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A Report from

Uganda, 2nd March-10th March 2009,

John Kirby

This is a brief description of a Naturetrek Bargain Birding tour to Uganda. Ground arrangements through Travelust African Safaris The guide was Johnnie Kamigisha who also acted as driver. He was very pleasant and a good birder.

Day 1.

Heathrow to Entebbe with KLM via Amsterdam arriving late evening. The KLM flight was very good. Overnight in a city hotel

Day 2

Early morning start to Mbarara Wetlands. We set off in canoes down the papyrus lined channel. Malachite Kingfishers zipped about with Swamp Flycatchers and a single Carruthers Cisticola. Black Crakes, Lesser Jacana, African Jacana and Blue headed Coucal all showed well. Overhead were Angola and Barn Swallows and Banded Martins. Then we saw the star bird – the Shoebill! We watched one catch a large lungfish and then observed the bird for about half an hour before we moved to another part of the swamp to see White faced Whistling Duck, Squacco and Purple Herons, Long toed Plovers and African Marsh Harrier.



A long drive followed to a stop-over hotel as we headed to Lake Mburo. Numerous stops on the way produced Emerald and Klaas Cuckoo, Blue breasted Bee-eater, Sooty Chats, Black Kite, Hooded Vulture, Brown Snake Eagle, Bateleur, Long Crested Eagle, Green Pigeon, Emerald spotted Wood Dove, Brown Parrot, Great Blue Turaco, Bare faced Go-away Bird, Levaillants Cuckoo, Broad billed and Lilac breasted Rollers, Common Scimitarbill, Spot flanked Barbet, Yellow throated Longclaw, Brown backed Scrub Robin, Long tailed, Winding and Croaking Cisticolas, Violet backed Starling, Purple banded, Marico, Scarlet chested, Red chested and Copper Sunbirds, Grey headed Negrofinch, Green winged Pytillia.

Overnight at Lake View Hotel in Mbarara. Comfortable but we had to wait 2 ½ hours to be served with soup!!



Day 3

Into Mburu Park. Animals now started to show with Waterbuck, Topi, Zebra, Buffalo and Kob common. Birds came thick and fast. Black bellied Bustard, Wattled Lapwing.

Wahlberg's Eagle, Crested Francolin, Red necked Spurfowl, Grey Crowned Crane, Ross’s Turaco, Woodland Kingfisher, Blue cheeked Bee-eater, Yellow rumped Tinkerbird, Mosque and Rufous chested Swallows, Black lored Babbler, Yellow breasted Apalis, Black Tit, Chin spot Batis.

Overnight at Lake Mburu Tented Camp. This is a luxury fully services permanent camp and very comfortable.

Day 4.

It started with a boat trip on Lake Mburu with good views of Fish Eagle, Pied Kingfisher, Water Dikkop, Lesser striped Swallow, Little Swift, Black crowned Night Heron, White backed Night Heron and Finfoot.



We had further game drives where we saw a really close female Leopard and more birds.


Overnight at the tented camp.

Day 5.

Drove to Queen Elizabeth Park, staying at Mweya Safari Lodge. This is one of the best lodges in Africa – absolute luxury!. Swamp Flycatcher, Slender billed and Lesser Masked Weavers hopped around the restaurant along with a pack of Banded Mongoose.

Elephants, Uganda Kob, Giant Forest Hog and Bush Duiker were seen, with Vervet Monkeys.



Birds seen: African Crake, Black headed Gonolek, White tailed Lark, White chinned Prinia, African Blue Flycatcher. Temmincks Courser, Caspian Plover, Senegal Plover. Crowned Plover, Sulphur breasted Bush Shrike. Tropical Boubou. Papyrus Gonolek, Arrow marked Babbler, White browed Robin  Chat





Johnnie knew a site for Nightjars near to the lodge and we got close up views of roosting Swamp and Square tailed Nightjars.



Day 6

A full day in the park. In the afternoon we did a boat trip on the Kazinga Channel. Although it is a trip with 30 other tourists, by standing on the top deck we saw many birds.

African Skimmer, Black collared Pratincole, White fronted Plover, Pink backed and Great White Pelican. Whiskered, White winged and Gull billed Terns, Marsh Sandpiper, Storks., Egrets and Plovers

Overnight Safari Lodge


Day 7.

Reluctantly left the Safari Lodge for the drive to Kibale Forest. Here we stayed in chalets at Chimps Nest. This is on the edge of the forest with great views over the trees. The food at this place was not very good.

Day 8.

Chimpanzees were heard calling early in the mornings from the restaurant. Forest Rangers had seen Green breasted Pitta the previous day so we set off in high hopes. After 2 hours the bird was heard but we failed to locate it. Of course, 10 minutes after we left the Forest Ranger saw 2 birds!

Forest birding is never easy but we managed to see Red tailed Greenbul, Buff throated Apalis, Masked Apalis, Ayres and Cassin’s Hawk Eagles, Petit’s Cuckoo-Shrike, Bocages and Ludher’s Bush Shrikes, Collared, Green headed and Green throated Sunbirds, Black billed Turaco, Common Wattle-Eye, Honeyguide. Little, Toro Olive and Slender billed Greenbuls. Black crowned, Common and Fawn breasted Waxbills, Red headed Malimbe. 14 Weaver species.

In the afternoon a trip to another part of the forest provided a stunning Black Bee-Eater very close for prolonged views. We also saw L’Hoest’s Monkey, Red tailed Monkey, Grey cheeked Mangabey and Guereza and Red Colobus.

Overnight Chimps Camp.

Day 9.

Long drive to Entebbe to catch the overnight flight home.

Total birds seen by the group. 303



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