Buffalo Spring Games Reserve

November 17, 2013  •  7 Comments

The next few days we spent in the Buffalo Spring Games Reserve and the Samburu National Reserve.     My room at the Samburu Simba Lodge (Buffalo Springs Simba Lodge)  had a fantastic view of the stunning plains where I could watch the elephants grazing.  The area was 300 km north of Nairobi within the Isiolo District.  There were a couple of afternoons where we would return from the mornings game drive and have some free time.  One afternoon I went for a swim in the infiniti pool and watched the elephants grazing in front of me.   

 

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​I was told that there are something like 1132 species of birds in Kenya.   We certainly saw quite a few but I was not always able to photograph them because they were fast to move and I was slow.    This White-browed Sparrow-Weaver  was walking on the ground beside the van and I managed to get the picture.  

 

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Early in the morning we drove by this crocodile snoozing in the sun.  Too bad he was sleeping.

 

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The Secretary bird is a very large, mostly terrestrial bird of prey endemic to Africa.  It is usually found in the open grasslands and savannah in Africa.  The bird appears on the coats of arms of Sudan and South Africa. One hypothesis is that its name is  derived from the crest of long quill-like feathers, lending the bird the appearance of a secretary with quill pens tucked behind his or her ear as was once a common practise.   

 

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The Red-billed Hornbill eats  insects, fruit, seeds and small animals.   Hornbills are named because the shape of their bill reminded  people of cattle horns.    Zazu, a character in the animated film "The Lion King" is an African  red-billed hornbill.  I found so often that branches would be in the way of seeing the animals and birds- but very typical in the reserves.  

 

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Their first two neck vertebrae are fused to support this birds'  large bill.  These birds mostly live on the ground and roost in trees near the trunk, or on a large branch.  They can fly despite having relatively short wings.

 

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Females usually lay three to six eggs in a tree cavity.  She seals herself  and the nest off with a cement like substance made of mud, droppings and fruit pulp.  A narrow opening allows the male to transfer food to her and later to her and the chicks as they remained sealed inside.  Her she is is gathering dirt for the nest which you can see if you look closely in the beak.

 

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An  African Collared Dove.  

 

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As we were driving in the park we came across a family of elephants.  

 

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Gazelles (members of the antelope species) are known to be very fast-some are able to run at bursts as high as 60 MPH or run at a sustained speed of 30 MPH.     They tend to live in herds and will eat less coarse, easily digestible plants an leaves.  We saw lots of these animals.

 

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We watched these elephants on the move-animals in Kenya are often on the move searching for new food sources.  

 

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Another pretty bird was spotted- the White-headed Buffalo Weaver.   The buffalo part of its name derives from its habit of following the African buffalo, feeding on insects.   This is a gregarious bird which searches on the ground for insects, fruits and seeds.  

 

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Another Gazelle.

 

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​The Impala is medium sized antelope that lives in the bushland and savannah.    We came across many of them on the game rides.  

 

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The reticulated giraffe  is native to northern Kenya.  This type of giraffe is among the most well-known of the nine giraffe subspecies and together with the Rothschild giraffe is by far the most commonly seen in zoos.   Its coat consists of large, polygonal liver- coloured spots outlined by a network of bright white lines. The extraordinary height of giraffes is attributed to a ritual known as "necking" where two males fight for reproduction rights by slamming their necks into one another.  The giraffes with the tallest and strongest necks are victorious and allowed to reproduce, thus passing these genes on to future generations.

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Reticulated giraffes are herbivorous and have been recorded to feed on more than 100 species of plants with a staple of Acacia, Commiphora and Terminalia leaves.   They have also been seen eating the carcass of an antelope and chewing on dried bones for their calcium content.  Giraffes feed by browsing, which typically means they eat continuously throughout the day.  They use their sense of smell to locate the leaves they want.   Giraffes ingest everything on the branch when eating, including insects, bark and thorns.  

 

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​Giraffes are very good at conserving water in the hot African climate.  They are able to conserve and maintain their body temperature in part because of their shape-their long thick legs allow heat to release quickly.  Also, the leaves they eat are actually a good source of water and can allow them to go days without a drink.

 

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The Jackal is a medium-sized carnivore with doglike features. Tthe jackal has been the subject of superstition about death and evil spirits.  The ancient Egyptians believed a jackal-headed god, Anubis guided the dead to those who judged their souls.   This belief was due to the jackal's cleverness, nocturnal habits, eerie howling and scavenging.  I only saw them a couple of times.

 

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The Crowned Plover or Lapwing habitats from the Red Sea coast of Somalia to southern and southwester Africa.  It is an adaptable and numerous species with bold and noisy habits.  

 

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Their diet consists of a variety of insects but termites form an important part.

 

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All safari guides are supposed to have the trucks back in the lodges or out of the parks by 6.30 PM.  There could be serious repercussions in terms of fines and suspensions  for the guides breaking the rules of the park.   This law is to protect both the nocturnal animals and the people.  Once it is dark in the parks it is very difficult if not impossible to see which makes it extremely easy to get lost even for the experiences guides/drivers.    In this photo you can see the vans/trucks making their way back to the lodge as the sun was setting.  Our van was just like the one in the front where the roof opened up.  My van was almost always the last one in.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Comments

Craig Sundby
I always learn something new from your blogs. Odd behaviour of the Hornbill sealing itself inside the nest. It must have been fantastic having a room with a view of the plains. Great photos Marsha. Thanks for sharing.
Tricia Matheson(non-registered)
Love the family of elephants photo. It looks almost like a dreamscape. How well the elephants blend with their surroundings.
Lynn Muller(non-registered)
Thanks for taking all the gorgeous pics! I absolutely adore elephants and I really like giraffe's, so your first 2 blogs have really touched my heart.
Wendy(non-registered)
I love the picture of the two giraffes with only their heads visible. All the pictures are great - very clear!
gretchen taylor(non-registered)
pictures are beautiful...love the close up of the Jackal! You really captured so many great shots of the birds! Really loved the shot of the caravan heading back to the lodge at the end of the day. Nice work, Marsha!
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