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Day 2 (Monday, 6th November)


 

Samburu

Samburu

After a delicious cup of cold tea, we began the first morning game drive at 6:30, and this lasted about 2Ĺ hours, where we crossed many of the same tracks as on arrival the previous evening. The morning was fairly calm and warm, and we zigzagged the reserve during the drive, seeing both familiar species from yesterday and a growing addition of new ones. Reticulated Giraffes again opened up the assembly, with 5-6 gently grazing a path through the acacias. The Lion pair was only metres from their former position, and proceeded energetically to sleep within snoring distance of the watching tourists. Patience was rewarded after about 15 minutes, when the female woke up, had a short groom, before offering herself to the male. Behind the Lions, a party of White-headed Mousebirds passed through, and the adjacent riverbank held a pair of Water Thick-knees, with European Bee-eaters flying over the water. A further welcome addition to our mammalian wanted list was a herd of Elephants with small young. A single female with small follower were seen initially, but these were followed by a much larger herd making their way through the foliage. During the morning, some eagerly awaited birds put in an appearance, with characteristic sightings of Secretary Bird and Martial Eagle perhaps topping the roster. A stunning single Golden-breasted Starling was in an acacia being bypassed by the strutting Secretary Bird. An impressive and entertaining display was given by a young Brown Snake-eagle, which was totally perplexed as to how to catch and devour an equally sized Monitor Lizard on the ground. It danced around the unconcerned reptile for some time before realising the futility of the situation. Some species proved to be very common in the bush, including Superb Starling, White-browed Sparrow-weaver, and White-headed Buffalo-weaver. The two other possible Mousebird species, White-headed & Blue-naped, were also added to the trip list during the morning. Rosy-throated Longclaw and díArnauds Barbet only gave fleeting views as we drove by, but a pair of Eastern Chanting-goshawks and a couple of Pygmy Falcons were much more obliging. As we were almost re-entering the confines of Samburu Lodge, we stopped for a small troop of Baboons next to the track, with Little Bee-eater forming a flypast.

Brown Snake-eagle

Pygmy Falcon

Brown Snake-eagle

Pygmy Falcon

Secretary Bird

Martial Eagle

Secretary Bird

Martial Eagle

Reticulated Giraffe

Lions

Reticulated Giraffe

Lions


 

Samburu Lodge Grounds

River at Samburu Lodge

With the time between game drives being around 7 hours, there was plenty of the day to kill, so I spent an hour or two pacing around the grounds of Samburu Lodge. General wandering was only allowed within the grounds of the lodge rooms, unless a guide was taken, and I preferred the former restriction with freedom and ability to make my own identification mistakes than to have a chaperone and posse of additional guests. Very common and equally tame were Red-billed Hornbills and Superb Starlings, some tottering up to only a few metres away. Equally as confiding was a small band of White-browed Sparrow-weavers which were feeding on the lawn towards the end of the lodge boundary. It was also here that I had a couple of sightings of Grey-headed Kingfisher, and a nesting Sunbird, which appeared to be either Scarlet-chested or Hunterís. When I ventured to the rear of the rooms, a tiny African Pygmy-kingfisher landed briefly on the tangle of branches not far from where I was standing. Vultures were a frequent sight here, if only in small numbers. The juveniles were predictably impossible to identify, but the adults seemed to indicate that all were White-backed. Other confiding birds included Southern Black-flycatcher, with one almost landing on my feet to catch its prey. One of the most impressive sights was from a Martial Eagle soaring over the reception area. Below this, and just outside of the gates, a Black-backed Puffback was greatly outnumbered by Blue-naped Mousebirds. Further round the compound was a complimentary group of White-headed Mousebirds. Sedately flowing alongside the lodge is the river, with a group of menacing Nile Crocodiles sunbathing on the opposite bank. A couple of Striated Herons mingled with the crocs, with a trio of Pink-backed Pelicans over. Perhaps one of the strangest of the resident birds here is the White-bellied Go-away-bird, which eventually showed well.

Grey-headed Kingfisher

Nubian Woodpecker

Grey-headed Kingfisher

Nubian Woodpecker

Red-billed Hornbill

Southern Black-flycatcher

Red-billed Hornbill

Southern Black-flycatcher

Superb Starling

White-bellied Go-away-bird

Superb Starling

White-bellied Go-away-bird

White-browed Sparrow-weaver

Vervet Monkey

White-browed Sparrow-weaver

Vervet Monkey

We set off from the lodge at 4 in the afternoon, and after swiftly passing a Rufous-crowned Roller, we doubled back on ourselves and crossed the river to enter the Buffalo Springs reserve. A Yellow-billed Stork greeted the crossing, and we then embarked on 2Ĺ hours of game drive through a subtlely different habitat, in a much stiller, warmer, and clearer evening than we had experienced. The vegetation seemed to be much more open and low growing than in Samburu reserve. Initially, there were far fewer animals present, apart from a huge Waterbuck hiding in the shade, and the usual plethora of Red-billed Hornbills and White-browed Sparrow-weavers. After an almost barren 30 minutes, we headed to a much flatter part of the reserve, where we stumbled upon a large herd of Elephants. This was the elephant topping on the cake, since it contained a good range of ages, including a very young calf, being sheltered by its older family members. One large tusker even threw an impatient trumpet at us. We then climbed through some more enclosed bush, passing the first Gerenuks since entry yesterday, as well as single Von der Deckenís Hornbill. We emerged on a flat escarpment, with impressive male Baisa Gemsbok and Grantís Gazelle to either side. We then stopped with another 10 or so safari vehicles to alight and admire the vista of the plains beneath, which stretched towards the hills of the North. Herds of Elephant, Gemsbok, and Zebra could be seen winding towards the river in the distance. I broke away from the group for a short time, and found a small and initially elusive collection of Fischerís Sparrow-larks, which were seemingly unaware of my presence, with Red-billed Buffalo-weaver close at hand. We were one of the last buses to leave here, but then the driver sped up, and after only stopping to gorge on Kori Bustard, we eventually pulled up alongside a collection of safari buses to gaze on a Leopard strewn across the branches of a large tree. The fading light caught it beautifully. Despite being the commonest of the three large African cats, it tends to be the hardest to locate, due to its nocturnal and stealthy hunting habits, leaving this as an unexpected treat at the end of the game drive.

African Elephants

Kirk's Dikdik

African Elephants

Kirk's Dikdik

Grant's Gazelle

Baisa Gemsbok

Grant's Gazelle

Baisa Gemsbok

Home

Paintings gallery

Video clips

Images

DVD

Contact

Site map

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Content

Introduction

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Day 8

Day 9

Species list

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