29th - 31st October 1988 and 2nd - 7th December 1988

29th October.

Dave Tombs and I arrived in Kenya the previous day, we were here on a sound recording trip, mainly to Madagascar and then later in Kenya, for the BBC series 'Trials of Life', also for a three part series on the Rift Valley and for the Natural History Sound Library collection. We were met by Jean Hartley from ViewFinders, who had organised our travel and accommodation, and took us to a hotel in Nairobi for a three night stay. These first couple of days were spent sightseeing and getting all the permits and permissions for our visit to Madagascar. New species for me will be in bold.

Today Jean took us to we meet-up with Richard and Ann Bishop at the ILRAD compound just north of Nairobi, where they lived and worked.

Richard was the brother of my flat-mate Charles and also an excellent birdwatcher. 

So, the first part of the day was spent in and around the ILRAD area, where we saw a Robin Chat, Pied Crows, Superb Starlings, 6 Red-collared Widowbirds, Kenyan Rufous Sparrows, Fiscals, Black Kites, Rock Martins, Swallows, 5 Northern Pied Babblers, Speckled Pigeons, Red-eyed Doves, a Bronze Sunbird, Streaky Seedeaters, Little Swifts, 3 Black Saw-wings or Rough-winged Swallows, 25 Sacred Ibises, a Wood Sandpiper, a Spotted Flycatcher, a Stout Cisticola, a Hadada Ibis, a Green Sandpiper, an African Citril, Yellow-vented Bulbuls, 7 Bronze Mannikins, a Variable Sunbird, African Pied Wagtails, 2 Speke's Weavers, 2 Singing Cisticolas, a Willow Warbler, a Chinspot Flycatcher, African Sand Martins, Red-rumped Swallows, an Augur Buzzard, Reichenow's (sub-sp. Baglafecht) Weavers, a White-browed Coucal, Speckled Mousebirds, Yellow Wagtails, Olive Thrushes, Palm Doves, African Fire Finches, Bee-eaters,  African Stonechats, Whinchats, House Martins, Palm Swifts and a Red-backed Shrike.

Later, after lunch, Jean took us to Nairobi National Park which boarders the city. On our drive through the park we saw Common Zebra, Blue Wildebeest, Grant's Gazelle, Thomson's Gazelle, 2 Warthogs, an Egyptian Vulture, 9 Ostriches, 4 Crown Plovers, a Rufous-naped Lark, an Isabelline Wheatear, 2 Black-shouldered Kites, Hartebeest, 3 Long-tailed Fiscals, 9 Lions which included 3 cubs, a Montagu's Harrier, Giraffe, 2 Little Bee-eaters, a Singing Bush Lark, a Rattling Cisticola, 2 White-bellied Bustards, a Black Rhinoceros, a Yellow-necked Spurfowl, 2 Shelley's Francolins, 2 Swahili Sparrows, a Grey-backed Camaroptera, 3 Hippopotamuses, a Pied Kingfisher, a Fisher's Lovebird, a Malachite Kingfisher, a Night Heron, a Nile Crocodile, an African Paradise Flycatcher, White-backed Vultures, 4 Long-tailed Glossy Starlings, 10 Green Wood-Hoopoes, Impala, Defassa Waterbuck, African or Cape Buffalo, Eland and Marabou Storks.

Female Ostrich. 

30th October.

A day doing stuff in Nairobi, while passing the airport saw 2 Grey Crowned Cranes and 2 Black-shouldered Kites.

31st October.

We were staying at the Panafric Hotel in Nairobi, on an early morning look around the grounds we saw 3 Grey-headed Sparrows, 4 Speckled Mousebirds, an Olive Thrush, 2 Bronze Sunbirds, 3 Reichenow's Weavers, Black Kites, Pied Crows, Little Swifts, Palm Doves, a Red-eyed Dove and 2 Streaky Seedeaters.

Later, we went to the airport for our flight to Madagascar, seeing 2 Red-winged Starlings.

Golden Silk Orb-weaver Spider. 

The trip continues in Madagascar.

2nd December.

After returning from Madagascar, today we drove south from Nairobi to Kilanguni Lodge in Tsavo West, to continue our sound recording trip.

On the way we saw Black Kite, Dark Chanting Goshawk, Black-shouldered Kite, Crested Francolin, Helmeted Guineafowl, Black-winged Stilt, Speckled Mousebird, 2 White-bellied Go-away-birds, Little Swift, African Paradise Flycatcher, Fiscal, Superb Starling, an East African Ground Squirrel, Blue-eared Glossy Starling, Pied Crow, Thomson's Gazelle, Grant's Gazelle, a large herd of African Buffalo and Common Zebra.

