Laila wrote about the visit to Kwenia, a temporary lake flanked by massive cliffs, filled with vultures.
It rained heavily during the drive down. But the night was initially wonderful as we sat around the camp fire with Sandy and Sandy, talking of the enormous potential the area had for exclusive high-end tourism. So close to Nairobi and yet unspoiled by electric lights, cell phone towers, tourist lodges, over-development and urban sprawl. But “progress” is on its way and this nationally important asset for Kenya could so easily vanish. Then it rained again, and we retreated to the car. I was very uncomfortable on the way down and could not sit in anything other than an awkward angle in the back of the car. I had to lie down. At 10:30 p.m. I got out to set up the tent in the rain. On crutches and hurting I must have done something that really hurt and I felt violently ill. It seemed like the head of the femur moved and I desperately needed to lie down to straighten it and get the load off. I was helped in to the soaked tent and there breathed a sigh of much needed relief. It had been a long day and I guess I was pushing the leg much too far.
We returned via Magadi, and the next few days we had Gustav and Kina, overlanders we had met in Solio, plus Wesley, a young American, come and visit. We went around the Portland Ranch nearby and our guests were stunned by the amount of wildlife. We went out on a night “game drive” and bumped into a good dozen Spotted Hyena very close to the car. We also saw a tiny Stone Curlew chick follow its nervous mother and push itself under her feathers for warmth.
Tim the Lanner flew in and Laila took some of the best pictures I have ever seen of a falcon in a stoop. I had lost a lot of what I had gained over the last week and was now back on two crutches. It isn’t easy flying a falcon on crutches! Laila took a picture of what we first thought was a Hobby, but on zooming in turned out to be a Sooty Falcon. The photo is not good, but shows how useful digital photography can be for identifying rare raptors at a long range.
The next day, I was flying Tim when what might have been an Eleonora’s Falcon came down from the gray rain-soaked clouds and mobbed Tim. Eleonora’s are larger than Hobbies, have less of a well pronounced second moustachial stripe, very little buff or rufous on the legs and always a dark head.
As predicted, whenever it rains, be it months out of season, we get visiting small migrant falcons. They feed on the airborne insects that fly only in rain, or just after it has past.
Despite the accident, we are remaining productive and getting some good observations. We hope to get the car fixed soon, and be on our way visiting Tsavo and other protected areas within the week.