Kenya is a spectacular destination for birders and this article will describe the species you can expect to see at Lake Baringo as I tell you about my experience there.
Lake Baringo is home to 450 species of birds and thus a paradise for bird-watchers. There are two activities that provide excellent birding opportunities: a walk up to the escarpment overlooking the lake or a boat ride on the lake. The walk takes you through scrubland where you can see woodpeckers, ostriches, and we even saw a Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl. But I think the boat ride is really special and the birds we saw that morning were incredible.
We set off at 7 o’clock in the morning so we could make the most of the waking activity on the lake. Within a few minutes we saw a Pied Kingfisher posing perfectly on a branch followed closely by a Fish Eagle that had just caught a fish! There he stood proudly on a tree with a fish held firmly in his claw. A beautiful Malachite Kingfisher tried to retreat into the bushes, but wasn’t quite quick enough. One area of the lake is covered in water lilies and we spotted an African Jacana picking its way through the foliage. The hippos also like that area and we were greeted with grunts from the herd as we passed. A flock of Eurasian Swallows flew in and arranged themselves on a dead tree protruding out of the lake. Local fishermen prefer the early morning for their work and we saw quite a few in their dugout canoes (not what I would like to be in when hippos are around!).
There is an island in the middle of the lake and as we drew closer, we saw the mansion of a nest that Hamerkops had built, but unfortunately we didn’t spot the residents. One fisherman feeds the Fish Eagles for the visitors each morning and so we watched the spectacle of a Fish Eagle swooping in for the catch. We continued around the island and there we found two Water Thick-knees paddling in the shallows. The island is rocky on one side and we were lucky to see some rock hyraxes and a monitor lizard basking in the sun. We also saw two Madagascar Bee-eaters in a tree and a Long-tailed Cormorant perched on a rock drying its wings. As we returned to the camp, the boat came close to the shore where Lesser Masked Weavers were busy building nests. And finally, just when we thought we had seen enough, a Pied Kingfisher appeared from seemingly nowhere, dove into the water in front of our boat and emerged with a fish! Spectacular!
Are you excited to visit Lake Baringo? Then book OTA’s Baringo Birding Tour for a week of birding in Kenya!
And if you travel between 1 March and 30 June 2016, you will enjoy a free day tour around some of Nairobi’s highlights including the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, AFEW Giraffe Centre, Kazuri Beads workshop or Amani Kibera’s community projects. Get in touch today: firstname.lastname@example.org.