Coke & Som Smith Photography & Travelogue

Kenya Safari!


White-bearded Wildebeest in the Masai Mara. Not the migration but close enough!

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Check out our Pbase Galleries for Kenya 2012

 

Master Species List for the Summer of 2012

 

Kenya 2012!

 

When planning our Africa extravaganza, I was not really contemplating a return to Kenya.  Having traveled there so many times in the past, I was mostly interested in seeing new places.  However, when planning on attending our Sustainable Futures Conference, in Kampala, Uganda, it became clear very quickly that Kenya Airways was out best option!  Stopping in Nairobi and traveling from there to the conference literally saved us over $6000, so why not show Cokie and Som the wonders of Kenya!

So our Kenya expedition was to include stops in the classic Kenya safari destinations – Samburu, Aberderes and the Masai Mara.  I wanted to show my family the lesser known species like Grevy’s Zebra, Reticulated Giraffe, Gerenuk and Beisa Oryx – species most easily seen at Samburu-Shaba-Buffalo Springs Reserves.  I also wanted to show the “great white hunter”- Africa, such as you would find at the Treetops and Outspan Lodges.  I was also hoping to show them the amazing migration and wildlife at the Masai Mara.  So I contacted a travel outfit I came across on Facebook of all places. I was doing research of visiting the Okapis in DRC and somehow I got hooked up with Idea Travel Africa, and Fred Iteku (Website Here), who arranged our Kenya portion of the summer of 2012.  Fred is a very professional and efficient travel operator and provides a great trip at a very reasonable price.  Idea is a fairly small company and is eager to please.  I highly recommend Idea Travel Africa.

Having been nearly 20 years since my last visit to Kenya, I was not surprised to see that NBO had changed significantly.  There were highways now!  The city center looked pretty much the same but the urban sprawl was significant.  The city had grown many kilometers out from the center and seemed to go on forever.  Luckily the new highway system (compliments of the Chinese!) gets you out of NBO in a matter of minutes now, compared to hours of years gone by….

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Som was born to be on Safari!  She loves every minute.

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After spending our first night at the Boulevard in NBO, we sped north to Samburu Shaba.  The roads were basically good and we made it in about five hours or so.  Leaving the high elevation, tea and coffee lands of the Nairobi Plateau, we entered the lands of the Samburu people.  With recent fighting between the tribes in the area, security was tight and there were many armed checkpoints to cross.  Since we were traveling alone, and not in a convoy, our driver had to leave the car to sign in and out of the various regions we entered.  As soon as he left, we were mobbed by very aggressive, and even threatening, hawkers.  Although the exchanges were a bit unnerving, there were no real dangers.  But we definitely felt much less safe along this route than we did in Central Africa, the country we were warned against traveling by the Department of State…

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Samburu/Shaba/Buffalo Springs National Nature Reserves

Samburu National Nature Reserve.

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When people speak of Samburu, they are really referring to an assemblage of three reserves – Shaba (of ‘Born Free’ fame), Buffalo Springs & Samburu reserve.  Here we were seeking several species that can only be found easily here.  We pretty much nailed all of our main targets in our first PM game drive in Buffalo Springs – Gerenuk, Beisa Oryx, Grevy’s Zebra, Reticulated Giraffe, Desert Warthog and Guenther’s Dik Dik.  In all, we were able to pick up nearly 20 mammals while in the reserves.

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Reticulated Giraffe are easily seen as Samburu Reserve and their patters are outstanding.

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It was great to be back in the Samburu.  One of the things I remembered best from my previous trips, was the lovely smells of the desert Acacia woodlands, especially after the rains.  As we did get daily afternoon downpours, we were able to experience the smells.  The woodlands did appear to be a bit more ravaged than I remembered however.  Perhaps due to the elephants, which are very numerous, or perhaps due to the charcoal economy of the region, which has basically completely denuded all of the forests outside of the reserve boundaries, and no doubt some of the stands of Acacia within the boundaries.

While in their lands, it was only appropriate to expose Som and Cokie to the fascinating Samburu culture.  While the experience is touristy and very overpriced and filled with tons of pressure to buy artifacts, it was definitely educational.  Cokie got a chance to see how simply people can live.  Ranging from the incredibly basic leaf-stick huts to the ways they light fire and drink goat blood, he had a great education that day! 

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Dik Diks

Guenther's Dik Dik were not quite as common as Kirk's but they were easy to spot with their longer probosci.

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Kirk's Dik Dik were much more common in Buffalo Springs Reserve.

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We saw well over 100 Kirk's Dik Dik while in the Samburu region.

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Gerenuks

I love watching the Gerenuk browse the Acacia in Samburu.

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Male Gerenuk, Buffalo Springs.

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Male Gerenuk.

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Gerenuks have a certain alien look about them...

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Two female Gerenuk in Samburu...

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Gerenuks are one of the strangest antelopes in the Samburu bush.

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Bright's Gazalle

Bright's Gazelles were common in Buffalo Springs. This is a relatively new species split from Grant's and is generally lighter in color.

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Bright's Gazelle, Samburu NP.

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Grevy's Zebra

Grevy's Zebra is another easily seen rarity at Samburu.  Interestingly we only got a good look at one individual however.

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Grevy's Zebra, Buffalo Springs NR.

(Click Here to see our Zebra Comparison Page)

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Kilpspringer

I saw Kilpspringer on this same rocky slope 25 years ago and every time since then. I wonder if they are related...

