A Bird’s-Eye View of Southern Kenya

Finally, there it is: Lake Natron. What a flight! Sibera seems like a lifetime ago; I’ve seen so much since leaving the taiga forest – the deserts of Central Asia and Middle East, over lush Ethiopia and now finally Kenya’s lakes where I can stop for some rest, some food… and some mating! I hope there’s some pretty chickies to meet down here.

It’s a long journey, but usually it’s worth the effort. We all gather here for a few months to catch up on what’s going on around the world. The Spotted Thrush, Rock Thrush and Eurasion Bee-eaters bring the latest news from Europe and the locals catch us up on what’s been happening in East Africa during our absence. They’ve got a nice life the local guys. Those flamingos don’t have to travel too far if food runs out. They have so many lakes like Nakuru, Baringo, Bogoria, and Naivasha within such a short distance. Not like the months some of us have to travel to find food during the winter. To be fair, the poor old ostriches can’t even fly so I can’t begrudge them anything. And the Kori Bustards are so heavy it looks like a lot of effort for them to get off the ground. I think I’m quite lucky compared to them; at least I can get around and see the world.

The Warblers and Blackcaps will come from around my area. Everyone loves when the Warblers come in – their songs keep us entertained for hours. The Kenyan water birds will be there of course, including the crazy old Spoonbill with his ridiculous beak. And all the Plovers! There’s always so many of them and I do forget their names much of the time – let’s see, there’s Crowned Plover, Kittlitz’s Plover, Three-banded Plover…

I’m looking forward to a good party with all these guys! The Pelicans can get a bit raucous, which I know annoys the Fish Eagles. And let’s not even mention the relationship between the sleazy Marabou Storks and the snobby Yellow-billed Storks; it’s hard to believe they are related! But generally we all get along quite well. And the great thing about southern Kenya is that if the Hadada Ibis is being too noisy at Natron, we can get some peace at nearby Magadi.

I’m really close now and so far so good; I haven’t run into that unfriendly white-bellied one with the big headpiece. What’s his name again? Yes: Go-away-bird! He’s so rude. We fly all this way for their Kenyan shindig and he just sits in the tree squawking “Go away! Go away!” The Hornbills, Kingfishers and Turacos are all fine and in fact I’m looking forward to meeting my old pal the Lilac-breasted Roller. Some of us prefer the water while others of us prefer the trees… or I should say shrubs down here. All the salty water doesn’t make for lush forests.

Hey, there’s Red-and-Yellow Barbet and Masked Weaver. I’ve made it guys! It’s time to paaaaaaar-ty!