Home > Birding & bird counts > Little Stint no-show at Sabaki River bird count

Early Saturday morning found us piling into the pick-up truck and making the drive to the Sabaki River, north of Malindi. There, we met the local bird enthusiast group, the ‘Sabaki Skimmers’ – Dixon, Michael, Joseph, Patrick and Sammy all guys from the village who are excited by conservation. A long walk through muddy mangroves and dunes to the river mouth followed and from there, we were ready to start counting the multitude of birds that were hanging out there.


Colin gives the Sabaki Skimmers a pep talk

Armed with a plethora of binoculars, telescopes, notepads, tally counters and the ubiquitous suncream (for the mzungus at least!), we split into two teams and started purposely pointing our lenses towards the fields of flamingos, Sanderlings and Crab-plovers and scribbling frantic notes.

As the morning wore on, we gradually made away up the delta, crossing hippo tracks and checking out the fish the local kids had caught, which amounted to a small handful of tiny baby fish. Disappointingly, there were several groups of kids out in the river fishing with mosquito nets. Not only is fishing illegal by national law in the river, fishing with a net with such small net sizes means that no fish can escape. Estuaries such as the Sabaki River Delta are vital habitats for juvenile fish, offering them protection amongst the mangroves from predators and other threats in the open ocean. Such non-discriminating fishing methods sweep up young fish and allow only the very very lucky ones to reach maturity and thus threaten the long-term viability of local fisheries. And yet, these kids need to eat. One of the challenges of conservation is ensuring the long term sustainability of habitats, as well as the livelihoods of the local people.


Local fisher-kids

Nearly 3 and a half hours later, with the mzungu skin truly beginning to crisp, we made our final counts. A successful morning indeed – we counted 42 species  and a total of 7,305 individual birds. Of these, it was particularly interesting to  large numbers of White-cheeked Terns and surprisingly, a major lack of Little Stints, a reason for which still baffles!


Counting flamingos

2 Comments, RSS

  • Lorna Young

    says on:
    September 28, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    Just delighted to have found this web page through A Rocha web site link. As a supporter it is great to see and read what is going on – thankyou for doing this. One question please. I note that you request donations through Wildlife direct. I like to support your Assets programme. Does that continue through A Rocha? Sorry if I am not expected to ask questions on this “blog” !! If anyone answers – thankyou very much and all the best. Lorna Young

    • arochakenya

      says on:
      July 27, 2010 at 11:25 am

      Hi Lorna,

      This is VERY late in the day to be replying to you on a comment you made way back last year – the truth is that I’ve not been very au fait with blogging and hadn’t really picked up on the ‘approving’ of comments before they’ll appear on the blog so have only just seen your comment now! You mention that you would like to support our ASSETS programme – have you managed to get in touch with the Coordinator the programme at all? If not, it would be a huge blessing and encouragement to have your support as we really need it right now what with 204 students being sponsored and funding at an all time low. The programme does continue through A Rocha and in fact has its own blog and website (perhaps you’ve seen these?). If you would be interested to actually cover the cost of a student to attend school, it works out at a mere £19 per month to cover all costs associated with the bursary – the bursary itself, follow up by staff, conservation activities with kids and parents etc.

      The best way to make a donation is through the online donation option at http://www.arocha.org/int-en/you/give.html otherwise write direct to Stanley who coordinates it at stanley.baya[at]arocha.org for the best option. It is possible to have donations ‘Gift Aided’ through the A Rocha International office as well – Stanley can assist with that.

      I hope that helps. If you ever get the chance to come and visit us here, please do as it always makes a huge difference at understanding more about a project and its needs.

      With best wishes,

      Colin

      —Original email—
      Just delighted to have found this web page through A Rocha web site link. As a supporter it is great to see and read what is going on – thankyou for doing this. One question please. I note that you request donations through Wildlife direct. I like to support your Assets programme. Does that continue through A Rocha? Sorry if I am not expected to ask questions on this “blog” !! If anyone answers – thankyou very much and all the best. Lorna Young

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