Welcome to the Marine Mammal and wildlife Research and Community Development Expedition blog where you can keep up to date with all the happenings and information from Kenya

Friday, May 17, 2013

Bird nerd

Would you like to know what I saw yesterday? Maybe you really don’t want to but I will tell you anyway. I saw a Ret'z Helmet Shrike. If you don’t know what that is. It’s the bird in the picture below.

Retz's Helmet-shrike (Prionops retzii)
So, anyway, that’s what I saw yesterday. You wonder why I bore you with such information, don’t you? The thing is, as we were walking towards Transect 5 with this week’s Forest Ninjas, Georgia, Milly, Joseph and Kassim, we happened to see a black bird with a red beak and distinct red eyes. And what happened next is that I stopped and I was actually interested to get a closer view. And the weirder thing is that I actually tried figuring out what bird it was. And to make it all worse, I really just had to know what bird it was. So out came the bird book. And there we figured it out, all excited like little teenage girls front row at a boy band concert. A Ret'z Helmet Shrike. Beautiful bird.
Laura searching for birds on the coastline
Grey-headed kingfisher
But I'm not here to talk about the bird really. I'm here to talk about myself. Selfish, I know. But oh well. You see, before I came out to Shimoni, I had no idea that birds had names. I mean I knew there were eagles, and doves and sparrows and swallows, but that was as far as my bird intelligence went. So here I am, checked into Forest duty and six weeks later I am a fully fledged birdie! I can't even tell you what happened to me! All I know is that now I get excited when I see birds I can identify. Its like I'm slowly becoming a junkie! I don’t get it but all I know is that I'm loving it.

Forest volunteers taking a break from bird wacthing
So yes, it has been an awesome week on Forest and sadly my last as well. I still have a long way to go in this Birdie Junkie thing, but I am pretty sure I will get there. I have a feeling once I go back home, I will create my own Casual Observation form to record all the birds I see flying aimlessly everywhere.
Water bird monitoring survey

Sarah Kagotho is from Nairobi, Kenya and volunteering with us under the GVI National Scholarship Programme for 12 weeks.