We left Aberdare NP late yesterday evening after having had a successful couple of days. Simon has already written about the eight black servals which were stunning. We were disappointed at the few mountain buzzards which were our target species. We arrived back in Solio and were paying for a night of camping when we bumped into Annie Olivecrona again. She invited us to her place for an evening drink.
We arrived at Annie’s to find two more Swedish overlander families camping. There was also the overland couple we had met a few days previously who had given tips on preparing our car (visit their Web site). Overlanders are people who kit up their cars and set off on trips by road. Discussions of car parts and expedition sponsorship continued over a few drinks and Annie insisted we stay for dinner and camp out. It was a lovely evening and great to hear from these people who had been traveling for eight months in their cars across some tough countries with their kids in tow (visit the Web site).
We were a bit groggy in the morning but we got up with the sun all the same and headed back to Solio Wildlife Sanctuary. It had rained during the night which gave us a much more successful wildlife experience than the previous visit. We saw a few migrants such as Eurasian Hobbies, Steppe Eagles and Harriers. We finally found a juvenile Crowned Eagle as well. We must have seen more than a hundred rhinos. A giant forest hog stood feeding knee-deep in the swamp. This was quite a surprise as this species usually occurs in thick forest.
Annie had seen a leopard the day before. It had taken a kill up a tree so we believed it would still be there in the morning. Sure enough, we did spot it, though it came down the tree and ran off on seeing us so we didn’t get the photos.
How different the two experiences in Solio were highlights how difficult it is to come to conclusions about wildlife. We are sometimes too quick to judge. The simple thing of the rain falling changed our whole outlook. We would really need to spend a lot more time in Solio to get a real feel for the raptor situation but from what we saw, it is not doing too badly. We hope to return after the big rains have hit for some final photo opportunities and a data count.