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October 17, 2010 / Dan Whipple

Bird in the canopy

On Karen Blizen's farm

On Karen Blixen's farm

We went to the Know Kenya course a week ago, a week-long festival of information and cultural events put on by the Kenya Museum Society. Among the many excellent presentations was a short nature walk on Saturday morning through a small forested area on Karen Blixen’s coffee estate.

Karen Blixen was a early 20th century settler in Kenya, who went bankrupt in the coffee business in 1931. She returned to Denmark, eventually writing the memoir Out of Africa. The book was made into a 1985 movie starring Robert Redford and Meryl Streep. Blixen’s house in the Nairobi suburb of Karen has been preserved as a museum.

Anyway, on this nature walk, the guides told us that most of the forest birds stay up in the canopy, which is way up there. You rarely actually see them, so you have to learn to recognize them by their song. So, here’s the bird’s song. What is it?

Okay, I don’t know either. I though at first it was the gardener whistling, but, no, it’s a bird in the canopy. I think it’s Rüppell’s Robin Chat, which is a very good mimic, they tell me. I never saw this bird, just heard it. So …

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