Thursday, 13 October 2011

Birding Log East African Safari Christmas 1984

Christmas had almost arrived and I was booked on a two week holiday with the Adventure Agency of Ramsbury Wiltshire run by Ben and Carol Satterthwaite.I arrived at Nairobi on an Iberian airways flight
via Madrid a little tired.
Fortunately Ben and Carol were there to meet us and we set off towards Namanga,our first mammal along the road was a Leopard Tortoise.We set up our tents and it was not long before I was asleep.
The next morning I awoke to the sounds of an African morning,we were soon on our way  and crossing in to Amboseli Park.Open Savannah with water holes and surrounding Acacia held a vast
number of species.On the water Black Crake competed with  Lesser Jacana for lily pad footholds,while
the white backed ducks were similiar to Ruddys in Europe.The mammals seen outshone the birds,
Masai Giraffe with attendant Red billed Oxpeckers plundered the Acacia trees.We camped that
night near Observation hill,incidentally one of the only places you can get out of the vechile in Kenya.
Ben told us to fetch firewood,it was wise to carry the wood at arms length in case of Scorpions,
Ben peeled the spuds,we set out tents up and sprayed them with Mosquito repellant.
Before the evening meal that night I  noted a Black shouldered Kite.
It was Christmas eve and after dinner we played charades in to the night and I cosumed most of
my duty free Bacardi. I do remember it rained all night,Lions roared and Hyaenas were nearby,my
rum helped me sleep and provided some Dutch courage as the canvas between man and beast was mighty thin.I awoke to another day in Africa and not 200 yards from the campsite an Elephant was
grazing.The local guide for the campsite and I approached the Elephant to within 150 yards,it suddenly turned and called. I said to the guide "what do we do now" he said run bwana run. The first rule is don't run however we did.
After breakfast a game run produced Wildebeeste ,Buffalo,Impala,Waterbuck,Vervet monkeys to name but a few. It was Christmas day and my bird list was groeing with exotic  species such as Crowned cranes,Superb Starlings,Ostrich and Long crested eagle.
Down by the river a Hammerkopf obliged and back at the camp site in the afternoon a Green Wood Hoopoe with it's family of four climbed the palm trees,something on the ground was a mystery,dust bathing, it turned out to be a Namaqua dove.

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