Kenya: Winged Migration - The Traveller


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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Kenya: Winged Migration


Prime Bird Watching Season – November to March

A migratory stop alongside the African-Eurasian flyway, the Great Rift Valley in Kenya is said to be a mecca for migratory birds which tend to make their way across the continent while on their way to Europe. The Kenya Lake System is a natural property of exceptional beauty and has three inter-linked shallow lakes namely Bogoria, Nakuru and Elementaita which is in the Rift Valley Province of Kenya. It covers an area of 32,034 hectares and is home to 13 globally threatened bird species together with some of the highest bird varieties in the world.

The bodies of water of Kenya Lake System, has been nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, containing Bogoria, Nakuru and Elementaita, unite to form the most important hunting site for the lesser flamingo. Preston Mutinda, the local safari guide describes it as `like pearls on a sting along the GreatRift Valley’. The bottom of the valley ripples with hot springs, and due to the natural hot springs which create a bottomless buffet of green algae, all of the travelling birds tend to flock at the Kenya Lake System, a mainstay of most fowl, inclusive of the lesser flamingo.

The Only Important Foraging Site

It is the only most important foraging site for around four million lesser flamingos as well as a main nesting and breeding ground for the white pelicans together with roving flocks of spoonbills, grebes and storks, which are some of the migratory birds that call Kenya home. Over 100 migratory bird species tend to make this place their home from November to March looking for rest and shelter when winter season sets in, which Mutinda states is the prime bird watching season.

 During an African safari, one will have the exceptional prospect of witnessing these amazing creatures in their natural habitation. Before the birds tend to arrive in the Kenya Lake System, one may chance to see any of the 13 endemic as well as endangered species which seem to live there all through the year. Situated around two hours north of Nairobi, the 122 square miles of this sanctuary comprise of four amazing lakes which are filled with pink flamingos once November reels in. Together with these flamingos, the Great Rift Valley also serves as a home for zebras, lions, rhinos, giraffes and cheetahs. Tourists can capture rare images of these beautiful creatures if they have their cameras ready to catch the fleeting moments of them in action.

Creatures Form Common & Natural Bond

It is said that when the 4 million or so birds arrive there in early November, the creatures living in the region tend to form a common and a natural bond savouring together in the cool and refreshing waters of the lake. Considered as one of the most unrecognized world wonders by National Geographic, these winged migration in Kenya is an incredible sight and there is nothing much to do but gape in amazement as one sights millions of light pink flamingos descending on the lake and creating an ocean of warm colours which tends to upsurge like a calm sea. With the zebras, black rhinos, cheetahs, lions together with the giraffes wandering along the shoreline, they tend to add to the attraction along with the flurry of pink flamingos taking flight.

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