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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Spectacular Humpback Whales Migrations
In Watamu From July To October Annually

Coastweek -- From July to October, every year, there are two spectacular migrations across Kenya.

The famous one is the journey of the wildebeests as they move from Serengeti to the Mara.

The lesser known migration is that of the Humpback Whales as they make their 4,000km journey from the cold waters of Antarctica to the East African coastline extending from Somalia to South Africa.

The warm tropical waters and protection offered by the inner reefs provide the perfect breeding ground.

The Humpbacks are majestic mammals.

A fully grown adult can span 18 feet and weigh 40 tonnes.

The best place to watch these mammals is Watamu where they can be viewed in their natural habitat from land.

They swim close to the shoreline.

Their acrobatic antics as they leap out of water are a fascinating spectacle.

A more adventurous viewing is by boat with local fisherman who will tell you about local folklore.

For the fishermen whale watching tours are an additional source of income and an incentive to protect the species.

Watamu Marine Association has research programmes in place to document behaviour and collect data.

More than 10 species of dolphins and whales have been spotted in Watamu.

WMA work closely with the local community in collecting data.

Jane Spilsbury of WMA says there is a significant decline in the humpbacked population over the past decade.

The nature and habits of these ocean giants are yet to be understood fully.

The revamping the ‘East African Campaign Exhibition’, at Sarova Taita Hills Lodge is taking shape.

Curated by James Wilson of ‘Guerrillas of Tsavo’ the exhibition honours the thousands of Africans who died in the war.

FFJ were one of the first to send a donation and we are pleased to see it has been put to very good use.

The picture, from Eileen Wilson shows one of the first newly designed panels sponsored by FFJ. The tentative dates for the opening are 22-24 November.

More details to follow.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s team of experts involved in the restoration of the Askari Monument in Mwembe Tayari are scheduled to return to Mombasa to carry out the site work this month.

In order to share its conservation expertise with the local stakeholders and NMK’s conservation staff CWGC has organised a one day conference in Mombasa on ‘Conservation Training’.

The conference covers the historical background to the World Wars, the design and construction of memorials and technical aspects of current conservation works.

In addition to CWGC staff the other speakers are James Wilson who will talk on the East Africa Campaign and there will be a presentation by FFJ chairman on ‘Conservation – a Mombasa perspective’.

This initiative is very welcome and of great benefit to all those involved in conservation of heritage.

(Taibali Hamzali, Chairman)

PAST PROGRAMMES

Saturday, 19th May - Bird Walk at Forest Trail

On this gloomy afternoon we followed the “Leisure Walk” Trail up to the Great Lake, had a look at a very active Village Weaver colony at the TUI pond and by the time we wound up our walk, the list of birds contained 18 awesome species !

The lovely Black-throated Wattle-eye and the Bearded Scrub Robin only allowed us to get a glimpse of them before retreating into the undergrowth !

Some species could only be identified by their calls, i.e. Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Black-backed Puffback, Tambourine Dove, Grey-backed Camaroptera and the African Fish Eagle.

However two Brown-hooded Kingfishers, not recorded before at the Forest Trails by me, perched nicely at the Great Lake and gave us plenty of time to observe and take a photo as well !

We added a Palm-nut Vulture on wings, a lone Egyptian Goose, Striated Heron and one tiny male Red-billed Firefinch, which was foraging on the ground in the distance !

We had to approach it carefully to be sure of its identity!! 

 

Brown-hooded Kingfisher | Coastweek

 
  Coastweek -- Brown-hooded Kingfisher. PHOTO: DORIS SCHAULE

See you on the 3rd Saturday of August, when we again dedicate the afternoon to Kenya’s amazing birdlife!!   (Doris Schaule)

Saturday, 14th July - Heritage Visit: Schools for Gede area

Our larger than usual group of 42 comprising students, patrons and teachers from four schools from Gede, namely Canon Mwer, Jimba Gede, Francis Bob Tuva and M’baraka Chembe Secondary got delayed en-route due to heavy traffic.

Fortified with Essa Khediwallas lovely breakfast we proceeded with the Old Town walk traversing Mbarak Hinawy and Ndiaa Kuu Roads while trying to dodge the omnipresent, noisy tuk –tuks.

Unfortunately, we could not get inside Leven House to show them the well renovated interior. The Level Steps too were out of bounds as the access stairs were recently washed away by storm water from the torrential rains.

The Butterfly House was of special interest to the students as many were unaware that the pupae and butterflies originate from Aroboko- Sokoke forest which is close to their homes in Gede.

After a delicious lunch by our ever reliable caterers Queens Cafeteria, Hassan Mohammed talked about Mombasa’s history when it was under Portuguese rule and followed up with a tour of the Fort.

Thank you to members for their donations in cash and kind and the council members for the hard work that goes in arranging the visits.

 

Heritage Visit: Students at Gede area | Coastweek

 
  Coastweek -- At Ndiaa Kuu. The road is as old as Fort Jesus. PHOTO: DORIS SCHAULE

FUTURE PROGRAMMES

Saturday, 18th August - Bird Walk at Msumarini, Kikambala

This month’s walk is at a new and promising site near the Msumarini School.

For ease of directions meeting point is at Elite Bar, Mtwapa at 2.15pm.

Doris will lead the convoy for the 20 minute drive to Msumarini.

For more information see our Facebook page or contact Doris Schaule Tel: 0722 277752. Email: dorischaule@gmail.com

Saturday, 8th September - Tree planting at FB Tuva Secondary School, Gedi and Watamu Marine Watch

The tree planting planned for 7th July at Gede Secondary School could not go ahead as the school informed us, rather late in the day that they were committed with other activities.

Our planting will now take place at another school nearby, FB Tuva Secondary which participated in the last heritage visit.

After the tree planting we will go to Watamu to see the recycling centre – it has developed more since we last visited.

The recycling centre is very successful and has won many international accolades.

Meeting point is at turn off to Gedi from the main Mombasa Malindi Road at 10.00am.

You can park at the petrol station at the junction. . You may carry your own picnic lunch or dine at one of the many eating places in Watamu.

We will arrange for shared transport if there are enough members.

If interested please confirm with Kalim Hassanali, Email: kalimhassanali@gmail.com or by SMS 0735 209 814. 

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