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Note the hoofs of the Klipspringer - specially adapted to their rocky homes...

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Lesser Kudu

Nice to finally get a good look at Lesser Kudu.  We came across a nice male and his harem while in Samburu.

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Lesser Kudu

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Beisa Oryx

Beisa Oryx were spotted immediately upon entering Buffalo Springs Reserve.

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Beisa Oryx

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Very spectacular bovid!

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We spotted several separate herds of Beisa Oryx in both Samburu and Buffalo Springs.

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Reticulated Giraffes

Reticulated Giraffes were another target for the Samburu region, which is the best place to see this subspecies in Africa. 

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The Reticulated Giraffe is arguably the most spectacular of all the giraffe subspecies.  Check out our Giraffe page to compare patterns!

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I love Reticulated Giraffes!

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(Click Here to see our giraffe comparison page!)

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Elephants of Samburu

The classic brown Samburu Elephant...spectacular.

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Large bull Elephant in Samburu.

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Bats

 

Peter's Dwarf Epauletted Bats were very common in the Shaba Lodge. 

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Peter's Dwarf Epauletted Bat

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Lion

We did get a good glimpse of a couple sleepy Lionesses while in Samburu...

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Horrible shot -sorry!  But this is all we were able to capture of the Leopards we spotted in Samburu.  They were extremely shy there.  Our guide was worried about this as it was a fairly new phenomenon - the leopards used to be very approachable in the recent past...

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Olive Baboons

 

 There is something primeval about this sighting.  Seeing the Olive Baboons in the Acacia trees wakes some of our ancient DNA.  Something genetically imprinted in our species I believe to allow this scene to be somewhat....familiar...

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Nice smile dude!

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A little Olive in a tree in Samburu...

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Vervet Monkey

Rift Valley Vervets were common in Samburu and pretty much everywhere else on our Kenya trip...

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Gotta watch these little boogers...

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Unstriped Ground Squirrel

Unstripped Ground Squirrels were very easy to spot in all the reserves of the Samburu region.

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Unstripped Ground Squirrel warming itself in the morning sun in Samburu...

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I love watching the ground squirrels stretch in the morning and dust themselves...  This one is having a great time in Buffalo Springs Reserve.

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Desert Warthog

We never got close enough sadly for great images, but there were Desert Warthogs to be spotted in Buffalo Springs.

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(Here is a good site showing the newly delineated distribution for the Desert Warthog)

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The Samburu Tribe

The Samburu are a spectacular tribe living in the region.  It may have been a bit touristy but we did visit one of their villages.  Cokie and and Som enjoyed it very much.

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Samburu Warrior

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What a necklace!

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The beadwork of the Samburu is spectacular.

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Samburu Warrior

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The "Jumping Dance", as Cokie calls it...

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Two Samburu Warriors.  (Yes another weapon in my son's hands!)

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We had the opportunity to visit a Samburu home.

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Inside a Samburu home.

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The Birds of Samburu

 

D'Arnaud's Barbet was a welcome sight in Samburu.

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Red-and-Yellow Barbet in Samburu, a seriously great birding hotspot!

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A spectacular White-headed Buffalo Weaver in Samburu.

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Grey-crowned Cranes were common in Samburu and the Masai Mara.

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I love these little Pygmy Falcons.

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My first sighting of Vulturine Guineafowl. What an awesome bird!

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The Acacia woodlands of Buffalo Springs Nature Reserve.

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I believe this to be Pachycymbium bogoria‏.  This one was in bloom in Shaba Nature Reserve.

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The Sarova Shaba Lodge is a great place to spend a few nights!

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"Having fun, Cokie?"

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Buffalo Springs Nature Reserve.

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An amazing story of how a Lioness "adopted" an Oryx calf...

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The pop-top safari vans were nice in some ways.  Great views and shade in the hot sun, but the lack of 4X4 did present some problems at times.

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Aberdare National Reserve

All trips to TreeTops start at the famous Outspan Lodge.

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About three hours from Samburu, and a spectacular view of Mount Kenya, we arrived at the famous Outspan Lodge.  This gave us an interesting view of the colonial British ultra-elite hunting lodge lifestyle.  Reminded us of “Ace Ventura Pet Detective”, but it was interesting nonetheless.  The Outspan is where all the trips to the famous Treetops Lodge begin.  Treetops is famous for the Queen’s visit some time in the past.  But it really is not an experience I would recommend, at least for avid mammal watchers.  After reading Jon Hall’s Kenya trip report (See his website here), I wanted very much to add Aberderes to our expedition.  I forgot to note the most important thing though – he stayed at the Ark and not Treetops. 

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From our room we could watch the elephants all night long!

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We didn't do too much 5-star on this trip, but TreeTops was the exception.

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I really need to teach Cokie some etiquette...

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Getting ready for our Aberdare safari.

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Some Critters of Aberdare

Nothing quite like a mud-covered Cape Buffalo!

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Although the name, ‘Treetops’, probably had some historical relevance, but there are NO trees left anywhere at all near the lodge now.  Long since destroyed by the elephants, the surrounding forest is more of a mudland, scrubland, than anything resembling and intact forest.  In fact, Aberdares reserve in general is a classic example of a natural habitat under extreme pressure.  The entire reserve is fenced and there is a major overpopulation of elephants in the reserve.  The forest is in very poor condition indeed.  When defining ‘biological island’, Aberdares is the classic example.  There is no gene flow with surrounding populations and inbreeding is surely an issue.  There are warthogs literally everywhere, as there are no major predators except for a few leopards in the reserve.

