Birding Without Borders

Day 219: Into East Africa

An introduction to Kenya’s birds.

August 7, 2015: Voi, Kenya — This morning I set out from Nairobi with two companions, Joseph Aengwo (a local Kenyan birder) and Alan Grenon (a visiting middle school teacher from Seattle), along with a driver whose name is pronounced “Justice.” Our little posse will spend the next 10 days birding in central and eastern Kenya.

We kicked things off this morning with a 300-kilometer drive to Voi, a town between Nairobi and the coast, where we’ll spend the next two nights. En route, the highway passed through endless stretches of red earth, open-air markets, several herds of zebras, and stands of fantastic baobab trees, which looked like Dr. Seuss characters cavorting on the landscape. Each baobab, with its swollen trunk and branches like arms reaching for the sky, has a unique personality; some are fat and bald, some are stooped with old age, some are scarred from past encounters.

It’s good to be in East Africa, with new birds! We arrived in Voi in time to spend a couple of introductory hours in the bush this afternoon, and I racked up new sightings as soon as we hit the red dirtWhite-bellied Go-away-birds, Black-faced Sandgrouse, Red-and-yellow Barbets, Golden-breasted Starlings, Von der Decken’s Hornbills… the thorny forest was full of birds, and we happily soaked them up. Kenya is said to be one of the world’s best countries for birding, so I’m excited for what the next 10 days will bring.

New birds today: 28

Year list: 3861

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