A Rare Sighting of Palm-nut Vulture When Birding at Lake Kanyaboli

Palmnut Vulture source(https://en.wikipedia.org)

When having either morning or evening bird watching, twitchers always look forward to find new bird species known as lifers. A lifer is a bird species spotted for the first time by a birder in his or her life. As a birder you feel elated to spot as many new bird species as possible in a single birding trip as having repeated birding opportunities at the same location might not be possible.

Lake Kanyaboli hosts many bird species from migrants to endemic birds, water birds to dry land birds, with water and papyrus the lake hosts the Papyrus gonolek Laniarius erythrogaster, Papyrus yellow warbler Chloropeta gracilirostris an endemic to the region due to its Papyrus habitat.
As a resident of the area, we normally carry out frequent morning bird watching. One Saturday morning we had our normal monthly bird watching along the lake. It was just like any other birding routine. With our bird watching accessories which included the binoculars, guidebooks, notebook and a pen, we traverse the ring road from Kombo beach to Ngangu beach. After 200m from the starting point we came through a rare bird species of the area known as the Palm-Nut Vulture Gypohierax angolensis. We had a quick look at the birding guide book to confirm the identity of the bird and with the physical characteristic we were convinced of the bird’s identity but the Birds of Kenya & Northern Tanzania is placing Palm-Nut Vulture at the coastal lowlands and specifically in Lake Jipe and Tana River with other habitations in water places.

The bird has a broad rounded wings and a short rounded tail. In our latest weekly bird watching we discovered the roosting and resting site of the bird, it has a found safe place on Eucalyptus plantation along Lake Kanyaboli, the birds in pair if not hovering above the Lake are comfortably resting in the tall Eucalyptus trees. This the second surprise sighting after the Giant Kingfisher Megaceryle m. maxima mostly found in Lake Naivasha.

When bird watching in Lake Kanyaboli, we recommend that a birder be a equipped with an essential birding gears, these includes but not limited to a basic birding guide book or a bird list of the area, a binocular of any make will aid your sighting beyond the dense Papyrus vegetations and the water body, a note book and a pen to record the bird species. To make most out of your birding tour considers having a local bird guide and be prepared for a boat birding to spot the Papyrus Yellow Warbler Chloropeta gracilirostris. I hope you’ve enjoyed this piece of information to let you know that as a birder twitching in Lake Kanyaboli you have chances to spot the Palm-Nut Vultures. It has become a routine to pass by the Eucalyptus plantation to spot the Palm-Nut Vulture and this shows how the status of Lake Kanyaboli is improving to host these bird species. A number of birders have also recorded the Palm-Nut Vulture Gypohierax angolensis along Lake Bob, a manmade lake during the cultivation of part of the swamp by the Dominion farms. We’ve also discovered that Palm Nut Vulture is finding a field day on small fish species found in the lake. But the bird is very sensitive to movements, and when approaching the tall Eucalyptus a birder must observe some basic birding ethics such avoiding noise making and shouting, bright clothing might also expose to the bird from a distance.

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