A Couple Of Hours Bird Atlassing At The Museum (Birding From Home #7)

Yesterday (20th June) I found myself with a free Saturday morning after my original plan for the day backfired. So I decided to go to the Nairobi Museum for two hours of solo bird atlassing (bird mapping) to see what was around.

It was rather quiet, which is expected at this time of year, so not so many birds to be seen, but I did still enjoy the few that were around. Here are some highlights…

Starting at the Fisheries Department gate, several common birds were the first entries to the list. Black (Yellow-billed) Kites and Pied Crows were in the air, an African Pied Wagtail was on the ground, White-bellied Tit and Chin-spot Batis were feeding in the canopy of a Croton tree, and Singing Cisiticolas were singing nearby.

I made my way slowly towards the Peace Path …
An Amethyst Sunbird was feeding near ground level. Insects being its focus rather than nectar, as most plants were not in flower.
Also feeding on insects was this female African Paradise Flycatcher. Other birds along this stretch included several Cinnamon-chested Bee-eaters, a White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher, a Streaky Seedeater, a Red-eyed Dove and Common Bulbuls.
At the pond near the Ringing Site, not much was going on. Marabou Storks soared overhead. Hadada Ibis were their usual noisy selves.
Further down, Great Sparrowhawk (an adult and juv), Variable Sunbird (pictured above), Grey-capped Warbler, Dark-capped Yellow Warbler, Kikuyu White-eye, Speckled Mousebird and a few others showed themselves.
Near the Michuki Memorial Park wall, a Bronze Sunbird was gleaning insects from the bark of an Acacia (Vachellia) kirkii. I spent a good 10 minutes trying to photograph it as its quick and restless movements made this a real challenge.

A female African Citril was feeding young nearby. So were a flock of Bronze Mannikins, Grosbeak and Spectacled Weavers. Other weavers seen were Baglafecht, Holub’s Golden and Village Weavers.

Walking along the Michuki Park wall …

… an Abyssinian Thrush was going about its business. This species is known by most Kenyan birders as the Olive Thrush. But that species has recently been split and the nominate Olive Thrush (Turdus olivaceus) is now only found in southern Africa, from Malawi and Mozambique southwards. Our East African species is the Abyssinian Thrush (Turdus abyssinicus), also called Northern Olive Thrush, Mountain Thrush or Ethiopian Thrush.
Hadada Ibis, loud and ever-present Nairobi resident, was also here. In the sky, a mixed flock of Little Swifts, Rock Martins and Red-rumped Swallows were in a feeding frenzy.
Ascending into the denser wooded sections, this Black-backed Puffback was foraging below the canopy. Northern Double-collared Sunbird was heard but not seen.
Although most trees weren’t flowering, this Cordia africana across the Nairobi River was an exception. It was in full bloom. A scan with the binoculars did not produce much in the way of birds feeding in it though.
Further along the footpath, this African Dusky Flycatcher was feeding silently in a shady spot. I was happy to see it as I haven’t seen one at the museum for some time.

Finally, I did a quick check of the big yellow-barked Acacia tree behind the Nature Kenya membership office, which often has some interesting birds. I saw exactly nothing.

I left at noon with a list of 36 species. I was a bit surprised that several birds that are usually common, like Grey-backed Camaroptera, Village Indigobird and Sacred Ibis, were nowhere to be seen (or heard). The unpredictability of birds. It’s part of what makes bird atlassing so fun.

I used BirdLasser to record my list

I will try and do a bit more birding in this particular Bird Map pentad (grid square) within the 5-day maximum for this list and see how many more species I can add to it before submitting it to the Kenya Bird Map.

If you know how to identify birds and would like to contribute your Kenyan bird lists/records to the Kenya Bird Map project, please send your name, phone number and email address to kenyabirdmap@naturekenya.org.

If you take photos of birds but don’t know how to identify them, you can join the Virtual Museum (joining guidelines are on the website) and submit your photos to the BirdPix section. Experts will identify them and add them as records to the African Bird Atlas (which the Kenya Bird Map is a part of).

Other useful resources: Resources For Birders

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About Sidney Shema

Sidney is a Kenya-based ornithologist and photographer specializing in the birds of Africa, with an especially keen interest in the birds of prey (raptors) of Kenya.
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