East Africa – Day 18

Uganda 5 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 we were up at 5.30 am for a 6.00 am breakfast before going out on a game drive for the morning. We had all been woken several times in the night by distant but load Hippos. We saw a group of Lions, which was really exciting. We also saw lots of giraffes and Elephants.

We returned to the lodge and got lunch, after which Digby spotted a massive bull Elephant on the other side of the river, which was stunning.

In the afternoon, we went for a boat ride into the Kazinger Channel with Alfred and his tour group. We saw a collection of waders, which was great even if we didn’t see anything new. We had hoped for African Skimmer but had no luck with that.

During the boat journey, we got chatting with the 18 year old son of the Swedish family that Alfred was guiding, which was really nice. Although there were few new birds for us, we did get great views of Hippo, Black Hog and a huge male Elephant that had swam to an island in the middle of the river.

After the boat trip, we stopped at the airfield and saw Red-capped Lark.

We then returned to the lodge for dinner. We went back to our room first to wash up (a bit as I still didn’t want to use the outside shower) and the Mum and I decided to go to the outside dining area. Dad shouted after us, didn’t we want a torch (flashlight) Mum shouted back no, as there was enough light for us to see. All warnings from the lodge briefing about not walking without a guard at night or strong torch (flashlight) had been forgotten by us both. We had walked about 30 metres (too far to run back) when Mum and I heard a Hippo very close, literally on the other side of the nearest Hippo. Memories of us being charged by a galloping Hippo in South Africa got my adrenaline pumping and the only thing I could do was sing ‘In the jungle’ from the Lion King Musical (that I had just been in at school) whilst Mum grappled with her I-Phone to get the torch on an wave it around madly!

After dinner, we then went out looking for Nightjars. 200 metres after coming out of the lodge gate we turned down a track. Almost immediately, Paul jammed on the brakes. In front of us were a huge group of Elephants, including 3 babies. They were on both sides of the track and all over it. Paul waited, hoping they would move on (especially after flashing his lights and revving the engine) but they were staying put. Eventually, Paul had to reverse off the track and find another one to try.

We had only just started looking for Nightjar again when a whole load of local villagers turned up. One guy asked what we were doing so late at night and Robert explained that we were birding. His response was “still??”. Robert explained that we were looking for night birds but the guy was insistent that we were off roading and shouldn’t be there. Just at that point a few of the villagers recognised Paul and started laughing. They had been worried that we were there to do something bad but walked away seeing the funny side of things.

We carried on night birding for quite a bit longer but had to give up at 10.30 pm so that we could get up early for birding.

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