Sunday, 23 August 2015

East Africa - Day 30



Rwanda 17 August 2015

I have not been able to upload photographs to my blog without wifi or decent band width but will add my photographs to my blog post as soon as I can.

We are having the most brilliant time in Uganda and Rwanda with everything being great. Our trip was organised by our local ground agents Avian Watch Uganda.  Everything is   going really well with Robert, our fantastic guide (who knows all the sites and calls and can whistle birds in) and Paul, our driver and fixer, for who nothing was too much.

This was our fifth day birding in Rwanda.

Today we were staying at the luxurious Akagera Game Lodge, Akagera National Park in South East Rwanda, on the border with Tanzania. The border was really close,just a few miles across the border.  We were so close that first Dad’s phone and then Paul's and Mum’s phone switched to the Tanzania mobile provider with messages saying “Welcome to Tanzania”!

We were up at 5.00 am for a 5.30 am breakfast and leaving at 6.00 am to go birding on a game drive.

We saw lots of birds new for Rwanda, some new for our trip and a few lifers.  Some of the good birds from the morning were Long-tailed Cisticola, Blue Quail, White-headed Black Chat, Brown-backed Honeybird and Crested Barbet.

We went back to the lodge for lunch, but first Dad and I went for a swim in the pool.  That was brilliant, just to have a little time off.  We couldn't have seen much as it was hot here.

There were hardly any animals and we only saw our first and only animal all morning, a lone Buffalo at 10.00 am.

Back in the Savannah, we were plagued by Tetsi flies again, so I refused to take off my fleece in 90 degrees of heat.

We were back at the fancy lodge at midday, to have a swim and lunch.  Paul and Robert were heading somewhere cheaper with local food.  It was a lot hotter down here, as we were further south and low down.

In the afternoon, at 3.15 pm, we were back out on a game drive, when we saw Green-winged Pytilla, Black-lored Babbler, amazing views of a male and female Hilderbrandt’s Francolin and Emerald-Spotted Wood Dove (trip tick).

At 4.30 pm we glimpsed our second animal, the backend of a Warthog.  You would.really disappointed if you had come here to see animals, though met people seemed to be here to just enjoy the pool for the bank holiday weekend.

We were back at the lodge by 6.00 pm, to get sorted for tomorrow when we leave Rwanda and the amazing Paul and Robert.

Trip List – List for Uganda 585, 152 list for Rwanda, 608 trip list and 289 lifers for me.

Rwanda 13 August 2015

I have not been able to upload photographs to my, blog without wifi or decent band width but will add photographs to my blog post as soon as I can.

We are having the most brilliant time in Uganda with ever great. Our trip was organised by our local ground agents Avian Watch Uganda.  Everything is   going really well with Robert, our fantastic guide (who knows all the sites and calls and can whistle birds in) and Paul, our driver and fixer, for who nothing was too much.

Today was our first day of birding in Rwanda 

We were staying at Gisakura Guest Lodge at Nyungwe National Park in Rwanda.  There were quire a few Rwandan and foreign people but all seemed to working p
in Kigali, rather than being foreign tourists died like in Uganda.

We had ordered breakfast at 5.30 am, having got up at 5.00 am and then picked up our ranger before heading down the hill to the visitor centre and view point.  I think it had been paid for by USAid.

We had a  packed lunch with us and walked down the main trail from the viewpoint.   We ended up walking back to the view point to eat our lunch and had a White-necked Raven getting a bit too close edging towards my sandwich.
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After a break we walked to the canopy walkway, birding along the way.  When we reached the canopy walkway, Robert was very excited as the canopy  walkway was new and he hadn't see it before.  First he examined how it was built and how strong it was. Then he stood on it about a metre in and jumped about a bit.  Then he asked the ranger he could go on (as there was a fee). ranger said he could go half way along the first section.  Robert then went off, shouting to us to take photographs.

I have been on quite a few canopy walkways around the world and having a photograph on the is a bit of a trademark and and in-joke.  I asked if I could go onto the canopy walkway and Mum asked the ranger how much it was.  He said it was $60 each, which seemed expensive and more than Mum and Dad were going to pay for me to quickly walk around, as it wasn't good for birding.  The ranger said not to worry and took me onto the canopy walkway for a quick walk around.  

Robert liked it and I suggested to Robert that they built one at Bwindi Impenetrable Forest across the valley.

After the walk, we drove along side tracks and walked more looking for the elusive Handsome Francolin as an Albertine Rift Valley endemic.

Our best birds for the day were Red-collared Babbler, Kungwe Apalis and Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo.

Trip list – 585 birds for Uganda, 50 birds for Rwanda and 276 lifers

About the Writer


Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig on Scilly
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig 




Mya-Rose Craig is a 13 year old young birder, conservationist, writer and speaker. She is based near Bristol and writes the successful Birdgirl Blog, with posts about birding and conservation from around the world. She is loved going Mountain Gorilla Trekking in East Africa and is looking forward to watching Penguins in Antarctica in December 2015, which will be her 7th continent. She has recently been listed with the singer songwriter George Ezra and actress Maisie Williams from Game of Thrones as one of Bristol's most influential young people. Please like her Birdgirl Facebook Page and follow her on Birdgirl Twitter








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