the sun finally broke through, and though intermittently cloudy
turned into a nice though not very warm day.

Black stork in Mokoyiet river

I started at the KWS Mess gardens, there were six Tree Pipits on the
lawn, and half-a-dozen Blackcaps, a Willow Warbler (the only bird of
the day), and a couple of Nightingales in the scrub. Moving on to the
Ivory Burning Site, it was very dark and apart from a Nightingale in
the bushes there was nothing else moving. Along the back road was a
Spotted Flycatcher, the only one seen all day and a Nairobi Pipit near
the old pump house. The rain fell whilst I was at Hyena Dam, with only
a few Green and Wood Sandpipers in the area. On the run-off was a male
Saddle-billed Stork, single Great and Yellow-billed Egrets, an African
Water Rail was calling in the swamp, four Common Snipe fed on a pool,
a Yellow Wagtail flew over, a Whinchat sat in this favourite little
corner for the species, and as the rain stopped Rosy-breasted
Longclaws were very active (and elsewhere) and Jackson’s Widowbirds
buzzed about furiously. The out of plumage Black Coucal seen the
previous week, finally climbed up to the bush tops to dry out, and
posed for some time. Allowing nice images and video to be captured.

Black Coucal (3rd for the park)

Later it flew to the scrub along the Mokoyiet River. I followed the
road back towards Hyena Dam, the sun was out now and birds were drying
out on top of the bushes. I stopped by one sunning bird only some
fifteen feet away as it had a strange shape to it, and found it to be
a Eurasian Wryneck (only the second for the Park). It sat there, but
although I moved extremely slowly to grab the camera, the wretched
bird flew off and disappeared in the direction of the run-off. A
Red-tailed Shrike and a Sand Martin made an appearance in the same
place.  Back at Hyena Dam it was still quiet, and I continued on the
outside road the other side of the run-off. There was a pair of
Spotted Thick-knees by the road, the first I have seen in this
particular section of the Park.

African stone chat - the parks 529th species

Continuing along the inside road to Karen Primary School Dam, I picked
up a female Montagu’s Harrier, the first of three Common Buzzards, two
Lesser Kestrels, a pair of Kori Bustards but all the dam could muster
was one Greenshank. Back again along the main road, there was a dark
Booted Eagle (almost certainly the same as two weeks ago), the first
Northern Wheatear of the day (no other Wheatear species seen today),
and a female Eurasian Golden Oriole in some bushes.
I crossed the Mokoyiet Bridge and took the road up towards Nagalomon
Dam. There were a couple more Whinchats, a Common Whitethroat and a
Broad-tailed Grassbird displayed over the open area near the junction.
At Nagalomon Dam there were Black-crowned Night-Herons in the typha,
and it sounds as if they actually have nests with young in there. A
Purple Heron also flew out, and an African Fish-Eagle was on top of
the tree. The road below Impala Lookout produced many more Blackcap,
Nightingales (or Sprossers) churring from the undergrowth and a male
koblyni Red-backed Shrike. Turning towards Kingfisher, I made a last
moment decision to take the short dead-end road alongside the swamp,
and here immediately bouncing about on the bushes, and warbling sweet
refrains was my new bird for the Park, a male African Stonechat. At
the invariably reedy swamp on the other side of the road were four
Eurasian Bee-eaters and six Crimson-rumped Waxbills, whilst Kingfisher
had absolutely nothing. Continuing eastwards there were six more
Northern Wheatears and a couple of adult male isabellinus Red-tailed
Shrikes, and along the road towards Olmanyi Dam (which only had a
single Greenshank), there were two Black Storks over the escarpment
and five Parasitic Weavers. From here I set off for the “drinking
pond” on the Magadi Road side, there were four White Rhinos along a
ridge, and along the forested road following the Mokoyiet River two
lionesses appeared on the road right in front of me. There was an
adult Black Stork feeding in such a stunning setting along the river
causing me to linger for some video, and a few more Eurasian
Bee-eaters. The drinking area was a bit quieter than normal, but then
the conditions weren’t exactly thirst making. Nevertheless some ten
Blackcaps and a Garden Warbler were coming down, as did a couple of
Tree Pipits and the only Violet-backed Starling (female) of the day,
amongst a reasonable variety.
Barn Swallows were in such small numbers, and strangely Red-rumped and
Lesser Striped Swallows have become obvious and considerably outnumber
them, and so did Banded Martins. Quailfinch were in very small
I departed through Langata Gate at 4.30pm.
So after a truly miserable and gloomy start, persistence really paid
off and although only staying in the north of the Park, it was a very
good day although migrants were in very low numbers.
Mammals were plentiful especially around Kingfisher, but were
generally widespread.
Best to all


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