Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Vulures of Maasai Mara Revisited

This is the sixth in a series of posts summarizing my experiences on our recent trip to Kenya to study East African Raptor Ecology. The previous posts:
Post 1: East African Raptor Ecology
Post 2: The Big Cats!
Post 3: The Vultures of Maasai Mara
Post 4: Giraffes!
Post 5: More Raptors of Kenya: Chanting-goshawks and Buzzards

Before jumping into the avian fauna discussion of the day, I thought I was explain a bit about the trip. The East African Raptor Ecology class was taught by Dr. Bechard at Boise State University and Dr. Virani of The Peregrine Fund. The trip was organized on the school end by the international programs office at BSU. All logistics within Kenya were organized by Predatours (http://predatours.internetkenya.com/). They are a tour group for individuals and groups focused on education and science. They took excellent care of us and put together top notch, yet affordable package. If considering travel to Kenya, you should check them out.

The course consisted of 8 days in country, at two locations - Lake Naivasha and Maasai Mara. A number of us stayed an extra day and visited Nairobi National Park. The group consisted of ten students (8 undergraduate and 2 graduate), two extras (Karyn got to go as a non-student!), Dr Bechard and Dr. Virani. The days were split between field trips, performing road and boat surveys, and lectures. The lectures included research presentations by Dr. Virani, student presentations, and a number of local guest speakers. It was a well rounded presentation of the raptors or Kenya and the challenges they face for survival. As I mentioned in my first post. This was a perspective changing trip that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

In sorting through my 3100+ photos, I discovered my best vulture photos of the trip. I missed them when creating the vulture post a few days ago.

Lappet-faced Vulture kicking some Rüppell's Griffon Vulture butt! Maasai Mara, Kenya.

In this carcass shot you see a large Lappet-faced Vulture fly in to chase the juvenile Rüppell's Griffon Vulture away. The Rüppell's is a big bird, but is dwarfed by the presence of the Lappet-faced. The large stork is a Marabou Stork.

Carcass. Lappet-faced and Rüppell's Griffon Vultures with Marabou Stork.

1 comment:

eileeninmd said...

Cool photo, I would love to see Kenya.