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UGANDA

Saturday 6th September - Saturday 20th September 2014

Nik Borrow

Shoebill - always a favourite (Nik Borrow)

Shoebill - always a favourite (Nik Borrow)

Uganda is famously quoted as being the ‘Pearl of Africa’ and although neither Henry Morton Stanley nor Winston Churchill had birders and ecotourists in mind when they awarded the country this title it is most certainly an appropriate one! This is surely an essential destination for any world-travelling bird watcher as it is home to the incredible Shoebill, a good number of Albertine Rift endemics and is an excellent place to see a few otherwise difficult western African forest species. A visit to this friendly and welcoming country also offers a great mammal-watching experience and of course primates in particular with Eastern Gorilla and Chimpanzee at the top of the list. It is not often that the mammals get a mention before the birds, but on this occasion it is apt, as our experiences with the incredible Eastern Gorillas of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest were truly unforgettable! To rival this experience the incomparable Shoebill surrendered to our collective gaze on day one with some ‘up close and personal’ views of fishing birds. We were also lucky to find the elusive Weyns’s Weaver nearby. In Murchison Falls National Park Puvel’s Illadopsis entertained and there were also Heuglin’s Francolin and groups of garrulous Dusky Babblers. We embarked on a ‘chimp trek’ in Kibale National Park and in the wonderfully named Bwindi Impenetrable Forest scored enormously with excellent views of the little-known and rare Oberländer’s Ground Thrush. We also enjoyed definitive views of the newly described Willard’s Boubou and managed to see a whole host of Albertine Rift endemic species that included the gorgeous Doherty’s Bushshrike and Regal Sunbird as well as Handsome Francolin, Ruwenzori Batis, Stripe-breasted Tit, Grauer’s Warbler, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Ruwenzori Apalis, Mountain Masked Apalis, Red-throated Alethe, Archer’s Ground Robin, Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher, Blue-headed Sunbird and Strange Weaver. We finished our African adventure with Brown-chested Lapwing, two pairs of Red-faced Barbets and no less than six African Finfoots on Lake Mburo! Amongst the many other mouth-watering specialities that we encountered were White-naped Pigeon (heard only), Black-billed Turaco, Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo, Pel’s Fishing Owl (heard only), Black-shouldered and Ruwenzori Nightjars, Elliot’s Woodpecker, Lagden’s Bush-shrike (heard only), Mountain Sooty Boubou (heard only), Papyrus Gonolek, Petit’s Cuckooshrike, Kakamega, Olive-breasted, Joyful and White-throated Greenbuls, White-browed Crombec, Neumann’s Warbler (heard only), White-winged and Grauer’s Swamp Warblers, Trilling, Chubb’s, Carruthers’s, Foxy and Long-tailed Cisticolas, Black-faced Prinia, Red-winged Grey Warbler, Chestnut-throated Apalis, Grey-capped Warbler, Green-backed Eremomela, Scaly-breasted and Mountain Illadopsises, Black-lored Babbler, Ruwenzori Hill Babbler, Silverbird, Chapin’s Flycatcher, White-bellied, Grey-winged and Blue-shouldered Robin-Chats, Equatorial Akalat, Grey-headed, and Red-chested Sunbirds, Shelley’s Sparrow, Golden-backed Weaver, Dusky Crimsonwing, Red-headed Bluebill, Brown and Dusky Twinspots, Kandt’s Waxbill, Black-chinned Quailfinch and Western Citril.

Uganda's an excellent place to see African Finfoot (Nik Borrow)

Uganda's an excellent place to see African Finfoot (Nik Borrow)