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The view from our room at TreeTops Lodge.  The elephants would come to the waterhole directly outside all night long!

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The Elephants at Aberdare were a nice chocolatie-brown...

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Aberdare Elephant

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The Aberdare clearly has a Warthog overpopulation problem.  They were so common that the damage they were causing to the environment there was extreme and very noticeable.

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While waiting for our ride to TreeTops, this little Slender Mongoose came by to check us out at the Outspan...

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Spotted Hyena started to come out in good numbers at dusk...

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We were happy to see Syke's Monkeys in Aberdare.  A nice troop was waiting at the entry gate of the park and were the only ones spotted during our afternoon safari in the reserve.

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Syke's Monkeys!  The last time we saw this species, we were all the way down in Imfolozi South Africa. (See trip report here)

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Another target for the Aberderes were the Eastern Guereza (Black & White) Colobus Monkeys.  They were easy to spot but only because our guide knew exactly where to search.

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Eastern Guereza Colobus

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Now that we've seen every species and subspecies of the Black & White Colobus Monkey, we're ready to see some more!

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DeFassa's Waterbuck were common in the openings of Aberderes.  This bull hung around long enough for a nice shot before he bolted in to the bush...

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Eastern Bushbuck seen coming in for water at TreeTops Lodge.

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Although I am saddened about the condition of the reserve, we did see some great species while there.  The Guereza (Black & White) Colobus and Syke’s Monkeys were great to see and add to the list.  We also added DeFassa’s Waterbuck, Bushbuck and even a very frustratingly quick glimpse at a Suni….by our guide only…  I might have seen one in the bushes but I was outvoted by Cokie and Som, who were convinced that I saw only a shadow.  I am quite sure I saw a little bovid, but I agreed that it was not a good enough look to add to the list….We did also catch a Slender Mongoose and a mystery rat – most likely a Marsh Cane Rat.

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Mount Kenya

Mount Kenya as seen from Aberdares.

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The Equator

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Masai Mara

After our amazing expedition in Rwanda and Uganda (Trip reports here), we found ourselves back in Kenya yet again for another few days to visit the Masai Mara, with the hopes of catching the migration in full force.  This part of the trip was very successful, but perhaps not in the way I had hoped for or expected.

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There are not many places around that have more spectacular sunsets than the Masai Mara.

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The Masai Mara

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The road from the Uganda border at Busia to the Mara begins extremely badly.  Seriously, I don’t think the Kenyan government has done any maintenance to that road since I was there nearly twenty years ago!  There were potholes that could swallow a frickin’ house!  After seeing Kenya so many times and over such a long time period, I would think that it is one of the most corrupt countries anywhere.  The infrastructure in Rwanda, Ethiopia, Uganda and many other African countries is light years ahead. 

But in all fairness to the roads, the trip from the border to the Mara was one of the slowest rides of the summer mainly due to our new driver.  While 'John' was a a very nice man with a fairly decent knowledge of the flora and fauna of the Mara, he was the slowest driver on record.  It was very difficult to get good photo-opps with the very slow changes between locations and vantage points...Luckily there were enough animals with a cooperative attitude...  But with all that said, I really enjoyed the many natural history-oriented conversations we had during our few days together.

We did have a great time and we did have a very productive time in the Mara.  We spent three days in total game driving our way through the savanna habitats of the park.  We spotted basically everything we had expected with the exception of the great migration!  Mainly due to the unseasonably wet season keeping the grass green in the Serengeti on the Tanzanian side, and the fires set by the Tanzanians to keep the wildebeests on their side, the migration had not yet started, even though it was at least two to three weeks late!  But we did see the beginning of the migration, with several thousand wildebeests and Boehm’s Zebras making their way in large groups to the Mara.

At least with these initial pulses of the migration viewable, Som and Cokie got an inkling of what it is like. They heard the snorting wildebeests, the galloping, small groups and the large herds of zebras congregating on the plains. They were happy to see what they saw, but I was a bit disappointed as I can remember the massive numbers I saw the last time I was here during the peak of the migration. It was still good to get a different perspective on the migration too.

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Eastern White-bearded Wildebeest

We had our heart set on the migration, but it wasn't meant to be this trip.  But watching the first pulses of the migration was a very interesting perspective anyway.  We were able to spend some quality time with the wildebeest and watching their activities and behavior and sheer numbers was fascinating.  The images that follow are feeble attempts at art, but I think they are nice in that they show, in my mind, the ephemeral nature of what is meant to be 'wild'. 

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Wisps of Wildebeest

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Running for the sheer enjoyment of it...

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Wildebeest

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Pre-dawn jog...

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White-bearded Wildebeest...

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Speed walker!

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This one reminds me of the floating Baron Vladimer Harrkonen from the movie "Dune"...

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Eastern White-bearded Wildebeest

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If I had not said we'd missed the migration, I bet I could have fooled you in to thinking this was the heart of it!  (I would never do that...)

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We did luck out and came across several herds with numbers at the end of our three days in the 5-digits...(not seven digits...)

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Mid July is supposed to be the peak of the migration during normal years but climate change has put a crimp in the predictability of the migration in recent years.  During this week in the Mara, there were tons of photographers hoping to shoot the migration so when we had a large herd in the area, the photographers would all flock to the area to get their images!