At Kilanguni Lodge the restaurant overlooked a large pool where, during the evening, animals would come to drink, here we saw an Aardwolf, an African Civet, an African Wild Cat, 2 African Wood Owls, a Common Genet, a Steinbok, Waterbuck, Zebra and Yellow Baboons.

Common Zebras. 

3rd December.

At Kilanguni Lodge the Yellow Baboons were into everything and we were warned not to leave windows or terrace doors open in the rooms as they would ransack the room looking for food.

Our reason for being here, was to record Eastern Dwarf Mongoose, whose family groups lived in the walls around the site. These small mongooses could be elusive, foraging widely during the day and disappearing into cracks in the walls for the night, however, we did follow several around and they were remarkably silent, the only sounds we could hear came from them in their nests in the walls.

During the day we saw Marabou Stork, Abdim's Stork, Hunter's Sunbird, Little Swift, Red-rumped Swallow, White-browed Sparrow Weaver, Superb Starling, Impala, Whitethroat, Striped Kingfisher, Yellow-necked Spurfowl, Lesser Striped Swallow, Black-headed Oriole, Olivaceous Warbler, Red-billed Buffalo-Weaver, Black-headed Heron, Cattle Egret, Black-winged Stilt, Grey-headed Sparrow, Three-banded Plover, Isabelline Shrike, Egyptian Geese, Wood Sandpiper, Wattled Starling, Red-billed Hornbill, Spotted Flycatcher, Thrush Nightingale, Waterbuck, Black-necked Rock Hyrax, Tawny Eagle, African Sand Martin, 2 African Orange-bellied Parrots, African Pied Wagtail, a Grey-headed Kingfisher, a Rufous Chatterer, Didric Cuckoo, Lesser Masked Weaver, Tawny-flanked Prinia, a Bateleur, Warthogs, African Buffalo and around the compound several Common Agamas and Sand Agama.

In the evening, from the restaurant terrace we saw an African Wood Owl, an Aardwolf, Zebra, AfricanWild Cat and small insectivorous and small fruit bats.

In this part of Tsavo West the red soil temporarily stains many of the animals, as can be seen from the photos of:

Below: Eastern Dwarf Mongoose.

Right: Yellow Baboon.

Black-headed Oriole

Marabou Stork

Black-necked Rock Hyrax

Didric Cuckoo

Common Agama

Ground Agama

4th December.

We started today following the mongooses, which still made no sounds, seeing Grey Hornbill, White-browed Sparrow Weaver, Red-billed Hornbill, Long-tailed Fiscal, Taita Fiscal, Little Swift and Superb Starling.

Then we discovered the rubbish pit which was full of Yellow Baboons, Warthogs, Marabou Storks and a Savannah or Bosc's Monitor.

After we had a drive around the local area, stopping to record, on this outing we saw Red-billed Buffalo Weaver, African Sand Martin, Yellow-necked Spurfowl, Tawny Eagle, a D'Arnaud's Barbet, a Black-fronted Bush Shrike, Yellow-throated Longclaw, a Rufous Chatterer, 2 Golden-breasted Buntings, Flappet Lark, a Steppe Eagle, an Imperial Eagle, a Bateleur, Pink-breasted Lark, a White-browed Coucal, Red-winged Lark, Zebra, Grant's Gazelle, Impala, Giraffe and Desert Wheatear.

Kilanguni rubbish pit. 

Savannah or Bosc's Monitor

Yellow Baboon



D'Arnaud's Barbet

Red-winged Lark

After lunch we went to Mzima Springs where we saw Vervet Monkey, Nile Crocodile, Pied Kingfisher, Red-chested Sunbird, Yellow-fronted Canary, Eastern Golden-backed Weaver, African Helmeted or Marsh Terrapins, Long-tailed Cormorant, African Golden Weaver, Red-billed Firefinch, 2 Hadada Ibises, a Chestnut Weaver, an Emerald-spotted Wood Dove and a Tawny Eagle.

Back at Kilanguni Lodge there was a Bateleur, 3 Warthogs with 3 piglets, Impala, a Grasshopper Buzzard, 2 Tawny Eagles, a Wahlberg's Eagle, Spotted Flycatcher, a Grey-headed Kingfisher and a Black-headed Oriole.

On a drive near the lodge we saw 3 Ostriches, 2 African Brown Parrots, White-bellied Go-away-bird, Red-billed Hornbill, 2 Crested Francolins, a Pied Wheatear, a Red-faced Apalis, Giraffe, a Crested Bustard and 2 Milky Eagle Owls.

In the evening, at the lodge, we saw the Aardwolf again, a White-tailed Mongoose, an African Wild Cat, Waterbuck and Zebra.

