Lake Magadi road birding is ideal for a birder who has some days in Nairobi, or those with a connecting flight and has a few hours to spare. Also, a bird enthusiast attending meetings/conferences in Nairobi and has a day off or two before flying back home
Birdwatching Lake Magadi Road
Lake Magadi road birding’s first stop if the weather is fine is at Kona Baridi( Cold bend ) which is at the southern end of Ngong Hills which is dry, windy, and a bit cold in the morning. From here, you have good views of the Great Rift Valley and Nairobi City, further down excellent views of Olesukut and Olorgesailie mountains which are scenically stunning.
From here we shall search for birds in the plains below and on top of Acacia trees dotting the area, bird species likely to be seen are: Grassland Pipit, Augur Buzzard, Red-faced Crombec, African Citril, Abyssinian Wheatear, plus many other interesting bird species
As you start going downhill, the vegetation and altitude change to more acacia bushes and woodland. You can make around three or more stops for Lake Magadi road birding after Kona Baridi along the road where you can do a bit of walking in the bushes
At Across Road the rare Pringle’s Puffback and Zanzibar Greenbuls will be heard singing, a group of Lesser Kudus is also encountered on the elevation to the left. Driving further down is Ol Kejo River which is mostly dry, a perfect place to look for Ashy Cisticola, Mouse-colored Penduline Tit, and Buff Crested Bustard, other species were seen around are Somali Bunting and Tiny Cisticola.
Few minutes after the river there is a community borehole, where on the electricity lines the Taita Fiscal is seen perching, on plains adjacent, Kori Bustard will be seen puffing. Two-banded and Three-banded Coursers may also been seen
On a dam before Oltepesi Town, Red-fronted Prinias are hyperactive on top of a single acacia tree, White-throated Bee-eaters busy on the dam’s wall excavating breeding holes.
In Oltepesi town Swahili Sparrow is nesting on a few acacias left on the roadside. From here drive all the way down to Lake Magadi which in the middle of the day, the temperatures are high, to look for the resident Magadi Plover, or the Chestnut -banded Plover, Dimorphic and dark Little Egrets, flocks of Lesser Flamingos, Gull-billed Terns, Pied Avocets, White-winged Black Terns, Cape Teals
On your way back in the on top of the electricity, poles lookout for Eastern Chanting and Gabar Goshawks. Above in the sky, the Black-chested Snake Eagle may also be seen. On a good day, more than 100 bird species are recorded. Lake Magadi Road Birding can be done any time of the year
At 600m (2,000ft) above sea level, Lake Magadi is one of the hottest places in Kenya and the world’s second-largest trona deposit (first is California’s Salton Sea)
Magadi receives less than 500mm (20in) of rainfall and has an average temperature of 20C (68F) varying between 15 and 41 C (59 and 105.8F) Evaporation rate is 3500mm (120in ) annually
Lake Magadi Road Birding Notable Birds