Collared Pratincole Glareola pratincola Amboseli National Park, Kenya
The following largely unconfirmed records have appeared in recent Bulletins of the African Bird Club and are for information only.
from ABC Bulletin 23.1
An Oriental Honey Buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus observed in Meru National Park (=NP) in September 2014 was only recently identified on the basis of photographs; this is the first for Kenya and just the second for sub-Saharan Africa, following one in Gabon in August 2004 (cf. Bull. ABC 13: 207–210).
The following reports are from the period May–December 2015. A Goliath Heron Ardea goliath, a rare species in Nairobi District, was observed in Langata suburb on 23 October. In Nairobi NP, single African Crakes Crex egregia were noted on 26 July and 25 November; this species is seldom recorded in the park. A Striped Crake Amaurornis (Aenigmatolimnas) marginalis, a rare species in Kenya, was seen along the Mara River in Maasai Mara National Reserve on 10 July. Egyptian Vultures Neophron percnopterus were observed in Samburu National Reserve in July (a pair), at Lake Turkana in early December (an adult and immature), and in Tsavo East NP in December (one); this Endangered species is declining rapidly in Kenya. On 5 August, a Palm-nut Vulture Gypohierax angolensis was seen in Nairobi NP. A Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus, a rarely recorded migrant, was noted on Lolldaiga Ranch, Laikipia District, on 3 November, with a Taita Falcon Falco fasciinucha also there on the same date. A Beaudouin’s Snake Eagle Circaetus beaudouini was at Bunyala, in western Kenya, on 15 November. A Denham’s Bustard Ardeotis denhami, a declining species in the country, was seen in the Mara Naboisho Conservancy on 11 June. At the Nairobi Race Course, near Ngong Forest, a male and two female Eastern Bronze-naped Pigeons Columba delegorguei—an uncommon altitudinal migrant in the Nairobi area—were observed on 29 July, with the fourth Golden-tailed Woodpecker Campethera abingoni for the area also there. A pair of Black Coucals Centropus grillii at Arabuko Swamp, next to Arabuko- Sokoke Forest, on 29 November, constituted the first record on the coast in probably >20 years.
Four Short-tailed Larks Spizocorys (Pseudalaemon) fremantlii with young were found in Nairobi NP on 5 October—a remarkable breeding record for a species that is rarely noted at this site. The presence of Eastern Nicator Nicator gularis in Mukogodo Forest, just north of Mount Kenya, was confirmed in November 2015—a surprising range extension. An Eastern Bearded Scrub Robin Cercotrichas quadrivirgata was discovered at the National Museums of Kenya in Nairobi on 6 October; this is the first record from this well-watched location. The first Brown-tailed Rock Chats Oenanthe (Cercomela) scotocerca at Lolldaiga Ranch (a pair) were noted on 3 November. A Spotted Ground Thrush Geokichla (Zoothera) guttata was observed at Gede Forest Station on 25 October; this declining species has been rarely recorded in recent years. A pair of Long-tailed Cisticolas Cisticola angusticauda was seen in Olkirimatian Group Conservancy, near Magadi, in early June; an unusual record in this part of Kenya. The first Rock-loving Cisticolas C. aberrans for the Gwassi Foothills, along Lake Victoria (a pair), were identified on 31 October. A Semi-collared Flycatcher Ficedula semitorquata was in the Nairobi suburb of Langata on 29 October, with another at Lolldaiga Ranch on 3 November. In November, a Hunter’s Sunbird Chalcomitra hunteri was found near Mukogodo Forest, just north of Mount Kenya, at >1,700 m—an unusually high altitude. A pair of Shining Sunbirds Cinnyris habessinica and a pair of Three-streaked Tchagras Tchagra jamesi were observed on Lolldaiga Ranch at 1,700 m, on 3 November; neither had been recorded there previously. A small flock of Sharpe’s Starlings Cinnyricinclus sharpii in Nairobi NP on 26 July constituted just the second record for the park.
from ABC Bulletin 22.2
Records from 2014 not mentioned in previous Recent Reports include the following. Four Audubon’s Shearwaters Puffinus lherminieri were observed 25 km east of Watamu on 31 December. In October, c.8 Greater Frigatebirds Fregata minor were seen in Watamu Marine National Park (=NP), all of them heading south; this species is very rare along the Kenya coast. A Red-footed Booby Sula sula was found moribund on the beach at Watamu on 26 November and subsequently died; the species is a vagrant to Kenyan waters. Two Barbary Falcons Falco (peregrinus) pelegrinoides, rarely recorded in Kenya, were hunting around Ngulia Lodge on 25 - 27 November. A Striped Flufftail Sarothrura affinis was flushed and clearly seen on Mount Kenya on 5 January - a rarely recorded presumed resident of montane grassland and moorland, mainly above 3,000 m. A Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus was foraging at the Sabaki River mouth on 16 February; another, found on Watamu Beach on 24 March with a swelling on one of its legs, died the next day. A Green-backed Twinspot Mandingoa nitidula, a rare species around Nairobi, was mist-netted at Karen on 28 June. The following reports are from the period January - May 2015. A Palm-nut Vulture Gypohierax angolensis, very rare in the Maasai Mara, was observed at Musiara March in January. A fifth-year Greater Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga was photographed in Nairobi NP on 25 January and again on 5 March. African Skimmers Rynchops flavirostris were noted on Lake Elmentaita and Lake Oloiden during the Naivasha Waterbird Counts in early February; this scarce species is rarely recorded at the Rift Valley lakes. A European Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur - a very rare migrant - was seen in Samburu National Reserve in mid May. A Pallid Honeyguide Indicator meliphilus identified in Nairobi NP on 28 March was the first record in >10 years. In the same park, a Short-tailed Lark Pseudalaemon fremantlii, not seen at this site for several years, was observed on 25 March. Yellow White-eye Zosterops senegalensis was ‘discovered’ in the Nairobi area in early 2015 and on the slopes of Mount Kenya in April; it could actually be a long-overlooked resident. A group of Oriole Finches Linurgus olivaceus was encountered in the Honi Valley on 9 May - a rare species in this part of Kenya.
from ABC Bulletin 22.1
The following reports are from the period July–December 2014. A Yellow-billed Duck Anas undulata of the northern race ruppelli was discovered with local birds in Nairobi on 3 October. A sub-adult Eastern Chanting Goshawk Melierax poliopterus was observed in Nairobi National Park (=NP) on 14 July, following an adult in May—the first records for Nairobi in seven years. A juvenile Greater Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga, one of the rarest migrant eagles in Kenya, was photographed at Naivasha on 30 November. At least five Amur Falcons Falco amurensis were photographed at Bura Irrigation Scheme on 17–19 December; this species is rare in the west. An adult male Pygmy Falcon Polihierax semitorquatus was observed in Nairobi NP on 4 October—the first for this well-watched site in more than 20 years.
At least 40 Black Crowned Cranes Balearica pavonina were seen along the road north of Todonyang’, Turkana, on 15 August; there are few reports from this remote area. A Lesser Sand Plover Charadrius mongolus was reported from Nairobi NP on 20 September; the species is uncommon inland and this is the first record for the park. Also there was a Long-toed Lapwing Vanellus crassirostris of the southern race leucopterus—a rare wanderer to Kenya—on 16 November. Still in Nairobi NP, an African Skimmer Rynchops flavirostris on 4 October was only the third record for Nairobi, whilst three African Olive Pigeons Columba arquatrix on 30 July were the first in more than 15 years. A Great Spotted Cuckoo Clamator glandarius, an uncommon species on the coast, was found dead at Vipingo, Kilifi, on 22 September. A Eurasian Roller Coracias garrulus in Nairobi NP on 4 October is a very early date. A Eurasian Wryneck Jynx torquilla was photographed on Lolldaiga Hills, Laikipia, on 28 November; this species is recorded only every few years. An Icterine Warbler Hippolais icterina was observed along Dagoretti Road, Nairobi, on 20 October; there are only a handful of records for Nairobi. An adult Lesser Grey Shrike Lanius minor was in Nairobi NP on 18 October; this species is rare during its southward migration. A flock of six White-crested Helmetshrikes Prionops plumatus at the edge of the same park on 16 July is the first record for the site in more than 12 years.
from ABC Bulletin 21.2
The following reports are from January - June 2014, with a few from November - December 2013. Probably the most remarkable sighting of the period was that of at least 600 migrating Levant Sparrowhawks Accipiter brevipes at Mara North Conservancy, near Kicheche Mara Camp, on 23 February; details will be published in a future Bull. ABC. An albatross, probably a Shy Albatross Diomedea cauta, was observed in the Pemba Channel on 24 January; very few albatrosses have been reported from the Kenyan coast. Also in the Pemba Channel, a Masked Booby Sula dactylatra was seen in the first week of January; this is also a very infrequently reported species. Two Black Storks Ciconia nigra in Nairobi National Park (=NP) on 26 May is a very late date for this migrant. Also in Nairobi NP, a juvenile Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus was seen on 20 January and an adult on 17 February. Seventeen Amur Falcons Falco amurensis were counted at Sangailu, near the Somali border, on 1 April, with 57 there the next day. A recently dead Corncrake Crex crex was found along the Burguret River between Naro Moru and Nanyuki on 24 November; this uncommon species had not been reported from this area for many years. A pair of Lesser Jacanas Microparra capensis with a chick was observed at Engineer, Kinangop, on 1 February; there are only two or three confirmed breeding records for Kenya. An adult Greater Painted-snipe Rostratula benghalensis with a juvenile was seen in Nairobi NP on 10 March; this is another species for which there are very few breeding records. A Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago in Nairobi NP on 10 June is a very late date. A Grey-headed Gull Chroicocephalus cirrocephalus in the same park on 11 February is the first documented record for Nairobi. A Pel’s Fishing Owl Scotopelia peli, a very infrequently recorded species, was photographed on the Rojaweru River, Meru, on 23 February. An adult White-throated Bee-eater Merops albicollis in Nairobi NP on 24 March is the first record for the well-watched Nairobi area. Single Eurasian Wrynecks Jynx torquilla were reported from Timau on 5 January and Mpala Ranch, Laikipia, on 17 March; this species is usually only recorded every few years. An adult female Golden-tailed Woodpecker Campethera abingoni in Karen, Nairobi, on 12 March, and an immature at Ngong Forest, Karen, on 2 April, are very unusual records away from the species’ normal range. An African Pitta Pitta angolensis in Arabuko-Sokoke Forest on 7 April is the first record in the country for >12 years. The first Icterine Warbler Hippolais icterina for Nairobi in >10 years was observed in Nairobi NP on 24 March. A Common Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita was singing at Turi, Molo, on 7 February; this generally uncommon migrant is more frequently reported from the east side of the Rift Valley. A male Superb Sunbird Cinnyris superbus was near the Mungatsi River, Busia, on 1 December; the species is rare in Kenya and was last reported four years ago. A Scarlet-tufted Malachite Sunbird Nectarinia johnstoni at 2,200 m is a low-altitude record for the species, which is normally found above the treeline at 3,000 - 4,500 m. A calling Doherty’s Bushshrike Malaconotus dohertyi was photographed near Lari Forest Station, Uplands, on 30 May; this species is rare on the western side of the Aberdares in the Rift Valley. Three Village Weavers Ploceus cucullatus of the race bohndorffi were noted at Lake Naivasha on 26 January, with an adult male on the opposite side of the lake on 20 June displaying at a nest; this race is normally restricted to the Lake Victoria basin east to Kaptagat, whereas these birds were at least 150 km further east.
from ABC Bulletin 21.1
The following reports are from May - December 2013. Two Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus chicks observed in Nairobi National Park (=NP) on 6 June constitute a rare confirmed breeding record for this well-watched site. Two Madagascar Pond Herons Ardeola idae were noted at Lake Kwenia, near Magadi, on 1 June; records from the southern Rift Valley are scarce. An adult Black Stork Ciconia nigra was observed in Nairobi NP on 29 July; the early date suggests an over-summering individual, which is highly unusual. Also there, on 23 July, was a Woolly-necked Stork C. episcopus - a rare bird for Nairobi. A Western Banded Snake Eagle Circaetus cinerascens was found at Imenti Forest, Meru, on 10 November; this species is a rarity east of the Rift Valley. An unseasonal Grasshopper Buzzard Butastur rufipennis in the Rift Valley west of Ngong Hills on 15 September was an unusual location for this more easterly migrant. A Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga was at a carcass with vultures in Nairobi NP on 2 December. Two pairs of Red-winged Francolins Scleroptila levaillantii were seen in the Masai Mara on 29 October. A male Striped Crake Amaurornis (=Aenigmatolimnas) marginalis, a rarely recorded intra-African migrant, was foraging on a garden lawn in Naivasha on 24 June.
A Bronze-winged Courser Rhinoptilus chalcopterus at Nairobi NP on 25 June is the first record for the park. Madagascar Pratincoles Glareola ocularis were reported from Nairobi Race Course on 22 June (one) and Bunyala Rice Irrigation Scheme on 17 August (>20); the western record is of special interest, as inland records are very rare. A flock of c.250 Pacific Golden Plovers Pluvialis fulva flying south over Watamu on 25 September represents the most southerly record of any significant number in East Africa (and possibly Africa as a whole). A Sanderling Calidris alba in Nairobi NP on 30 September is the first confirmed record for the park. An immature Arctic Skua Stercorarius parasiticus off Kisite Island on 24 July is the first Kenyan record since 1995. An adult Heuglin’s Gull Larus heuglini of the race taimyrensis was identified on Lake Naivasha on 16 May - a rare record for this race, particularly inland. On 6 December, a Lesser Noddy Anous tenuirostris was observed at Kisite Mpunguti Marine Park.
A pair of Black-faced Sandgrouse Pterocles decoratus with two chicks in Nairobi NP on 29 July constitutes the first breeding record for Nairobi County. An apparently territorial Black Cuckoo Cuculus clamosus with characteristics of the western race gabonensis in Tsavo West NP on 6 December is extremely odd given the very eastern locality and the dry habitat. A Madagascar Cuckoo C. rochii was photographed at Naivasha on 6 October; this is a very rare bird in Kenya, especially in the Rift Valley. Several swifts photographed in the Rift Valley south of Ngong Hills on 15 September were thought to be Pallid Swifts Apus pallidus; this would constitute the first record for Kenya, if accepted by the East African Rarities Committee, although the species is occasionally reported. A Swamp Nightjar Caprimulgus natalensis was photographed near Talek, Masai Mara, on 10 June - a rare record away from the species’ usual range north of Kisumu. At Hog Ranch, Nairobi, a male Pennant-winged Nightjar C. (=Macrodipteryx) vexillarius was flushed on 17 August. A Hoopoe Upupa epops, probably of the race waibeli, was encountered in Nairobi NP on 10 June and an individual of the same subspecies was apparently collecting food to feed nestlings on 25 August; these are very southerly records for this race and even more surprising if the latter bird was breeding. A Eurasian Wryneck Jynx torquilla, a rarity in Kenya, was observed in the Kerio Valley on 14 November.
In Tsavo West NP, Friedmann’s Larks Mirafra pulpa were displaying on 25 May; the status and distribution of this enigmatic species are still little understood. A Wood Warbler Phylloscopus sibilatrix ringed at Ngulia on 2 December was only the tenth trapped at this site since 1969; the species is rare in Kenya. A male Black-and-white Flycatcher Bias musicus was calling at Kagumoni, Meru, on 27 June; this species is rarely reported nowadays. A pair of Grey-headed Sparrows Passer griseus suahelicus in the Rift Valley next to the northern limit of the Ngong Hills on 25 August, represents a probable range extension towards Nairobi. A male Green-winged Pytilia on the edge of Ngong Hills at >2,000 m was well above its normal altitudinal limit. The eagle photographed at Lake Nakuru on 10 March 2013 and claimed to be an Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca, has been re-identified as a Tawny Eagle A. rapax.
from ABC Bulletin 20.2
The following reports are from November 2012 - early June 2013. Two Red-winged Francolins Scleroptila levaillantii were observed in the Masai Mara on 25 December; this species has significantly declined due to habitat loss and is now rarely recorded. Two Wedge-tailed Shearwaters Ardenna (Puffinus) pacifica were reported 30 km off Watamu on 31 December; there are only a few records off the Kenyan coast. An estimated 5,000 Little Grebes Tachybaptus ruficollis were on Lake Nakuru on 13 January, but no Black-necked Grebes Podiceps nigricollis, which are normally common at this site. In the Pemba Channel, a White-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon lepturus was seen on 22 January; this rarely reported species is apparently regularly observed by fishermen. Two adult Masked Boobies Sula dactylatra were also there, on 20 January. A Red-footed Booby S. sula, a wanderer to Kenyan waters, was seen 30 km off Watamu on 31 December. An estimated 25,000 Great Cormorants Phalacrocorax carbo were present on Lake Nakuru on 10 December, but only c. 1,000 remained on 13 January, despite high water levels. In the Tana River Delta, 1,542 African Openbill Storks Anastomus lamelligerus were counted on 9 February. More than 400 Hottentot Teals Anas hottentota were on Lake Nakuru on 13 January - a remarkable count for a species not known to occur in large concentrations. A male Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca found on Manguo pond, Limum, in November, was still present on 27 January. A male and a female Tufted Duck A. fuligula stayed at Dandora Sewage Ponds, Nairobi, on 24 January; the species was last recorded in Kenya ten years ago.
