It has been very dry in NNP in this continuing dry cycle (despite 27mm :1 inch of rain last night 26/1/09), with much stress caused by an almost complete lack of grazing in the much-humanised ‘dispersal area’ between the park & the Athi -Namanga highway.
As a result, most of the herbivores in the Athi -Kapiti ecosystem are in the park & a visit is a must as the current rains bring a green flush to the extensive short-grass plains that are a welcome feature at present, owing to controlled burns last year.
Above are one of the herds of wildebeest that used to migrate in their thousands into the park during dry times. Alas no more, but at least we’ve got some left!
The Athi Basin is being intensively grazed by wild herbivores & Maasai cattle alike & the Athi dam is in danger of completely drying up for the first time that I can remember. A sign of the times is large flocks of yellow-throated sandgrouse coming into drink in the early mornings, with much throaty chuckling:splendid birds indeed!
And what will our large meat-eating crocs do if the dam dries up? Go back to the Embakasi river a kilometre or so away, itself currently a mere trickle…
It is marvellous the way that organisms react to even the tiniest shower of rain, such as the underground bulbs of these Crinum sp. lilies. A most unlikely sight in the surrounding tawny dryness.
A pair of a signature species for the park :white-bellied bustards, whose far-carrying cackling cries can always be heard on the plains, a most evocative sound.
And the keynote species of mammal: lions. A lioness with her 3 fast-growing cubs on a zebra kill in the grass, with giraffe looking on.