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The Peregrine Fund Notes From The Field

"Notes from the Field" provides frequent updates and pictures from our biologists and students who are working in the field or at our headquarters, the World Center for Birds of Prey.

•  Complete African Fish Eagle data on GRIN

Found 15 entries matching your request:

A day in the life of a Raptor Researcher in Africa - Adam Eichenwald

Munir Virani — in East Africa Project

From the sun-drenched savannahs of Kenya comes this exclusive, in-depth look at the life of a raptor biologist. Having lived for 2 months at the Elsamere Field Centre, along the shores of Kenya's Lake Naivasha studying African Fish Eagles and Augur Buzzards, Peregrine Fund volunteer Adam Eichenwald brings us a never-before-seen-except-for-that-one-time window into his ongoing research. His mission: to boldly go where no man has gone before (barring those 20 prior years of Fish Eagle/Buzzard research from other biologists).

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Lost amongst Swallow-tailed Kites and swimming holes in Meru National Park, northern Kenya

Darcy Ogada — in East Africa Project

Elsa and Joy Adamson

Half of our team of four had never been to Meru National Park before, including me. Meru NP is famous for Elsa, the orphaned lion cub cum movie star who was raised by George and Joy Adamson largely in this park. In recent decades the ‘big five’ of Meru NP would have consisted of the top leaders of the infamous ‘shifta’ that once ruled this area of northern Kenya and poached most of its wildlife. But thanks to intensive restocking and improved security, the current ‘big five’ no longer carry automatic weapons and are much more photogenic. Our mission was to count raptors and to determine the importance of this once famous park for birds of prey in this vast area in Kenya.

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The Eagle's Snatch - A poem about the African Fish Eagle by Munir Virani

Munir Virani — in East Africa Project

The ear-piercing call of the African Fish Eagle shatters the dawn silence

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Birds, Bees and Busy at Baringo

Munir Virani — in East Africa Project

Munir's note: This is part two of Seren Water's blog about his African Fish Eagle study at Lake Baringo

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Peregrine Falcon strikes at Lake Baringo

Munir Virani — in East Africa Project

Note from Munir Virani, Africa Program Director

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The brutal life of an African Fish Eagle: the tale of a catch and release... and eventual recapture.

Shiv Kapila — in East Africa Project

Bulrush (as she later became known, for her tendency to rush into situations without thinking them through) was ready to go. Just desperate to go. She had been holed up in rehab after sustaining horrific injuries in a fight. After two weeks, and a massive dose of long lasting antibiotics, she felt it was time. Bulrush, by the way, is a big female African Fish Eagle.

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Three days at Ol Ari Nyiro, Laikipia

Munir Virani — in East Africa Project

I wasn’t sure what to expect when David Waters (also known as Maji) invited me up to Ol Ari Nyiro Conservancy on the western edge of Kenya’s Great Rift Valley. Maji is a long-time friend of mine, both of us having played cricket together for one of Kenya’s finest clubs as well as having toured India in 1988. Maji is currently involved with the task of helping to further develop Ol Ari Nyiro at an education and scientific level that will hopefully see this massive 100,000 acres of untouched Africa remain the way it is. Ol Ari Nyiro belongs to the legendary Kuki Gallmann, an Italian writer and poet who has written several books about her life in wild Africa. Her most famous one – “I dreamed of Africa” has inspired many writers and travelers to write about and visit Kenya.

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Naivasha Notes 2

Evan Buechley — in East Africa Project

Having become familiarized with the study area and with the biking legs warmed into prime shape, data is starting to pour in regarding the Augur buzzard presence around Lake Naivasha, Kenya. With 85 independent visuals on the buzzards in as many as 23 different territories over the past 16 days, a picture of the species’ presence in the area is starting to come into focus. So far, I feel highly confident about the existence of 7 different active breeding territories, while an additional 10 territories are very likely active, pending further observations. At least one territory documented by Munir Virani in the mid 90’s seems to have been abandoned by the buzzards. However, with so many territories still being observed, it is too early to draw any conclusions regarding the affects of habitat alterations on the population in the area.

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Find more articles about African Fish Eagle, Augur Buzzard, Lappet-faced Vulture, Tawny Eagle, Africa


Naivasha Notes

Evan Buechley — in East Africa Project

As I am experiencing Kenya for the first time, I am in a constant state of awe. There is a complex, teeming ecology here, more diverse and vibrant than any I had imagined- with roughly 72 species of diurnal raptors and vultures ranging within the country alone, not to mention the amazing diversity of other birds, and the famed complex of large mammals, my binoculars have barely left my neck over the past week to sleep. The scenery is dramatic, too, with rich ochre soils, verdant grassy plains, and cumulus clouds billowing over the volcanic features of the Great Rift Valley. And then there’s the frantic Nairobi traffic; the matatus packed with people and strapped with goods- chairs, bags of maize, and lumber, to name a few; and the calls of “Hello, how are you?” (with the tone rising distinctively on the you) by the smiling and waving children in the street…