Two African Swallow-tailed Kites Chelictinia riocourii were in Meru National Park (=NP) on 26 February; this raptor is not often reported in Kenya. Five Egyptian Vultures Neophron percnopterus at a waterhole in Tsavo East NP on 20 February are noteworthy as the species has become very rare over the past 15 years; a pair was also reported from Lake Kwenia on 26 May. An immature Shikra Accipiter badius in Nbi NP on 22 April is only the second record for this well-watched site. A sub-adult Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca was photographed at Lake Nakuru on 10 March; this is a rare migrant in Kenya. A Crowned Eagle Stephanoaetus coronatus, an unusual species for the capital, was mobbed by a Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus over Westlands, a Nairobi suburb, on 2 February; another Long-legged Buzzard was noted in Nbi NP on 22 April and, possibly the same bird, on 5 May. An immature Cassin's Hawk Eagle Aquila africana was photographed in Imenti Forest, Meru, on 28 February; the species might breed in this forest, far from its known range; one was collected on Mount Elgon in 1926 and an adult was seen in Imenti Forest in 2006. An adult female Amur Falcon Falco amurensis on Solio Plains in late January is unusual for a species that is mainly a passage migrant in November / December and March / April.
A flock of 252 Pacific Golden Plovers Pluvialis fulva roosting in the Tana River Delta on 9 February is the largest single group recorded in Kenya; r.40 were also there on 20 March. Near-annual records from the past seven years indicate that small numbers spend the non-breeding season in the delta. A Common Redshank Tringa totanus in Lake Nakuru NP on 2 June is a very unusual date for this rare migrant. At the same lake, a Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres, an uncommon species inland, was seen on 10 December. A Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus was at Lake Magadi on 17 February; this predominantly coastal species is rare inland. Five Red Phalaropes Phalaropus fulicarius were identified 30 km off Watamu on 31 December; there are only five previous records, the last from 1979. Fishermen reported 'many' phalaropes, probably Red-necked P. lobatus, in the Pemba Channel on 11 - 18 November, with 'many flocks' also off Watamu; none were seen on 20 - 24 December, but 'many' again on 22 January. On 13 January, an adult Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus in full breeding plumage, very unusual for Kenya at this season, was at Lake Nakuru with two first-year birds and a first-year Slender-billed Gull C. genei. A max. of 126 Little Terns Sternula albifrons was photographed at Impressa Beach, on Lake Turkana, on 12 February, with several smaller flocks in the same area in late January / early February; a single was seen 6 km north of Katiko village on 18 February - there are only four accepted records for Kenya, with none inland, but there have been recent inland records from Tanzania. More than 1,000 Whiskered Terns Chlidonias hybrida were counted on Lake Nakuru on 10 December, with only three remaining on 13 January; this is yet another little-understood movement by a common species. On Lake Turkana, 1,059 African Skimmers Rynchops flavirostris were counted at the Nakiria River delta on 17 February - a very significant number.
A Great Spotted Cuckoo Clamator glandarius was in Nbi NP on 31 December. A Hoopoe Upupa epops of the nominate subspecies was observed north of Athi River on 15 December; one of the subspecies waibdi was in Nairobi NP, at the southernmost limit of its range, on 10 June. A pair of Southern Ground Hornbills Bucorvus leadbeateri has occurred regularly in Kijabe since the last week of December - the species has not been recorded from this site previously; could this be an indication of a changing habitat and a drier climate resulting in the species moving to higher altitudes?
Three Friedmann's Larks Mirafra pulpa were singing at Taita Ranch, Maungu, on 1 January; the species' movements and behaviour are still not adequately understood. A Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica of the European subspecies rufula was with other hirundines in the Ngong Hills on 20 April; this is only the second record of this race for East Africa. A male Green-headed Sunbird Cyanomitra verticalis seen in Nairobi NP on 19 December was the first record for the park. A Cape Rook Corvus capensis at the boundary of the same park on 5 May is the first record for this site of a species that is normally found at higher elevations. Four Piapiacs Ptilostomus afer were on a rubbish dump at Mumias at 22 December, with five, including an adult feeding a juvenile, also there in late January; this is possibly the first breeding record for Kenya. At Naivasha, a Hildebrandt's Starling Lamprotornis hildebrandti, an uncommon species there, was seen on 7 April. Several Somali Sparrows Passer castanopterus of the nominate race have appeared at the Sala Gate of Tsavo East NP and have apparently been reported from Garsen; this is a large range extension from the nearest previously known population north of Mogadishu, in coastal Somalia. Clarke's Weavers Ploceus golandi were apparently roosting in a small swamp in Dakatcha Woodlands on 6 January and were found breeding in another seasonal swamp on 24 March; this is the first time the weaver has been found breeding, after more than 12 years of searching. Two Orange-winged Pytilias Pytilia afra were seen in KAPJ plantations near Thika on 19 January; this is a very rare species in the country, whose central Kenya population, previously thought to be extirpated, appears to be still extant.
from ABC Bulletin 20.1
The following reports are from June–December 2012. An adult female Greater Frigatebird Fregata minor flew over the beach at Watamu on 25 October. Two Gadwalls Anas strepera, a very rare Palearctic migrant in Kenya, were seen on 30 November at two different sites: one on Manguo Pond, Limuru, and another at Marula Farm, Lake Naivasha. A Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca was on Manguo Pond, Limuru, for most of November; this is a rare migrant in the country. An adult Beaudouin’s Snake Eagle Circaetus beaudouini was photographed at the Bunyala rice scheme on 28 October. An immature female Levant Sparrowhawk Accipiter brevipes, first seen at Ngulia, Tsavo West National Park (=NP), in the evening of 14 November, was trapped and ringed the following morning - this is the first to be ringed in East Africa; a male flew over the lodge on 15 November. An adult female Eurasian Sparrowhawk A. nisus attacked a Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica at Ngulia, Tsavo West NP, on 23 November; prior to c.10 years ago, this species was very rarely recorded in Kenya, but it has become almost annual at Ngulia, with one or two other records elsewhere. A Dark Chanting Goshawk Melierax metabates was noted at Sosian Ranch, western Laikipia - an uncommon species east of the Rift Valley. Single Greater Spotted Eagles Aquila clanga were observed at Ngulia, Tsavo West NP, on 15 and 16 November, with an adult at Lake Nakuru NP on 10 December; this is a rare species in Kenya, which is most frequently reported from the Rift Valley.
An unusually large flock of 40 Grey Crowned Cranes Balearica regulorum was encountered in Nairobi NP on 11 October; this magnificent species has much decreased in numbers over the past 20 years. An adult male Heuglin’s Bustard Neotis heuglini in Shaba Game Reserve on 20 July is a rare record for this area. A Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta on a dam on Sosian Ranch, western Laikipia, is an unusual record away from the Rift Valley or the coast. A Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus at Lake Nakuru NP on 22 July is an unusual date for this species, which became quite common in the 1990s but has grown scarce again over the past ten years; another was at Naivasha on 9 December. More than 1,000 pairs of Roseate Terns Sterna dougallii bred on Kisite Island in June - October, but there was no breeding attempt at the Watamu colony on Whale Island. An African Skimmer Rynchops flavirostris at Mida Creek on 3 October is a very unusual record for this site.
A European Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur was observed in a garden in Langata, Nairobi, on 3 December; there are only c.10 records in Kenya. A Purple-crested Turaco Tauraco porphyreolophus first seen in the Nairobi Arboretum, in the city centre, on 25 June was still present on 26 October; the species is normally found c.50 km from the city. An Asian Lesser Cuckoo Cuculus poliocephalus was ringed at Ngulia, Tsavo West NP, on 20 November. In Kakamega Forest, a Eurasian Wryneck Jynx torquilla was found in early November; this species is only recorded in Kenya every few years.
An Isabelline Wheatear Oenanthe isabellina in Laikipia on 11 October was an early record. A female Abyssinian Black Wheatear O. (lugens) lugubris at Uthiru, on the outskirts of Nairobi, on 11 August was unusual for a species restricted mostly to the Rift Valley. Seven Grey-backed Fiscals Lanius excubitoroides were counted in a 11 km-stretch of the road north of Rumuruti on 23 August; this species had not previously been recorded east of the Rift Valley. A flock of White-crested Helmetshrikes Prionops plumatus at Nguu Tatu, near Mombasa, on 27 August was a first for the area; the species is normally absent from the coastal strip, but in the past two years it has appeared along the beach front in Watamu. More than 15 African Silverbills Lonchura cantans were observed in Nairobi NP on 18 November, with one pair nest building; this appears to be more than vagrancy for this arid-country species. A stunning adult male Ortolan Bunting Emberiza hortulana ringed at Ngulia, Tsavo West NP, on 21 November, was only the second there in 44 years of ringing.
from ABC Bulletin 19.2
The following reports are from January - May 2012, with one from 2011. An exhausted adult Masked Booby Sula dactylatra, blown in by strong southerly winds, was found at Watamu on 13 May; it was taken into care, ringed and released a few days later. A Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis on a flooded pit at Keekorok on 25 April is an unusual record for the Masai Mara. An African Swallow-tailed Kite Chelictinia riocourii, an infrequently reported species, was observed in Buffalo Springs Game Reserve (=GR) on 12 April. A Beaudouin’s Snake Eagle Circaetus beaudouini, first seen alone at Nambale on 25 March, was with a dependent juvenile on 22 April; this is the first breeding record for Kenya. A Western Banded Snake Eagle C. cinerascens was in Ruma National Park (=NP) on 22 February. Single African Marsh Harriers Circus ranivorus were reported from Manguo Ponds, Limuru, on 4 January; Ramisi on 10 February; Iten on 18 April; and Serena Oxbows, Masai Mara, on 23 April; this species has become very scarce in Kenya over the past 20 years. An Ovambo Sparrowhawk Accipiter ovampensis was seen at Bateleur Camp, Masai Mara, on 7 February. A female Eurasian Sparrowhawk A. nisus was observed at the Kongelai Escarpment, Kapenguria, on 21 March, with one at Ngulia on 6 April; most recent records are from Ngulia on southbound migration, with even fewer during the return migration. A Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus in Nairobi NP on 14 May is a late date for this rare migrant. An Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca was in Buffalo Springs GR on 13 April. A pair of Grey Kestrels Falco ardosiaceus was feeding a nestling at Chebloch Gorge, Kerio Valley, on 1 March - a noteworthy breeding record for a species that is uncommon this far east. An Amur Falcon F. amurensis at Sioport on 26 February is a rare record for western Kenya. A late Sooty Falcon F. concolor was observed in Nairobi NP on 21 May. A Saker Falcon F. cherrug at Maungu Hill, Voi, on 12 February is the first record for more than ten years.
A White-spotted Flufftail Sarothrura pulchra responded to playback at Kerich Tea Estates on 12 February; this is significantly further south and east than the species’ previously known range. A Lesser Jacana Microparra capensis was found at Dunga Point, Kisumu, on 26 March; few have been reported from Lake Victoria. Two Rock Pratincoles Glareola nuchalis, a species seldom seen away from Mumias, were observed at the Nzoia Bridge, on the Busia - Kisumu road, on 25 March. Unspecified large numbers of Kentish Plovers Charadrius alexandrinus were reported from the Turkwell Delta, Lake Turkana, in January - this area is known to regularly hold small numbers but the species is rarely reported. A late Temminck’s Stint Calidris temminckii was at Lake Nakuru NP on 16 April. A Bridled Tern Onychoprion anaethetus was roosting on a dhow at Msambweni on 10 February; this species is infrequently observed inshore. About ten Lesser Noddies Anous tenuirostris were at Kisite Island, Shimoni, on 8 February.
A moulting Madagascar Lesser Cuckoo Cuculus rochii was videotaped in Kakamega Forest on 20 April. A Pel’s Fishing Owl Scotopelia peli was encountered on the Rojawero River, Meru NP, in mid March whilst doubtless resident, there are remarkably few reports of this owl in Kenya. At least two Scarce Swifts Schoutedenapus myoptilus were over Gwassi Hills, Homa Bay, on 21 February - a westward range extension. Some 150 Alpine Swifts Tachymarptis melba passed over Marafa, north and inland of Malindi, on 9 January, with large flocks over Lodwar in the same month; these are new sites for this swift. The record of three Blue-breasted Bee-eaters Merops variegatus at Nambale, east of Busia, on 25 March, is further north than this species’ usual range. A flock of 150 White-fronted Bee-eaters M. bullockoides was feeding on emerging termites at Hell’s Gate, Naivasha, on 7 April; this species has drastically declined at Naivasha in recent years. A Blue-cheeked Bee-eater M. persicus in the Omo Delta, Lake Turkana, is a new, although not unexpected, species for this site. A pair of Abyssinian Ground Hornbills Bucorvus abyssinicus at Alupe on 25 March constitues a very uncommon southerly record. A Yellow-billed Barbet Trachylaemus purpuratus was seen in the Gwassi Hills, Homa Bay, on 21 February; this species was not previously known from Nyanza. Single Eurasian Wrynecks Jynx torquilla were observed near Kanyarwkwat on 22 March and at Nguuni Nature Sanctuary, Mombasa, on 20 April; there are few records for Kenya and the April record is the first for the coast.
Singing Trilling Cisticolas Cisticola woosnami were recorded on the South Nandi escarpment on 18 February - a northerly range extension of c.100 km. The presence at the same site of a Tabora (Long-tailed) Cisticola C. angusticauda also constitutes a range extension, as this species is known only from historical records at Muhoroni, c.40 km to the south. A pair of Karamoja Apalises Apalis karamojae photographed feeding a juvenile in Naboisho Conservancy, Masai Mara, on 29 January 2011, is the first Kenyan breeding record. An Olive-green Camaroptera Camaroptera chloronota was observed in the Gwassi Hills on 21 February; this species was known only from the Nandi / Kakamega area and Mount Elgon. An adult male Red-bellied Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone rufiventer was seen attacking a Blue Monkey Cercopithecus mitis in Kakamega Forest on 20 April; although it has been suggested that this species has become extinct through hybridisation with African Paradise Flycatcher T. viridis, there was no indication of this individual being a hybrid. On the Kongelai escarpment, Kapenguria, a pair of Western Violet-backed Sunbirds Anthreptes longuemarei was noted on 19 April; this is a highly local and infrequently reported sunbird. Unspecified large numbers of Violet-breasted Sunbirds Cinnyris chalcomelas were reported from the Sabaki River mouth on 4 - 10 April; this local species is rarely seen as far south as Malindi. A male and female Woodchat Shrike Lanius senator were at Alupe on 25 March. A report from the little-visited northern edge of Lake Turkana mentions large flocks of breeding Northern Masked Weavers Ploceus taeniopterus in the reedbeds along the Omo River in January (the last report from this site was from 1959) - this weaver is otherwise known only from Lake Baringo. A single Yellow-bellied Waxbill Estrilda quartinia in the Gwassi Hills, Homa Bay, on 21 February, was at a new locality for this waxbill. A pair of Black-faced Waxbills E. erythronotos was at Adungosi, Busia, on 22 April; whilst there are historical records from Kisumu, there are none from near the Ugandan border. A Brown-rumped Bunting Emberiza affinis was seen at the Kongelai escarpment on 21 March; this very local species is only irregularly reported from this site.
from ABC Bulletin 19.1
The following reports are from June–December 2011, with a few from March–May. An immature Masked Booby Sula dactylatra, found exhausted on Watamu beach in early May, was taken into care and released in late August; an exhausted adult was also found there on 10 November but did not survive. An exhausted subadult female Lesser Frigatebird Fregata ariel found on Diani beach, on 24 March, was also taken into care; there are fewer than ten records for Kenya. A White-backed Night Heron Gorsachius leuconotus, an uncommon species in Kenya, remained in Nairobi National Park (=NP) throughout July. A Madagascar Pond Heron Ardeola idae flew over the Nzoia River, Busia, on 22 July - an unusual inland record.
