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ULTIMATE UGANDA

Sunday 19th July - Saturday 8th August 2015

Nik Borrow

The rare Grauer's Broadbill (Nik Borrow)

The rare Grauer's Broadbill (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 and we were also lucky to find the often-elusive Weyns’s Weaver nearby. In Mabira Forest we found Yellow-eyed Greenbul and Forest Wood Hoopoes whilst at Kaniyo Pabidi in Murchison Falls National Park Puvel’s Illadopsis entertained and the secretive Nahan’s Francolin put in an appearance. In the wooded savannahs there were also fabulous Pennant-winged Nightjars, Bat Hawk and a group of garrulous Dusky Babblers. In the Budongo Forests we found treetop Ituri Batis and Uganda Woodland Warbler with Heuglin’s Francolins in the surrounding cultivation. We embarked on a ‘chimp trek’ in Kibale National Park and in the wonderfully named Bwindi Impenetrable Forest we spent a magical hour with a family of Eastern Gorillas and scored enormously with excellent views of the little-known and rare Grauer’s (or African Green) Broadbill at the nest. There was also 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, Neumann’s Warbler, Grauer’s Warbler, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Ruwenzori Apalis, Mountain Masked Apalis, Red-throated Alethe, Archer’s Ground Robin, Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher, Willard’s Sooty Boubou (heard only), Blue-headed Sunbird and Strange Weaver. In the swamps of the southwest we connected with Papyrus Yellow Warbler and Papyrus Canary and beneath the volcanoes at Mgahinga we enjoyed views of many Ruwenzori Turacos as well as Lagden’s Bushshrike, Dusky Crimsonwing and the colourful Golden Monkey. We finished our African adventure with Brown-chested Lapwings, Red-faced Barbets, African Finfoots and a pair of nest-building White-backed Night Herons in Lake Mburo National Park! Amongst the many other mouth-watering specialities that we encountered were Mountain Buzzard, Black-billed Turaco, Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo, Black-shouldered and Ruwenzori Nightjars, White-thighed Hornbill, Willcocks’s Honeyguide, Fine-banded and Elliot’s Woodpeckers, Jameson’s Wattle-eye, Lowland Sooty Boubou (heard only), Mountain Sooty Boubou, Papyrus Gonolek, Petit’s Cuckooshrike, Mountain Oriole, White-tailed Blue Flycatcher, Kakamega, Olive-breasted, Joyful, Toro Olive, White-throated and Yellow-streaked Greenbuls, White-browed Crombec, White-winged and Grauer’s Swamp Warblers, Trilling, Chubb’s, Carruthers’s, Foxy and Long-tailed Cisticolas, Black-faced Prinia, Red-winged Grey Warbler, Lowland Masked and Chestnut-throated Apalises, Grey-capped Warbler, Scaly-breasted and Mountain Illadopsises, Black-lored Babbler, Ruwenzori Hill Babbler, Grey-chested Babbler, Stuhlmann’s and Sharpe’s Starlings, Kivu Ground Thrush (heard only), Silverbird, Chapin’s Flycatcher, White-bellied, Grey-winged and Blue-shouldered Robin-Chats, Eastern Forest Robin, Equatorial Akalat, Grey-headed and Red-chested Sunbirds, Shelley’s Sparrow, ‘Victoria’ Masked Weaver, Golden-backed Weaver, Red-headed Bluebill, Brown Twinspot, Kandt’s Waxbill, Black-chinned Quailfinch and Western Citril.

The magnificent Shoebill (Nik Borrow)

The magnificent Shoebill (Nik Borrow)