Vervet Monkey

Vervet Monkey

Mzima Springs

Lesser Masked Weaver

Reticulated Giraffes

5th December.

All day around Kilanguni Lodge, starting with the Eastern Dwarf Mongooses, also seeing a Rattling Cisticola, 2 D'Arnaud's Barbets, a Common Bulbul, 2 Yellow White-eyes, a Didric Cuckoo, Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Black-headed Oriole, Lesser Masked Weaver, White-browed Sparrow Weaver, Red-billed Buffalo Weaver, 2 Steppe Eagles, Superb Starling, Little Swift, Lesser Striped Swallow, Hunter's Sunbird, Spotted Flycatcher, Olivaceous Warbler, Whitethroat, Red-rumped Swallow, Wattled Starling, Marabou Stork, Abdim's Stork, a Gabar Goshawk, 3 Tawny Eagles, African Pied Wagtail, a Brown-hooded Kingfisher, 2 Abyssinian Scimitarbills, Egyptian Geese, Black-winged Stilt, Greenshank, Zebra, Waterbuck, Impala, 9 Ostriches, 4 Oryx, 4 Warthogs, Yellow Baboons, 2 Amethyst Sunbirds, an Eastern Chanting Goshawk, Cattle Egret, 2 Egyptian Vultures, 3 Black-faced Sandgrouse, a Secretarybird, Hartebeest, Black-capped Social Weaver, a Great Spotted Cuckoo, an East African Ground Squirrel, a Bosc's Monitor, 2 Wood Sandpipers, a Three-banded Plover, a Malachite Kingfisher, an Aardwolf, 2 White-tailed Mongooses, a Striped Hyaena and a Side-striped Jackal


Eastern Dwarf Mongoose

Yellow Baboon

D'Arnaud's Barbet

6th December.

Our last morning at Kilanguni Lodge seeing Red-rumped Swallow, African Black Swift, Little Swift, Lesser Striped Swallow, Red-billed Hornbill, Marabou Stork, Abdim's Stork, Black-winged Stilt, Wood Sandpiper, Greenshank, D'Arnaud's Barbet, Didric Cuckoo, Lesser Masked Weaver, White-browed Sparrow Weaver, Superb Starling, Whitethroat, an Upchur's Warbler, Olivaceous Warbler, Cattle Egret, Hunter's Sunbird, Black-headed Oriole, Palm Dove, Red-billed Buffalo Weaver, Zebra, Impala, Waterbuck, 2 Tawny Eagles, 2 Egyptian Vultures and 2 Ruppell's Griffon Vultures.

On the drive back to Nairobi we saw a Three-banded Plover, 2 Ostriches, Ruppell's White-crowned Shrike, Wattled Starling, Black-bellied Bustard, 2 Secretarybirds, Blue-naped Mousebird, lots of Rollers, 3 Bateleurs, a Black-headed Bush Shrike, Red-winged Lark, an Isabelline Shrike, Swallows, Flappet Lark, Yellow-throated Longclaw, Red-cheeked Cordonbleu, Zebra, Impala, a Kirk's Dikdik, Yellow Baboon, Black Kite, African Golden Weaver, Vervet Monkey, 3 Hadada Ibises, a Thick-billed Roller, a Long-crested Eagle, 4 Black-shouldered Kites, 3 Speckled Pigeons and a Kittlitz's Sand Plover.

In Nairobi we were booked into the Boulevard Hotel which backs onto the Nairobi River, with the Botanical Gardens on the opposite bank. In and around the garden we saw 3 Cinnamon-chested Bee-eaters, Speckled Mousebird, Reichenow's Weaver, Fiscal, African Pied Wagtail, a Giant Kingfisher, Holub's Golden Weaver, Black Kite, Pied Crow, 2 Hadada Ibises, Ring-necked Dove, a Mountain Wagtail, 2 Hamerkops, a Great Sparrowhawk, Little Swift,  2 Bronze Sunbirds and a Harrier Hawk.

Photos: Marabou Stork.

Baglafecht/Reichenow's Weaver.

Giant Kingfisher.

7th December.

Before leaving for the airport, we had time for a last look around the garden at the Boulevard Hotel seeing the Great Sparrowhawk again, Fiscal, Speckled Mousebird, Pied Crow, Olive Thrush, Holub's Golden Weaver, Reichenow's Weaver, Black Kite, Mountain Wagtail, Ring-necked Dove, Grey Wagtail and Bronze Sunbird.

Right: Holub's Golden Weaver.

Below: Great Sparrowhawk.




Hunter's Sunbird at Kilanguni on 3/12/88

Hadada Ibis on drive to Nairobi 6/12/88

© 2014  Nigel Tucker. All rights reserved.

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