An immature Hooded Vulture Necrosyrtes monachus was photographed over Oloidien, Naivasha, on 1 September; this species is rare at Naivasha and has decreased dramatically in recent years. Twelve Levant Sparrowhawks Accipiter brevipes were observed between Kakamega and Kisumu on 14 November and another 12 in the Kerio Valley around the same date. This extremely rare migrant has now been reported in Kenya 4–5 times in the past two years, always in quite large flocks, whereas there were only 4–5 previous records including one of c.20 individuals at the same location between Kakamega and Kisumu. A pair of the rarely recorded Ovambo Sparrowhawk A. ovampensis was in the Sabaringo Valley, Masai Mara, on 26 June, and an immature at Melepo, Kajiado, on 5 July. Two Eurasian Sparrowhawks A. nisus were photographed at Ngulia Lodge, Tsavo West NP, on 20 and 27 November - this rarely reported species is possibly increasing this far south. An out of range Lizard Buzzard Kaupifalco monogrammicus was observed at Mpala Ranch, Laikipia, on 19 October. A flock of 800 Steppe Buzzards Buteo buteo vulpinus with ten European Honey Buzzards Pernis apivorus, 15 Steppe Eagles Aquila nipalensis and five Lesser Spotted Eagles A. pomarina, flying over the Ikyuwa River, Kakamega, on 12 October, and another of 500 birds moving south near Ewso Ngiro, Narok, on 14 October, represent two of the largest flocks reported for many years. Over 25,500 Amur Falcons Falco amurensis were counted in two hours over Ngulia Lodge, Tsavo West NP, on 27 November (the largest number ever recorded in Kenya), whilst a flock of c.500 flew over western Nairobi, where it is not common, on 30 November. An immature African Hobby F. cuvierii was terrorising guineafowl at Kampi ya Moto on 27 August. A Barbary Falcon F. pelegrinoides at Ngulia Lodge, Tsavo West NP, on 18 November is an excellent record
A record of a female / immature Coqui Francolin Francolinus coqui in Nairobi NP on 18 August is a first for the Nairobi region and well outside the species’ usual range. A female Red-chested Flufftail Sarothrura rufa was found dead in Kijabe on 30 August. An African Crake Crex egregia was video-taped in Nairobi NP on 14 August (the first for Nairobi in more than 15 years) and a Corncrake C. crex was seen at Kikuyu on 21 April. A male Denham’s Bustard Neotis denhami was observed on the Solio Plains, Laikipia, on 24 November; this formerly common species is now rarely encountered. Four Hartlaub’s Bustards Lissotis hartlaubii were carefully identified at Sosian Ranch, Laikipia, on 22 August; confusingly, field guides only show Black-bellied Bustard L. melanogaster as occurring at Laikipia. Two Eurasian Oystercatchers Haematopus ostralegus were reported from the Sabaki River mouth. A Water Thick-knee Burhinus vermiculatus in Nairobi NP on 30 July was only the third for Nairobi district. Two Madagascar Pratincoles Glareola ocularis at Olbainita Swamp, Kampi ya Moto, on 28 August constitute an extremely rare inland record; possibly the only other such record in the country is from Lake Victoria in 1920. Also rare inland was a Lesser Sand Plover Charadrius mongolus on Lake Nakuru on 6 November. A Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanotos photographed near Sabaki Bridge on 21 July (an unusual date) constitutes the third record for Kenya, the last being in September 1981. A Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis ‘overwintered’ in Nairobi NP in June - July, which is a rare event for this species. Five Slender-billed Gulls Larus genei were on Lake Nakuru on 6 November, with four there on 26 November; an adult was in Amboseli NP on 20 November - this gull is only reported every few years in Kenya. A Gull-billed Tern Sterna nilotica over a marsh on Sosian Ranch, Laikipia, on 7 September is an unusual record away from the coast or the Rift Valley. A Caspian Tern S. caspia on Lake Nakuru on 6 November is also a rare inland record. Off Whale Island, Watamu, a flock of >3,000 Brown Noddies Anous stolidus was seen on 4 December; there were large numbers in May as well.
Hartlaub’s Turaco Tauraco hartlaubi was common in South Nandi Forest on 19 July; according to the literature the species is not present at this site, whilst Black-billed Turaco T. schuetti is; however, none of the latter species was recorded. A lone White-bellied Go-away bird Corythaixoides leucogaster on the beach front at Watamu on 18 November is a first for the area and a strange record for this arid-country species. A Thick-billed Cuckoo Pachycoccyx audeberti in Nakuru NP on 25–26 November represents only the second record further inland than the Taita Hills. A Yellowbill Ceuthmochares aereus in Nairobi on 28 August is a significant record for the area. A non-breeding Black Coucal Centropus grillii in Nairobi NP on 3 July was probably the same individual as that seen nearby in November 2010; the species is uncommon in the Nairobi area. In August, a female Freckled Nightjar Caprimulgus tristigma was on eggs at Sosian Ranch, Laikipia - the species was not previously known from this part of the country. A female Square-tailed (Gabon) Nightjar C. fossii was photographed on its nest on Manda Island on 22 May; this is a northward range extension of c.150 km for a species considered to be a non-breeding visitor to the coast. A Pennant-winged Nightjar Macrodipteryx vexillarius on Sosian Ranch, Laikipia, on 20 August, is uncommon this far east and on this date.
In the Masai Mara, a White-fronted Bee-eater Merops bullockoides was seen near Musiara on 26 June. Two European Rollers Coracias garrulus overwintered in Nairobi NP in June - July. An unusual roller, possibly a Racket-tailed Roller C. spatulatus or a hybrid, was photographed in the Masai Mara on 14 August and is currently being assessed by the rarities committee; Racket-tailed Roller would be a new species for Kenya. A Hoopoe Upupa epops in Nairobi NP on 22 July represents an early date. A pair of Hemprich’s Hornbills Tockus hemprichii flying over the main Nairobi road just south of Nakuru town on 28 August is one the southernmost records for the species. A pair of Black-and-white-casqued Hornbills Bycanistes subcylindricus, an uncommon visitor to the Masai Mara, was present there on 28 July. The coastal race fischeri of Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird Pogoniulus bilineatus was common around Witu Forest, Tana River Delta, on 20 May; this is 100 km north of Arabuko-Sokoke Forest, which is usually stated to represent the species’ northern limit. Eurasian Wryneck Jynx torquilla, only recorded every few years, was seen in Nairobi on 21 November.
On Sosian Ranch, Laikipia, two singing White-tailed Larks Mirafra albicauda and a flock of 15 Somali Short-toed Larks Calandrella somalica were reported on 22 August; this is outside the distribution given in the literature. Collared Larks M. collaris were singing in Commiphora dominated bush c.100 km from Garissa on the Mado Gashi road on 16 October; this species was only recently rediscovered in Kenya. On 3 July, a Grey-rumped Swallow Pseudhirundo griseopyga was observed in Nairobi NP, where it is very uncommon. A pair of Bush Pipits Anthus caffer was on Sosian Ranch, Laikipia, on 22 August, and a single on Shaitani lava flow, Tsavo West NP, on 19 November; according to the literature this uncommon species is restricted to the south-west.
A female Red-shouldered Cuckooshrike Campephaga phoenicea was observed at Matayos, Busia, on 22 July; this species was previously common at Busia, but is now much harder to find there. Little Grey Greenbul Andropadus gracilis (common) and Red-tailed Bristlebill Bleda syndactylus (one) were observed in South Nandi Forest on 19–20 July, where they had not previously been reported. In the Masai Mara, a Brown-backed Scrub Robin Cercotrichas hartlaubi singing briefly at Naibor Camp on 16 August is a new species for this well-watched reserve. An Icterine Warbler Hippolais icterina ringed at Ngulia Lodge, Tsavo West NP, on 23 November is only the seventh ringed there among the c.500,000 birds trapped since 1969. Five Chapin’s Flycatchers Muscicapa lendu, including an immature following an adult, were seen in South Nandi Forest on 19–20 July; this is the first record for the site. A male Orange-tufted Sunbird Cinnyris bouvieri was photographed at Nambale, Busia, on 22 July; the last substantiated record dates from >20 years ago. A pair of Pringle’s Puffbacks Dryoscopus pringlii reported from Karisia, western Laikipia, on 26 October constitutes a westerly range extension. An early Eurasian Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus was encountered in Nairobi on 15 September. A singing male Sharpe’s Starling Pholia sharpii in Nairobi NP on 31 October is a new species for the park. A Red-billed Buffalo Weaver Bubalornis niger at a bird feeder at Lake Baringo on 25 November was quite some way out of range. A Black-cheeked Waxbill Estrilda charmosyna photographed in Nairobi NP on 22 July was not of the geographically proximate Magadi form kiwanukae but of the ‘normal’ northern and Tsavo form - the first record for Nairobi district. A male Broad-tailed Paradise Whydah Vidua obtusa was at Sabuk Conservancy, Laikipia, on 10 September; there are very few recent records of this rare species. An Ortolan Bunting Emberiza hortulana, a rare Palearctic migrant in Kenya, was found in the Kerio Valley on 4 November.
from ABC Bulletin 18.2
The following reports are from December 2010 - May 2011. At least 2,000 Glossy Ibises Plegadis falcinellus roosted at Kipini, Tana River Delta, in April. A Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca was present at Kisumu sewage ponds on 24 December. A European Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus flew over the desert north of Marsabit on 7 March, which is an unusual location for this species. A pair of African Swallow-tailed Kites Chelictinia riocourii had a nest containing eggs at Sosian, Laikipia, on 4 April; there have been few breeding records in recent years. A male and a female Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus were seen together at Ngulia Safari Lodge, Tsavo West National Park (=NP), on 9 December, whilst a male flew over Mountain Lodge, Mount Kenya, on 13 April. This rare migrant seems to have been reported more frequently over the past 10–15 years but the Ngulia record probably constitutes the first record of two together in East Africa. An immature Levant Sparrowhawk A. brevipes was photographed at Lake Nakuru NP on 21 February; there have been several records over the past two years. At the same site, a Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus was seen on 14 December, whilst a subadult Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca was feeding on a carcass on 21 February. An adult Lesser Spotted Eagle A. pomarina near Oloololo Gate, Masai Mara, on 26 April is a late date for this uncommon species. An immature Crowned Eagle Stephanoaetus coronatus was observed in the Gwassi Hills, south Nyanza, on 19 January; the species had not been reported from this area previously. An estimated 10,000 Amur Falcons Falco amurensis were feeding on termites after rain at Onkolde, Tana River Delta, on 7 April.
An immature Madagascar Pratincole Glareola ocularis ringed at Mida Creek on 28 March is an early date for this species; c.2,000 were near Moa, Tana River Delta, on 10 April - the delta clearly is a key site for this and many other waterbirds, but is seriously threatened. A Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus was at Loyengalani, Lake Turkana, on 9 March; this species is rare on the coast and even more so inland. A Heuglin’s Gull Larus heuglini at Lake Oloidien, Naivasha, on 19April is an uncommon record for this mostly coastal taxon which is now generally considered a race of Lesser Black-blacked Gull L. fuscus. A Little Tern Sterna albifrons in breeding plumage was observed at Loyengalani, Lake Turkana, on 9 March; with only a handful of records to date, further records from elsewhere in eastern Africa suggest the species is commoner than previously thought and that so-called Saunders’s Terns S. saundersi should be examined more closely (see also Uganda). A Black Tern Chlidonias niger at Lake Baringo on 18 March is the fifth record for Kenya, the last being in February 1983. About 3,000 Brown Noddies Anous stolidus came to roost on Whale Island, Watamu, from mid May.
A Bruce’s Green Pigeon Treron waalia was reported from the Kapenguria escarpment in late February; there have been unsubstantiated reports from the area of this species, which is otherwise restricted to Kenya’s northern border. At least four Purple-crested Turacos Tauraco porphyreolophus were seen at Sultan Hamud Hills on 25 January; this is a new location for the species in an area where its habitat is fast disappearing. Five Sabine’s Spinetails Rhaphidura sabini were observed in Kakamega on 22 December. This is a very rare bird in Kakamega to the extent it was thought extirpated - there has been no breeding record for 40 years, a handful of sight records in the 1970s, none in the 1980s and the last record was of two birds in June 1992. In the Masai Mara, a Northern Carmine Bee-eater Merops nubicus was reported on 17 December; this is possibly the first record for the park. A Lilac-throated Roller Coracias caudata of the rare north-eastern race lorti was well out of range in Tima on 5 March. A lone Hemprich’s Hornbill Tockus hemprichii was at Lake Nakuru NP on 14 December; this species is rarely recorded south of the equator.
Williams’s Lark Mirafra williamsi was found north of Laisamis, Marsabit road, on 6 March - a new location for this Kenyan endemic. About 35 Masked Larks Spizocorys personata occurred at an unexpectedly high altitude and in unusual habitat in the Huri Hills on 8 March. A Bush Pipit Anthus caffer at Sosian, Laikipia, on 24 January represents a significant northward range extension. Four or five Grey-olive Greenbuls Phyllastrephus cerviniventris were seen in the Sultan Hamud Hills on 25 January; this species is uncommon inland and this site is >100 km from any previous record. A Familiar Chat Cercomela familiaris found on the South Nandi escarpment on 20 January represents another range extension of c.100 km. A Pied Wheatear Oenanthe pleschanka of the race vittata was identified on Solio Ranch on 7 February; this form is rare East Africa. A record of an Icterine Warbler Hippolais icterina at Kapenguria escarpment on 13 March is the first for this area of this rare migrant. A pair of Green-capped Eremomelas Eremomela scotops was photographed on South Nandi escarpment on 20 January, constituting a northward range extension. More than 20 Black-backed Cisticolas Cisticola eximius were counted along the road between Oloololo Gate and Mara Bridge on 26 April; a few years ago this species was thought to be extinct in Kenya, but was then rediscovered in Ruma NP and subsequently appeared in the Mara, and is apparently spreading. A pair of Trilling Cisticolas C. woosnami was tape-recorded on the South Nandi escarpment on 20 January - a significant northward range extension. A record of a Grey Apalis Apalis cinerea in the Gwassi Hills, south Nyanza, on 19 January constituted an extension to the south-west. The first Semi-collared Flycatchers Ficedula semitorquata east of Nairobi were recorded in Shimba Hills NP on 3 April and in Tsavo East NP on 7 April. Northern Double-collared Sunbird Cinnyris reichenowi (= preussi) proved common in the Gwassi ills, south Nyanza, on 19 January - a new locality c.100 km west of previously known sites. About 15 Violet-breasted Sunbirds C. pembae attracted to a flowering Combretum at Sabaki on 5 April is an interesting record as the species is rare south of the Tana Delta. Four Black-billed Weavers Ploceus melanogaster in the Gwassi Hills, south Nyanza, on 19 January represents a southwest range extension of >200 km. A Bar-breasted Firefinch Lagonosticta rufopicta was near Keringet, Kapenguria, on 14 March, a northward range extension of c.100 km; first reported in Kenya in 1969, the species is known only from near Lake Victoria.
The following reports are mainly from June - December 2010, with a few from earlier dates. Two female Great Crested Grebes Podiceps cristatus, both seen with two young at Olbainita Swamp, Mogotio, on 2 October are encouraging breeding records. A Red-footed Booby Sula sula found dead on the beach at Watamu on 22 April is the first report of this species for several years. Single Madagascar Pond Herons Ardeola idae were observed at Olbainita Swamp, Mogotio, on 5 September and in Nairobi National Park (=NP) on 19 October. A Marabou Stork Leptoptilos crumeniferus at a small wetland in Arabuko-Sokoke Forest on 30 November is the first record for the area for at least 15 years.
An Osprey Pandion haliaetus at Lake Turkana on 15 August was either a very early returning bird or one that had over-summered. A European Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus was at Olbainita Swamp, Mogotio, on 2 October, with another over central Nairobi on 13 October. 'Good numbers' of Egyptian Vultures Neophron percnopterus were reported from around the Rendille homesteads, adjacent to the Chalbi Desert, on 15 August. An immature male Montagu's Harrier Circus pygargus was observed on the unusual date of 20 June along the Namanga - Amboseli road. An adult male Levant Sparrowhawk Accipiter brevipes was at Baringo, on 25 November, whilst Ovampo Sparrowhawks A. ovampensis were observed at Kichwa, Masai Mara, on 29 June and 11 November. At Ngulia, Tsavo West NP, four Eurasian Sparrowhawks A. nisus were recorded: one on 18 November, two together on 8 December and a single moving south on 10 December; in Kenya, this rare Accipiter has been recorded most frequently from around Ngulia in recent years. A pair of Fox Kestrels Falco alopex was along the eastern edge of the Chalbi Desert on 15 August. A flock of c.2,500 Amur Falcons F. amurensis were foraging on emerging termites west of the Chyulu Hills on 19 November. An Eleonora's Falcon F. eleonorae at Rhino Ridge, Masai Mara, on 26 September is an early record; three were among the large flock of Amur Falcons on 19 November.
