Sunday, 16 August 2015

East Africa - Day 9

Uganda 27 July 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 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 morning we let the lodge staff get up a little later with a 6.30 am breakfast.  That meant getting up at 6.00 am and leaving at 7.00 am.  I went out with Dad looking for Nightjar again and had a Pennant-womged Nightjar virtually sit on my feet, which was brilliant.

Today was a long driving day without much birding.  First we drove out of Kidepo Valley NP, it was interesting because the first hour the fields were full of sunflowers, for making sunflower oil.  A couple of hours on from here the people seemed much poorer with more raggedy clothes and no shoes.  Though the fields didn’t seem to be properly cultivated.  Paul (who used to be a history teacher) explained that the people here lived from poaching and had no experience of farming.  The government agencies had been working with them to help them start cultivations, but it was taking a long time to get through to them.  It seemed a waste so far, as the forest had been cut down for farming but the land wasn’t actually being used yet.

We stopped and did some birding along the road leading out of Kidepo Valley NP seeing Red-faced and Singing Cisticola, Fan-tailed Raven, White-shouldered Black Tit, Brown Snake Eagle,White-fronted Black Chat and White-crested Turaco.

We had a long drive to Murchison Falls National Park ahead of us and drove there through Gulu.  Digby had asked to stop at a geo cache site.  He tried to explain about it, but somehow wasn’t understood, when close to the location Paul said “is there some financial gain?” to which I said “no, it’s just for fun!”.  The geo cache was completely in the middle of nowhere and it seemed like it had gone, until Robert used his hunter eyes to find the pieces.  We all arrived back to the vehicle with Robert and Paul completely enthused by this newly discovered world.

Next stop was a wetland just outside the entrance gate to Murchison NP, where we saw two Nile Crocodiles and loads of birds, including White-faced Whistling Duck, African Sacred Ibis, Yellow-billed and Woolley-necked Stork, African Openbil, Water Thick-knee and Long-toed Lapwing.

We then birded our way along the track to our lodge, with the top open on our Toyota Landcruiser.  It was funny because when Digby first arrived, he kept calling the vehicle a bus or a van.  Paul would then joke that it was a Toyota Landcruiser.  So now we would deliberately either refer to it as a Toyota Landcruiser or a van.  Our little in joke kept us all entertained!

Along the road we saw a huge male elephant just off the path which was fantastic.  On the short way to the lodge we saw quite a few good birds like Beautiful Sunbird and  Black-bellied Bustard.

We stayed at Pakuba Lodge which was lovely but no birds here.  As soon as it became dark, the place became full of black flying beetles which was strange.  Dinner was a buffet, so was perfect for my fussy diet.

Trip List –  349 birds for my trip list as at the end of day 9 with 150 lifers.

About the Writer

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

Mya-Rose Craig is a 12 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 looking forward to going Mountain Gorilla Trekking in East Africa and 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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