Samburu 2015

It just occurred to me that each of the places we stayed was up in the hills with expansive views of the land below.  And each place we’ve stayed was in a conservancy that abutted a national park or reserve.  This camp was apparently built by some men, from Italy I think, who didn’t want to blast away any rock or change the landscape in any way.  So the units are built right into the rock.

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Can’t step too far out from the sitting area of our abode… pretty much straight down.

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Samburu is home to some unique wildlife that are quite common in this part of Kenya but rare or non existent in other parts of the country:  Grevy’s zebra, the reticulated giraffe, the somali ostrich, the vulturine guinea fowl and the gerunuk.

The male somali ostrich has a blue neck and the female’s is kind of a reddish brown.

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The reticulated giraffe.. I love the pattern of this giraffe the best.  The markings are quite geometric.

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The gerunuk…  the word means ‘giraffe necked’ in the somali language.  You frequently see them standing on their hind legs reaching high into the bushes.  I did see them in Chyulu Hills as well.

Male gerunuk.

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female…

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Grevy’s zebra…  my absolute favorite!  They have much larger ears and are more mule like than the more common Burchell’s or plains zebra.  This trip I saw so many more than I did on my previous trip to Kenya.  Lots more photos of these zebra later..

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The vulturine guinea fowl.. these guys seem quite a bit more mellow than their helmeted guinea cousins.  I think they are beautiful birds and I was eager to see them again.

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Of course, there are plenty of animals that are ubiquitous to most of Africa.  Hornbills are common everywhere although there are some variations in species.  This is the yellow billed hornbill.  These  hornbills remind me of our crows.  They are everywhere, fearless and quite smart.

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This is the red billed hornbill.  These two hornbills are, in my experience, the most common hornbills.

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Kori bustards are the heaviest flying bird in the world.  I have yet to see one take off for flight.  This seems to be the time of year they play the mating game since I saw many displaying males in Tanzania, very much like this display.  Can’t be too serious about it because the tail isn’t up.  Maybe it’s just the breeze ruffling his feathers……

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Lots of impala of course.  I recently learned that the male is actually in charge of a herd for only a matter of weeks. They spend so much time managing all the ladies and fighting off rivals that they don’t have much time for grazing and lose condition quickly.  So it doesn’t take long for a stronger male to usurp the current alpha male.  When that happens he usually joins a bachelor herd.  There are always plenty of bachelor herds around.  You can see the male here at the back of his herd.

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More giraffe.  He’s checking to see if she’s receptive to mating.  It really is that time of year.

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Mom and calf.  I often wonder how the calves manage to keep their trunk out of the way when they are nursing.

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I’m assuming this is a grant’s gazelle but I don’t think I’ve seen one with horns this long.  Quite a handsome antelope.

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More gerunuk, this time standing up in the trees.

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So these zebra were quietly grazing when this big guy showed up looking like he was up for a fight.  Obviously, he’s in charge… in spite of being tailless!

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But it quickly became obvious what his intent actually was…

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This photo made me laugh when I saw the little bird flying by.  I didn’t notice it at all when I was taking the photographs!

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And just as quickly every thing returned to normal and grazing began again.

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I thought this was a little bee eater but the long tail and white and black stripes on the face tells me otherwise.  I think it’s a white throated bee eater.

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More Grevy’s zebra.. you will probably tire of the photos before I will.

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And then there were the lions….   These two are still young… One of the ways to tell (besides the scant manes of the males) is their spotty bellies and legs.  They fade as the lions age.

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They finally roused themselves to meet up with their mother, who was calling in the distance.  As you can see, they didn’t make it very far.

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More birds.. this is a martial eagle.  It is actually a very large eagle, one of the biggest in the world.

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The little bee eater.

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Helmeted guinea fowl, the silly ones.

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African orange bellied parrots…. behaving in their silly ways..

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Enough birds for a while… a few silhouette (more or less) photos of baboons.

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And with that, I think I’ll start a second entry.  When these get long the program I use to write these, slows way down and I find myself waiting and waiting for it to get going again.

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3 thoughts on “Samburu 2015

  1. Samburu is a great reserve to visit. You got some beautiful shots of the Vulture Guinea Fowl, something I have never been able to do. Love 9867.

    I too loved the variety at Samburu, the five special animals I know of, included the Beisa Oryx. I noticed you didn’t mention it. The one thing I remember well was the abundance of birdlife. The Yellow Billed Hornbill 9850 and the Kori Bustard 9823 outstanding shots.

    And yes the Reticulated Giraffe has to be the most beautiful of the giraffe species. Their patterns and darker colouring really stands out. 9880 Great shot.

    Like you, I love the Grevy Zebra but you once again have been far luckier than I, a mating couple……wow. 9952 does it for me, I love the Butt shots.

    By the way, I commented the other day on liking one of your photos of an elephant shaking. Yesterday I got an email from some photography site and they showed a magazine and it’s front cover…..yes it was an elephant shaking himself. I thought of you straight away.

    Bring on Part 2, you have wet my taste buds and I can’t get enough. I wish I had decided to go to Africa this year instead of Alaska.

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