Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Hello from Nairobi! - 01 Jul 2013

Bronze Sunbird
We woke up in Africa! At 7:15 am the skies were mostly cloudy but mild. I looked out the window overlooking the back yard of the Village Villa Guest House and the first African bird seen was an African Pied Wagtail. We went downstairs to a breakfast of scrambled eggs and sausage and coffee, and the I excused myself to chase some yardbirds.
Bronze Sunbird
The yard and Guest House, like most private residences in Kenya, are gated and surrounded by tall hedges to prevent access by humans and animals. I walked to the rear of the property and began to photograph a flock of Rufous Sparrows, Speckled Mousebirds, Streaky Seedeaters, Bronze Mannikins, and a very uncooperative Abyssinian White-eye. Several Pied Crows were soaring overhead, while an African Goshawk (similar to our Cooper's Hawks) blasted through the yard and over the hedges.
Pied Wagtail
As I walked around with the Nikon D7100 and 300mm f/2.8 VRII lens to photograph the birds a pair of Pied Wagtails landed in the yard and provided my first real nice pics. The bird at left is an adult while the other one was an immature bird. I then spotted my first sunbird sp. (African hummingbirds), a female Bronze Sunbird.


African Paradise-flycatcher
Overhead a beautiful little (female) African Paradise-Flycatcher appeared. The male birds have a long, sweeping tail while the female here has a much shorter tail.While I tried to photograph this bird a squawking Hadada Ibis flew over. I was able to ID it since there are only a couple dark ibises, and its call was distictive enough to verify using the eGuide to Birds of East Africa (Stevenson & Fanshawe) app on my iPad Mini. An Olive Thrush then made brief apearance but disappeared before I could turn the camera on it. I then spotted my first (of many) Common Bulbuls high up in the  trees next to the house.
Bronze Sunbird

Robin then came out and spotted another gorgeous sunbird that proved to be a
Bronze Sunbird! It was a bit difficult to identify, as all I could make out was the iridescent green head and black chest. But a closer look showed tail streamers that helped ID it. 
Black Kite

We then went inside and met with our traveling companions: Sandra Kitt, Guy St. Clair, Andrew Berner, and Deborah Tibenski. A short walk across the street took us to the Village Market, which is an open-air mall with upscale shops, banks and restaurants. While photographing some of the flowers in the courtyard I was stopped by a young man informing us that photography was not allowed in the mall. Too bad, since a pair of Black Kites and a Pied Crow were soaring right over our heads! I photographed them, anyway. After a quick ATM stop we headed back to meet with our new friend and driver Charles Ombongi Masese.  While Charles, Sandi and Guy discussed plans, Deb, Andrew and Robin patiently waited to head back to the Village Market. The plan was to drive back to the market and pay the balance of our lodging fees, then head off to the National Museum of Kenya.
Variable Sunbird
Unfortunately we ran into a disagreement with the travel agent who had given us a higher bill that we had anticipated, so it took a while to resolve the financial differences. Once squared away we thought it best to get some lunch and go back to rest before dinner. We had planed to visit the National Museum of Kenya, which houses the historic Leakey Collection, but were still tired from traveling. On the way out of the market I managed to get some nice pics of a Variable Sunbird that was feeding on hibiscus flowers just a foot away.


I retuned to the yard and found it quiet during mid- afternoon, but got some nice pics of a flyby Black Kite, and a pair of Baglafecht Weavers. They were difficult to ID since there are so many yellow and black weavers in East Africa, but there are few black mantled weavers in this region.


Baglafecht Weaver





We then packed for our Masai Mara trip tomorrow. Our goal was to leave the large suitcase behind so that there will be enough room in the van for the seven of us and luggage. Last night we were packed like sardines with only six passengers and all the airport luggage. With a five hour drive and an extra person we will need fewer bags. Since we'll be returning here on Saturday the Guest House agreed to hold any luggage we leave behind.

Village Villa Guest House, Nairobi, Kenya
African Pied Wagtail
Rufous Sparrow
Speckled Mousebird
Abyssinian White-eye
African Goshawk
Pied Crow
Black Kite
Streaky Seedeater
African Paradise-flycatcher
Olive Thrush
White-rumped Swift
Rock Martin
Common Bulbul
Bronze Sunbird
Variable Sunbird
Baglafecht Weaver
Hadada Ibis
Ring-necked Dove

3 comments:

Debbie Miller @HooootOwl said...

Nice list and series, especially liked the Baglafecht Weavers! Enjoy the rest of your trip!

John L said...

Thanks for the real life travelogue. The challenges add to the substance and style of the story.

The images are, of course, of the best caliber!

And I'm envious.

Guy said...

So well written, Jerry, and what beautiful photographs! How much I've learned from you!

Thank you very much. Really looking forward to the rest of your posts (hope to get started with mine by the middle of next week).

Really good stuff, man. I like what you've written. And photographed and shared with us.

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