Untamed Land

Untamed Land
Untamed Land

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary

 I guess I get an A for creative sign photography considering the fact that the sign I was trying to photograph was the sign that is cut off on the far left of the photo. I was distracted by the villagers passing by along the road.
The Bigodi Wetlands are nearby the more famous Kibale Forest, north of Queen Elizabeth NP. Kibale Forest is the best place in Uganda to see Chimpanzees.
Bigodi is a small but enterprizing village that set up the Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary on the outskirts of town. It's not much to look at, and is hardly a wetland at all. It does have an abundance of birds and monkeys.
In the photo above, Gary walks along the road toward the sanctuary with our expert guide Alex. We camped out at a wonderful resort near the village that was managed by Hillary, who trained Alex. We loved the area.
Even before we got to the sanctuary itself we started seeing good things like a pair of Great Blue Turacos eating palm fruits right next to the busy road, (busy with foot traffic not automobile traffic).
This bird, as much as anything else was responsible for me wanting to come to Uganda when I read that it was fairly easy to see in the country. There were half a dozen other birds I wanted to see just as much.
Turacos and their close relatives, Go-away birds are restricted to the African Continent. I was pleased to see Knyshna and Purple-crested Turacos in South Africa, and Ross's, Black-billed, White-crested, and Great Blue Turacos in Uganda.
Another bird that I seriously hoped to see in Uganda was the African Grey Parrot.
African Grey Parrots are Africa's largest parrot. We saw several of them eating small fruits in a tree at the edge of Bigodi Wetlands. We laid back on a hillside next to the tree and observed the feeding behavior of the parrots. What a priveledge it was to see these birds in their natural state.
We saw two new species of monkeys in the wetlands. This is a Central African Red Colobus. The other species were some Grey-cheeked Mangabeys but I got really bad photos of them.
Here is an Olive Baboon trying to look cool from his elevated perch.
The other monkey species we saw in the wetlands were B&W Colobus, and these Red-tailed Monkeys. Five species of monkeys in one small area is pretty impressive as far as I'm concerned. We saw many new birds in Bigodi as well.
We asked about seeing Chimpanzees in the nearby Kibale Forest. They wanted to charge us $50.oo US for the car, $30.oo per person entry fee, plus $90.oo per person for a chimp permit. Forget it. We headed further Northwest to Semliki Forest on the border with the DRC. More about Chimpanzees later.

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