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Critters of the Masai Mara

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Cheetah

One day while we were minding our own business, having a nice picnic lunch, this rude Cheetah invaded our space to see what we were eating....Sheesh!

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"Can I have some of your lunch?"

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This one was so approachable, we were able to park our vehicle directly next to it, less than one meter away!

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Cheetah in the Masai Mara!

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African Lion (Panthera leo)

Our first of many lions on our Kenya-portion of the summer expedition.  This one was spectacular!

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This was one very tired male Lion in the Masai Mara.  We spent a couple hours with him and his mate one afternoon and got to watch some serious love-making in the savanna!

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Hard to tell but there is a female under this dude....Dang grass!

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Woo Hoo!

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Afterword, he would drink for ten minutes!

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"Gulp, gulp, gulp...."

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Here's the lucky lady...

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For nearly an hour we watched a group of four females prepared for a hunt on a herd of Cape Buffalo...

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Just about ready....

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Joined by her sister....

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"To heck with it!  I give up"....

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Spotted Hyena

 

 Spotted Hyena were another carnivore spotted in the Mara this trip...

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Black-backed Jackal

Black-backed Jackals were rare this trip.  In fact, we only saw two in Kenya this year.  This one was trotting by our vehicle one very early morning in the Mara.

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"Hey!  Wake up!"

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Elephants

Elephants traveling the grasslands of the Masai Mara...

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Masai Giraffe

This expedition gave us great sightings of three giraffe subspecies.  The Masai Giraffe in the Mara were perhaps the most common.  There is something about a wild giraffe in its natural habitat.  Spectacular!

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Old Masai Giraffe bull in the Mara.

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The pattern of the Masai Giraffe is unique.  Take a look at our Giraffe Page (coming soon) dedicated to showing these pattern differences.

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Masai Giraffe in the Mara...

(Click Here to see our giraffe comparison page!)

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Hippopotamus

 

Hippo Pools in the Masai Mara...

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Yawn!

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Scrub Hare

The ubiquitous Scrub Hare in the Mara....Pretty much everywhere...

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 Grant's Zebra

Grant's Zebra, Masai Mara...

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Grant's Zebra

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Grant's Zebra...

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Grant's Zebra

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Grant's Zebras in the Masai Mara...

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(Click Here to see our Zebra Comparison Page)**

Coke's Hartebeest

It was nice to finally be able to show Cokie his namesake, "Coke's" Hartebeest.  We came across several dozen in the Mara.

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Coke's Hartebeest.

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Topi

Topi were also very common in the Mara.

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Topi in the Mara.

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Common Impala

The Common Impala, otherwise known as the "Savanna Louse", were common in the Mara as well as Samburu.

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Bohor Reedbuck

High on a ledge, we spotted a pair of Bohor Reedbuck.

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Eland

Eland were common in the Mara but they were very shy and always have in the bush...

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Grant's Gazelle

Grant's Gazelle were common in the Mara and can be clearly distinguished from the Bright's Gazelle by the darker pattern.

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Grant's Gazelle

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Thompson's Gazelle

Little "Tomies" were everywhere in the Mara. 

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Thompson's Gazelle

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A couple of romantic Thompson's Gazelles in the Mara.

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Cape Buffalo

Cape Buffalo in the Mara. These are residents and do not migrate with the wildebeest.

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Birds of Masai Mara

I was very happy to see my first White-headed Barbet in the Hippo-pond of Masai Mara.

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Usambiro Barbet in the Masai Mara.

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One of the highpoints of the trip was our balloon ride above the Mara.  Of course it is touristy and expensive as all hell, but the perspective of seeing the great plains and the wildlife from the perspective of a floating balloon was sublime.  The visibility was outstanding and the scenery was stunning.  While we didn’t see two million wildebeests below us, we did get some aerial perspectives of many species and stunning vistas, which made the whole trip very worth-it. And the champagne brunch that followed was nice too.  It is not something I would necessarily fork out the bucks to do again, but I was glad to have done it once for sure.  And I didn’t notice the sounds of the flames scare the wildlife at all.  I was told by one of the pilots that they are trained how not to scare the wildlife by very carefully timing the blasts. 

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Balloon Safari Above Masai Mara 

We almost missed our balloon this morning!  As we pulled up they were just about to launch!

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I think there is little doubt what the highpoint of Kenya was for Cokie...

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I am thinking that Som felt the same...

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Sunrise over the Mara...

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There were at least ten balloons off this morning.

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What a blast!

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From the balloon we had a great view of everything, including the unregulated cattle grazing that is happening pretty much everywhere nowadays in the Mara.

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The impressive post-balloon-ride breakfast buffet.

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An oasis in the great Masai Mara savanna.

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The vast savanna of the Masai Mara and Serengetti.

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Animal tracks in the grasslands of the Masai Mara.

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A Masai village seen from the balloon.

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Champagne breakfast in the Mara!

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Cokie getting ready for the morning's safari!

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Elephant herd as seen from the balloon...

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Views from the balloon!

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Our balloon-view of some Topi in the savanna grasslands of the Masai Mara.  Although we did not catch the full migration, we did see many hundreds of animals below.  Amazing.

 

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The wildlife highpoints at the Masai Mara included many, many African Lions, Masai Griraffes in unbelievable light; a Cheetah that joined us for lunch one afternoon, introducing Cokie to his namesake; the Coke’s Hartebeest;  the numerous Greater and Lesser Bushbabies seen during our morning spotlighting drive to the balloon, and much more.