A flock of eight Crested Guineafowls Guttera pucherani at Sabaringo, Masai Mara, on 27 November is the first record at this site for c.20 years. A Red-chested Flufftail Sarothrura rufa was observed in a swamp at Entasekera, southern Loita Hills, on 22 October, and an African Water Rail Rallus caerulescens in Amboseli NP on 20 June. A Baillon's Crake Porzana pusilla was at Olbainita Swamp, near Mogotio, on 5 September, with two there on 2 October, whilst an immature Spotted Crake P. porzana was photographed on Manguo Ponds, Limuru, the year before, on 24 October 2009. At Talek, Masai Mara, >10 Common Buttonquails Turnix sylvaticus were reported in May - June; three were ringed at Ngulia in December.
Eight Black-winged Pratincoles Glareola nordmanni were feeding over Olbainita Swamp, Mogotio, on 7 November; this is a rare and little recorded Palearctic migrant. A flock of >3,000 Madagascar Pratincoles G. ocularis was at Didawarede, Tana River Delta, in early August; this suggests the delta could be the most important site for this species, whose world population is estimated at 5,000 - 10,000. Sadly, the area is destined for sugarcane plantations unless sufficient resistance is mustered to stop the plans. A group of 150 Caspian Plovers Charadrius asiaticus on the Solio Plains, Laikipia, on 23 November, is an unusual location for the species, especially in such large numbers. Eight Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa were in the Tana River Delta in early August; this species is uncommon on the coast. A Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus was observed at Mountain Lodge, Mount Kenya, on 21 June.
Single Lemon Doves Aplopelia (Columba) larvata were noted at Loresho, Nairobi, on 20 August, and Karen on 11 - 12 September, with two in Nairobi NP on 19 October; whilst resident in low numbers, it is infrequently seen around Nairobi and the Nairobi NP record is the first for the park. A White-crested Turaco Tauraco leucolophus, observed on the eastern side of the Tugen Hills, on 8 November, is the first recent record from this area. In Nairobi NP, a Black Coucal Centropus grillii in non-breeding plumage was seen on 5 - 14 November; there are only 2 - 3 records of this species in the Nairobi area. A Pel's Fishing Owl Scotopelia peli in the Tana River Delta on 6 April is a good record for a site that is seriously threatened with destruction in the name of 'eco-friendly' biofuels.
A Swamp Nightjar Caprimulgus natalensis in the Masai Mara, from mid August into September, suggests an eastern range extension. Also in the Masai Mara, Square-tailed Nightjars C. fossii were seen at Naibor Camp on 19 June and on Siana Springs airstrip on 29 June; this species is rarely reported but may be commoner than assumed, particularly in the south of the country. Other nightjar records include a Star-spotted Nightjar C. stellatus and a Nubian Nightjar C. nubicus near Marigat, Baringo, on 25 November, and a male Pennant-winged Nightjar Macrodipteryx vexillarius at Rekero Camp, Masai Mara, on 31 August.
A Eurasian Hoopoe Upupa epops was seen in Amboseli on 20 November. A Jackson's Hornbill Tockus jacksoni at Kampiya Moto, on the Nakuru - Baringo road, on 4 September, was at the southernmost tip of its range in the Rift Valley. Also in the Rift Valley, a Grey-throated Barbet Gymnobucco bonapartei in the Tugen Hills on 18 August is an unusually eastern record. An Eastern (Green-backed) Honeybird Prodotiscus zambesiae was heard at Entasekera, southern Loita Hills, on 22 - 23 October; this species has not been previously recorded in south-west Kenya. In the Masai Mara, an immature Wahlberg's (Brown-backed) Honeybird P. regulus was observed at Naibor Camp on 18 October (there are old records from the Serengeti of this species, which is clearly uncommon in this part of the country) and Pallid Honeyguides Indicator meliphilus at Kichwa Tembo on 28 June and at Naibor Camp on 1 August (there are very few records from this site). The second Eurasian Wryneck Jynx torquilla for Nairobi NP was reported on 14 November.
Three Friedmann's Larks Mirafra pulpa were seen near Chyulu Gate, Tsavo West NP, on 19 November. At Entasekera, southern Loita Hills, Eastern Mountain Greenbuls Andropadus nigriceps of the nominate race were observed on 22 - 23 October. A record of Rüppell's Robin Chat Cossypha semirufa near Loitokitok Road, Amboseli, on 19 June is at a very low altitude for this highland species. In the Masai Mara, Brown-backed Scrub Robin Cercotrichas hartlaubi at Kichwa Tembo on 28 November at least is a new species for the area. An immature male Common Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus was ringed at Ngulia, Tsavo West NP, on 29 November. African Reed Warbler Acrocephalus baeticatus, a surprisingly infrequently reported species in Kenya, was found in Amboseli NP on 20 June. A Common Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita ringed at Ngulia, Tsavo West NP, on 3 December is only the third recorded (and the second ringed) there in 40 years. A Gambaga Flycatcher Muscicapa gambagae was seen at Ol Tukai lodge, Amboseli, on 20 June, whilst an immature was ringed at Ngulia on 1 December; little is known about this flycatcher's movements and its status in the country.
Eastern Double-collared Sunbird Cinnyris mediocris was reported from Entasekera, southern Loita Hills, on 22 - 23 October; this seems to be the first from the area. A Black-headed Gonolek Laniarius erythrogaster at Kichwa Tembo, Masai Mara, on 19 June and 1 July was a surprise at this location; it was apparently seen carrying nesting material earlier in June. Six Retz's Helmet-shrikes at Hunter's Lodge, Simba, on 17 June is an unusual record for this species, as much of the forest and riverine habitat in Ukambani has been severely degraded. Three pairs of Red-headed Weavers Anaplectes rubriceps were nest-building in the Changoto woodlands near Dakatcha, Adu, on 18 November; this is a substantial range extension. A Black-billed Weaver Ploceus melanogaster observed in the Tugen Hills, Rift Valley, on 18 August belongs to a small, isolated population of this uncommon forest weaver. Two Weyns's Weavers P. weynsi were photographed at Sio Port Swamp, Lake Victoria, on 25 October; this would be an addition to the Kenyan avifauna, if accepted.
The following reports are from January–June 2010, with additional records from October–December 2009 not mentioned previously. A Madagascar Pond Heron Ardeola idae at Sabaki on 11 February is an unusual record for the season. More than 5,000 White Storks Ciconia ciconia were at Nakuru National Park (=NP) on 20–21 February. A total of 94 Eurasian Honey Buzzards Pernis apivorus on Mount Elgon on 7 March is an unusually high count. A first-year Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus was on the Magadi road, c.20 km before the lake, in late January; all records of this species are worth reporting given its significant decline. An immature Black-chested Snake Eagle Circaetus pectoralis near Kapcherop, Cherangani, on 24 December, and an Eastern Chanting Goshawk Melierax poliopterus in Nairobi NP on 27 December are unusual records for those areas. A flock of 23 Levant Sparrowhawks Accipiter brevipes was at the Ahero rice scheme on 24 January and an adult male near Mtito Andei on 30 January; this is an unprecedented number of this Accipiter for which there are only c.6 previous records in Kenya. A Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus at Nakuru NP in January was still present on 21 February. Unusual records for February include a female Amur Falcon Falco amurensis at Solio Ranch, Laikipia, on 18th and an Eleonora's Falcon F. eleonorae at Tsavo East NP on 13th. A Grey Kestrel F. ardosiaceus at Nakuru NP on 28 February is a rather easterly record.
A Red-chested Flufftail Sarothrura rufa was reported from Kiboko Bay, Lake Victoria, on 3 May. A Corncrake Crex crex was ringed at the Botanic Gardens, National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi; this is a rare bird away from the Mara and very few have been ringed in Kenya. A Buff-crested Bustard Eupodotis gindiana was unusually close to the sea near the salt pans at Kurawa, north of Malindi, on 24 April. Four Eurasian Oystercatchers Himantopus ostralegus stayed at Mida Creek, Watamu, through much of February–April. Unprecedented numbers of Caspian Plovers Charadrius asiaticus were recorded: c.70 west of Siana Springs in late January and 2,347 together on the Tana River Delta on 15 February; very few were seen in the usual wintering grounds of the Masai Mara. In March, a Temminck's Stint Calidris temminckii was seen and a Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus ringed at Lake Nakuru. Over 1,500 Brown Noddies Anous stolidus were around Whale Island, Watamu, on 16 May; although likely to breed at the site, there is no evidence yet. A huge tern roost, discovered a few years ago at Sabaki River mouth, contained an estimated 500,000 birds in February. Two Common Black-headed Gulls Larus ridibundus were on a dam near Molo on 2 May; there are few reports away from the Rift Valley lakes.
A Yellowbill Ceuthmocares aereus was seen at Langata, Nairobi, on 19 November—this is a rare species around Nairobi. Single Black Coucals Centropus grillii were reported from Aruba Dam, Tsavo East NP, on 13 February and near Witu Forest, Tana River Delta, on 26 April. A Böhm's Spinetail Neafrapus boehmi at Witu Forest, Tana River Delta, on 26 April is an interesting record, as Arabuko- Sokoke is generally considered to be its northernmost limit. Several
thousand Common Swifts Apus apus were at Sagala, Voi, on 23 January—such large numbers are unexpected at this season. A White-headed Mousebird Colius leucocephalus at Sagala, Voi, on 24 January was outside its normal range. Eight White-throated Bee-eaters Merops albicollis at Naibor Camp, Masai Mara, on 8 June is an unusual date, whilst >100 Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters M. persicus near Witu, Tana River Delta, on 26 April is a late date. About 20 Madagascar Bee-eaters M. superciliosus were at Sagala, Voi, on 23 January. At least 1,000 European Rollers Coracias garrulus near Voi on 24 January were still present on 13 February.An Usambiro Barbet Trachyphonus darnaudii usambiro west of the Ngong Hills, Rift Valley, on 14 March is the easternmost report for this taxon so far, whilst one in well watched Nairobi NP on 31 March was new for the park. A Tullberg's Woodpecker Campethera tullbergi in Kakamega Forest on 7 May is an unusual record for this site.
An immature Red-winged Lark Mirafra hypermetra on a grassy area bordering the beach at Watamu on 23 May was definitely out of place: larks are very rare on the coast, let alone on the beach front. A pair of Rufous-chested Swallows Cecropis semirufa was nesting in a warthog hole in the Masai Mara, in March; there are relatively few breeding records for this species. In late January, two Bush Pipits Anthus caffer were observed at Siana Springs. Three Little Greenbuls Andropadus virens south of Kilifi on 1 February are the first records north of Mombasa for many years. Records from Nairobi NP include a small flock of Grey-olive Greenbuls Phyllastrephus cerviniventris on 25 November (only the third record for the park), a Bare-eyed Thrush Turdus tephronotus on 27 March (first record for Nairobi district) and a Basra Reed Warbler Acrocephalus griseldis on 29 November (second record for the park). Barred Warblers Sylvia nisoria were reported as extremely abundant—'the most abundant migrant after European Rollers, outnumbering Common Whitethroats S. communis 15 to 1'—at Sagala, Voi, on 24 January. An Olive-tree Warbler Hippolais olivetorum at Tsavo East NP on 13 February was probably overwintering, which is very unusual in Kenya; one in Nairobi on 13 March is an unusual record for this site. DNA analysis of an unusual Acrocephalus ringed at Ngulia, Tsavo West NP, in December, proved the bird was a hybrid Marsh A. palustris × Blyth's Reed Warbler A. dumetorum. A pair of Yellow-vented Eremomelas Eremomela icteropygialis just outside Sala Gate, Tsavo East NP, on 12 February, is a very southerly record.
A group of Hinde's Babblers Turdoides hindei was discovered in a valley 34 km south-east of Machakos on 23 January; this is a new site for this Kenyan endemic. Boubous photographed and tape recorded on Manda Island, Lamu, in April appear to be black-morph Erlanger's Boubous Laniarius erlangeri; if accepted it will be a new species for Kenya - hitherto it was considered to be a southern Somalia endemic. Three House Crows Corvus splendens at Maungu, Voi, are among the furthest inland records of this invasive species and an indication of its massive increase since the control programme ceased in late 2004. A Fischer's Starling Spreo fischeri at Ol Kejo bridge, Magadi Road near Olorgesailie, on 31 March is one of the few (the first?) records for the Rift Valley. Groups of Magpie Starlings Speculipastor bicolor were present at Sagala, Voi, on 23 January—this species is recorded this far south only every few years; two on Mpala Ranch on 10 February is a very westerly record. A pair of Sharpe's Starlings Cinnyricinclus sharpii was feeding nestlings in South Marmarnet Forest, Nyahururu, on 11 March. An adult male Red-headed Weaver Anaplectes rubriceps at the entrance of Nairobi NP on 27 December was only the second record for the park. A small Rufous-tailed Weaver Histurgops ruficaudus colony of seven nests with begging young and one recently fledged juvenile were found at the Mara River, Masai Mara, on 14 April; this species was only recently added to the Kenya list and this is the first reported breeding. In March, the second record of Straw-tailed Whydah Vidua fischeri in Nairobi NP was made when a male was observed. A briefly seen Somali Golden-breasted Bunting Emberiza poliopleura on the western outskirts of Nairobi on 17 October is a new species for the city.
The following reports are from July–December 2009, with additional records from April–June 2009 not mentioned previously. Several White-tailed Tropicbirds Phaethon lepturus were seen off Kiwaiyu, north of Lamu, in early November; this species is probably more common than reports suggest, due to the lack of observers at sea. A Eurasian Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus was at Lake Baringo Club on 18 April—this species is uncommon in the Rift Valley; two were observed in Kakamega Forest on 22–23 September and a third near Kisumu on 25 September—it is normally only occasional in western Kenya. An Ovampo Sparrowhawk Accipiter ovampensis, a scarce species in Kenya,was seen at Kichwa Tembo, Masai Mara, on 25 April. An adult female Eurasian Sparrowhawk A. nisus was photographed in Tsavo West National Park on 17 November; this probably overlooked species is only recorded every few years. In 2009, there were several records of Lizard Buzzard Kaupifalco monogrammicus in Nairobi, where it is normally rare.
Displaying Red-winged Francolins Francolinus levaillantii were observed on the Keekorok road, Masai Mara, on 26 April; this is the first record in Kenya for over 20 years. Two juvenile Allen’s Gallinules Porphyrio alleni on a pond at Nguu Tatu, Mombasa, on 15 August, are suggestive of breeding. A Baillon’s Crake Porzana pusilla was at Sukari Dam, Brookside Dairies, Thika, on 23 September; this species is very rarely recorded in Kenya. A Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus on the beach at Watamu, on 5–6 November, is the first record there for many years. A Eurasian Thick-knee Burhinus oedicnemus was photographed near Lukenya, Machakos, on 15 November; this is the first record in Kenya for many years. FourMadagascar Pratincoles Glareola ocularis at Sabaki on 4 April is an early date. A flock of c.50 Caspian Plovers Charadrius asiaticus at Aruba, Tsavo East NP, on 16 September, is an unusually high number for eastern Kenya. A Temminck’s Stint Calidris temminckii at Lake Jilore, Malindi, on 5 April, is noteworthy as there are relatively few coastal records.
Seven Namaqua Doves Oena capensis in Nairobi NP on 20 June suggest a local influx to an area where the species is rare. Also in Nairobi NP, a Thick-billed Cuckoo Pachycoccyx audeberti was seen on 3 May (second inland record) and an immature Eurasian Cuckoo Cuculus canorus on 21 September (an early date). An adult Eurasian Scops Owl Otus scops was ringed at Lions Bluff, Lumo Conservancy, Taita, on 21 November. Another late record is a Forbes-Watson's Swift Apus berliozi at Arabuko-Sokoke on 4 April. On 4 August, a Bar-tailed Trogon Apaloderma vittatum was photographed in Masai Mara, where the species is rarely recorded.
