This week I am excited to be exchanging guest posts with fellow travel blogger Dave Cole of Cook Sip Go. Based in Addis Ababa Ethiopia, Dave has traveled extensively in Eastern Africa and in this post he writes of the colorful array of birds seen while on a visit to the Amboseli National Park in Kenya.
Kenya’s Amboseli National Park is located near the border with Tanzania and is an easy 3-4 hour drive south from Nairobi. Amboseli is of one of the top places in Africa to view large herds of elephants and its views of Mt. Kilimanjaro are equally renowned. Just as impressive, though, is the colorful array of birds at the park, which draws birders from all parts of the world.
The low-level swamps and seasonal waters of Amboseli are a big attraction for the birds. As many of these areas are close to the roads, a game drive will allow some excellent spotting from several meters away. The long-legged flyers love the shallow pools and the park is filled with egrets, Yellow-billed Storks and the visually stunning Black-headed Heron. They are joined by the unmistakable markings of the Saddlebill.
The Kori Bustard is the largest bird that can achieve flight. When one takes off in the distance, the bird’s wingspan might cause you to confuse it for a small plane.
Even walking around the grounds of a lodge in Amboseli can yield some beautiful birds. The Superb Starling is an attractive mix of bright feathers, while the Hoopoe has a very distinct head and beak.
As someone used to the pigeons and sparrows of New York, I was especially struck by the interesting appearance of certain birds. I loved the secretary bird’s fancy plumage and the unique shape of the Hamerkop’s head.
One of the most easily spotted birds in the park is the Marabou Stork. Often referred to as the “undertaker bird” for its appearance from behind, the marabou and its rather strikingly unattractive face are omnipresent.
Of all of the birds I saw, I enjoyed the Grey Crowned Crane the most. Its graceful movement and palate of colors merited stopping the safari car and observing for a few minutes whenever we encountered a flock.
While I did not see many birds of prey in Amboseli, Lanner Falcons were visible overhead several times, scanning the grasses for their next meal. One stopped for a rest long enough for me to snap a photo and the concentration and determination are evident in its eyes.
A few days in the park will yield countless lapwings. The Black and White Lapwings dot the grasses and the Crowned Lapwing is a vocal addition to a quiet savannah.
No East African bird photo essay would be complete without a shot of the Egyptian goose. I have seen flocks of them throughout the rift valley and they will always be a warm reminder of my travels in Africa.
This week we are linking up with;
1. Reflections enroute #wkendtravelinspiration
2. Adelina’s Pack Me To in #SundayTraveler
3. Noel Morata’s Travel Photo Mondays