Sunday 29 March 2020

Kenya 3-15 November 2019. Part 3 - Tsavo West

Other parts are here:   Part 1     Part 2     Part 3     Part 4 

Tsavo West is an open camp with no fences.

Before our visit, there had been quite a lot of rain. There was also quite a lot of rain while we were there. This rendered the landscape beautifully green. It also meant that water was plentiful. Animals which normally sought out the waterholes in the dry season had no reason to go there now. Most guides rely on finding animals at the watering holes. This explains why we didn't see many big cats - only one lion, but no cheetahs or leopards.

On our journey to the camp we came across a Gerenuk, an antelope with a giraffe's long neck. Quite unusual.

The Gerenuk. With that neck it can reach the succulent leaves at the top of the bushes.

Our accommodation in Tsavo West was 'tented' but not as we know them. They were tents, but inside there were brick walls to make the bathroom, a proper double bed, power sockets and lights. We had a mini veranda with chairs and table.
Our veranda at Tsavo West

One of our first visitors was  a Pale Flycatcher. A common and unassuming bird.
Pale Flycatcher. A  frequent visitor to our veranda.

We loved the way there are always so many trees and bushes in the camps. They attract birds, many of them very noisy! Of course, in nature, many creatures spend their days catching and eating other creatures. One such in the camp was a Grey-headed Bush-shrike. This one was very clever, It had a forked branch into which it would anchor its prey so it could tear the flesh off more easily. 
Grey-headed Bush-shrike. Such an intelligent hunter.

Here are some other visitors to the camp.
Red-chested Cuckoo.
White-browed Sparrow-weaver.

Nubian Woodpecker.

Cardinal Woodpecker.

Bearded Woodpecker.
Lesser Masked Weaver. They were actually nesting in the pond in the restaurant! This is the female.

Away from the camp there were fewer trees, but some were interesting, either because they were full of weavers' nests or were curiously shaped.
Don't know what it is but love the shape!

This solitary tree was full of weavers' nests.

We did see mammals at this park, but probably not as many as if it had been dry.

Eland - One of the largest of the antelopes. 

Coke's Hartebeest - rather plain as antelopes go!
Impala. I know you've seen them from Amboseli, but I wanted to show you again as they are such an attractive antelope!

Lesser Kudu. Very uncommon, and this is a baby. Just look at the size of those ears!

Zebras are common, but lovely to see at any time.

. . . and another Zebra.

We took a trip one morning to Mzima Springs, a tranquil oasis, where the river and lagoon were surrounded by trees, providing shade from the heat. The river was home to Crocodiles and Hippos, which we saw. In the water, Crocs and Hippos are 95% submerged and I didn't think that distant photos of their protruding nostrils looked that interesting, so, no, there are no photos of them!

There was, however, this very noisy fellow:
Rock Hyrax. A large and very noisy mammal, distantly related to the elephant!

. . . and, of course, more birds:

Pygmy Falcon. This tiny raptor is only about the size of a blackbird.

Long tailed fiscal. A shrike that eats insects and small lizards.

Striated Heron on the edge of the river.

Eastern Pale Chanting Goshawk. A common but striking raptor.

Martial Eagle, a formidable raptor. One of the largest eagles in the world, eating a huge monitor lizard like this one. . . 
Monitor Lizard. Well over a metre long. They sunbathe on termite hills like this one, hoping for food when they wriggle inside. Birds of prey know this, target termite mounds and pick off the lizards.

We also saw the magnificent Secretary bird again and a very special bird indeed, especially in splendid breeding plumage.
Secretary bird.
Paradise Whydah. A small bird, the male carries this huge tail around. The females must love it. Quite rare, and a very lucky find.

Next stop: Tsavo East!

Other parts are here:   Part 1     Part 2     Part 3     Part 4 

1 comment:

  1. Amazing photos as usual Phil. You try and get them in a wildlife magazine. Xx


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