After my fieldwork on Rangatira Island, I was lucking enough to join a second field team on a trip to Mangere Island. This trip was bookended by time on Chatham Island. Mangere: Forbes’ Parakeet and Chatham Island: White-faced Heron, Black Swan, Double-banded Plover, Black-winged Stilt, Welcome Swallow, Great Cormorant.
Or, at least the first place to see the new day. Six months ago, I travelled to the Chatham Islands (~800 km east of mainland New Zealand), and the place that will be the focus of my life for (hopefully) the next four years. Rangatira Island: Northern Royal Albatross, Shore Plover, Tomtit, Chatham Island Warbler, Black Robin, Chatham Island Snipe, Silvereye, Broad-billed Prion, Brown Skua, Buller’s Albatross, Australasian Pipit, Pitt Island Shag, White-faced Storm-Petrel, Common Diving-Petrel, White-fronted Tern, Chatham Island Oystercatcher, Sooty Shearwater, Dunnock, Grey-backed Storm-Petrel.
Three countries, 3 birds outbound, 3 birds inbound. I just had a 3 week holiday where I travelled from TZ through Kenya and Dubai to Oz. I picked up a lifer just inside the Kenyan boarder, four birds at Dubai airport, and another lifer in Oz. Trip list: White-browed Sparrow-Weaver, Eurasian Collared Dove, Rockwarbler, House Sparrow, Rock Dove, Common Myna.
I had a long weekend and I needed to make a border run to renew my visa, so I hopped a flight to Uganda. The trip was highly successful—I riverboarded the Nile through 8 class IV & V rapids, saw some new birds, and loved Uganda so much, I plan to return! Trip list: Black-and-white-casqued Hornbill, Pink-backed Pelican, African Darter, Malachite Kingfisher, Eastern Grey Plantain-eater, Speckled Pigeon, Purple Starling, African Yellow White-eye, Common Squacco Heron, Woodland Kingfisher, African Openbill, Giant Kingfisher, Olive-bellied Sunbird, Red-chested Sunbird, Ross’s Turaco, Rock Pratincole, African Jacana.
Mt Meru is a part of my daily life; I can see all 14,977 ft of it from campus and it’s on the St Jude’s emblem. So, it’s understandable that Trish, Barb, and I decided to climb it. The two day hike from the gate to the summit base camp was spectacular and I hope to return to explore the bird life. However, I never need to climb another 14k+ mountain again; my altitude sickness forcefully removed all the enjoyment of summiting. Trip list: Montane White-eye, Hartlaub’s Turaco, Scaly Francolin, Ashy Flycatcher.
On a long weekend in January a few of us ventured up to Lake Chala where we watched sunsets over Kenya from an unfinished safari tent camp in Tanzania. And I saw a few birds of course! Trip list: Great Cormorant, White-bellied Go-away-bird, Beautiful Sunbird, Red-billed Quelea, Brubru, Northern Wheatear, Yellow-spotted Petronia, Cut-throat Finch, Northern Crombec.
I may have seen 74 new species of birds on my five day safari, but I also saw the big five (lion, leopard, elephant, cape buffalo, rhino) and plenty of other fauna and flora. (Other than the mongooses and hyrax, these photos are not cropped; I was that close to them!) Plains Zebra Cheetah Scadoxus multiflorus Hartebeest Topi Hippopotamus Nile Crocodile Banded Mongoose Slender Mongoose Black-backed Jackels Spotted Hyenas Rock Hyrax Lilac-breasted Roller
No, I’m not referring to the pub just outside the school gates, but Maji Moto, a crystal clear natural spring a couple of hours from town. I was there for the rope swing and shady waters, but it’s hard not to notice a rock agama. Today's bird list: Long-tailed Cormorant, African Golden Weaver.
I had a little bit of time before breakfast to see if I could find and ID the nightjar I’d seen the day before. Luckily, it was right where I had first flushed it, and I managed to get a photo. All in all, a good start to the year. Today's bird list: Emerald-spotted Wood Dove, Red-faced Crombec, Red-fronted Tinkerbird, Square-tailed Nightjar.