East Africa – Day 26

Rwanda 13 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 second day in Rwanda.

We were staying at Gisakura Guest Lodge at Nyungwe National Park in Rwanda. 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.

We were walking the waterfall trail during the morning, in search of Kivu Ground Thrush. We didn’t see one but saw some good other birds.

The waterfall trail was very steep with a tiny trickle of a waterfall at the bottom, as it was the dry season. At the waterfall, an English family appeared, the dad and young daughter dressed in shorts and sandals. The ranger asked where their guide was, as you are not allowed on any trail without a guide, which is clearly written on all the signs. They said that they were staying at the lodge at the top of the trail. Clearly, they just thought that they would get away with not paying a permit fee. They said that they would take a few photos and then go back. They overtook us about ½ way up, as we were birding slowly. About 6 ft from where they had just overtaken us, the ranger started pointing at something excitedly, saying that was close. There was a green poisonous snake, a Great Lake Viper, in the path where they had just walked. They were so lucky as if one of them had stood on the snake, they would have been bitten. We all want to take risks, but when we are in exotic places we have to remember that we’re not at home. I’ve had plenty of things happen to me, that I don’t forget.

We went back to the lodge for lunch and then went out again at 3.30 pm looking for Handsome Francolin, an Albertine Rift endemic. We walked different trails and checked along some roads but didn’t even hear one. Apparently, they are easier in the wet season when they sit up on the higher ground to stay dry. We did however get a tick back on Dad, Yellow-bellied Waxbill.

We had done really well with seeing Albertine Rift endemics, as many we didn’t see are only found in Congo.

Trip list – 585 birds for Uganda and 277 lifers for me

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