Lake Elementeita Birding Trip
Steve Pence and his wife, from USA, but work in Tanzania Mbeya region, they wanted a quiet place where most of the birding would be done while walking, we recommended Lake Elementeita, which is only 2 hours drive from the capital Nairobi
The itinerary has options of stopovers along the way, the first being the Manguo ponds which is only 30 minutes drive from Nairobi and close to the highway, unfortunately it has been dry for the better part of 2017 due to the erratic rain patterns experienced in Kenya for the last two years, the ponds are usually a fresh water it's a magnet for birds and other creatures that would not survive in salt water. While it offers a laid-back morning enjoying tranquility and the beauty of an array of birds, the swamp is home to fresh water bird and a localized duck, Maccoa duck .The beautiful chestnut-coloured males and the duller grey female keep to their edge of the swamp. Maccoa ducks have in recent times been listed as ‘near threatened’ on the IUCN red list. These are the only African stiff tail ducks. They rarely leave the water because their legs are set far back making waddling on land uncomfortable.
The other one is Gatamaiyu Forest which is an extension of southern-most end indigenous forest of the Aberdares National Park, made up of ridges and valleys at an average altitude of about 1800m above sea level. Gatamaiyu is good for many Afro-tropical highland species.
We made it to Lake Elementeita in the evening and check at Oasis Eco camp which is situated at the southern end of the Lake, being close to the lake, their gardens are rich with birds; we were welcomed by White- browed Robin Chats which are common, later a sundowner near the lake shore yielded waders, storks, pelicans, flamingos, ducks
The following day it was an early start at 0630hrs,3 hours of walking on the lake shores added more species which some were new to their list like the Lesser Honeyguide, the ever stunning African Hoopoe,
The two days birding trip was very successful, not only due to the quantity seen but the quality of the service, a total of 150 birds were recorded
Lake Elementeita has a quiet environment where birding is normally done while walking as opposed to many places where you are confined in a car