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.
A classic shot of the Uganda Kob…the antelope species that replaces the Impala and the Gazelles in much of Uganda. It is, to my eye, a bit sturdier than the Impala…more like a Grant’s Gazelle in body proportions. We saw herds of 50 or more grazing in the lush grasses of September in Murchinson Falls National Park. This is likely the dominant buck of this particular herd. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr.
Our third (out of 9) primate species on my September #Epic_Uganda_Vacations birds and wildlife safari in Uganda’s National Parks and Reserves. This fellow is in Murchinson Falls National Park. He climbed up to greet the first rays of the rising sun (and maybe to keep a better eye on us as we stopped on the road near him). They are more commonly seen foraging on the ground, and, indeed, that is where we saw our first one. This one presented itself a half hour later and further into the drive. Given their common social structure…they live and forage in troops of up to 25…there were probably a lot more of them out of sight in the long grasses under the acacia trees below. Sony RX10iv at 600 and 1200mm equivalents. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. The heavy brow and the dark eye-sockets make the eyes hard to recover but you can see a hint of them in the closer view. 🙂
Among Uganda’s National Parks and Reserves, Murchinson Falls is the only one that supports the kind of herds of the bigger animals that you associate with Kenya or Tanzania or South Africa. In fact, I have never seen larger herds of Giraffes than we saw at Murchinson Falls. Giraffes generally go in bunches to graze…not as solitary individuals…and bunch of Giraffes in the landscape together is called a “herd” or a “journey” or a “tower”, depending on which authority you check. Tower is pretty obvious in its derivation, but not, in fact, very descriptive. While Giraffes might tower as individuals, they don’t group up into anything like a tower. Herd is too prosaic for consideration. Which leaves a “journey of Giraffes,” which certainly captures more of the feeling of Giraffes as you actually see them in the verdant expanse that is Murchinson Falls in September when the rains have started. The Murchinson’s Giraffes are Rothschild’s Giraffes, the most endangered of the three sub-species of common Giraffe…the Masai (the most widespread in Kenya and Tanzania), the Reticulated with a limited range in Kenya, and the Rothschild’s, common only at Murchinson Falls National Park here in Uganda and in a healthy introduced herd in Lake Nakuru National Reserve in Kenya. The panel presented here tries to capture both the felling of the mass of Giraffes at Murhinson Falls, and the grander of the creature. These are from our first encounter with Giraffes on this trip with #Epic_Uganda_Vacations. Sony RX10iv at various focal lengths. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos, and assembled in FrameMagic.
The first official day of our #Epic_Uganda_Vacations safari was spent getting to Murchinson Falls National Park, with a stop at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary along the way for Rhino Trekking, and we drove through the Murchinson gate at sunset, did not reach the Nile Ferry until 7PM, and Pakuba Safari Lodge deep in the park until well after dark. We woke the next morning to a herd of Defassa Waterbuck feeding around our cabins. These shots were taken before sunrise, using the Sony RX10IV’s Anti-Motion Blur mode for the low light levels. Two of the young bucks were testing their combative skills. 600mm equivalent. Processed in Polarr.