Friedmann’s Larks Mirafra pulpa were reported in Shaba National Reserve on 15 April (three) and in Tsavo West NP on 20 November (at least three singing). If accepted, two Greater Short-toed Larks Calandrella brachydactyla behind Turtle Bay Beach Club, Watamu, on 5 November, will be the third record for Kenya. A Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica of the Palearctic race rufula was ringed at Ngulia, Tsavo West NP, on 19 December; this will be the first record of this race for East Africa, if accepted. A Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava of the white-headed race leucocephala was seen on Solio Ranch on 16 April—this race is very uncommon in Kenya; an adult flava-type in Nairobi NP on 13 September was very early. Three Sharpe’s Longclaws Macronyx sharpei were observed in grasslands 11 km west of Molo near the Mau Forest, on the western escarpment, on 16 August; this endemic is mostly reported from the highlands east of the Rift. A Common Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus ringed at Ngulia, Tsavo West NP, on 20 December, is only the 12th to be ringed there since 1969, during which time almost half a million birds have been ringed at this well-known site. An adult female Whinchat Saxicola rubetra stayed in Nairobi NP from 20 June to 28 August; it is unusual for this species to over-summer.
An Acrocephalus ringed at Ngulia, Tsavo West NP, on 17 December had all the features of Blyth’s Reed Warbler A. dumetorum; blood samples are being analysed and if the results and the description are accepted, this will be the first record for Africa. Further noteworthy records from Nairobi NP include a Grey Penduline Tit Anthoscopus caroli on 13 November (possibly the first since 1971), a Red-billed Buffalo Weaver Bubalornis niger on 20 June, a Blue-capped Cordon-bleu Uraeginthus cyanocephalus on 13 September (first record) and a Somali Bunting Emberiza poliopleura on 14 August (second record). Two or three pairs of Blue-capped Cordon-bleus were found atop the Limuru-Mai Mahiu escarpment, at 2,200 m; perhaps the birds were driven there by the drought, as it is very unusual for this species to occur at this altitude.
The following reports are from January - June 2009. Two Masked Boobies Sula dactylatra were seen 20 km off Watamu on 26 February, whilst an immature Greater Frigatebird Fregata minor was at Watamu beach on 18 May.
Two Dwarf Bitterns Ixobrychus sturmi were at Nairobi National Park (=NP) on 6 May, whilst a dark Dimorphic Egret Egretta dimorpha was with Little Egrets E. garzetta at Magadi on 1 June. Three Abdim’s Storks Ciconia abdimii near Ramisi, south of Mombasa, on 15 January is an unusual record for the coast. A count of 2,200 Glossy Ibises Plegadis falcinellus going to roost in the Tana River Delta on 30 March led to an estimate of c.10,000 birds roosting at the site, illustrating once again the importance of this threatened wetland.
A male Common Teal Anas crecca in breeding plumage was at Hippo Camp, Naivasha, on 15 January. An immature African Cuckoo Hawk Aviceda cuculoides was observed in Nairobi NP on 8 June. Bat Hawks Macheiramphus alcinus were seen around Nairobi on 15 January and 5 February; this species is not frequently seen here. An immature Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus was in Nairobi NP on 23 February; the species has become increasingly rare and this is probably one of the first records for the park in several years. A probable Eurasian Griffon Vulture Gyps fulvus was observed in Nairobi NP on 18 January and another on 29th; records of this species are still being examined by the East African Rarities Committee. An African Marsh Harrier Circus ranivorus was noted at Mwea ricefields on 17 January; the species has become significantly rarer over the past few decades in Kenya. A Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus flying over Westlands, Nairobi, on 20 February is an unusual record. A Secretary Bird Sagittarius serpentarius on Mt Kenya at 3,300 m, in March, seems a very high-altitude record. An adult male Red-footed Falcon Falco vespertinus was observed in Nairobi NP on 9 May; there are fewer than ten records of this species in Kenya. African Hobbies F. cuvierii, uncommon in the central highlands, were noted in Nairobi NP on 6 May and at Blue Posts Inn, Thika, on 13 February; one was also on the coast, at Kilifi, where it is very rare, on 11 April.
A Corncrake Crex crex on Mbagathi Ridge, Karen, on 12 April, is an unusual record for Nairobi. A Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius was in Nairobi NP on 5 February and a Lesser Sand Plover C. mongolus on Lake Oloidien, Naivasha, on 15 January. Temminck’s Stints Calidris temminckii were seen in Nairobi NP on 1 January (one) and at Dandora Sewage Works on 14 January (two)—this is never a common species, especially away from the Rift Valley; seven together at Hippo Camp, Naivasha, on 15 January is an unusually high number; two more were at Mwea rice fields on 17 January. Two Slender-billed Gulls Larus genei were at Sabaki River mouth on 1 June; this species is only reported from Kenya every few years.
A pair of Meyer’s Parrots Poicephalus meyeri was investigating a possible nest hole in Nairobi NP on 20 June. A Ross’s Turaco Musophaga rossae at Loldia Farm, Naivasha, on 8 April and possibly the same bird at Elsamere on 22 April had probably come down from the now heavily disturbed Mau forest. One of the easternmost records in Kenya for Bare-faced Go-away Bird Corythaixoides personatus was made on 24 January at Sampu Camp, Nguruman Mts. Rare records for Nairobi NP involved a Black Cuckoo Cuculus clamosus on 8 June and a Verreaux’s Eagle Owl Bubo lacteus on 1 January. A Pel’s Fishing Owl Scotopelia peli was photographed in the Tana River Delta on 1 April; this species is rarely reported in Kenya. An African Pygmy Kingfisher Ceyx pictus ringed at Watamu in July 2007, was retrapped on 31 March - an early date. A Friedmann’s Lark Mirafra pulpa was heard at Maktao Gate, Tsavo West NP, on 6 April. The same species was also found in Shaba National Park on 17 May 2009, on which date the endemic Williams’s Lark M. williamsi was also present at the same site. Collared Lark M. collaris was photographed and sound-recorded near Haberswein, near the Somali border, on 28 May; this appears to be the first record in Kenya since 1967. A male Chestnut-backed Sparrow Lark Eremopterix leucotis was found near Mwea ricefields on 17 January - an odd place for this arid-country species.
Two White Wagtails Motacilla alba were at Dandora Sewage Works on 14 January. Four pairs of Bush Pipits Anthus caffer were encountered in the Ulu Hills on 7 February; a high density for this scarce species. A Golden Pipit Tmetothylacus tenellus at Laikipia in January – February is unusual for this area. A male Irania Irania gutturalis in Nairobi NP on 11 January was joined by three more on 18 January and stayed until 2 March - this is a rare species around Nairobi. Common Rock Thrush Monticola saxatilis was seen at Watamu on 30 March and 2 April; this species was formerly common along the north coast, but has become scarce in the past ten years.
A Great Reed Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus in Nairobi NP on 9 February is a rather unusual date. A Basra Reed Warbler A. griseldis was at Kilifi on 10 April; whilst it must be present along the coast this species is rarely reported from there. Two Olive-tree Warblers Hippolais olivetorum were found in Nairobi NP on 2 March; an unusual species around Nairobi, especially so early in the spring. An Icterine Warbler H. icterina was seen at Nairobi Golf Course on 14 March; this is a rare species anywhere in Kenya and possibly only the second in Nairobi for c.15 years. In Nairobi NP, an adult Barred Warbler Sylvia nisoria was recorded on 4 January - there has been only one other record since the 1970s around Nairobi; on 24 March, two were ringed at Watamu, the first there since 1999.
Considered extirpated in Kenya only a few years ago, Black-backed Cisticola Cisticola eximius seems to have made a comeback in Masai Mara, where it was again observed on 4 January. Three Pale Flycatchers Bradornis pallidus of the race bafirawari (sometimes named Wahjier Grey Flycatcher) were photographed near the Somali border on 28 May; this taxon had not been recorded for over 80 years. A flock of Brown Babblers Turdoides plebejus at the Ewaso Nyira River, just south of Sabuk Lodge, on 29 January, was unusually far east. A flock of six Hinde’s Babblers T.hindei was observed in Ol Donyo Sabuk NP on 1 May. A male Beautiful Sunbird Cinnyris pulchellus in full breeding plumage was seen in Nairobi NP on 2 March, whilst two were at Gigiri on 11 March; this dry-country species is only occasionally reported from Nairobi. Four Cardinal Queleas Quelea cardinalis in Nairobi NP on 8 June is another unusual species around Nairobi. Black Bishops Euplectes gierowii were seen at Shompole Lodge, Nguruman Mts, on 25 January (one) and 1 June (two); this southern population is not reported annually. Also at Shompole Lodge, a Fire-fronted Bishop E. diadematus was seen on 1 June. In Nairobi NP, up to 23 African Silverbills Lonchura cantans were seen on 4 January, with more there in February; there is just one previous record of this species for the area. Somali Golden-breasted Bunting Emberiza poliopleura was recorded at Langata in early January and in Nairobi NP on 9 February; this is a new species for Nairobi.
The following records are from June - December 2008. A pair of Great Crested Grebes Podiceps cristatus was observed at Manguo Pond, Limuru, on 25 October; this species was formerly far more common. Unusually high numbers of Little Grebes Tachybaptus ruficollis were counted at Lake Nakuru, with over 1,000 on 10-23 November and an estimated 5,000 on 13 December. Dwarf Bitterns Ixobrychus sturmii were reported from 10 km south of Olorgosailie on the Lake Magadi road on 16 June (one), Splash Waterworld, Nairobi, on 12 November (two) and Ngulia, Tsavo West National Park (=NP), on 29 November (one). Six Madagascar Pond Herons Ardeola idae were at Musiara Swamp, Masai Mara, on 1 July; there were 19 at this site in 2007. A subadult Rufous-bellied Heron A. rufiventris, a rare bird east of the Rift Valley, was found at Amboseli on 16 November. A Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus ruber roseus was noted at Nairobi NP on 12 December; this is not a common sight on the plains south of Nairobi. An unusual record was a male Northern Pintail Anas acuta on Lake Nakuru on 24 June.
An African Cuckoo Hawk Aviceda cuculoides was observed at Karen, Nairobi, on 19 July, whilst two adults and a juvenile were at Tigoni on 29 November; there are only a couple of previous breeding records in Kenya. European Honey Buzzards Pernis apivorus were reported from Nairobi NP on 18 October and from Chyulu Gate, Tsavo West NP, on 15 November. A subadult Palm-nut Vulture Gypohierax angolensis at Nairobi NP on 18 October is the first for Nairobi district. An adult Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus at Musiara Swamp, Masai Mara, on 25 November was a good record for a species that is now rare throughout its range. A Eurasian Griffon Vulture Gyps fulvus was seen over the Dida Galgalu Desert in November; there are increasing numbers of records of this vulture in the region. A Black Kite Milvus migrans of the nominate subspecies at Lake Nakuru on 27 June was present unusually late. An Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca was at Nairobi NP on 29 October. A Eurasian Hobby Falco subbuteo along the Kakamega - Kisumu road on 28 June is a surprise sighting at this time of year; a single at Nairobi NP on 5 October is an early record. A perched adult Sooty Falcon F. concolor was observed in Shaba Game Reserve on 3 November; two more were on the move with other falcons including Lesser Kestrels F. neumanni and Eurasian Hobbies over Marsabit on 5 November.
An adult African Crake Crex egregia with a small chick was seen at Ahero Rice Scheme on 29 June; this is an interesting breeding record for this relatively little- reported species. An adult male Heuglin’s Bustard Neotis heuglinii was found in Tsavo East NP in November. An immature Black-winged Pratincole Glareola nordmanni stayed at Lake Nakuru from 7 November until at least 23 November; this is a rare bird in Kenya. A single Madagascar Pratincole G. ocularis was at Nguu Tatu, Mombasa, on 20 September; this species is more frequently seen in the Malindi area. A Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius at Nairobi NP on 12 December is unusual at this site. For the third consecutive year there were no November records of Caspian Plovers C. asiaticus in the Masai Mara or Amboseli, areas that in previous years held substantial numbers. In the Pemba Channel three Red-necked Phalaropes Phalaropus lobatus were seen on 23 November. Unusual June records include Common Greenshanks Tringa nebularia on 18 June (two at Nairobi National Park), Green Sandpipers T. ochropus on 17 June (one roosting on a pool at Mountain Lodge), 23 June (one at Amboseli) and 24 June (two at Naro Moru), and a Common Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus on 26 June (at Lake Baringo). A Slender-billed Gull L. genei first reported at Lake Nakuru on 23 November was still present on 13 December. Also there was an African Skimmer Rynchops flavirostris on 10 November.
A pair of Black-billed Turacos Tauraco schuettii was seen in Kakamega Forest in November; this is rare bird in Kenya these days. A black-morph Jacobin Cuckoo Clamator jacobinus was at Nairobi NP on 5 October; this cuckoo is not frequently recorded at this site. Nine Marsh Owls Asio capensis together were observed at Masai Mara on 14 September. Birds resembling Forbes-Watson’s Swift Apus berliozi were seen flying low over Sokoke Forest on 20 November. A Least Honeyguide Indicator exilis was recorded at Kichwa Tembo Camp on 2 July.
The enigmatic Friedmann’s Lark Mirafra pulpa was seen in Shaba Game Reserve on 3 November and at Saltlick Lodge, Taita Hills, on 1 December. An impressive roost of over 200 Banded Martins Riparia cincta was found in rank grass at Nairobi NP on 12 November. A Grey-rumped Swallow Pseudhirundo griseopyga was near the Oloololo Gate, Masai Mara, on 30 June; this is a scarce species in the Mara. A Bush Pipit Anthus caffer was at Lukenya, near Machakos - an usual location and date for this uncommon bird. A Grey-olive Greenbul Phyllastrephus cerviniventris at Tsavo West NP on 20 June constitutes a new location for this species.
Although Marsh Warbler Acrocephalus palustris is always the commonest species at the Ngulia Ringing Project, Tsavo West NP, a record 11,938 were ringed in 2008 (or 58.9% of the 20,278 trapped birds), including 1,344 on 28 November, 1,932 on 29th and 1,525 on 30th. There were two retraps, a French bird and a Slovenian one. A Common Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita responded to playback on the Naro Moru track on 18 November; this is never a common species in this region. A Black-backed Cisticola Cisticola eximius was near Oloololo Gate, Masai Mara, on 24 November; until its rediscovery in Ruma NP a few years ago this species was considered extirpated in Kenya. A Whistling Cisticola C. lateralis was at Mungatsi on 27 June. A Turner’s Eremomela Eremomela turneri at Shiru Forest, near Kakamega, on 22 October suggests the presence of a ‘new’ population of this Endangered species.
Three Mountain Illadopsises Illadopsis pyrrhoptera were seen in Kakamega on 12 November; this species is rare at this site. A male Olive-bellied Sunbird Cinnyris chloropygius at Kichwa Tembo, Masai Mara, on 1 July constitutes a new species for the Mara. An adult and an immature Lesser Grey Shrike Lanius minor were observed at Nairobi NP on 23 October, with another adult on 8 November; this is an unprecedented number on southbound migration. On 5 November another Lesser Grey Shrike was seen near Marsabit, slightly outside the range given in Zimmerman et al. (1996. Birds of Kenya and northern Tanzania). Two groups of Grey-crested Helmetshrikes Prionops poliolophus were seen in Lake Nakuru NP; the first was a mixture of apparently pure individuals, hybrids and the cristatus race of White-crested Helmetshrike P. plumatus. The hybrids resembled Grey-crested in size and plumage but had variably coloured crests and sported small eye wattles. The second small group only contained hybrids. A male Sharpe’s Starling Cinnyricinclus sharpii was at Karen Club, Nairobi, on 24 October; there are few records for Nairobi.
Ten Red-billed Buffalo Weavers Bubalornis niger of the isolated population at Ahero Rice Scheme were encountered on 29 June; this species is rarely seen here. The third record for Kenya of Rufous-tailed Weaver Histurgops ruficaudus concerned three birds on the hills behind Mara Sarova Camp, Masai Mara, on 13 November. An adult male Red-headed Weaver Anaplectes rubriceps, a rare species for Nairobi, was at the main entrance of Nairobi NP on 29 October. Three Parasitic Weavers Anomalospiza imberbis were near Oloololo Gate, Masai Mara, on 24 November; this is never a common species in the Mara. Two Black-cheeked Waxbills Estrilda charmosyna at Baringo cliffs on 26 June are unusual for this site.
The following records are from June 2007 - May 2008 unless otherwise stated. At Samburu - Buffalo Springs, a dozen Great White Pelicans Pelecanus onocrotalus flew over the Ewaso Nyiro River on 4 November, with a Pink-backed Pelican P. rufescens there three days later; these species are uncommon in this arid part of Kenya. A female Common Teal Anas crecca was at Thika settlement ponds on 9 February. A belated record of a Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca at Lake Oloidien, Naivasha, on 20 November 2005 is noteworthy - this is a rare duck in Kenya.
