Field Notes

January - April 2024

Rains were plentiful between January and April with especially heavy rains in March. During these four months there were abundant resources, food, water and shade for all wildlife. During the rains many large flocks of Barn Swallows, Finches, Quelea, Carmine Bee-eaters and small groups of Eurasian Rollers were in the bull area. In the southern region of the bull area, vines with white, violet and pink flowers were abundant, creating a colorful carpet over the shrubs and grass. Hundreds of Butterflies, Crickets and Dragon Flies emerged in February and March. In April two Giraffes with newborn calves (section of the umbilical cord visible) were together at the base of Mzinga Hill.


Known bulls were absent from the hills southern bull area during January and February. In February Tweed (featured last year) was still in musth near Voi River west, traveling in a zig-zag pattern searching for estrus females. In March he was near the hills (in musth) sometimes alone but often with family groups. During February and March, Neon (photo right) spent his time along Voi Riverine west and central region with other bulls. Helix, Pewter, Cobalt, Crux, Flint, Pisces, Third, Ra, Wave and Sunray were all in the western bull area. During my many years of field work in Tsavo I’ve never seen a bird on a bull or female back. But, in February and March, for the first time, on several occasions one or two Fischer’s Starlings were perched on a bull’s back; seemingly not disturbing the bull.


Known families were absent from the hills area in January and February. Some of the families had moved northwest: Batik-Azalea, Teak and Dimond. Some families moved to Voi Riverine: Evergreen, Cresent-Nutmeg, Spring and Boscia. In March, several adult females placed vines over their head and neck, draped behind their ears while feeding on vines. I’ve seen this behavior many times with young elephants but not with adults. Maple (photo left), Chestnut and Parsley spent time in the western region before moving to the hills in late April. Heloise-Mango moved to the hills area in mid-March. Summer moved to the hills area in mid-April with a new calf (4-months). The grass was too tall to determine the sex of the calf.