Creek is birdwatchers’ haven
Posted Thursday, June 21 2012 at 19:35
At 2 pm, Mida Creek in Watamu, a massive tidal inlet – about 500m wide and extending over 32km Square out - is deceptively still.
Inside, a few locals trod the half-dried muddy patch, in search of what only they know.
The tidal entry of this creek is at Temple Point on the southern end of Watamu and the main channel goes inland for about 6kms before it takes a turn northeast towards Gede.
At the end of this navigable channel are Sita Ruins where mangroves cover more than half of the area of the creek, a breeding ground for thousands of reef fish.
Mida Creek was added to the Watamu marine reserves in 1968, created to preserve the rich diversity of marine life.
Mida Creek is important because it offers tidal resting and feeding location for birds migrating from Europe, Asia, Middle East and South Africa. The nutrient-rich waters also support seaweeds, zooplankton, and phytoplankton (Greek words; phtyo meaning plants, plankton meaning wander.
Plants meant to wander). This site is frequented by thousands of migrating birds including flamingoes and unique crabs - giving the site international recognition.
Here is another unique aspect about this creek; it’s not fed by a river but with fresh water through ground seepage and run-off from the catchment area of Arabuko Sokoke Forest.
But also, perhaps naturally, Mida is fed by the ocean waters entering through the mouth of the creek after every seven hours with every new tide.
The site is a birdwatchers haven, the only one of its kind in Watamu.
There are numerous tidal inlets through the mangrove forests, but if you want to get the best of birdwatching, you are best advised to use a boat. Or just swim - its only knee deep.
In this massive breeding ground, you’ll see many species of northern migratory birds like the very rare Crab Plover, a delicate-looking bird that looks like it’s just stepped out of a black and white picture.
The inland end of the creek will reveal extensive mud flats and, in the breeding season, this area teems with all manner of species of waders.
This is also the home of the greater flamingos as well as the Yellow-billed stork and it’s not rare to see Egrets in the mangroves.