BIRDING WITH FLEUR

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From R-L: Dr. Paula Kahumbu, Fleur Ngweno and Yours Truly(Myself) during the bird walk                                                                                                                                            Photo Credit: nkiboi

 

Jesus Christ! Mahatma Gandhi! Nelson Mandela! Queen Elizabeth! Martin Luther King Jr! Abraham Lincoln! Professor Wangari Maathai!Muhammad! Sir Isaac Newton! Albert Enstein! Pope Francis!

Now, my beloved readers, I have not gone insane, neither have I smoked the kindukhulu (weed). These are the names of some of the people regarded as legends. Some are the pillars of our society, founders of our faith and great role models. When you mention their names, certain emotions are evoked. You feel happy, inspired and great love towards a person that is  totally unaware of your existence. This kind of love would cause you to raise arms against another man, not because he has hurt you but because he cannot love your hero.

The irony of life is that most of us never get to be that great. But again the most beautiful people, the rarest gems in the world and the most amazing people are not found in many newspapers or on every television station but are around us. They are not the kind of people that will cause you to lift banners and throw stones at police officers (ahem!) but will help you focus on things that matter the most in life.

Why do we bother to look for gems, rocks and gold in deep and hidden places when we have them all around us? Because when I met Fleur Ng’weno earlier last month for the first time I was dumbfounded. I wanted to say hi but my lips couldn’t move. I wanted to walk towards her and tell her how much she has inspired my interests in birding, but my legs nervously drove me away from where she was standing.

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From L-R: Peter(a.k.a Marangi), yours truly(me), Smriti Vidyarthi(NTV Wild), Fleur Ng’weno and Lenah Jepkirui during the bird walk    Photo: nkiboi

 

Bird watching together with such a heroine is an experience that I always appreciate. And everyone else thinks so too.

So I guess you are wondering who this person I’m raving on about is. She is an amazing woman and what makes her even more special is that she is down-to-earth.

So it is on Madaraka Day and we are excited for two reasons. First of all, there is no traffic jam in Nairobi(Yipeee!!!)… and the NTV WILD crew has joined us for the Wednesday Morning Bird walk(Wooohooo!). On my timely arrival,my eyes meet Smriti Vidyarthi, Dr. Paula Kahumbu and their camera man. There is a lot of excitement amongst the birders.

Our bird walk is very successful with Fleur bringing her cheerful, casual and comfortable look on Camera. The common dwellers of Nairobi including the Hadada Ibis and the Black Kite are among the first to show up. Everyone else becomes so comfortable to a point that they forget that they are being filmed. In fact the usual gasps of excitement are heard while birds of prey are spotted. At the beginning the birds are hiding, probably due to the chilly weather but at around 10 o’clock they spring into activity. We get a chance to witness part of the breeding process of the African Paradise Flycatcher, where both the male and female species incubate the eggs in turns. All these will be captured on #NTVWILD so don’t miss out.

When Smriti asks what motivates these birders  to come for this bird walks, I hear pretty solid answers. But this is the main reason I participate: Fleur Ng’weno. The most amazing thing in these bird walks is the opportunity to see and listen to nature through Fleur’s eyes and ears. Her passion is infectious. Her gentle yet vivacious voice resonates at the birding sites.

Her keen observation is spectacular. She knows when the birds are singing and when they are just making angry noises. She can differentiate when the Ruppelle’s Robin Chat is calling and when it is just mimicking(making fun of us). She knows about plants and flowers around her.

When  the birds are hiding and we cannot see them, she always surprises us with other fun facts. For example last time at the Museum’s botanical garden, Fleur paused for a while, bent as if she was tying her shoe laces but instead picked up  something from the ground.  Cape chest nuts! Small nuts that we ignore as we go about our daily activities not knowing that although they are inedible to humans these little nuts are irresistibly delicious to squirrels.

And she has nurtured so many. The favorite story I enjoyed hearing is when Peter saw a black-backed puff back and shouted, “Fleur! I can see a black-black black black!All other birders burst into laughter but Fleur gently corrected him and that gave him confidence to learn more about birds. Currently Peter(Marangi) is one of the best birders I know of and  even more amazing are his abilities to spot and identify birds from a distance(even in thick canopies).

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Meet the lovely team of birders from Nature Kenya!!                            Photo: nkiboi

I have loved the people at Nature Kenya and at the Ornithology section(Zoology dpt :NMK)  where I am attached. They are very amiable and lively. I have spent only one month with them and developed very interesting behavior.  It now takes longer hours to get to my destinations. I am making stops to listen to interesting bird calls and even to touch and smell flowers and leaves(like a mad person!!). But all in all, I have learnt to appreciate the nature around me and have a firmer reason to conserve the Environment. I thank God for every opportunity I get to interact with nature.

REM: JOIN NATURE KENYA TO EXPERIENCE THIS AND MORE!!

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