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.
“If your eye is generous, your whole being if full of light!” Jesus
Towards the end our first day at Murchinson Falls National Park in Uganda, while we were on our way back to the lodge after a cruise on the Nile to the base of Murchinson Falls, we encountered a journey of Giraffes just before sunset on the crest of a hill in that golden light. Who could resist? Giraffes, to my eye (my generous eye) have a strange beauty at the worst of times, and bathed in glory, as they were at that moment, they are certainly creatures that demand, and reward, our attention. What eye, but the most generous and loving eye of the Creator, could have seen in imagination, and shaped in the flesh, the Giraffe? It is such an unlikely critter…and yet, once seen, so perfectly essential and necessary and right, that you can no longer imagine the world without it. That is the way with the creations of our loving God…each perfect, each undeniable once seen.
It can only be my fervent prayer, reinforced by faith, that I am such a creation…and can live in the world with the same grace as the Giraffe…sunrise to sunset. And that, of course, is my prayer for you as well.
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. 🙂