An African Cuckoo Hawk Aviceda cuculoides was seen at Mountain Lodge, Nanyuki, on 19 November. Single African Swallow-tailed Kites Chelictinia riocourii were reported from the Ewaso Nyiro River, Laikipia, on 7 October, and Taita Hills Park, on 2 March; this species is rare in the south- east. A European Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus was at Nyaharuru on 21 November. A Shikra Accipiter badius seen at Kasarani in October is possibly the first record for Nairobi since 1972. A pair of Ovampo Sparrowhawks A. ovampensis was hunting at Kichwa Tembo, Masai Mara, on 10 - 12 November, whilst a Eurasian Sparrowhawk A. nisus, a rarely recorded Palearctic raptor, was at Samburu - Buffalo Springs on 6 November. A Palm-nut Vulture Gypohierax angolensis at the Sio River, Busia, is an unusual record for western Kenya. About ten Lesser Spotted Eagles Aquila pomarina were reported from the Masai Mara on 10 - 12 November, a single adult from Naivasha on 20 December, and an adult Greater Spotted Eagle A. clanga and a third- year Eastern Imperial Eagle A. heliaca over Sopa road, Samburu - Buffalo Springs, on 4 November. An immature African Hawk Eagle Hieraaetus spilogaster was in Nairobi National Park (=NP) on 17 April; this species has become much less common in recent years. A dark-morph Booted Eagle H. pennatus at Ahero, Kisumu, was seen on the unusual date of 22 August (possibly a southern African bird?). More than 200 Lesser Kestrels Falco naumanni with at least 12 Amur Falcons F. amurensis went to roost at Solio Ranch, Laikipia, on 20 November. The 513th species for Nairobi NP was an African Hobby F. cuvierii on 13 January. A pair of Peregrine Falcons F. peregrinus successfully raised two young in Nairobi city centre in January - February.
A Corncrake Crex crex was ringed at Ngulia, Tsavo West NP, on 10 December. Adult Allen’s Gallinules Porphyrio alleni with juveniles were seen at Dunga Swamp, Lake Victoria, on 20 June, and in Nguuni Nature Reserve, Mombasa, on 21 January; there are relatively few breeding records in recent years. Two Common Cranes Grus grus at Marula Estate, Naivasha, from 29 December to at least 19 January constitute the second record for Kenya and apparently the first for the Southern Hemisphere. More than 60 Grey Crowned Cranes Balearica regulorum foraging along the Thika road, Nairobi, on 19 September is a large congregation of this bird. A pair of Lesser Jacanas Microparra capensis was seen mating at Ainabkoi swamp, western Kenya, on 20 July. On 27 January, Eurasian Oystercatchers Haematopus ostralegus were observed at Sabaki River mouth (three) and Malindi harbour (two). A Chestnut-banded Plover Charadrius pallidus at Nairobi NP on 14 November is the first for the Nairobi area. Three flocks of Pacific Golden Plovers Pluvialis fulva, totalling 182 birds, were seen in the Tana River delta on 5 - 6 February; this species was thought to occur in ones or twos each year in Kenya, an older record of 50 in the delta being considered exceptional. Also there on the same dates, 225 Long-toed Plovers Vanellus crassirostris and 1,565 Spur-winged Plovers V. spinosus were counted. A Great Snipe Gallinago media was flushed from a small wet pan in an otherwise very dry area along Magadi road, in the southern Rift Valley, on 14 January. A Common Redshank Tringa totanus was at Lake Oloidien, Naivasha, on 7 - 9 January.
A Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus in full breeding plumage - a rare sight in Kenya - was found on 30 March. A Lesser Crested Tern Sterna bengalensis was at Lake Elementaita on 9 January; this species is rare inland. Single Sandwich Terns S. sandvicensis were reported from Lake Nakuru on 20 November and the Tana River delta on 6 February. In August - October, Roseate Terns S. dougallii had an estimated 1,350 nests on Whale Island, Watamu, but breeding success was poor due to predation by rats. Also there were c.40 pairs of Sooty Terns S. fuscata and c.1,000 Brown Noddies Anous stolidus; no nest of the latter was found although the birds behaved as if breeding. A pair of African Skimmers Rynchops flavirostris in Nairobi NP on 27 July was new for Nairobi District.
A Black Cuckoo Cuculus clamosus in the Nairobi suburbs on 10 May was only the fifth record for Nairobi since 1972. At Samburu - Buffalo Springs, two African Cuckoos C. gularis were on territory on 2 - 7 November. A Black Coucal Centropus grillii was seen in Nairobi NP on 26 July. An adult Eurasian Scops Owl Otus scops rescued at sea c.3 km off Watamu on 30 October, recovered, and was ringed and released near Arabuko-Sokoke; how this bird found itself 3 km offshore is a mystery. A Swamp Nightjar Caprimulgus natalensis at Kichwa Tembo in early January is the first record for Masai Mara, whilst a Narina’s Trogon Apaloderma narina at Ngulia, Tsavo West NP, on 17 December is only the second for this well- watched site. A single Madagascar Bee-eater Merops superciliosus on a power line at Isiolo on 20 January is a rare record this far north-west. Also unusual was a Northern Carmine Bee-eater M. nubicus over Buffalo Springs on 2 November with another at Naivasha on 19 January. In Nairobi NP, a Broad-billed Roller Eurystomus glaucurus was seen on 12 April and a Red-and-yellow Barbet Trachyphonus erythrocephalus in late March; both are uncommon in the area. A White-headed Barbet Lybius leucocephalus of the nominate race was found in the Eremit Valley, Magadi road, on 19 December; this race is normally restricted to westernmost Kenya. Single Pallid Honeyguides Indicator meliphilus were recorded at the Karen Golf Club, Nairobi, on 25 July, and at Kichwa Tembo, Masai Mara, on 11 November.
Two male Friedmann’s Larks Mirafra pulpa on territories in Buffalo Springs on 7 November is one of the few records for this site, although the species occurs in neighbouring Shaba. A pair of Grey-rumped Swallows Pseudhirundo griseopyga in the Masai Mara on 10 July is one of the few records of this species for the area. A Sombre Greenbul Andropadus importunis at Elangata Wuas, Kajiado, on 23 March is a very easterly record, whilst two records of Northern Brownbul Phyllastrephus strepitans, one from Magadi road, in the southern Rift Valley, on 19 December, and another from Nairobi NP on 20 January, are far west for this species; the latter is also a new record for the Nairobi region. Four Grey-olive Greenbuls P. cerviniventris were observed near Kimana Gate, Amboseli NP, on 17 November. A female Common Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus at Sopa Lodge, Samburu, on 19 January is only the second reported in Kenya for a number of years. In July, a Karamoja Apalis Apalis karamojae was found at Kicheche Bush Camp, Masai Mara; this is a new location in different habitat for a species that was only recently added to the Kenya list. A Gambaga Flycatcher Muscicapa gambagae was mobbing a Pearl-spotted Owlet Glaucidium perlatum at Ol Tukai, Amboseli NP, on 18 November. A pair of African Blue Flycatchers Elminia longicauda at Kericho Arboretum on 25 November and a Green-headed Sunbird Cyanomitra verticalis in the Masai Mara on 9 July are unusual records or these sites. On 11 August, an adult and an immature male Violet-breasted Sunbird Cinnyris pembae were seen at Sabaki River mouth; this is a rare visitor from further north. A Taita Fiscal Lanius dorsalis at Nairobi NP on 4 April is rather unusual. Single Lesser Grey Shrikes Lanius minor were reported from Solio Ranch, Laikipia, on 22 November and Vipingo Golf Course, Mombasa, on 28 January; this species is rare on its southward migration. A pair of Pied Crows Corvus albus at Samburu - Buffalo Springs on 4 - 7 November was an unusual record north of Mt. Kenya. Single Magpie Starlings Speculipastor bicolor were at Lake Baringo on 6 June and Samburu - Buffalo Springs on 6 November. A flock of six Rufous-tailed Weavers Histurgops ruficaudus was observed in Masai Mara on 2 May; this species is not on the Kenya list yet, though there was apparently a first record in Masai Mara in 2000. Nine Magpie Mannikins Spermestes fringilloides were along the Adungosi River, western Kenya, on 22 July; there are only 4 - 5 records of this species in Kenya. A record of Cutthroat Finch Amadina fasciata at Splash, Langata, on 26 March is the first for Nairobi since at least 1972. Steel-blue Whydah Vidua hypocherina, seen at Ngulia, Tsavo West NP, on 3 December is new for the site. At Samburu - Buffalo Springs, an adult male Northern Grosbeak Canary Serinus donaldsoni was observed in mid-January.
The following records are from November 2006 - May 2007 unless otherwise stated. A Long-tailed Cormorant Phalacrocorax africanus in the Masai Mara on 17 February is a very unusual record for this site. On 25 November, only 20 Great White Pelicans Pelecanus onocrotalus were counted at Lake Nakuru, compared to an estimated 150,000 on the same date in 2005. An adult White-backed Night Heron Gorsachius leuconotus was in Nairobi National Park (=NP) on 24 January and a Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus on the Lower Kabete, Nairobi, on 6 December, whilst Dwarf Bitterns I. sturmii were seen at Lake Jilore, Malindi, on 31 January (five), Nginyang, Lake Baringo, on 25 April (four), and Kichwa Tembo, Masai Mara, on 2 May (one). On 16 April, 500 Abdim’s Storks Ciconia abdimii were counted at Ol Tepesi, Magadi Road.
In April, Eurasian Honey Buzzards Pernis apivorus were reported from Ngong Forest, Nairobi, on 4th (one), Shimba Hills on 10th (two) and the Kongelai Escarpment on 27th (a group of six). An African Cuckoo Hawk Aviceda cuculoides was seen at Nguuni, near Mombasa, on 2 December, and a Short-toed Snake Eagle Circaetus gallicus was photographed near Malindi on 12 April. An entirely melanistic adult Ovambo Sparrowhawk Accipiter ovampensis was spotted at Lake Nakuru NP on 23 November; at the Oloololo Escarpment, Masai Mara, and young fledged on 2 May. An adult Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus was along the road near Mweiga on 23 November, whilst a Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga was at Lake Nakuru NP on 25 November and a Saker Falcon Falco cherrug at sewage ponds in Nakuru NP on 23 February. Along the coast, from Likoni, Mombasa, to Sabaki, Eurasian Hobbies F. subbuteo were recorded in twos and threes on 10–21 April. Two adult male Red-footed Falcons F. vespertinus were near Lake Jipe on 14 April; this species is rare in East Africa. Eight Amur Falcons F. amurensis were on the beach at Watamu on 15 April; it is quite unusual to see falcons at the coast and only when weather conditions force them down during migration.
An adult male African Blue Quail Coturnix adansonii was flushed from tall wet grass along a track in the Ndara Plains, Tsavo East NP, on 29 December; there are few records of this species in recent times. Two Buff-spotted Flufftails Sarothrura elegans were calling from a Lantana thicket at Wajee Camp, Kirinyaga, on 18 April. A Corn Crake Crex crex was at Ol Doinyo Sabuk NP on 14 January and Lesser Moorhens Gallinula angulata were found in a suburb of Nairobi on 29 November (one) and at Nginyang, Lake Baringo, on 25 April (two). A Temminck’s Courser Cursorius temminckii at Gongoni, north of Malindi, on 12 April, is an uncommon species for the coastal strip. A single Black-winged Pratincole Glareola nordmanni was observed with some Collared Praticoles G. pratincola at Amboseli NP on 19 November; the former is a very uncommon species in Kenya. Three Temminck’s Stints Calidris temminckii were at Hippo Point, Lake Nakuru, on 25 November and a Great Snipe Gallinago media at Nambale, Busia, on 30 April. On 29 March, a Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis was observed at Tudor Creek, Mombasa.
Eight Grey Parrots Psittacus erithacus were seen in Rondo Retreat gardens, Kakamega, on 27 April. A large movement of Common Cuckoos Cuculus canorus occurred over at least central and eastern Kenya from the first week of April to about the 25th; an estimated 1,000 birds moved through in just 3–4 hours at Mida Creek, at the coast, on 21st. Larger numbers of Asian Lesser Cuckoos C. poliocephalus than in most years moved along the coast in mid April. A Black Coucal Centropus grillii was found in Nairobi NP on 15 November; this is far out of range, the nearest records being from the Masai Mara. A pair of African Grass Owls Tyto capensis at a nest with two chicks at Mweiga on 23 April constitutes a rare record for this species. A male Star-spotted Nightjar Caprimulgus stellatus was found dead on the road in Shaba Reserve on 22 April; this species has not previously been confirmed from the area. At Gongoni, north of Malindi, a Nubian Nightjar C. nubicus was found roosting on 12 April; an unusual species on the coast.
A Shining-blue Kingfisher Alcedo quadribrachys was seen at Adungosi, western Kenya, at same site where it was first discovered c10 years ago but has rarely been reported since. A Somali Bee-eater Merops revoilii was seen carrying food, as if breeding, at Maktau gate, Tsavo West NP, on 14 April; an unusual record if it was nesting. A juvenile Green-backed (Eastern) Honeybird Prodotiscus zambesiae was being fed by a pair of Abyssinian White-eyes Zosterops abyssinicus at Nairobi on 29 November.
The little-known Friedmann’s Lark Mirafra pulpa was found to be fairly numerous in Shaba Reserve on 22 April. Twenty Sharpe’s Longclaws Macronyx sharpei counted in a small area, at South Kinangop, on 17 April, constiutes an unusual concentration for this threatened species. A male Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe hispanica was at seen Solio Ranch, Liakipia, on 10 December. On 25 February, a Basra Reed Warbler Acrocephalus griseldis was singing at Lake Baringo. Single Common Chiffchaffs Phylloscopus collybita were reported from the Isiolo Junction area, Timau, on 20 February (singing); the Taita Hills on 13 April, and at the Naro Moru entrance to Mt Kenya NP on 19 April. A single Wood Warbler P. sibilatrix was found among Willow Warblers P. trochilus at Serena Hotel, Samburu Game Reserve, on 21 April. A Masked Shrike Lanius nubicus remained at Lake Baringo from 25 November until late December at least. A Purple Starling Lamprotornis purpureus was at the Sio River on 29 April. A Golden-breasted Starling L. (Cosmopsarus) regius 2 km beyond Sultan Hamud on the main Mombasa road, on 16 November, is at the western limit of this species’range.
Six Rufous-tailed Weavers Histurgops ruficaudata on Koiaki, Masai Mara, on 2 May, perhaps constitute the first record for Kenya of this Tanzanian endemic. At Lower Kabete, Nairobi, 100+ Jackson’s Widowbirds Euplectes jacksoni were counted on 6 December. A pair of Orange-winged Pytilias Pytilia afra was found at Lewa Conservancy, Laikipia, on 9 August 2006 and several birds photographed at Ol Doinyo Sabuk NP on 14 January; this species has not been reported from central Kenya for many decades.
Records from October - December 2006, from the newly-created Kipini Conservancy, on the coast north of the Tana River, include the following. The last Madagascar Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides was seen on 22 October and the last African Cuckoo Hawk Aviceda cuculoides, a migrant to the coast, on 24 October. A Corn Crake Crex crex was flushed on 10 November; there are few records on the coast. The unusual rains in October - December brought large numbers of African Crakes C. egregia (some breeding), an invasion of Lesser Moorhens Gallinula angulata in flooded grassland on 25 - 26 December and a Dwarf Bittern Ixobrychus sturmii on 26 December. A group of seven Pacific Golden Plovers Pluvialis fulva paused at a pan on 10 November, and a Broad-billed Sandpiper Limicola falcinellus was feeding on the beach the same day. At least one Temminck’s Stint Calidris temminckii wintered at a pan in December. Small groups of Forbes-Watson’s Swifts Apus berliozi passed or fed over the area from 1 November to at least 25 December, suggesting some wintered there in the unusually wet weather.
