Another good bird from our Bigodi Swamp Walk in Bigodi Village near Kibale National Park, Uganda…the Olive-bellied Sunbird, spotted at the edge of bean field on our way back to the center. The Bogodi Swamp Walk is one of two excursions offered by the Bogodi Ecotourism Center, which is, as I mentioned yesterday in another Facebook post, a community initiated, community funded, and community run effort to develop tourism in the village, with a staff of naturalists and cultural interpreters and extensive connections among the local people. (And, while you are parked at their somewhat rustic office, you can have your safari van professionally washed and cleaned inside and out!) The guide who took us exploring on the extensive network of trails was an excellent birder. This is all very low-keyed…a ramble through forest edges and across crop fields, and a visit to some holding ponds where the swamp probably was, but the staff is knowledgeable and the birds are great! And you have to admire the foresight and courage in the village that developed and maintains the project. #Epic_Uganda_Vacations.
I probably took 500 shots of the Chimpanzees in Kibale National Park in Uganda when we visited, and, using Anti-motion Blur mode for the low light, I was limited to single exposures, so there were no motor drive duplicates in there. It was such a rewarding experience to be there, close to the Chimps in the wild, seeing them interact naturally…or as naturally as is possible with Chimps that are used to human observation. They were obviously fully aware of their audience, even if they only gave us the occasional glance as they went about their chimpanzee business. I have to wonder what they think of the cell phone brandishing, noisy groups in their unnaturally bright colors who come to dance around them twice a day. I am sure they would love to get their hands on one of those phones…just to see what all the fuss is about. 🙂 This young chimp seems to have us all pretty well sized up. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Anti-motion Blur mode. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Our group of Chimpanzees at Kibale National Park in Uganda spent most of their time while we visited grooming themselves and each other. This apparently young Chimp was more solitary, for whatever reason. A portrait at 150mm equivalent. Anti-motion Blur mode. (Equivalent ISO 2500.) Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. #Epic_Uganda_Vacations
It is pretty much at 2 day trip, or at least a day and half, from Murchinson National Park to Fort Portal and Kibale National Park. On arriving in Ft Portal, after lunch, we visited Amabere Ga’nyinamwiru Caves and Crater Lakes. The Caves and the Lakes are, honestly, nothing much by our jaded North American standards…not a patch on Mammoth or Carlsbad, or even Howe in New York State or the live caves in Arizona. You can’t actually go into the caves, though we did see some interesting stalagmites and stalactites from the entrance behind an attractive waterfall, and I opted out of the hike up the hill to see the Crater Lake, as we would be passing some more of those on our way to Kibale the next day in the van. However, the birding around the edges and in the hedgerows between the open “campground” fields near the parking area proved to be very satisfying. I had my first encounters with a whole group of small garden and field birds…including the Bronze Sunbird here. Sony Rx10iv at 1200mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr.
We really did see quite a few raptors during our #Epic_Uganda_Vacations birding and wildlife tour of Uganda. This is one that I really wanted a decent photograph of. I have seen it both in Kenya and South Africa, but never seen it well, and never had a good photo op. This was the best I could do in Uganda (Murchinson Falls National Park) for a mature bird…though we saw and photographed at least half a dozen immatures. Not the best shot, but still a memorable experience. The Bateleur is classed among the Hawk-Eagles. Sony RX10IV at 1200mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
A few days ago I posted images of a Dark Chanting-Goshawk from Murchinson Falls National Park in Uganda, and said that the Eastern Chanting-Goshawk was also possible there. Well, imagine my surprise when I looked at my “other” shots of a Chanting-Goshawk, taken a the next day in another part of the Park, and found that it is, to my eye at least, probably an Eastern. The cere is certainly yellow, as opposed to the Dark Chanting’s obvious orange, and the legs do appear longer. Two Chanting-Goshawks in two days! But this is exactly the kind of trip we had with #Epic_Uganda_Vacations 🙂 and the reason I am planning to go back next year. Uganda is amazing. Sony Rx10iv at 1200mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr.
We had two encounters with this striking and strange bird at Murchinson Falls National Park in Uganda. Both times the Abyssinian Ground-hornbills were buried in the long grasses, and I could not get a good shot of the male with its bright red wattle. The female in the second encounter, early in the evening on our way back from the Nile River tour boat, was more cooperative. These birds are the size of a turkey…and like a turkey, they are not strong flyers, though I have seen them perched in trees. They spend most of their time foraging among the grasses of the savannas. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos and assembled in FrameMagic.
There appear to be only a few species of antelope/gazelle at Murchinson Falls National Park in Uganda. Of them we saw 4: the very numerous Uganda Kob, the scattered groups of Defassa Waterbuck, the even less common Jackson’s Hartebeest, and a very few Oribi, like this one. The Oribi, is small, tends to be solitary, and is easily missed, so their numbers might be considerably higher than our brief sample might indicate. There are 8 recognized sub-species of Oribi across their range…and some authorities recognize 4 of those as actual species. The ones at Murchinson Falls apparently lack the typical, and identifying, black tail. Interestingly the Oribi has its own branch of the antelope family all to itself, and is considered a “sister” species to the main branch. They are small, agile, active, and way too cute. If you take a look at the photo enlarged to screen size, notice those eyes and the rings around the base of the horns 🙂 Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr.
Bee-eaters are always among my most wanted species on any trip to Africa, and we saw 6 different species on our #Epic_Uganda_Vacations birding and wildlife safari through the National Parks and Reserves of Uganda. This is the Red-throated Bee-eater, or as the guide on our Nile River tour boat, from which this photo was taken, said, “the rainbow bird.” If you look at this bird in “Birds of East Africa”, the red will be much more subdued, but on every bird we saw in the field it was this same bright shade, and we saw this species several times. Red-throated Bee-eaters nest in great numbers in the tall clay cliffs along the Nile below Murchinson Falls. We saw close to 50 clinging to the cliff walls and on branches overhanging the water in this location. Sony RX10iv at 1200mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
I was impressed by the numbers and variety of birds we saw in Uganda with #Epic_Uganda_Vacations when compared to my previous trips to either Kenya or South Africa. This is the Dark Chanting-Goshawk which we encountered at Murchinson Falls National Park early in our trip. I looked it up, since I had to wonder why this is a “chanting” Goshawk? What I could find indicates that the name comes from the mating call, which is along, increasingly rapid, series of notes that turns into a tremolo at the end. We did not hear the call, but I am willing to believe in my sources 🙂 It is certainly a striking bird. Both it and the Eastern variety are possible in Murchinson Falls, but the orange cere is the identifying feature here. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm and 1200mm equivalents. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr.