Saturday, 28 July 2012

UAE East Coast Pelagic 27.07.12

The UAE Pelagics this season have been quite poor compared to the last two years,  counts are down and so is the variety.  Even with that in mind I ventured out yesterday with a few of the guys and of course Abdullah our wonderful driver.  Unfortunately,  Ramadan meant there was none of his wonderful Cardamon tea on this trip.   We set off at 3pm with the intention of going deep rather than close to shore,  The sea was amazingly calm. In all the trips I have done in the last three years it has to be the flattest I have ever seen, mirror like in places.  Once again birds were scarce,  the occasional Bridled Tern passed by along with the occasional solitary Persian Shearwater including one particularly scruffy individual pictured below,  definitely not in the large numbers I am used to seeing.  It wasn't long before we saw our first Wilson's Storm Petrel and by the end of the trip we had counted nine.  

Wilson's Storm Petrel is one of the most abundant bird species in the world and has a circumpolar distribution mainly in the seas of the southern hemisphere but extending northwards during the summer of the northern hemisphere. The world population has been estimated to be more than 50 million pairs.  It is strictly pelagic outside the breeding season, and this, together with its remote breeding sites, makes Wilson's Petrel a difficult bird to see from land

Wilson's Storm Petrel (Oceanites oceanicus)

Wilson's Storm Petrel (Oceanites oceanicus)

Persian Shearwater (Puffinus persicus)

Thursday, 26 July 2012

2 Days in Nairobi (Day 2)

Ok, long time between blogs but been busy, busy, busy......  been travelling including Pakistan,  no chance to go photographing birds though unfortunately !  Karachi must hold the biggest population of Black Kite in the world.  Literally thousands rise into the late afternoon skies.

Anyway I digress this is a little account of my 2nd day in Nairobi during a recent business trip.  For those of you who read my blog on Day 1 will remember that the whole day was spent in Nairobi National Park and what a wonderful park it is. 

Gatamaiyu Forest

As much as I was tempted to go back to the Park for the day I was persuaded (and quite rightly) by Joseph to try out Gatamaiyu Forest.  

Gatamaiyu Forest is located about 50-km n.w. of Nairobi  and stretches through the Kieni forest (part of the central highlands) and boasts many montane species including Chestnut-throated, Grey, Black-collared and Black-throated Apalis, Montane Oriole, Narina & Bar-tailed Trogon, Black-fronted Bush-shrike, Yellow-rumped and Moustached Green Tinkerbird, Scarce Swift, White-browed Crombec. Additionally Mountain Buzzard, Mountain and Cabanis’s Greenbul, African Hill Babbler, White Starred Robin, African Dusky Flycatcher, Cinnamon Bracken and Brown Woodland Warbler, Hunter’s Cisticola, Black-backed Puffback, Grey Cuckoo-Shrike, Northern Double Collared Sunbird, Spectacled and Brown-capped Weaver, Grey-headed Negrofinch and Yellow-bellied Waxbill among others.

Northern Double-Collared Sunbird (Cinnyris reichenowi)

Golden-winged Sunbird (Drepanorhynchus reichenowi)

Hunter's Cisticola (Cisticola hunteri)

Brown-capped Weaver (Ploceus insignis)

Bar-tailed Trogon (Apaloderma vittatum)

Mountain Greenbul (Arizelocichla nigriceps)

Black-collared Apalis (Apalis pulchra)

Rüppell's Robin-chat (Cossypha semirufa)

Kinangop Grasslands

2nd stop was Kinangop Grasslands on the Kinangop Plateau.  The Kinangop Plateau covers about 770 km sq between the forested Aberdare Mountains in the east and the Rift Valley in the west.   The plateau is found at around 2,500m altitude.  The grasslands are one of the last places for the ever decreasing Sharpe’s Longclaw.   Due to a growing human population that depends on the land for food and income the grasslands are disappearing fast, and ultimately, so is the Sharpe’s Longclaw.

The Longclaw depend on high-altitude tussock grasslands for feeding and nesting grounds. Their habitat is dwindling fast.  The global population may now be as low as 2,000 birds according to recent research.

If this habitat loss is not halted and reversed, this species will disappear.

Sharpe's Longclaw (Macronyx sharpei)

Sharpe's Longclaw (Macronyx sharpei)

Capped Wheatear (Oenanthe pileata)

Red-capped Lark (Calandrella cinerea)

Cape Crow (Corvus capensis)