The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Nairobi Park Diary - the Splendid Sunbirds

It was early in the morning on a beautiful summers day and bright streaks of sunlight shone across the narrow road.

The surrounding vegetation appeared stunningly green with many flowers after plentiful rain the previous few weeks. I was deliberately driving slowly and stopping frequently to watch and listen. Many types of birds flew around nearby.

I decided to look for sunbirds as there is a long line of Leonotis Leonurus ( lions tail or wild dagga) flowers on the straight section of dirt road that links the tar road with the Hyena dam ( near Ivory burn site ). In the distance I could make out the shapes of a few birds sitting on the flowers. They had a sunbird shape.

I quickly looked with my trusted binoculars and saw a splash of scarlet red. Wow! What a sight. I "stalked" forward with the vehicle going as quietly as I could in the hope of getting close enough to take a nice photograph.

Thankfully I was rewarded as a male scarlet-chested sunbird remained and clasped onto a plant stalk while drinking nectar. The scarlet-chested sunbird is similar to the Hunters sunbird except the Hunters does not have scarlet on the neck and is found in drier country like Tsavo.

The park has an amazing variety of birds considering its small size with more than 500 species recorded during migration season. Bird watching is very rewarding for those who take an interest. It is not necessary to be an expert. All that is needed is a pair of binoculars and a reliable bird ID book.

So next time you are feeling a bit "stressed out," spend some time with our feathered friends and let them sing to you. I believe part of the reason God created them was also just for our pleasure.

The park is open daily from 06h00 to 19h00.

For more information on the park you can link to the following websites www.kws.org or www.nairobigreenline.com or on Facebook - Nairobi National park

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