Both Eastern Green Tinkerbird Pogoniulus simplex and Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird P. bilineatus were found in forest in the area, confirming they occur further north than previously stated, as well as Pallid Honeyguide Indicator meliphilus (including one singing in a baobab). Malindi Pipits Anthus melindae were very common in the short-grass plains, with numbers probably totalling a few thousand, making Kipini Conservancy the most important area for this globally threatened Kenya endemic. A Black-and-white Flycatcher Bias musicus appeared in a mixed-species flock in a forest patch on 13 October; it was not seen again and the species’ status is unclear, but this is a major range extension. Violet-breasted Sunbirds Cinnyris chalcomelas appeared to be uncommon in the reserve, but were common in flooded thornbush around Garsen, where many were singing, in December. A female Parasitic Weaver Anomalospiza imberbis lurked around two pairs of Tawny-flanked Prinias Prinia subflava on 12 - 19 October; there are very few records from the coast. Other species not mapped for the north coast in Zimmerman et al. (1996, 2001, Birds of Kenya and Northern Tanzania) include Black Sparrowhawk Accipiter melanoleucus, which was widespread in Kipini, and Kurrichane Buttonquail Turnix sylvaticus, found to be common in grassland.
The following records were reported in May-November 2006. A pair of Great Crested Grebes Podiceps cristatus with a juvenile was observed at Molo on 14 October 2006; presumably the same birds were seen in July. A Dwarf Bittern Ixobrychus sturmii was at the Sabaki River mouth on 9 July and a Madagascar Pond Heron Ardeola idae at Runda Estate, on the northern edge of Nairobi, on 21 June. A white-morph Western Reef Heron Egretta gularis at Mida Creek on 26 November is an unusual record for the area. Also unusual, at least at this season, was the sighting of an adult Beaudouin’s Snake Eagle Circaetus beaudouini at Mumias, western Kenya, in mid-August. A Lesser Spotted Eagle Aquila pomarina was seen on the late date of 15 May in Shaba National Reserve. An adult Eastern Imperial Eagle A. heliaca flew over Ngulia, Tsavo West National Park, around 27 November. An adult Lesser Jacana Microparra capensis was at Limuru sewage pond in late August; this species is unusual near Nairobi. Two Eurasian Oystercatchers Haematopus ostralegus at Malindi in late August constitute an early record for this uncommon Palearctic wader. Three Brown-chested Lapwings Vanellus superciliosus were observed near Keekorok Lodge, Maasai Mara, on 22 June. An early Temminck’s Stint Calidris temminckii was at Lake Naivasha on 14 October. A Great Black-headed Gull Larus ichthyaetus at Malindi harbour on 30 November was the second this year, after many years without any sightings. At Lake Naivasha, a Common Black-headed Gull L. ridibundus in non-breeding plumage was spotted on 11 August; this constitutes an early date for this species, which 25-30 years ago was hardly recorded in Kenya. An adult Heuglin’s Gull L. heuglini at Lake Naivasha on 14 October was an unusual record for the Rift.
A Bare-faced Go-away Bird Corythaixoides personatus, seen in the first week of August, at Kisumu is also unusual for that area. A Madagascar Lesser Cuckoo Cuculus rochii was reported from Kakamega Forest in mid-August and a Half-collared Kingfisher Alcedo semitorquata from Blue Posts, Thika, in late August; the latter is one of the first records for Kenya in c.20 years. A Wahlberg’s Honeybird Prodotiscus regulus was observed in Arabuko-Sokoke Forest at the end of August and a Golden-tailed Woodpecker Campethera abingoni along the Mutembo River, Kongelai Escarpment.
A Gillett’s Lark Mirafra gilletti, photographed in Samburu National Reserve in mid-August, will be the first record from Kenya for decades, if accepted, and the first away from the extreme north-east of the country. A pair of Angola Swallows Hirundo angolensis seemed to be prospecting for a nest site in Nairobi on 16 October; this species may be spreading east. A new form of pipit ‘Nairobi Pipit’, found in Nairobi National Park a few years ago and part of the Long-billed Pipit Anthus similis complex, is regarded as a distinct species by some. A Lead-coloured Flycatcher Myioparus plumbeus was found nesting in a tree cavity at Lake Baringo on 13 June; there are relatively few nesting records in Kenya. A pair of Abbott’s Starlings Pholia femoralis was seen entering a cavity with nesting material in Gatamaiyu Forest on 5 October. Perhaps these were the same birds that nested here in 2005;
this first breeding record for Kenya was unsuccessful, as the young died when the branch supporting the nest broke. On 14th a female was seen again, but no sign of breeding was observed. A first-year female Chestnut Sparrow Passer eminibey was ringed at Ngulia on 20 November; this species is very rare at the site.
The following records are from November 2005 - May 2006 unless otherwise stated. Four Dimorphic Egrets Egretta dimorpha were at Nakuru National Park (=NP) on 26 November. At Lake Jipe, 150 Black Herons E. ardesiaca were counted on 31 January. An early Madagascar Squacco Heron Ardeola idae was seen in Nairobi NP on 1 May. A Common Teal Anas crecca was observed in Nairobi NP on 12 December, with two at Naivasha on 5 May. An adult African Cuckoo Hawk Aviceda cuculoides was in Nairobi NP on 6 November; this is an unusual species around Nairobi. Single Beaudouin's Snake Eagles Circaetus beaudouni were observed at Mungatsi, on the Mumias-Busia road, on 21 January, and at Madende Creek on 2 February. Other raptor records include an adult and an immature Ovambo Sparrowhawk Accipiter ovampensis photographed on the Masai Mara escarpment on 28 November, a Rufous-chested Sparrowhawk A. rufiventris seen on the descent towards Subukia on 24 November, a Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus at Nanyuki on 21 November, and two Greater Spotted Eagles Aquila clanga at Nakuru NP on 26 November and a second-year bird at Naivasha on 4 January.
A Spotted Crake Porzana porzana was seen in the Splash wetlands, Nairobi, on 22-26 March. A Denham's Bustard Neotis denhami was observed at Solio Ranch Road, Nyeri; records of this uncommon species are welcome. The first Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta in Nairobi NP in nine years was seen on 6 November. A Senegal Thick-knee Burhinus senegalensis was claimed from Kisumu on 26 February. Two Pacific Golden Plovers Pluvialis fulva were in the Tana River delta on 31 January. A Brown-chested Lapwing Vanellus superciliosus in full breeding plumage was at Musiara on 16 January. An African Snipe Gallinago nigripennis, a rare species in the Rift Valley, was seen at Naivasha on 4 January. A Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis was on the beach near Tana River Camp on 31 January, and a Little Tern S. albifrons was roosting in Nakuru NP on 27 November; the latter species has only been recorded a handful of times in Kenya. A flock of 72 African Skimmers Rynchops flavirostris was roosting in Tana River delta on 31 January, with 60–100 at Lake Jipe on the same day.
A Mottled Spinetail Telacanthura ussheri was observed at Mountain Lodge, Mt Kenya, on 21 November, and two Alpine Swifts Tachymarptis melba were at the Tana River delta on 31 January. On 19 November, a White-fronted Bee-eater Merops bullockoides was spotted at the Tsavo-Kimana road. Two Brown-breasted Barbets Lybius melanopterus were claimed from Arabuko-Sokoke Forest on 17–22 June 2005. A pair of Pallid Honeyguides Indicator meliphilus was observed at Kichwa Tembo, in the Maasai Mara, on 11 August 2005.
Hundreds of Chestnut-backed Sparrow Larks Eremopterix leucotis were in an area of short grass just north of Sabaki River, Malindi, on 30 January; these are unusually large numbers for this species on the coast. White Wagtails Motacilla alba were reported from several sites in the Rift Valley and further. Two Sharpe's Longclaws Macronyx sharpei were observed in the Solio Plains, Naro Moru, on 15 January; this species is most commonly reported from the Kinangop. A Pied Wheatear Oenanthe pleschanka of the white-throated 'vittata' form was found near the junction of Lake Baringo road with the main road north on 18 January. More than 200 Isabelline Wheatears Oe. isabellina were counted along the Solio Ranch road from Nyeri on 23 November. An African Thrush Turdus pelios was found at Lake Baringo on 25 November; this species is a vagrant to this area.
A late Olivaceous Warbler Hippolais pallida was on the Magadi road on 6 May. Single Icterine Warblers H. icterina were seen near start of the road heading for Narok from the Maasai Mara on 30 November and at Siana Springs on 18 January. Barred Warbler Sylvia nisoria, an unusual species on the coast, was reported from Gongoni, just north of Malindi, on 30 January, and from Tana River Camp, on 1 February. Single Wood Warblers Phylloscopus sibilatrix were at Kericho Arboretum on 27 November, and at Naivasha on 7 April. Early November, Black-backed Cisticola Cisticola eximius was observed in the western Mara; this species was thought extinct in Kenya but seems to be hanging on at this site. A Semi-collared Flycatcher Ficedula semitorquata was recorded at Siana Springs, Maasai Mara, on 18 January. A Taita Fiscal Lanius dorsalis in Nairobi NP on 15 November, is possibly the first record here since the 1960s. A pair of Sharpe's Starlings Pholia sharpii was nesting at Thompson's Falls, Nyaharuru, on 24 November. Fifteen Magpie Starlings Speculipastor bicolor were along the Marigat-Nakuru road on 25 November; this species is fairly unpredictable in its movements. An influx of Eastern Paradise Whydahs Vidua paradisaea occurred along the coast-where the species is not normally seen-during the very dry period, with many around Malindi / Watamu 29 January-7 February.
The following records are from May-October 2005, unless otherwise stated. A Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus was at Nguuni Wildlife Sanctuary, Mombasa, on 28 July. Nine Madagascar Pond Herons Ardeola idae were observed in the Mara on 4 July and one near the Carnivore Restaurant, Nairobi, on 3 August. Two White Storks Ciconia ciconia were near Nakuru on 2 July. A group of 75 African Open-billed Storks Anastomus lamelligerus in the Mara on 4 July is a large concentration for this site. A European Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus was at Kakamega on 19 July; sightings outside October-April are rare. Montagu’s Harriers Circus pygargus were recorded at Kitengela, near Nairobi, on 23 June (a sub-adult male), at Amboseli on 24 June (an adult male and female) and at Naro Moru on 30 June (a female). A young female Eurasian Marsh Harrier C. aeruginosus was in Amboseli on 24 June and another in the Mara on 5 July. A Lizard Buzzard Kaupifalco monogrammicus was in Nairobi, where it is uncommon, on 20 July. A Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus was reported from Mundui, Naivasha, around 20 October, and a Grey Kestrel Falco ardosiaceus from the Marigat area on 8 July.
An exhausted Corncrake Crex crex was rescued from a cat at Watamu on 21 September, but later died; this is the first and an early record of southward migration on the coast. Possibly the first Shelley’s Francolin Francolinus shelleyi for the Mara was noted on 5 July. A Stone Partridge Ptilopachus petrosus between Kalacha and Loiyangalani on 25 April, was at the north-eastern edge of this uncommon species’ range. Four Lesser Jacanas Microparra capensis were found on a pond near Kipsaos shopping centre, Eldama Ravine-Eldoret road, on 20 October. About 20 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa were at Lake Naivasha on 25 June; a high number for this late date. A Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis and a Wood Sandpiper T. glareola at Nakuru on 2 July were possibly early-returning migrants. A Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos at Amboseli on 24 June represents an unusual date. A dark-morph Pomarine Skua Stercorarius pomarinus was reported from Lake Naivasha on 20 September; there are fewer than 20 records for this species for Kenya. About 1,100 pairs of Roseate Terns Sterna dougallii bred on Whale Island, Watamu, in July-September, together with c.20–30 pairs of Sooty Terns S. fuscata (one juvenile Sooty was the first confirmed breeding success for this species here); 66 Roseate pulli and one adult were ringed. On the Sabaki River estuary, 44 Brown Noddies Anous stolidus were counted on 4 June and 49 on 16 September; this species is rare inshore and these numbers are particularly unusual; a pair possibly bred on Whale Island, Watamu, in July-September. In Kakamega Forest, 23 Grey Parrots Psittacus erithacus were recorded on 8 October; ten years ago this species was thought to be extinct at the locality. On 17 September, a Great Spotted Cuckoo Clamator glandarius was reported near Mt Suswa, Rift Valley, whilst European Bee-eaters Merops apiaster were seen in Nairobi. A Grey-throated Barbet Gymnobucco bonapartei at Molo on 3 July was far to the east for this species.
A pair of Zanzibar Sombre Greenbuls Andropadus importunis was found breeding at Karura Forest, on the edge of Nairobi, on 18 May; this species is very uncommon around the capital. A female Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe at Eremito Gate, Amboseli, on 25 June is an unusual date for this species and a Pied Wheatear Oe. pleschanka in Ngong Hills on 9 September is an early record. Two Spotted Ground Thrushes Zoothera guttata were ringed at Gede Ruins on 6 October; a further two were found at a new site on the northern edge of Arabuko-Sokoke Forest on 29 October. A pair of Karamoja Apalises Apalis karamojae sighted in the Mara on 6 July was probably the same pair as previously observed (still to be accepted as the first for Kenya by the East African Rarities Committee). Six Hinde’s Babblers Turdoides hindei occurred by the Nyeri road, at the Tana River bridge, on 23 July; the species was also recorded breeding at Wajee Camp, Mukurweini, on 16 August. At the Oserian Wildlife Sanctuary, 16 Grey-crested Helmet-Shrikes Prionops poliolophus were seen on 1 August. An Olive Sunbird Cyanomitra olivacea ringed on 10 September at A Rocha Kenya property, Karen, is the first record for Nairobi. Three Abbott’s Starlings Pholia femoralis, together with Sharpe’s Ph. sharpii, Kenrick’s Poeoptera kenricki and Waller’s Starlings Onychognathus walleri, were observed at Mountain Lodge on 28 June, with two also there in October and two more in Kieni Forest in the same month; an adult male seen feeding young at a nest in Gatamaiyu Forest on 20 and 22 October is the first confirmed breeding record in Kenya.
The following records are from the period May 2004-March 2005. A Shy Albatross Diomedea cauta was reported 14 nautical miles north of Pemba Island on 20 January and a Wedge-tailed Shearwater Puffinus pacificus on the Pemba side of the Pemba Channel on 16 September. An adult Sooty Shearwater P. griseus, found dead on Watamu beach on 30 May 2004, is the first record of this species in the Indian Ocean north of Eastern Cape, South Africa, though it is annual in the Red Sea.
Two Great Crested Grebes Podiceps cristatus were at Hippo Point, Lake Nakuru, on 12 March. On 11 July 2004, a nest of Olive Ibis Bostrychia olivacea containing two eggs was found in the Aberdare Mountains; possibly the first record of a nest since the early 1900s. A Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia flew over Blue Posts Hotel, Thika, on 27 January; an odd locality for a rare species in Kenya. A male Garganey Anas querquedula was at Limuru Pond on 12 March. An adult male Beaudouin's Snake Eagle Circaetus beaudouini was seen at Mungatsi on 22 January; this individual has been present in the area for at least five years. A Red-necked Falcon Falco chicquera, a rare species in western Kenya, was at Mumias on 22 January. In late January, an African Crake Crex egregia was found in the Masai Mara; this species is more commonly found during May-June.
A Lesser Jacana Microparra capensis was observed on a roadside pond south of Nyahururu on 17 January. An unusually large group of eight Bronze-winged Coursers Rhinoptilus chalcopterus were seen near Siana Springs camp on 25 January. A Brown-chested Lapwing Vanellus superciliosus was found in the Masai Mara, 30 October; this species has been recorded more frequently in Kenya over the past 4-5 years, mostly in the Mara. Temminck's Stints Calidris temminckii were at Lake Nakuru on 12 January (four) and at Lake Baringo on 20 January (five). A Common Redshank Tringa totanus was at Lake Chemchem, Malindi, on 22 September. At Lake Nakuru, 50 Common Black-headed Gulls Larus ridibundus were counted on 13 March, with an adult Slender-billed Gull L. genei there on 2-27 August. Three Sandwich Terns Sterna sandvicensis were found in a roost with other terns and gulls at Sabaki River mouth on 25 October; this species is recorded only every few years. Near Kisumu, Lake Victoria, 200–250 African Skimmers Rynchops flavirostris were noted on 13-23 January. Also in January, a Rosy-faced Lovebird Agapornis roseicollis was at Mungatsi on 22nd, a Northern Carmine Bee-eater Merops nubicus at Buffalo Springs Reserve on 23rd and an Abyssinian Roller Coracias abyssinicus at Baringo on 20th.
