Early June 2015
Though I’ve worked all over the world, rarely have I had the opportunity to have a legitimate rainforest a short distance away. This place is one of my favorites. Although most of the specialties are tough to find and can be dull or drab, the allure of the damp ground, moist air, and cacophony of sounds always draws me back. My wife and I needed some R&R so we booked two nights at Rondo Retreat Center. Though this is not officially within the Kakamega National Reserve, it is still in the National Forest. In fact, the forests surrounding the center have what is believed to be the greatest biodensity within the forest. Sadly, it lacks the De Brazza monkey which is a rarity these days outside of a few strongholds. If you want to find this moustached beauty, you’ll be forced to enter the gazette reserve.
Regardless, I spent some time hiking the local trails with John, a local guide who I’ve used before. Like normal, I sought out the blue headed bee-eater, the great blue turaco, the black and white casqued hornbill, the ross turaco, various wattle eyes, the bar-tailed trogon, and with it being the wet season even found the klass and deiderics cuckoos. Even while sitting within the compound and just relaxing on a bench we found the red-headed blue bill, cinnamon cheated bee-eater, and various greenbulls. A real surprise was the yellow-billed barber sitting about 5 feet from us in just under a small tree.
My highlight was calling the white-spotted flufftails. We found 3 pairs and observed one mate, what a treat. The female is rarely seen and is identified by buff colored streaks rather than white spots. Unfortunately, the dusk light made photos impossible. Some moments just have to be remembered.