Millions of Flamingos

After lunch, the first thing we did at Lake Baringo was go for a boat ride on the lake. The lake water is the colour of mud  – all the water seems to be as there is so much erosion of the topsoil because of the goats and cattle grazing.  I had my new camera instead of my binoculars – 30X zoom instead of 10X – but as we got going I was a bit worried we’d tip and it would be gone. Silly me – we were quite safe -once the seven of us jostled for position and got settled.  David brought his camera as well, and a lot of the shots in this post are his.

The area is well-known for birds. Almost as soon as we were out, we saw this cormorant.  The ones I’m familiar with are all black except a bit of white on their throats – notice how the stripe along this guy’s tan head makes a perfect camouflage.  It reminds me a bit of a bittern – they have stripes going up their throats, and when they try to hide, they just point their bill straight up and look like reeds – except if you are near, you see these little beady black eyes peering around the neck at you. We had one in our yard in Kuwait once, and it was quite amusing to see, especially as the camouflage didn’t work so well against white walls and green grass.

Next – hippos.  there are quite a lot in the lake, and they told us that they come quite close to the boat jetty at night, and even come out on land there as well. We did see them in the water in the morning, and heard them grunting during the night – they sounded much closer than they really were.  Hippos only come out of the water at night, as their skin would crack in the heat of the sun.  They are very large, and could easily destroy our boat if we annoyed them – which we DID NOT!

A bit farther along the shore, we came upon this Goliath Heron.  He stands about 5 feet tall – and was not in the least concerned as we sat and watched him.

There are quite a few islands in Lake Baringo – we headed over toward one, and met these two fishermen. Look at the fish – this small one is a catfish – and at the tiny boats they are in.  I’m sure that they fish with just a line and hook – I’m wondering how stable they are when you catch a big one!

There was a fish eagle flying around the island, and his next in a big tree.  The tall reddish tower is a termite hill – the height signifies that there is a queen in residence.  Some of them are 8 feet tall (the towers, not the queens).These children were fishing and playing along the shore – what lovely, shiny smiles.Our good friend, Dena Crain and her husband came to the resort to have dinner with us.  Dena stayed with us in Kuwait in 2009 when she judged our quilt show and taught two classes (Design Lines and Crystal Quilts) to us. It was a lovely evening, and so nice to be able to “place” Dena in her surroundings.

We were scheduled to leave Lake Baringo early as we had a lot to do on Friday.  Delayed a bit by some sleepy heads (that’s the problem with traveling in a large group), but soon we were on the road.  Back through the ford, and along the road we came up on, until we arrived at Lake Bogaria.While we wandered around, checking out the displays and bought some local honey, they extended the tops on the vans, and we were ready to SAFARI.

We weren’t sure just where we were going or what we would see, standing up and gazing around us. Suddenly, there was the lake – but it was PINK! All along the shore were great drift of flamingos – hundreds and thousands of them.  We were allowed to get out and walk closer……. as we neared the birds on the edges lifted in flight – how can such an ungainly bird be so graceful? We stayed probably half and hour, took dozens of photos, and I found a couple of tiny feathers – not all pink, but almost white with a deep, rich rose-colour on the outer edges.

We went back to the vans, and proceeded around the lake, passing this male ostrich. We didn’t see the female, as she may have been sitting on the nest.  Anthony told us that the pair shares the egg-sitting duties.  The female sits during the day, when her dusty-brown feathers blend into the grass and shrubbery.  At night, the great black male sits on the next, looking more like a big bush than anything else in the dark.  Amazing protective colouring, don’t you think?

The end of our journey took us to the hot water geysers.  When the lake is lower, they can spray up 6 feet into the air, but the water is very high right now, and they just bubbled up from the surface.  They must be hot though …… look at the steam over the water.Before we left to continue our journey to Lake Naivashu, I took this 180 degree panorama shot – this neat new camera will do a full 360 – if I’m ever in a place where it’s flat all around me.

On the way we slowed down to watch this small leopard tortoise cross the road – they can reach 24″ long, so this one must be fairly young (they will live for 80 years, and I saw a photo of one about this size and they said it was 20). they are very popular as pets, I have read. His markings were very pretty, anyways, and as they are vegetarians, shouldn’t be hard to feed – you just have to plan on living a long time.

Now, on to Lake Naivashu.

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