A Tawny Pipit Anthus campestris was at Rukinga Ranch, Tsavo East, on 20-23 December. Two male Common Stonechats Saxicola torquatus with all-black breasts were seen on the road to Mountain Lodge on 15 January; these have been reported before and look very like subspecies albofasciatus which is unknown in Kenya. Common Chiffchaffs Phylloscopus collybita were recorded at Matubio Gate, Aberdare National Park, on 11 January (two), on Mt Kenya, Naro Moru side, on 25 January (a dozen, singing) and at Ngangao, Taita Hills (four); an unusually large number of this uncommon species. Two Wood Warblers P. sibilatrix were in Kakamega Forest on 18 January. Buff-throated Apalis Apalis rufogularis was found in Esiket Forest, Mara Game Reserve, a range extension of c100 km south of Kakamega. A small population of Karamoja Apalis A. karamojae reported from the Kedong Valley, in January, is the first record of this species in Kenya. In Kakamega Forest, a Semi-collared Flycatcher Ficedula semitorquata was reported on 21 January and an Orange-tufted Sunbird Cinnyris bouvieri on 1-5 January. At Njoro River, Lake Nakuru National Park, 17 Grey-crested Helmet-Shrikes Prionops poliolophus were seen on 11 January.
The following records from 28–30 January 2004 are new for the extreme north-west. On or near waterholes in the Lodwar area: Little Grebe Tachybaptis ruficollis (one), Green-backed Heron Butorides striata (two), Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus (five), Senegal Thick-knee Burhinus senegalensis (a pair), Malachite Kingfisher Alcedo cristata (one), Plain Martin Hirundo paludicola (a few above the Lotikip plains and near the Oropoi junction), House Martin Delichon urbicum (c20 birds above Oropoi), and Upcher's Warbler Hippolais languida (one). Near Lokochokio: there were a male Common Rock Thrush Monticola saxatilis and a pair of Pied Crows Corvus albus.
Noteworthy records from Ngulia in November–December 2003 include the following. On 26 November c430 migrating Amur Falcons Falco amurensis were counted in c1 hour, together with at least one Eurasian Hobby F. subbuteo and more than 140 European Rollers Coracias garrulus. Another 110 Amur Falcons passed over on 3 December. Other raptors moving through during that period included Lesser Spotted Eagle Aquila pomarina (three, 15–20 November), Steppe Eagle A. nipalensis (a trickle on most days), Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus (at least three in late November, both pale and dark morphs) and Sooty Falcon Falco concolor (several). Singles of the following species were ringed: Tambourine Dove Turtur tympanistria (4 December; first for Ngulia), Eurasian Scops Owl Otus scops (26 November), Nubian Nightjar Caprimulgus nubicus (28 December), Mangrove Kingfisher Halcyon senegaloides (1 December; first for Ngulia), and Eurasian Wryneck Jynx torquilla (1 December; second for Ngulia). Three Marsh Warblers Acrocephalus palustris had rings from the Czech Republic, Germany and Sweden. A Common Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita, heard singing in front of the lodge on 26 November, was the second for Ngulia (the first was ringed in 1988). Three Grey-headed Silverbills Odontospiza griseicapilla, ringed on 1 December, were the first in 35 years of ringing.
The following records are from the period October 2003 to April 2004 (or from 2003 if no date is given). A Wedge-tailed Shearwater Puffinus pacificus was seen in the Pemba Channel on 17 December. A juvenile Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus was at Ziwa, near Eldoret; this species has suffered a significant decline over the past 15 years and has mostly been reported recently on Lake Naivasha although no breeding has been recorded. It appears to survive in isolated highland ponds and small wetlands. A juvenile Red-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon rubricauda was found exhausted on Watamu beach on 14 November and died the following morning; amazingly its primaries were only two-third grown, suggesting it had left the nest only 12 weeks previously the nearest breeding colony is on Aldabra c1,500 km away. Two White-tailed Tropicbirds P. lepturus were in the Pemba Channel on 12 February, with a Masked Booby Sula dactylatra there on 29 December. A Brown Booby S. leucogaster and a juvenile Red-footed Booby S. sula were off Funzi Island, north of Shimoni on 24 October; an adult Red-footed was washed up in poor condition on Watamu beach on 7 December and died. Two Western Reef Egrets Egretta gularis were at Lake Nakuru on 13 November and ten African Openbill Storks Anastomus lamelligerus at Lake Naivasha on 24 January. A Common Teal Anas crecca was found at Limuru, near Nairobi on 12 December, with another at Thika Sewage Ponds on 18 January. The count of c200 Maccoa Ducks Oxyura maccoa at Limuru on 12 December is exceptional today in Kenya.
A Eurasian Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus was seen near Shimoni, south coast on 1 April. In Nairobi National Park, Eurasian Griffon Vultures Gyps fulvus were recorded on 7 December and 25 January; this species has been reported not infrequently from this site since its first discovery about three years ago. Other noteworthy raptors included a Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus at Sabaki River mouth on 1 February (uncommon on the coast), a rare dark morph Western Marsh Harrier C. aeruginosus at Lake Naivasha on 9 January, a Short-toed Snake Eagle Circaetus gallicus near Lokochokio on 29 January, a Western Banded Snake Eagle C. cinerascens at Lake Bogoria on 24 October (normally has a more western distribution), a Grasshopper Buzzard Butastur rufipennis near Lake Elementaita on 25 January (uncommon in the Rift Valley), a Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus near El Molo Island, Lake Turkana on 30 December, three Lesser Spotted Eagles Aquila pomarina in Nairobi National Park on 2 November, a Greater Spotted Eagle A. clanga at Lake Nakuru National Park on 8 November and two on 25 January, a flock of 30-40 Steppe Eagles A. nipalensis at Rongai on 15 March, an immature Eastern Imperial Eagle A. heliaca in Nairobi National Park on 31 October and an adult in Nakuru National Park in late November, two Booted Eagles Hieraaetus pennatus at Marsabit Lodge on 27 December, and a pair of Barbary Falcons Falco pelegrinoides near Lodwar on 28 January.
At Mwea National Reserve, the sighting of c15 Crested Guineafowl Guttera pucherani was a new record for that Atlas square. A pair of Buff-spotted Flufftails Sarothrura elegans was found at Mountain Lodge, Mt Kenya; known as a resident of western Kenya forests, it has only sporadically been reported from elsewhere. Gongoni, just north of Sabaki, held two Eurasian Oystercatchers Haematopus ostralegus on 1 February it is very unusual to see more than one of these at a time - and the one-legged bird at Mida Creek, first noted there in May 2003, was still present. The sighting of a Stone-curlew Burhinus oedicnemus in Nairobi National Park on 2 November is very unusual. A large concentration of c300 Collared Pratincoles Glareola pratincola was observed in Amboseli in November and that of c1000 Madagascar Pratincoles G. ocularis at Sabaki River mouth on 6 April was the first record of large numbers in 2004. A Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius at Lake Chemchem, near Malindi, is the first reported from this area in five years. Two Lesser C. mongolus and one Greater Sand Plover C. leschenaultii were at Lake Nakuru in late November, with another Greater there on 20 January; these species are recorded only infrequently inland. On 1 February, seven Caspian Plovers C. asiaticus and 95 Broad-billed Sandpipers Limicola falcinellus were counted at Sabaki River mouth. A Temminck's Stint Calidris temminckii and a Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus at Lake Chemchem, Malindi on 1 February, were the first coastal records in years. Single Common Redshanks T. totanus were found at Mogotio, near Baringo on 20 January and at Mida Creek on 4 February. An immature Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularius at Limuru Ponds, west of Nairobi, seen at close range for over one hour on 25 January, would constitute the second for East Africa if accepted. Red-necked Phalaropes Phalaropus lobatus were observed off Shimoni on 16 October (six) and 28-29 November (a small flock). The count of 24 Common Black-headed Gulls Larus ridibundus on Lake Chemchem, Malindi on 31 January was one of the highest for this species on the coast. An adult Slender-billed Gull L. genei at Lake Naivasha on 14 December was the first inland for some time. A Caspian Tern Sterna caspia was near Kisumu, Lake Victoria, on 8 December. On 15 February, an estimated 25,000 Saunders's Terns S. saundersi were roosting at Sabaki River mouth - a very significant number. A pair of African Orange-bellied Parrots Poicephalus rufiventris along the Amboseli-Namanga road is a very western record. Numerous Asian Lesser Cuckoos Cuculus poliocephalus were in Arabuko-Sokoke Forest on 7 April. Up to 60 Forbes-Watson's Swifts Apus berliozi flew over Shimoni on 2 April.
A Greater Short-toed Lark Calandrella brachydactyla claimed from Solio plains would be the third for East Africa if accepted. At Sabaki River mouth, 3-4 Red-throated Pipits Anthus cervinus were seen on 1 February, with a White Wagtail Motacilla alba, rare on the coast, also there on 10 November. Yellow-bellied Greenbul Chlorocichla flaviventris and Eastern Nicator Nicator gularis were unexpected species in the foothills of the Chyulus on 29 March. An Olive-tree Warbler Hippolais olivetorum was found along Magadi road on 9 January; there are few wintering records for this species in Kenya. An Icterine Warbler H. icterina was singing in Nairobi National Park on 11 April. A Black-backed Cisticola Cisticola eximius in the Sabaringo Valley, Masai Mara, is the second record at this location; this species was thought to have disappeared from Kenya until rediscovered in the west about 5 years ago. A few Green-capped Eremomelas Eremomela scotops were at Ruiru, Nairobi, on 28 March. A pair of Grey-headed Batis Batis orientalis, claimed from near Lodwar on 28 January, would be the first confirmed record for Kenya if accepted. A Black-fronted Bush-Shrike Telophorus nigrifrons was observed in the Chyulu Hills on 28 March. Four Chestnut-crowned Sparrow Weavers Plocepasser superciliosus were claimed from Lake Bogoria on 19 January; this would constitute a significant range extension and remains to be confirmed. A male Broad-tailed Paradise-Whydah Vidua obtusa in full breeding plumage along the main Nairobi-Nyeri road, between 5 and 6 km south of Sagana, represents the first confirmed record for this species since 1947.
The following records are from the period March to October 2003. An adult white morph Red-footed Booby Sula sula flying north in Pemba Channel on 4 October constitutes the 9th record for Kenya. A sub-adult Brown Booby S. leucogaster, found exhausted on the beach at Watamu on 24 March was taken into care and released mid-September, after it had moulted all remiges; this is the first record of this species substantiated by anything other than field observation. A sub-adult Lesser Frigatebird Fregata ariel was claimed from Watamu on 3 March; if accepted, this constitutes only the third record for Kenya. An adult White-backed Night Heron Gorsachius leuconotus was at Mbagathi River, Nairobi National Park on 2 August, and a Dwarf Bittern Ixobrychus sturmii at Sabaki River Mouth on 4 October. Four Madagascar Pond Herons Ardeola idae were seen at Musiara Airstrip Pool, Masai Mara, on 8 July; one at the Carnivore restaurant seasonal pools, Nairobi, on 6 August, and another in the northern suburbs of Nairobi on 9 October. On saltworks north of Malindi, 817 Greater Flamingos Phoenicopterus ruber were counted on 5 October - a higher number than normal for this site - with a further 200+ on the seasonal Lake Chemchem just inland. On 22 June, 708 Lesser Flamingos Phoeniconaias minor were at Sabaki River Mouth - the first time there have been any number of this species at Sabaki since 1999. An African Cuckoo Hawk Avecida cuculoides was observed at Nairobi National Park on 26 June; an uncommon record around Nairobi. Also there, an immature White-headed Vulture Trigonoceps occipitalis was seen on 5 July. An immature male Montagu's Harrier Circus pygargus was at Amboseli National Park on 2930 June, and another at Mara on 7 July; these are unusual northern summer records. An African Marsh Harrier C. ranivorus was at a seasonal swamp south of Shimoni on 4 October; there have only been three or four previous records on the Kenya coast. A juvenile Martial Eagle Polemaetus bellicosus flew over the beach at Watamu on 26 July; a rather unusual site for this species! Two Baillon's Crakes Porzana pusilla were found at Ndashant wetland, Ngong Hills on 6 July. Three Allen's Gallinules Porphyrio alleni were on seasonal wetlands near Malindi on 45 October; the first records here for four years. A one-legged Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus was present on Mida Creek from May until 5 October; four were flying south in Pemba Channel on 4 October, while a single stayed on Gongoni Saltworks. Three Madagascar Pratincoles Glareola ocularis at Sabaki River Mouth on 5 October and a single 60 km south of Diani are among the latest records of this species in Kenya. Three Brown-chested Lapwings Vanellus superciliosus were noted in the Sikoma area, Busia; this rare species in Kenya has been reported several times in the past two years raising the question whether it might be spreading. Four Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa and two Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos were with other Palearctic waders at Nakuru on 5 July. Several Common Black-headed Gulls Larus ridibundus were at Sabaki River Mouth in the last week of July. About 1,500 pairs of Roseate Terns Sterna dougallii bred, for the first time since 2000 on Whale Island, Watamu in July-September. About 50 pairs of Sooty Terns S. fuscata also bred there during the same period; the literature mentions only Bridled Terns S. anaethetus breeding here. A sub-adult in winter plumage Arctic Tern S. paradisaea was spotted at Nakuru National Park on 6 July; if accepted, this would be only the second record for East Africa, exactly a year after the first. A pair of Brown Noddies Anous stolidus was apparently breeding on Whale Island in September.
The record of a Blue-spotted Wood Dove Turtur afer at Lion Hill, Nakuru on 6 July is among the first for Nakuru and would represent a very small local population of this mainly western species. A Dusky Turtle Dove Streptopelia lugens at Lake Baringo on 4 July is an unusual record of this mainly highland species. A pair of African Orange-bellied Parrots Poicephalus rufiventris near Mrima Hill on 5 October, was a very uncommon record for the coast. A Pel's Fishing-owl Scotopelia peli was seen on the Mbagathi River, at the edge of Nairobi National Park on 29 July; about six months previously it was also observed inside the park along the same river. Four White-headed Mousebirds Colius leucocephalus were found well inside Amboseli National Park; this species is rarely reported from within the park. Two White-eared Barbets Stactolaema leucotis were seen at Mountain Lodge on 2 July. Three Yellow-spotted Barbets Buccanodon duchaillui in the Kericho Arboretum on 6 July represents a more unusual record of a species known mostly from Kakamega. Six Rufous Short-toed Larks Calandrella somalica were photographed collecting nesting material at Mara Intrepids on 6-8 July; the literature gives no records west of Rift Valley. During a survey of Blue Swallows Hirundo atrocaerulea, 40+ were counted in Ruma National Park on 27-30 August, and 15+ at Iseka and Musokoto, in Busia near Mungatsi on 23 September; this is encouraging as there have been few reports in recent years. A pair of Malindi Pipits Anthus melindae was observed at Lake Chemchem, south of Sabaki River on 4 October; this species is not normally found south of the river. A Sokoke Pipit A. sokokensis was singing at Marereni woodlands on 5 October; this is a new site for this endangered species but one which is unfortunately fast being cleared for charcoal and cultivation. Two Joyful Greenbuls Chlorocichla laetissima were at Sabaringo Valley, Masai Mara on 8 July; this mainly 'Kakamega species' is unusual elsewhere. Fischer's Greenbuls Phyllastrephus fischeri were fairly common and associated with mixed flocks in Ngaia forest, Nyambeni Hills, on the western edge of Meru National Park; this is the first record of this species away from the coastal strip. A Spotted Ground Thrush Zoothera guttata ringed A59672 on the Rondo Plateau, southern Tanzania in February 1996, was found dead in Mombasa on 3 June; this is the first long-distance recovery in East Africa for this little-known species. Two Taita Fiscals Lanius dorsalis were seen along the Keekorok Mara road on 9 July; the species is not given as occurring west of Rift valley in the south in Zimmerman et al. (Birds of Kenya and Northern Tanzania). Five Grey-crested Helmet-shrikes Prionops poliolophus were observed at Nakuru National Park on 5 July; this is one of the best sites to find this rare bird. A claim of a Rose-coloured Starling Sturnus roseus seen in a flock of Wattled Starlings Creatophora cinerea in the Masai Mara on 16 July has yet to be accepted; this would constitute the first Afrotropical record. Two male and a few female Fire-fronted Bishops Euplectes diadematus were in Amboseli National Park on 29 June. A male Southern Red Bishop E. orix was near Siana Springs, Masai Mara on 9 July; rare in the Mara. Two African Silverbills Euodice cantans in Nairobi National Park on 24 August possibly constitute the first records at this site since 1979. A flock of six Parasitic Weavers Anomalospiza imberbis in bushland beside Sabaki River Mouth on 22 June, constitutes the first coastal record since before 1974 and a flock of c60 was seen on the outskirts of Nairobi 9 October; there have been relatively few recent reports of this species around the capital. Two Orange-breasted Waxbills Sporaeginthus subflavus were observed in Nairobi National Park on 5 July; this species is uncommon in the dry plains around the capital.