uganda trip report part 2 (late)

To: "sabn" <>
Subject: uganda trip report part 2 (late)
From: "michael hunter" <>
Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2005 19:02:24 +1100
Hullo all, apologies for the lateness, some computer foulup.

Part 2 Uganda Trip Report

Daily log. Names in capitals are first sightings for us.
Day 1 26.9.04
   Met by Johnny Kamugisha at Entebbe, ex Johannesburg, omitted to change
currency, an expensive mistake; the airport has the best rates by far, few
places take traveller's cheques because of a fraud a few years ago, most
people or places won't take US dollars and none will take any dated before
1996 because of a forgery scam.Use the local shillings.
   Drove past Lake Victoria through busy Kampala  to the Hotel Africana
which is dour but overlooks the city with its scores of circling Marabou
Storks, Hooded Vultures, Pied Crows, Black Kites, Mosque Swallows and Palm
Swifts, 'scoped from our balcony.
  Aaah, Africa!

Day 2 27.9.04
     Woken at 5.30 am by the call to the faithful from an impressive mosque
     Drive to Mbamba Wetland near Entebbe for a first stab at Shoebill. A
family of fabulous GREAT BLUE TURACOS on the way in, a great first tick.
Should be their National Bird. Also Eastern Plantain Eater, Pin-tailed Wydah
and Red-chested Cuckoo along the track, which ended at an extensive papyrus
swamp on a Lake Victoria backwater. BLUE-BREASTED BEE-EATER and SWAMP
FLYCATCHER near the landing.
      Explored the swamp in a wooden paddle-powered canoe, along narrow
canals through the 3-4m tall papyrus and blue waterlilies, a memorable
experience, the only noise was birdsound and paddle plops. Malachite
Kingfishers stayed perched a metre away as we passed. A BLUE-HEADED COUCAL
clambered through th the papyrus near the landing and a White-browed Coucal.
Woodland and Striped Kingfishers, and where the swamp opened into deeper
water, hundreds of Pied Kingfishers and African Jacacas, scores of Squacco
Herons. Just missed a sought-after Lesser Jacana, the boatman saw the
resident single taken by an African Marsh Harrier the day before. Saw
GREATER SWAMP WARBLER, African Reed Warbler, Fan-tailed Widowbirds,
BROWN-THROATED WEAVER. Purple Swamphen with a  green back unlike the
Australian form, common Moorhen, Black Crake. CARRUTHER'S CISTICOLA heard
and seen, White-faced Whistling Duck, Hottentot Teal.
    Many raptors; African Sea Eagles calling from on high, African and
Eurasian Swamp Harriers, Black-chested and Western Banded Snake-eagles,
African Harrier-hawk, European Honey-buzzard, Long-crested Eagle and
Bataleur. Plenty of Gull-billed and Whiskered Terns. Grey-headed and Lesser
Black-backed Gulls sharing the air with Angola and Wire-tailed Swallows,
Sand Martins, Little and White-rumped Swifts.
   We paddled to an island and found RED-CHESTED SUNBIRDS.
    A magic place, teeming with birds, but no Shoebill.

    En route to Lake Mburo, stopped at a grassy wetland with two hundred
Grey-crowned Cranes dancing, at a "Crane Wedding" according to Johnny. A
great birding spectacle in the 'scope. Several Rufous-bellied Herons,
Open-billed and Saddle-billed Storks, Black Crake, Hamerkop, Sacred, Hadada
and Glossy Ibis, Spur-winged Goose, African Pygmy-geese, Long-toed and
Brown-chested Plovers. Wood Sandpiper.
     Speckled and Feral Pigeons, Ring-necked, Red-eyed and Laughing Doves
near habitation along the road , Little and White-throated Bee-eaters,
Speckled Mousebird. Crowned, African Grey and Black and White Casqued
Hornbills in roadsided scrub SUPERB SUNBIRD in a garden, Grey-backed Fiscal
on powerlines, Ruppel's Long-tailed and SPLENDID STARLINGS. Colonies of
Black-headed Weavers at every settlement it seemed. Common Waxbills and
Red-billed Firefinches seen.

        Arrived late at Mantana Tented Camp within Lake Mburo NP, passed
Zebra, Buffalo, Warthog, Topi, Impala, Bushbuck and Defassa Waterbuck. This
was our first experience in decades of checking the fieldguide by kerosene
lamp, and having a servant bring hot water in a bucket for the shower in the
back of the tent.  Slept like babies.

                                     Part 2, Mburo to Bwindi to follow.


Michael Hunter
Mulgoa Valley
50km west of Sydney Harbour Bridge

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