Untamed Land

Untamed Land
Untamed Land

Thursday, April 21, 2011

From Toro-semliki to the Budongo Forest

Maribou Storks confidently strut around villages and big cities throughout Uganda. This bird was in the village next to the Toro-semliki Headquarters on the shore of Lake Albert.
This guy was in the tree next to my banda.
This was me after a month of roughing it in the bush.
Another of my target birds for Uganda was Grey-crowned Crane. We saw many of them, and some were quite tame. These birds were just outside the picnic area near our bandas.
A Black-headed Heron stood vigil in a tree over my outdoor shower in Toro-semliki. That is if you can call pouring a bucket of water over your head a shower. I wont even describe the horrors of the pit toilets.
The nature reserves and national parks of Uganda require visitors to hire an armed guard to accompany them on outings into the bush. That is because on the dangerous animals and nefarious people that you might encounter. All of our guards were excellent birders and they were genuinely enthusiastic about helping us find good wildlife.
In the photo above Moses stands beside Gary as they admire some Little Bee-eaters. We often slipped away into the parks without our minders to save a little money. Mostly we got away with it. A guilty pleasure.
This Yellow-billed Kite perched right next to the road and allowed us to take all the photos we could desire.
A Brown Snake Eagle in bad light.
A Red-headed Weaver also in the same bad light.
The Eastern Grey Plantain-eater is very similar to a go-away bird. We saw them all over Uganda. They are vocal and sound very much like Laughing Kookaburas.
We got to watch a pair of Cardinal Woodpeckers excavate a nest hole. The male did almost all of the work.
We never got into the Budongo Forest proper because the guard at the gate would not let us pass through without a guide. We would have had to drive for over an hour out of the way to get a guide and then bring him back at the end of the day. That would have left us in the same predicament of not being able to drive through the forest without a guide. We drove around it instead.
This White-thighed Hornbill was nearby. It has a very limited range within the country.
Another White-thighed Hornbill.
A Crowned Hornbill.
We did get to pass through the periphery of the famous Budongo forest. We saw lots of hornbills, some good cuckoos, and many other birds. We heard Chimpanzees and saw a new primate species, Blue Monkeys. They did not stick around long enough for photos.
The next few posts will be about our last, and best area in Uganda, Murchison Falls National Park.

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