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Euphorbia species Candelabra trees were common in the Mara.

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One of our picnic spots in the Mara. There was a cheetah right around the corner and we didn't see it for over an hour....I bet he knew we were there!

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The Carnivore

We concluded our Kenya expedition with the traditional meal at the Carnivore restaurant, which no longer serves game meat.  They put a card on the table apologizing for this loss and how they were trying change the Kenyan law forbidding the sale of game meat and were hoping to elicit our support. Sorry, the Smith family cannot give it! We are in total support for the ban on the sale of game meat.  The meat they had at the restaurant was plenty enough!  I cannot imagine eating the meat of the giraffes (like I did twenty years back…) that we had just spent over an hour in the Mara admiring in golden light.  Sorry.

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Cokie's fish-eye version of the BBQ pit at The Carnivore.

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Som about to enjoy some Crocodile steaks.

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Cokie and his Ostrich steak!

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Even after visiting Kenya so many times, the wildlife and scenery of this spectacular country will keep me coming back again and again, no doubt.  I hope that the country can start to tackle some of its corruption and overpopulation problems so nature and wildlife conservation can be more adequately addressed.  I have high hopes for Kenya and hope to return yet again someday for more!

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Some More Images of Critters!

Eastern Bushbuck at Aberdare National Park.

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Kirk's Dik Dik at Samburu.

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Coke's Hartebeest, Masai Mara NP

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Although everyone calls these Burchell's Zebra, the distribution maps and literature I've come across call them Grant's (or Boehm's) Zebras. These were spotted in the Masai Mara along with a couple thousand of their friends...

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Syke's Monkey in Aberdare Reserve...

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Old bull Elephant in Samburu NR.

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Grant's Zebra in Masai Mara NP.

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Grant's Zebras, Masai Mara NP

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What a glorious lion in Masai Mara...

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Our lunch companion in the Masai Mara...

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Masai Giraffe in the Mara.

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Kenya 2012 Mammal List

SA=Samburu, MM=Masai Mara, AB=Aberdare 

  1. Unstriped Gound Squirrel (Xerus rutilus)   SA      
  2. Vervet Monkey  SA, MM
  3. Reticulated Giraffe    SA
  4. Grevy’s Zebra  SA      
  5. Bhoem’s Zebra   SA, MM
  6. Kirk’s Dik Dik   SA, MM
  7. Beisa Oryx  SA
  8. Peter’s Dwarf Epauletted Fruit Bat (Micropterus pusillus)  SA
  9. Warthog   AB, MM
  10. Desert Warthog (Phacochoerus aethiopicus)  *  SA
  11. Grant’s Gazelle   MM
  12. Bright’s Gazelle    SA
  13. Olive Baboon  SA, MM, AB
  14. Impala   SA, AB, MM
  15. Kilpspringer   SA
  16. Elephant   SA, AB, MM
  17. Gerenuk  SA
  18. African Leopard   SA
  19. African Lion   SA, MM
  20. Lesser Kudu   SA
  21. Slender Mongoose    AB
  22. Common Waterbuck  AB
  23. Syke’s Monkey  AB
  24. Guereza Colobus (Colobus guereza occidentalis) AB      
  25. Bushbuck   AB, MM
  26. Spotted Hyena  AB, MM
  27. Guenther’s Dik Dik*  SA
  28. Marsh Cane Rat (Thryonomys swinderianus) AB
  29. Eland   MM
  30. White-bearded Wildebeest   MM
  31. Thomson’s Gazelle  MM
  32. Dwarf Mongoose  MM
  33. Topi  MM
  34. Coke’s Hartebeest   MM
  35. Masai Giraffe  MM
  36. Scrub Hare     MM
  37. Bohor Reedbuck  MM
  38. Greater Bushbaby  MM
  39. Lesser Bushbaby  MM
  40. Black-backed Jackal   MM
  41. Cheetah MM
  42. Multimammate Rat (Mastomys natalensis)     MM

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Near Misses

  1. Suni
  2. Large African Civet
  3. Marsh Mongoose
  4. Eastern Tree Hyrax – screaming as if being murdered by Freddy Kruger near Ol Moran Camp
  5. Dead grey? Mongoose outside of nbo

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Birds of Kenya 2012

 

Lilac-breated Rollers were common in the Masai Mara.

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Arrow-marked Babblers in Samburu...

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Common Bulbuls in the Masai Mara...

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Kori Bustard at Samburu NR.

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White-bellied Bustard in the Mara.

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White-browed Coucal in the Mara.

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Grey-crowned Crane in the Masai Mara.

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Grey Crowned Crane in Samburu.

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Imperial Eagle seen flying over head at Samburu.

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On the slopes of Mount Kenya, Long-crested Eagles were very common, basically being found on every other fence post!

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We came across a couple Martial Eagles on the banks of the Samburu River.

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Tawny Eagles were common in Kenya.  This one was spotted in the Acacia woodlands in Samburu NR.

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Common Fiscal in Samburu.

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Grey-backed Fiscal in Masai Mara.

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Crested Francolin in Samburu.

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Scaly Francolin in the Aberderes.

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Bare-faced Go-away Bird in the Masai Mara.

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I love the sounds of the White-bellied Go-away birds. This one was found in Samburu with a bunch of his buds...

