I started my two weeks vacation in Kenya with a hardcore birding trip. A four day round trip north of Nairobi. Through http://www.birdforum.net/ I found Joseph and his small Nairobi-based tour company (http://www.natureswonderlandsafaris.com/). If anyone wants a good local guide, Joseph is your man.
I got picked up in Nairobi at 0730 by Joseph and Wilfred and we soon headed north. Low water levels at Thika meant that Joseph felt that we should take this stop out of the itinerary. Birds enroute included Black-headed Heron. What was intended to be a quick stop near an almost roadside pond ended up being a 1.5 hours introduction to East African birds. A total of 51 species were recorded with highlights being the tours only Lesser Rush Warbler and White-headed Barbet. From here we ventured further north connecting with Northern Pied Babbler, Cinnamon Bee-eaters, Striped- and Grey-headed Kingfishers along the road. Wajee Camp is the place to see Hinde’s Babbler which we unfortunately failed in doing (probably due to the bad timing of our visit). The reserve is a piece of hill-side forest. A feeder at the entrance gave good views of Northern Double-collared Sunbird, Green-headed Sunbird, Variable Sunbird and Amethyst Sunbird. The forest itself gave Little Sparrowhawk, Red-necked Wryneck, Dark-capped Yellow Warbler, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Chinspot Batis, Black-collared Apalis, Cabin’s Greenbul, Slenderbilled Greenbul and Eastern Honeybird. Our final destination of the day was Sweetwater Game Reserve. Roadside birding going there included some cracking Long-tailed Widowbirds, the males being in full breeding plumage, two Brown Parrots and my first ever Common Zebras. Sweetwater is a private game reserve. A breeding programme for Black Rhino is very succesive with numbers having high growth rates. A quick drive from the main gate to the Tented Camp (really luxourious) produced Black-lored Babbler, Southern Black Flycatcher, Slate-coloured Boubou and a good selection of the more common African mammals, Common Zebra, Warthog, Grants –and Thomsons Gazelle, Impala and Waterbucks. At the tent area a short walk produced Hildebrandt’s Starling, Whitebellied Tit, Northern White-crowned Shrike and an overflying Knob-billed Duck. All tents at Sweetwater are overlooking a water hole. This gives very good viewing possibilities of mammals coming in to drink. Some eveing viewing included two Black Rhinos and six Scrub Hares.