Is this the way to Fikirini?
When I was invited to join the Forest team on a walk to Fikirini, the name was enough to lure me in. Can you imagine Houdini drinking a martini in a bikini? Well, now you can – I like a nice, alluring name to prompt the imagination, and Fikirini did just that.
We were fortunate enough to be joined by Scooby, the dog from the local bar in Shimoni, who loves helping out GVI and stuck with us for the full 6 hours of our trek. And nature didn’t disappoint.
Before we delved deeper into the forest, we were surrounded by towering Coconut trees – but many of the round entities we saw hanging there weren’t coconuts – they were bird nests. Tiny, talkative Black-headed Weavers flocked around, seeming flustered; which is when we noticed the ominous beast swooping in on their haven: An African Harrier Hawk, hungry for eggs. He latched his talons into their carefully-woven cases and dug into them ruthlessly. We watched in horror and fascination as he targeted nest after nest, and the Weavers darted aimlessly above, powerless to protect their eggs; until at last he’d had his fill.
Next we heard the distinctive call of the Sykes monkey, and here’s a photograph of an adult female mid-vocalisation. I wonder what she made of our binoculars, cameras and paper surveys. It’s always fascinating to see the behaviours of primates, so close to that of our own – whether it’s giving their chin a bit of a scratch, talking amongst themselves, or simply sitting and watching the world go by.
This fabulous bird was the source of some debate, regally poised on top of some naked branches. He eyed me casually as I approached with my camera, as the team took note of his features and tried to identify him: The hooked two-tone beak, the banded tail, and the browned feathers on his front. Before we knew it, he had taken flight, elegantly spreading his wings and soaring through the forest. He’s since been classified as a juvenile Sparrowhawk.
We reached Fikirini, singing the likes of The Spice Girls, Steps, The Beatles, Dizzee Rascal, and even some Swahili rapping (we like to keep it varied). We’d had Colobus sightings a-plenty, as well as a multitude of birds and insects – from Silvery-Cheeked Hornbills to Pseudo-Scorpions – even a snake, which was sadly dead. They say it’s the journey, not the destination, that matters; and this was a memorable one. But we did get to sit down and have some wonderful Chai in Fikirini; a town with so much wildlife pulsating in the trees and vast terrain around it.
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