East Africa – Day 10

Uganda 28 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 were up at 5.30 am for a 6.00 am breakfast, which again was a buffet. Unfortunately, breakfast wasn’t ready until 6.15 am and so delayed our start.

Diby was really tired as the people in the next room had been chatting until midnight. Paul was going to speak to reception, but Digby didn’t want him to, he just wanted to offload. In the end, it was fine, as the people nextdoor were checking out and Paul made sure the room stayed empty.

We were staying at Murchison NP, which is savannah with savannah animals and birds. During the morning we saw lots of good birds and animals. We drove down to a wetland area where we got out of our vehicle to look at the Hippopotamus close in. I felt anxious about it, having had a near death experience with a charging Hippopotamus. We then drove around the wetland area and came across a really close Shoebill, which was brilliant.

There were giraffes everywhere which is great because back in 80’s they were virtually extinct here. Zebra are extinct. After Edi Amin lost power, his minions came to this area and went on a poaching frenzy, killing everything. The number of elephants went from 15,000 to 200. We saw a few elephants here and lots of antelope in numbers and species.

In the afternoon, we took a boat down the river, to see the Falls and see some birds. We ended up on a boat with a German tour group who Digby started chatting to in his great German (as his mum is German and he lived there for years), which impressed them. They weren’t so impressed with my German though and thought it was so bad that they were interested in why I was doing it! They thought it was even funnier that I was t the top of my class for German.

The boat trip took us to within a reasonable distance of the falls, which looked amazing. It was disappointing that we couldn’t get closer though. Although we didn’t get many lifers, it was great to see birds and animals much closer than usual and get some good photographs.

This stretch of river is the Victoria Nile as it flows from the Lake Victoria to Lake Albert, further along. Then after Lake George, the river becomes the Albert Nile. It is sweet that there is a Like Victoria and a Lake Albert. Lake Albert is also the start of the Albertine Rift Valley, with lakes and mountains caused by two plates creating a deep valley. The valley has a large number of endemic birds which interested us.

During the day we saw lots of birds including Heuglin’s Francolin, Saddle-billed Stork, Goliath Heron, Giant Kingfisher, Hadada Ibis, Denham’s Bustard, Rock Pratincole (I have a story about seeing my first one in Ghana), Swallow-tailed, Red-tailed and Northern Carmine Bee-eater, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill and Black Scimitarbill.

Trip list – My trip list up to the end of day 10 is 373 with 160 lifers.

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