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A trip down memory lane in Hell’s Gate National Park

Munir Virani — in East Africa Project

Last year, when Chris Parish, The Peregine Fund’s California Condor Director wrote to me about Evan Buechley (a staff member on the California Condor Project) wishing to volunteer in Kenya, I jumped at the opportunity. Having worked on Augur Buzzards in the south Lake Naivasha area for my PhD in the mid 1990s, I revisited these sites in 2005 and documented marked declines in Augur Buzzard territories that ranged from 18 to 50% over different land-use areas. The southern Lake Naivasha area is the hub of Kenya’s horticultural industry with annual revenue close to five hundred million US dollars a year. Naturally, with the prolific growth of the horticultural industry, comes loss of foraging ground for the Augur Buzzards. Also, the human population has increased fifty fold from 7,000 people in 1969 to nearly 300,000 people presently. Given the changes that have taken place in Kenya especially over the last five years, I was interested to know whether the species has further declined or remained stable.

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Rekero’s Release

Munir Virani — in East Africa Project

Conservationists the world over usually say that “the field of conservation can be extremely frustrating.” This is true to a certain extent but as scientists and conservationists, we simply cannot give up. While “feel good” factors are few and far between, they are there. Look at how populations of the Mauritius Kestrel have recovered (from only four known individuals in the wild in 1980 to over 600 individuals presently), or the fact that Peregrine Falcons have been taken off the US Endangered Species List. Some events can make you feel good no matter how small they seem - whether it is watching your child release an eagle after banding or giving a bird a second chance to live after all hope is lost. Yesterday was one of those days where a group of Kenyans felt that “feel good factor.” It was also a great example of how people working together can make a difference. A huge difference in the life of one vulture—a Rüppell’s Vulture nicknamed Rekero.

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Environmental Education in Kenya

Marta Curti — in East Africa Project

It is probably every wildlife lover’s dream to visit the “dark continent”—a magical place where hippos laze languidly in shallow waters; where zebras, elephants and giraffes graze quietly in loose herds; and a pride of lions can be seen with relative ease sleeping belly-up in the afternoon sun alongside the road, so close you feel as if you could almost touch them. If you are really lucky you may also get to see the sleek spotted coat of a leopard as it slinks quietly into the tall grass, or a catch a rare view of a serval cat pouncing on unsuspecting lizards just beside your car. For those who have a particular affinity for raptors, Kenya is high on the list of places to visit. This east-African country is home to more species of raptors than almost any other country on the planet and more than 1,000 species of birds.

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Trapping Fish Eagles at Lake Naivasha

Munir Virani — in East Africa Project

Trapping African Fish Eagles is not only fun, it is incredibly therapeutic. Furthermore, it provides a wonderful opportunity to take photographs of these charismatic eagles in action as they majestically swoop down over the water towards a dead, belly-up floating fish. Sorry to burst your bubble but I am afraid that’s how all the “action” fish eagle shots are taken. The late Leslie Brown in his epic book “The African Fish Eagle” said that fish eagles spend on average only about eight minutes a day hunting. So it would be a long wait if you were to try and get the naturally perfect shot!!

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African Fish Eagles Study

Shiv Kapila — in East Africa Project

Photo by Teeku Patel
This is the first blog since I’ve started here, so let me tell you a bit about myself and my study. I’m currently studying for a M.Sc. in Conservation at UCL (University College London), and I’ll be spending six weeks at Lake Naivasha, in Central Kenya, documenting the population structure and breeding dynamics of the African Fish Eagle. This study will build on existing work by The Peregrine Fund and the National Museums of Kenya. I’ll be focusing on the progression of human activity and development around the lake and how this affects fish eagle populations and behavior. The work is being facilitated by The Peregrine Fund under the supervision of Dr. Munir Virani who has been working on African Fish Eagle population dynamics since 1994.

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Raptor Conservation Photography Workshop for Kids – Lake Naivasha April 24-25, 2009

Munir Virani — in East Africa Project

In November last year, I had the privilege of presenting a lecture entitled “The Raptors of Kenya” to participants of the Kenya Museum Society’s “Know Kenya Course.” This is held every year and is open to Kenyan residents and expatriates eager to learn about Kenya’s fascinating wildlife, history and culture. After my talk, I was asked by a lady if I would be kind enough to give a similar lecture to students of the International School of Kenya (ISK) in Nairobi. I can’t remember whether I said yes but I had a card thrust into my pocket and the next day received an email asking me what day would be suitable for me to give a lecture at the school. After corresponding with the school’s headmaster, we agreed that sometime in January 2009 would be better.

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