Saturday, March 26, 2011

Uganda - morning, Monday March 14th - Kibale forest, road-side walk

A short way North from Fort Portal is a small part of the Kibale National Forest. An interesting aside, we learned on this trip that the president had planned to sell the forest to an Indian business man. It would have been razed completely, with the land used for growing sugar cane. The people of Uganda rose-up as one against this monstrous idea and actually started killing Indians, forcing the president to back down. That's how extreme it got before the corrupt government actually listened to its own people. Of course just like in India, most of the original forest was cut down for tea and coffee plantations when we, the British, were military dictators, so we can't exactly pass judgement. I am glad the Ugandans value their forest, as it is amazing, beautiful and unique. It's a shame we Westerners don't value our natural assets so highly, though I wouldn't advocate nor condone such extreme actions. So a brief (main) roadside walk included listening to duetting Chubb's Cisticola and then duetting Joyful Greenbul, quite a sound, with the odd lorry (driver looking incredulously at our group) passing by. Some of the birds photographed included White-throated Prinia: Red-faced Cisticola: and African Emerald Cuckoo: A later stop on our drive to Masindi, impromptu as we had to pull over to allow oncoming traffic through on a in-construction road, provided excellent views of Papyrus Gonolek: Splendid bird! Over the papyrus swamp, European Bee-eaters, pre-migration: One disturbing trend in Uganda is that wherever there is cultivated land any adjacent Papyrus appears to have been burned. The locals clearly are seeking to expand their own land at the expense of native habitats. Unsurprisingly many species, like back here in the UK, are in precipitous decline. One other point worth mentioning, the rain, despite assurances from the tour company and indeed my family was becoming more and more of a regular feature, we were worried the rest of the trip could be a washout...

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