In Kenya, the long rains season is now easing after weeks of heavy downpours and associated impassable tracks (in rural areas like Bunyala) power blackouts for days on end; therefore communication breakdown via modern cybertechnology requiring continuous power supply. In Bunyala we thought the floods would bypass their usual norm but in the past one week we experienced flooding following bursting of banks and reinforcement embarkments of River Nzoia. This is a major river in our republic and here it meanders in giant snaky loops before draining into the Lake Victoria. When the rain is heavy upstream, this lower river course can only ‘spit out’ some of the water onto Bunyala plains to offload some of the pressure in its normal canal. Yet the water used at the irrigation scheme is derived from the river therefore the canals used for this purpose serve as ready outlets but with increased water volume, these also spill out the water in the surroundings inclusive of around and inside homesteads
Rain clouds over Bunyala
Homesteads surrounded by floodwater from rains and overflow from river Nzoia
The water overflow onto the plains prevents poison-poaching activities and the few, stubborn sneaky poachers do not want to waste their poison substance because “it is expensive”, to use their actual words. We can therefore boast of guaranteed safety of birds in the flooding season. Nonetheless, the monitoring continues as we want to capture all the species dynamics both in the face of poisoning and when there is no poisoning for their conservation and eventual tapping into the avian resource for tourism gains.
Well-fed birds perched on trees, unaffected by flood
Nesting Long-toed Plovers in the flooded rice scheme
My ‘home’ on safer grounds after several relocations evn though water-locked
And while birds are now enjoying their peace, locals are tapping from another protein source that has been availed by the floods-Fish! While their methods are crude, they are safe (do not involve poisoning) and probably can be accredited as sustainable (just a handful of fish can be caught this way). The fishing methods involve hacking with a machete live fishes in shallow flooded pools.
Fish caught in the flood waters
Keep reading and supporting us in our monitoring in tough conditions.