After the initial four day tour of the central part of Kenya one day was reserved for relaxing in Nairobi. After that a short flight took us to Malindi on the coast. From here we went to Watamu, a tourist area about 30 km south of Malindi. Watamu is very good if you want to combine birding with family time. Mida Creek is nearby and is home to good numbers of shorebirds with Crab Plovers being the star attraction and Arabuko-Sokoke forest is only a 10 minutes drive away (several endemics possible here).
We stayed at the A Rocha field centre, about two kilometres south of Watamu. We discovered later on that it was religous foundation doing biological research in the area. The people there were really nice and it was not a problem that we were not exactly religous. They have several small huts that one can rent quite cheap. There is bird ringing in the garden and only a two minute walk down to the beach! Birds were numerous with Eastern Bearded Scrub-Robin, Eastern Nicator, Purple-breasted Sunbird and Northern Carmine Bee-eater all seen in the garden (got 10 new species on the first day). The first night I heard a strange call which I at first presumed to be an owl. I put on my head lamb and went for the sound. It turned out to be a Lesser Galago, very nice.
The next day I got invited to do a night session ringing shorebirds at Mida Creek on the night before our departure! I gladly accepted. Ringing of shore birds at Mida Creek is best when high tide is during the night when birds fly in to roost without being able to see the nets put out on the mudflats.
We drove down to Mida Creek in the afternoon seeing Wahlbergs Eagle and Böhm's Spinetail on the way. An initial look out over the mudflats at Mida revealed a lot waders including several Crab Plovers. We had to deploy the nets quickly (see video) as the tide was coming in. It turned out to be really good ringing session! We caught Crab Plover (20), Lesser Sandplover (20+), Greater Sandplover (20+), Grey Plover (10+), Terek Sandpiper (20+), Little Stint (25+), Curlew Sandpiper (20+), Whimbrel (5+) and Saunders Tern 1. I got ten new ringing species!! Unfortunately I could not bring my camera (big one) as theft done by local fishermen had been causing problems. The session lasted from 1630-0530. We had to leave at 0730 to catch the bus from Malindi-Lamu the following day so I did not get a lot of sleep...