After spending three days in Lewa, where we were pleased to see large numbers of harriers but disappointed that the cliffs which used to have more than 50 nesting vultures now had none, we moved on to Buffalo Springs and Samburu. It proved to be an interesting three days we spent there, full of unusual sightings. On our first day, we came across a Tawny Eagle raiding a nest on the ground. We didn’t know that Tawny Eagles did this and Simon hadn‘t seen that behaviour before. Even the Tawny Eagle was unsure of what to do once he had the eggs. He picked up one in his bill, held it for a while, then dropped in on the ground and picked up another. After holding that one in his bill, he dropped into and went back to the first. Eventually he gave up and took off.
Not too long after that, I photographed a Bateleur Eagle flying overhead, coming from the river. I noticed it had something in its bill and on zooming in on the photograph, saw that it was a fish. This was the first record of a Bateleur fishing that either of us had heard of.
Simon had his birthday while we were in Buffalo Springs so the pressure was on to find something exciting. We were driving slowly through the reserve when I noticed a cat out of the corner of my eye. It was under a tree and my first instinct was that it was a lion so that’s what I said aloud. On closer inspection, I realised it was a female cheetah. She didn’t seem too pleased to see us so we concluded she had cubs around. Sure enough, a cub bounded off the ground into a tree, then ran to join his mum. Simon is particularly fond of cheetahs, so his birthday wish was to stay with them. We spent most of the day watching these cheetahs from a distance. The mum made several attempts at hunting but never successful.
We had to leave Samburu earlier than expected due to serious problems with the car, but not before having a baby elephant mock-charge the car and most excitingly, seeing a naked mole-rate digging a hole.