Lake Nakuru

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Lake Nakuru is one of the more famous shallow Alkaline lake in the Great Rift Valley. Located in a closed basin with no outlet, minerals accumulate in the lake over the years and the PH of the lake now reaches 10.5. In such an alkaline condition, blue-green algae flourish. The algae attract over a million Flamingos (both greater and lesser, Phoenicopterus roseus and Phoenicopterus minor) that constantly line along the shore, which has become the major attraction of the park. Besides flamingos, the lake is rich in other wildlife as well. There has been some 500 species of birds documented here.

Climbed up to Baboon Cliff for a Panoramic view of the lake. Apparently God was not satisfy with merely a quite, bluish little soda lake, so he sprayed a million droplets of pink all over it. He certainly did a great job. This is...just breath-taking.

Have you ever seen so much pink in your life? Honestly I haven't.

Suddenly a kite flew by, the pinks were scared and tried to flee... the whole flock, thousands of them, flooded the sky...

 

More colorful birds. The first one is a Yellow-throated Longclaw (Macronyx croceus, 3 pix); 2nd one is a riveting Lilac-breasted Roller (Coracias caudatus).

A Yellow Bishop (Euplectes capensis, 1st pic) and a White-fronted Bee-eater (Merops bullockoides, all the rest of pix).

A Speckled Mousebird (Colius striatus, 2 pix) and a Spurfowl (last 2 pix). The last 2 pix is a group of pretty red-headed little birds, which I couldn't find out what they're called.

 

The Waterfront. Sure there're millions of flamingos, but it's not all about flamingos. In the 2nd pic, pelicans, cormorants, Egyptian geese, and gazelles are sharing the waterfront.

Great White Pelicans (Pelecanus onocrotalus), with a wingspan up to 2.8m and length up to 1.6m.

Pretty and graceful Gray Crowned Crane (Balearica regulorum, 3 pix). Love that golden crown, made of stiff golden feather. Next is a Yellow-billed Egret (Ardea intermedia, 1 pic) and a Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis, last pic).

Things could get ugly though, when you look closely at these Marabou Storks (Leptoptilos crumeniferus). They are large scavengers, 1.5m in height and 3.2m in wingspan, with an out-of-propotion pinkish naked face full of black scars. Awkward movement, horrible sound, and the sight of their feeding on dead flamingos (well, it's their nature as scavengers, but still...)... it's amazing how ugly a bird can be.

 

Raptors. Beautiful African Fish Eagle (Haliaeetus vocifer). I would never be tired of watching it glide by.

A Long-crested Eagle (Lophaetus occipitalis), with a delicate crest made of 6 long black feathers (3 pix). Long-crested eagles feed on mostly rodents. In the last 4 pix is a Martial Eagle (Polemaetus bellicosus), a larger bird of prey.

An Augur Buzzard, or African Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo rufofuscus), easily recognizable by the red tail.

 

The Beasts. The two most famous attractions of Lake Nakuru: one is flamingos, on the top of this page, and the other is a large number of White Rhinos. The name "white rhino" is a misnomer. The local call them "wyd" (means wide, derived from Dutch "wijd") rhino because of their wide mouth adapted to crop large mouthful of grass. Early English settlers misinterpreted them as "white" rhinos, and in turn call the other species with narrower mouth the "black" rhino. The funny thing is, it's actually quite difficult to tell a white rhino from a black rhino just by their colors. But the two are surely quite different. White rhinos are gentle, social animals while black rhinos are loners and much more dangerous to deal with.

Families of White Rhinos (Ceratotherium simum). A family can have as many as 14 rhinos. These are huge animals, measuring up to 4m long, 1.85m high, and weighing up to 3.6 tons. The two majestic horns on the snout, highly sought after for medicine and trophy, are made of keratin fibers and have little officinal value.

Here's a lonely Black Rhino (Diceros bicornis), with one horn flatten at the tip. Notice the narrower, tipping mouth that distinguishes it from the "white" rhinos. We certainly didn't dare to get close to this one. Didn't think he would be very friendly to human.

Buffalos (Syncerus caffer), another dangerous species. The danger lies in their unpredictable temper and a pair of study and sharp horns.

 

The Antelopes. Largest and also the most heavily-built antelopes has got to be the Common Eland (Taurotragus oryx). They stand up to up to 2 meter to shoulder and weigh up to a ton. Their sizes certain dwarf those of zebra and buffalos nearby.

Defassa Water Bucks (Kobus ellipsiprymnus defassa), often found near water, as the name indicates. They seem to be friendly and sociable animals, don't mind a zebra mixing in the herd at all.

The ever present Impalas (Aepyceros melampus), apparently one of the more successful species in Africa.

 

Primates. Spotted some shy black-and-white Colobus Monkeys (Colobus guereza). Colobus monkeys spend most of the life on trees, rarely set their feet on ground. The name "colobus" come from Greek, meaning "mutilated." The reason is that, strangely, colobus monkeys do not have well-developed thumbs.

On the contrary, these Olive Baboons (Papio anubis) are not a bit shy, in fact they don't mind showing off their nasty habits in front of us at all... and things can quite ugly at times.

Vervet Monkeys (Chlorocebus pygerythrus) are somewhat more decent, but just about as naughty.

 

Others. I didn't plan to put Lions (Panthera leo) all the way at the bottom, but these sleepy beasts weren't that interesting.

These are all Agama Lizards (Agama lionotus). Their color changes quickly with moods. Amazing huh?

 

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