Saturday, 15 August 2015

East Africa Day 8 (Part 1)

Uganda 26 July 2015

I have not been able to upload photographs to my blog without wifi or decent band width but will add my photographs to my blog post as soon as I can.

We are having the most brilliant time in Uganda with everything being great. Our trip was organised by our local ground agents Avian Watch Uganda.  Everything is going really well with Robert, our fantastic guide (who knows all the sites and calls and can whistle birds in) and Paul, our driver and fixer, for who nothing was too much.

This morning we were up at 5.00 am for a breakfast at 5.30 am with Dad and Digby going out to find him a nightjar.  We spent the morning birding Kidepo Valley National Park, in the north east of Uganda.  It was great to have the top of the Landcruiser open, so we could see all around. 

The Lion conservation people staying at the lodge with us were doing research through Uganda Conservation Foundation.  They drove past and told us where there were two young males near the track ahead, but we were birding and they were gone by the time we got to the right place, which was a shame.

We picked up a ranger from the check-point just before the camp where we had lunch the day before.  We then drove through a fenced area, which we were told was 10 square km.  It was used to hold animals here until they are released into the park and have giraffe which are rare in park

Robert came into the back with us, to make space for the ranger.  It was quite difficult to see in the back as both Robert and Digby had gillets on, making them twice as wide.

We reached an area where quite a few flies came into the vehicle.  Paul, our driver, started using a newspaper to madly get them out of the vehicle around him.  Then Robert put his waterproof on.  Then Robert put his waterproof on and I wondered if it was about to start raining again. Then I had my first fly bite which was like a horsefly bite, I could positively feel a long stinger go in.  My first reaction was “Ow, what was that?”  but then realised that our vehicle was infested with Tetsi Flies which as well as being agony, can give you a nasty sickness and they seem immune to repellent, even when sprayed directly on to them!

We drove from the camp area north towards the South Sudan border.  We went into South Sudan for half an hour and then came back into the park and birded in the park.  We then birded along the road which was fine as we have an armed ranger, until Robert, our guide, told us to get close together so that a lion could not pick one of us off, especially me as the smallest.  We didn’t see the Karamoja Apalis that we were looking for, which was disappointing.  Mum and I missed a common Buttonquail, but at least it wasn’t a new bird for us.

On the way back to the lodge, we saw a herd of elephants crossing the road and then drinking water at a water hole right next to the road, which was brilliant.

We also saw a group of 19 Giraffe in the distance, which was great to see.  We heard that no one had seen this many, not even the people doing the research, so we should let them know.  We were staying at Nga Moru Wilderness Camp, just outside the park which was lovely.  Our room was great but with no electricity.  Digby had forgotten to bring a torch (flashlight), so I leant him my head-torch as we had a spare.

I found out that the east side of the National Park and an area right next to our lodge were closed to tourists and instead used for ‘Big Game Hunting’ which I think is disgusting and gives a confusing message to people especially local people and poachers.

We had seen some great birds including Nubian Woodpecker, Jackson’s Hornbill, Bruce’s Green Pigeon, Yellow-spotted Petronia and Marico Sunbird.

Trip List – Up to the end of day 8 my trip list was 362 and I had 155 lifers.

About the Writer

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig on Scilly
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig 

Mya-Rose Craig is a 12 year old young birder, conservationist, writer and speaker. She is based near Bristol and writes the successful Birdgirl Blog, with posts about birding and conservation from around the world. She is looking forward to going Mountain Gorilla Trekking in East Africa and watching Penguins in Antarctica in December 2015, which will be her 7th continent. She has recently been listed with the singer songwriter George Ezra and actress Maisie Williams from Game of Thrones as one of Bristol's most influential young people. Please like her Birdgirl Facebook Page and follow her on Birdgirl Twitter

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