Untamed Land

Untamed Land
Untamed Land

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Beginning of the End

De Nile, not denial. We camped above the Nile River just outside Murchison NP, at an upscale lodge called Nile Safari Camp. It has luxury tents and a great restaurant that offers sumptuous, four course dinners at affordable prices. It also has a poor man's campsite, (where we stayed) about half a kilometer away from the lodge proper. That is where the photo above was taken.
Right across the river there were all the big animals like these elephants. That is why the lodge provided us with campsite guardians armed with bow and arrows and spears. I asked a guard if he ever had to use them on dangerous animals. He said that he had to shoot some hippos and elephants with his arrows. They just bounced off their hides but deterred them from entering the camp. The guards ignored the many monkeys that freely roamed the area.
We took a couple of boat rides along the river to get close up to the abundant wildlife.
There were some magpie-like birds that attended large mammals called, Piapiacs. The bird above is a sub-adult. Adults have black beaks.
Although I have'nt mentioned them very much, we saw many, many Warthogs all over Uganda. I wonder how they would taste?
Another thing we saw in abundance were Abdim's Storks.
They are only about half the size of Maribou Storks.
Here is a close relative of the American Anhinga, the African Darter. It looks just like the Oriental Darters that Gary and I saw in Cambodia. They are also called snakebirds, for their serpentine neck movements, not for their dietary preferences. There is a weaver's nest on the left of the darter.

A regal, Grey-crowned Crane. Their crowns are not gray, they should be called, Crowned Grey Cranes, to distinguish them from Black-crowned Cranes, which should be called Crowned Black Cranes.
There were some really big crocs. For a great Nile Crocadile story, Check out the latest post on the blog called, Mainly Mongoose, (my favorite blog) I would add a direct link if I knew how.
Some odd birds with a limited range and a specialized habitat, Rock Pratincoles.
The national park was named after these falls. The whole Nile River gets squeezed through a 3.5 meter wide gap. Thrill seekers have contemplated riding down the falls in a barrel. First they sent down test barrels. None of them withstood the extreme pressure. Niether do hippos or crocs that go over the falls.
These are bee-eater nest holes. We were told that they were made by Northern Carmine Bee-eaters, but the local bee-eaters we saw were Red-throated Bee-eaters.
Red-throated Bee-eaters are extra-colorful.
See what I mean?
Happy Easter y'all! It's my favorite holiday even though I can't eat hardly any Easter candy anymore. It signals the beginning of Springtime, Yippee. I saw my first gulls of the season this week. The rest of the migratory birds are soon to follow.

1 comment:

Lily Trotter said...

John, my good friend and fellow birder.
Your comment on the Grey Crowned Crane vs Crowned Grey Carne brought a smile.
You would of course be correct if indeed it and its Black cousin were in fact hyphenated as you depict them (e.g. Grey-crowned Crane) but they are not.
They are correctly spelled Grey Crowned Crane or Black Crowned Crane as that is what they are.
Note the Capitalisation of "Crowned".
Obvious innit?
Thanks for the story and smile.