I met up with Mike Davidson, Fleur Ng’Weno and Gordon Boy at Main
Entrance at 6.45am. There were people ahead of us, and their
protracted and complicating configurations meant that it was another
fifteen minutes before we could get into the Park. Some days they need
an extra person on the gate, especially when the entry has
complications and they are tied up.
It was a dry day, there had been little rain overnight, and the
southern parts were still arid compared to the lusher north. Our first
stop was at Ivory Burning Site where we saw the first of five
Olivaceous Warblers, and the first of six Willow Warblers, but apart
from this there was nothing to hold our interest so we continued the
back route to Hyena Dam.
African Water Rails called from the small swamp, where there were four
Wood Sandpipers, but there was nothing at the Dam. On the run-off we
had a Great Egret, the first of three Red-backed and first of three
Lesser Grey Shrikes, a couple of Rosy-breasted Longclaws, a group of
twenty Yellow-crowned Bishops and good number of Jackson’s and other
widowbirds. Swinging back towards Nagalomon Dam there was a pair of
Saddle-billed Storks on the dam by the road, and eight Orange-breasted
Waxbills with three Cardinal Queleas in the rank grass. On Nagalomon
Dam were a couple of Black-crowned Night-Herons on nests. We now
headed for Maasai Gate as Willie Knocker had been hearing from his
house, something that sounded like a Buff-spotted Flufftail in the
Mbagathi Gorge, but being a sunny and warm morning it was not making a
noise when we were there. Along the Mokoyiet the adult Martial Eagle
sat by its old nest, and at Maasai Gate we did find two each of Great
Reed Warbler and Red-faced Cisticola. Re-entering the Park we headed
off for Athi Dam, on the top of the basin there were two Lesser
Kestrels, a Kori Bustard with a francolin-sized chick still in
variegated chick-plumage, and still four very bright Eurasian Rollers.
Athi Dams interests were restricted to three Spur-winged Plover and
three Little Stints. At Cheetah Gate only two Speckle-fronted Weavers
were of any note, but we did find an unexplored track along the
fenceline heading off to the river. We left it unexplored for a later
date. On the return via Hyena Dam we were very pleased to find a
beautifully marked Madagascar Pond Heron, quite an early date. Barn
Swallows were in very small numbers for the time of year, and the few
seen were on the move.
Interesting mammals included four Lions hiding under a bush alongside
the road above Athi Basin, that we would not have seen if it weren’t
for a car stopped for them. Most plains game were in the Athi Basin.
A very pleasant day, fewer surprises than hoped for but conditions
were a bit too warm and sunny. The best days always seem to be fairly
overcast days following a night of rain, let’s hope we still have
considerably more on the way.
Best to all
NB : This trip was made in sunshine on May 1st. Bring your binoculars on Saturday and see what you can spot!