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Yes, another Egyptian Goose in Samburu...

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African Goshawk in Samburu.

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Helmetd Guineafowl in the Mara.

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Vulturine Guineafowl in Samburu.

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African Grey Hornbill in Masai Mara.

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Yellow-billed Hornbill in Samburu.

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Red-billed Hornbill in Samburu.

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Silvery-cheeked Hornbill in the garden of the Outspan Lodge near Aberdare.

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Silvery-cheeked Hornbill coming in for a landing at Outspan.

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Silvery-cheeked Hornbill enjoying some palm nuts at Outspan.

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A male Von der Decken's Hornbill at Samburu NR.

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Female Von der Decken's Hornbill at Samburu.

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Hadada Ibis at Outspan.

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Grey-headed Kingfisher at Samburu NR.

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Crowned Lapwing at Samburu.

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Spur-winged Lapwing at Samburu.

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Rufous-tailed Lark in Masai Mara.

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Yellow-throated Longclaw at Masai Mara.

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Red-faced Mousebird at Samburu.

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Speckled Mousebird at Aberdare.

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African Black-headed Oriole in the Mara.

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There are two species of Ostriches in Kenya.  This is the Common Ostrich and was spotted in Masai Mara.

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The blue-necked Somali Ostrich is the second species in Kenya and is considered to be part of Samburu's "Big Five".

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A young sleepy Verreaux's Eagle Owl at Masai Mara.

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A Brown Parrot near his nest in the Mara.

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Three-banded Plover in the Mara.

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Black-faced Sandgrouse in Samburu NR.

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Cokie loved the Secretary Birds but never remembers their correct names.  Some time ago, he started calling them "Government Birds"....

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Chestnut Sparrow in the grass of the Masai Mara.

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Red-necked Spurfowl in the Mara.

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Yellow-necked Spurfowl singing his heart out in Samburu.

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East Africa's most spectacular starling - the Golden-breasted Starling.  This one was spotted in Samburu.

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Kenrick's Starling in the Masai Mara.

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What a Superb Starling!

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Saddle-billed Stork in the Masai Mara.

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Variable Sunbird in the Aberdare.

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Lappet-faced Vulture in Samburu.

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Speckled-fronted Weaver in the Masai Mara.

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Herps!

 

Red-headed Agama (Agama agama) were common lizards throughout the Samburu region.

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Very nice Blue-throated Agamid in the Mara.

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And then a few minutes later, the blue disappeared...

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This massive mystery turtle came out of the Samburu River to feast on the meat they feed the crocs at the Shaba Lodge.  I wish I could ID it.

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Bird List Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda

