Through My Lens – Nairobi National Park Game Count (Oct 2019)

I spent this past Sunday (October 6th) in Nairobi National Park doing the bi-monthly game count (wildlife census) coordinated by FoNNaP and the Kenya Wildlife Service. As is always the case with NNP, the day was spectacular! Here are some highlights, through my lens …

The day’s first photo. Helmeted Guineafowls searching for breakfast as the rising sun ushers in the ‘golden hour’
It had been raining in the early morning and this Rüppell’s Vulture was spreading its wings to dry off in the sun’s warmth
An African Fish Eagle at Hyena Dam was doing the same
We saw our fair share of buffalo throughout the day
Heading toward our counting block, a big male lion suddenly appeared on the road right in front of us …
… and walked straight past our car, ignoring us completely.
He continued down the road, scent marking and patrolling his territory, to the delight of the people behind us.
Shelley’s Francolin soaking up the morning sun
Hartlaub’s Bustard. Always a pleasure to see.
Two giants of the African savanna (Southern White Rhino and Common Ostrich) grazing side by side
Mother and sub-adult calf
Northern Wheatear. One of several Palearctic migrants seen. Others included Common, Green, Wood and Marsh Sandpipers, Common Greenshank, Little Stint, Barn Swallow and Eurasian Bee-eater.
Male Impala with his harem. He has worked very hard to get all these ladies and continues to work tirelessly to keep them to himself.
An older male with no harem watches another male’s harem in the distance as he reminisces on the good old days when he once had one of his own.
The broken horn a clear sign of the battles he has been through
Eland in the foreground. Rain approaching in the background.
Warthog going about his business.
From a vantage point above the Athi Basin, we saw our only Black Rhinos of the day. We however saw 11 White Rhinos.
Long-tailed Fiscal. A very common feature of any NNP game drive.
This Marabou Stork at Athi Dam had a broken leg that appeared necrotic. I’ve seen some with a leg completely cut off and yet they seem to survive just fine. Not the best-looking but definitely tough birds.
African Open-billed Stork with a small catch at Athi Dam
Pangani Longclaw looking a little drenched
A pair of Tawny Eagles doing the same thing as the vulture and fish eagle earlier. There were intermittent showers throughout the morning and many birds were trying to dry up asap whenever the sun came back out.
This Yellow-necked Spurfowl also had its feathers slightly ruffled by the rain
Eurasian (European) Bee-eaters on the road. We assumed they were trying to dry up but they also seemed to be feeding on small insects on the ground. I had never seen them behave like this.
A very soaked Black-backed Jackal pup.
There were good numbers of wildebeest and zebra in the Athi Basin
Secretarybird hunting among the grazers
White-backed Vultures contemplating their next move
Lunch time
African Fish Eagle trying to look like a Crowned Eagle
Nothing like a cool drink on a Sunday afternoon
The female Martial Eagle from the Sosian Valley pair vigilantly watching over its nest while the male was away looking for lunch to bring home
Close-up of a young Bohor Reedbuck
An army of horns
If there’s one thing I’ve never seen, it’s a friendly-looking buffalo.
Nairobi. The world’s wildest capital city.
On our way out, a Common Moorhen was busy foraging at Nagolomon Dam …
… while a Purple Swamphen kept itself concealed in the reeds.
An immature Martial Eagle was ‘hovering’ over the Kisembe Forest. Something I don’t see this huge raptor do often.
And very close to the main gate, a giraffe had been assassinated
The assassin was obvious. Well-fed and fast asleep nearby. A fitting end to another fantastic day in my favorite part of ‘town’.

We left the park having recorded 105 species of birds (this being casual and opportunistic rather than intensive birding), 23 species of mammals and several other animals. NNP is no doubt a priceless part of Nairobi’s heritage.

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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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