  1. Somali Ostrich
  2. Common Ostrich
  3. Great White Pelican
  4. Pink-backed Pelican
  5. Little Grebe
  6. Great Cormorant
  7. Long-tailed Cormorant
  8. African Darter
  9. Black-crowned Night Heron
  10. Cattle Egret
  11. Little Egret
  12. Intermediate Egret
  13. Goliath Heron
  14. Great Egret
  15. Grey Heron
  16. Squacco Heron
  17. Striated Heron
  18. Black-headed Heron
  19. Hamerkop
  20. Yellow-billed Stork
  21. African Open-billed Stork
  22. Marabou Stork
  23. Shoebill Stork
  24. Sacred Ibis
  25. Hadada Ibis
  26. Glossy Ibis
  27. Lesser Flamingo
  28. African Spoonbill
  29. Egyptian Goose
  30. Spur-winged Goose
  31. Knob-billed Duck
  32. White-faced Whistling Duck
  33. Fulvous Whistling Duck
  34. Black Kite
  35. Ruppell’s Griffon Vulture
  36. African White-backed Vulture
  37. Hooded Vulture
  38. African Fish Eagle
  39. Palm Nut Vulture
  40. Egyptian Vulture
  41. Lappet-faced Vulture
  42. Black-chested Snake Eagle (Circaetus pectoralis)
  43. Brown Snake Eagle (Circaetus cinereus)
  44. Gabar Goshawk (Micronisus gabar)
  45. African Goshawk (Accipiter tachiro)
  46. Little Sparrowhawk (Accipiter minullus)
  47. African Harrier-Hawk (Polyboroides typus)
  48. African Hawk-eagle (Hieraaetus spilogaster)
  49. Common Buzzard
  50. Shikra
  51. Augur Buzzard (Buteo augur)
  52. Bateleur
  53. Long Crested Eagle (Lophaetes occipitalis)
  54. Greater Spotted Eagle
  55. Martial Eagle
  56. Tawny Eagle
  57. Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca)
  58. Common Kestrel
  59. Pygmy Falcon (Polihierax semitorquatus)
  60. Helmeted Guineafowl
  61. Crested Guineafowl
  62. Vulturine Guineafowl (Acryllium vulturinum)
  63. Secretary Bird
  64. Osprey
  65. White-headed Vulture
  66. Dark Chanting Goshawk*
  67. Hildebrandt’s Francolin (Francolinus hildebrandti)
  68. Scaly Francolin (Francolinus squamatus)
  69. Crested Francolin (Francolinus sephaena)
  70. Yellow-necked Spurfowl (Francolinus leucoscepus)
  71. Red-necked Spurfowl (Francolinus afer)
  72. Harlequin Quail (Coturnix delegorguei)
  73. Common Button-quail (Turnix sylvatica)
  74. Black Crake
  75. African Jacana
  76. Common Moorhen
  77. Red-knobbed Coot
  78. Grey Crowned Crane
  79. Denham’s Bustard (Neotis denhami)*
  80. Kori Bustard
  81. White-bellied Bustard (Eupodotis senegalensis)
  82. Black-bellied Bustard*
  83. Black-winged Stilt
  84. Spur-winged Lapwing
  85. African Wattled Lapwing (Vanellus senegallus)
  86. Crowned Lapwing
  87. Long-toed Lapwing (Vanellus crassirostris)
  88. Water Thick-knee (Burhinus vermiculatus)
  89. Eurasian Thick-knee (Burhinus oedicnemus)
  90. Rock Pratincole (Glareola nuchalis)
  91. Black-winged Pratincole (Glareola nordmanni)
  92. Three-banded Plover (Charadrius tricollaris)
  93. Common Sandpiper
  94. Common Black-headed Gull
  95. Black-faced Sandgrouse (Pterocles decoratus)
  96. Emerald Spotted Wood-Dove
  97. African Green-Pigeon
  98. Ferral Pigeon
  99. Laughing Dove
  100. Namaqua Dove
  101. Ring-necked Dove
  102. African Mourning Dove
  103. Brown Parrot (Poicephalus meyeri)
  104. African Orange-bellied  Parrot (Poicephalus rufiventris)
  105. Great Blue Turaco
  106. Ross’s Turaco (Musophaga rossae)
  107. White-crested Turaco (Tauraco leucolophus)
  108. Bare-faced Go-away-bird (Corythaixoides personata)
  109. Rwenzori Turaco (Tauraco johnstoni)
  110. Black-billed Turaco (Tauraco schuetti)
  111. Eastern Grey Plaintain Eater (Crinifer zonurus)
  112. White-bellied Go-away-bird
  113. Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus)
  114. White-browed Coucal (Centropus superciliosus)
  115. Senegal Coucal (Centropus senegalensis)
  116. Verreaux’s Eagle Owl (Bubo lacteus)
  117. African Wood Owl
  118. Square-tailed Nightjar (Caprimulgus fossii)
  119. Penant-winged Nightjar* (Macrodipteryx vexillarius)
  120. Little Swift
  121. Eurasian Swift
  122. African Palm Swift (Cypsiurus parvus)
  123. Speckled Mousebird (Colius striatus)
  124. Blue-naped Mousebird (Urocolius macrourus)
  125. Pied Kingfisher
  126. Grey-headed Kingfisher (Halcyon leucocephala)
  127. Woodland Kingfisher (Halcyon senegalensis)
  128. Malachite Kingfisher
  129. African Pygmy Kingfisher
  130. Little Bee-eater
  131. Blue-breasted Bee-eater (Merops variegates)
  132. White-throated Bee-eater
  133. European Bee-eater
  134. Madagascar Bee-eater
  135. Blue-cheeked Bee-eater (Merops persicus)
  136. Northern Carmine Bee-eater (Merops nubicus)
  137. Red-throated Bee-eater (Merops bulocki)
  138. Lilac-breasted Roller
  139. Green Wood-hoopoe (Phoeniculus purpureus)
  140. African Hoopoe
  141. Red-billed Hornbill
  142. Eastern Yellow-billed Hornbill
  143. Von der Decken’s Hornbill (Tockus deckeni)
  144. African Grey Hornbill
  145. Crowned Hornbill (Tockus alboterminatus)
  146. Black-and-white-casqued Hornbill
  147. White-thighed Hornbill (Bycanistes cylindricus)
  148. Abyssinian Ground-hornbill (Bucorvus abyssinicus)
  149. Grey-throated Barbet (Gymnobucco bonapartei)
  150. Red-and-yellow Barbet (Trachyphonus erythrocephalus)
  151. Usambiro Barbet (Trachyphonus usambiro)
  152. d’Arnaud’s Barbet (Trachyphonus darnaudii)
  153. White-headed Barbet (Lybius leucocephalus)
  154. Lesser Honeyguide (Indicator minor)
  155. Greater Honeyguide (Indicator indicator)
  156. Cardinal Woodpecker (Dendropicos fuscescens)
  157. Rufous-naped (Mirafra africana)
  158. Flappet Lark (Mirafra rufocinnamomea)
  159. Chestnut-backed Sparrow Lark (Eremopterix leucotis)
  160. Rock Martin (Hirundo fuligula)
  161. Plain Martin (Riparia paludicola)
  162. Sand Martin
  163. Common House Martin
  164. Barn Swallow
  165. Red-rumped Swallow (Hirundo daurica)
  166. Lesser Striped Swallow (Hirundo abyssinica)
  167. Wire-tailed Swallow (Hirundo smithii)
  168. African Pied Wagtail (Motacilla aguimp)
  169. White Wagtail
  170. Yellow-throated Longclaw (Macronyx croceus)
  171. Grassland Pipit (Anthus cinnamomeus)
  172. Common Bulbul
  173. Slender-billed Greenbul (Andropadus gracilirostris)
  174. White-browed Robin-Chat (Cossypha heuglini)
  175. White-starred Robin (Pogonocichla stellata)
  176. Common Rock-thrush (Monticola saxatilis)
  177. Abyssinian Ground-thrush (Zoothera piaggiae)
  178. Northern Anteater Chat (Myrmecocichla aethiops)
  179. Common Stonechat
  180. Northern Wheatear  (Oenanthe oenanthe)
  181. Isabelline Wheatear (Oenanthe isabellina)
  182. Familiar Chat
  183. Desert Cisticola (Cisticola aridulus)
  184. Northern Black Flycatcher (Melaenornis edolioides)
  185. Black-throated Wattle-eye (Platysteira peltata)
  186. African Paradise Flycatcher
  187. Ashy Flycatcher (Muscicapa caerulescens)
  188. Swamp Flycatcher (Muscicapa aquatica)
  189. White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher (Melaenornis fischeri)
  190. Black-lored Babbler (Turdoides sharpie)
  191. Arrow-marked Babbler (Turdoides jardineii)
  192. Yellow White-eye (Zosterops senegalensis)
  193. Bronze Sunbird (Nectarinia kilimensis)
  194. Green-headed Sunbird (Cyanomitra verticalis)
  195. Blue-headed Sunbird (Cyanomitra alinae)
  196. Olive-bellied Sunbird (Cinnyris chloropygia)
  197. Rwenzori Double-collared Sunbird (Cinnyris stuhlmanni)
  198. Green-throated Sunbird (Chalcomitra rubescens)
  199. Regal Sunbird (Cinnyris regia)
  200. Olive Sunbird (Cyanomitra olivacea)
  201. Superb Sunbird (Cinnyris superba)
  202. Marico Sunbird (Cinnyris mariquensis)
  203. Beautiful Sunbird (Cinnyris pulchella)
  204. Collared Sunbird (Hedydipna collaris)
  205. Variable Sunbird (Cinnyris venusta)
  206. Common Fiscal (Lanius collaris)
  207. Grey-backed Fiscal (Lanius excubitoroides)
  208. Lesser Grey Shrike (Lanius minor)
  209. Northern Puffback (Dryoscopus gambensis)
  210. Fork-tailed Drongo
  211. House Crow
  212. Pied Crow
  213. White-naped Raven (Corvus albicollis)
  214. Piapiac (Ptilostomus afer)
  215. Red-billed Oxpecker
  216. Yellow-billed Oxpecker
  217. Golden-breasted Starling (Cosmopsaurus regius)
  218. Ashy Starling (Cosmopsaurus unicolor)
  219. Kenrick’s Starling (Poeoptera kenricki)
  220. Red-winged Starling (Onchoghnathus morio)
  221. Greater Blue-eared Starling
  222. Ruppell’s Long-tailed Starling (Lamprotornis purpuropterus)
  223. Splended Starling
  224. Violet-backed Starling (Cinnyricinclus leucogaster)
  225. Superb Starling
  226. Chestnut Sparrow (Passer eminibey)
  227. Grey-headed Sparrow (Passer griseus)
  228. House Sparrow
  229. African Black-headed Oriole (Oriolus larvatus)
  230. Speckled-fronted Weaver (Sporopipes frontalis)
  231. White-browed Sparrow-Weaver (Plocepasser mahali)
  232. White-headed Buffalo-Weaver (Dinemellia dinemelli)
  233. Black-headed Weaver
  234. Lesser-masked Weaver
  235. Heuglin’s Masked Weaver (Ploceus heugleni)
  236. Speke’s Weaver (Ploceus spekei)
  237. Vieillot’s Black Weaver (Ploceus nigerrimus)
  238. Holub’s Golden Weaver (Ploceus xanthops)
  239. Yellow-backed Weaver (Ploceus melanocephalus)
  240. Black-billed Weaver (Ploceus melanogaster)
  241. Red-billed Quelea
  242. Red-headed Weaver (Anaplectes rubriceps)
  243. Red-collared Widowbird (Euplectes ardens)
  244. Black Bishop (Euplectes gierowii)
  245. Southern Red Bishop (Euplectes orix)
  246. Northern Red Bishop (Euplectes franciscanus)
  247. Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu (Uraeginthus bengalus)
  248. Red-billed Firefinch (Lagonosticta senegala)
  249. African Firefinch (Lagonosticta rubricata)
  250. Common Waxbill (Estrilda astrild)
  251. Black-faced Waxbill (Estrilda charmosyna)
  252. Bronze Mannikin (Lonchura cucullata)
  253. Pin-tailed Whydah (Vidua macroura)
  254. Yellow-fronted Canary (Serinus mozambicus)
  255. Yellow-crowned Canary (Serinus canicollis)
  256. Streaky Seedeater (Serinus striolatus)
  257. African Golden-breasted Bunting (Emberiza flaviventris)

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More Stuff

The famous Outspan Lodge, the entry port for TreeTops Lodge in the Aberdare.

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Cokie getting in some zzzz's at the Outspan waiting for our safari jeep...This kid can sleep anywhere!

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Our first driver/guide, 'Nick'.

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Cokie and Som just wanted to add one more country to their lists.  Here they are "inside" Tanzania.

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The Masai Mara.

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Som and her male Lion!

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Som and Samburu warrior escorts.

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Cokie and his Samburu 'date'.

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Cokie's great shot of Som at the Serena Lodge.

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Yummm...Cappuccino....

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Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but shadows...(or is it footprints...heck, I can't remember...)

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Masai Mara Sunset

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Wow!  What a trip!

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Check out our Pbase Galleries for Kenya 2012

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Master Species List for the Summer of 2012

(Click Here to see our giraffe comparison page!)

(Click Here to see our Zebra Comparison Page)

 

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