Monday, March 21, 2011

Uganda - morning, Thursday March 10th - Queen Elizabeth National Park

Thursday morning dawned cool and dry. We had a game drive scheduled for the morning, followed by a boat-trip on the Kasinga Channel in the afternoon.

On the drive through the park we had a great time, apart from the bit when the precariously balanced camera and long-lens fell heavily, catching Helen full in the back of her head, delivering mild concussion, lots of pain and some distress all round. I won't try that particular balancing trick again...

Aside then from damaging Helen we did enjoy a lot of bird sightings, including a Palm-nut Vulture:

Yellow-throated Longclaws (a surprisingly common bird in the Savannah):

Overhead a Yellow-billed Stork:

White-throated Bee-eaters:

White-browed Coucal:

A Whinchat - the last one of these we saw was in Wales a few years back, they are becoming scarcer in their breeding grounds but are relatively common on the Savannah in Uganda:

Wahlberg's Eagle - one of the more frequently encountered Eagles and one of the smallest too, no doubt one is to do with the other:

A target species for the habitat, Temminck's Courser:
Streaky Seedeater:

Southern Red Bishop - moulting to breeding plumage:

and another:

We persuaded Confidence and Harriet to drive us to a lion sighting as whilst being a birding safari, well you have to don't you! Throughout the holiday they proved very flexible and really helpful, which we very much appreciated.

A reasonably common bird, the Rufous-naped Lark:

Red-billed Queleas:
A male Pin-tailed Whydah in breeding plumage:
A Piapiac:
Lesser Masked Weaver:
Black-winged Red Bishop:
We had to leave the park to get back to Simba for our lunch. On the way back we spotted a bird in a bush, which turned out, after some 'fishing' to be a Jacobin variant of the Black-and-White Cuckoo:
Another non-bird encounter was this Hyena, first somewhat distant and having a good scratch in the mud:
Then it jogged much closer to us:
Next-up the best of both worlds, a Cattle Egret taking a ride on a Buffalo:
Grey-backed Shrike:
Gray-headed Kingfisher:
Grassland Pipit:
Crowned Lapwing:
Common Buzzard:
At a 'bush-break' stop, Confidence spotted these Cinnamon-breasted Rock-buntings:
Caspian Plover:
Blue-breasted Bee-eater:
Black-bellied Bustard:
After lunch we drove to the boat launch, taking in more birds in the grounds of the Park Headquarters, while Confidence paid for our seats, including a Scarlet-chested Sunbird that showed really well:

Red-chested Sunbird:

Being close to water at this point some not unexpected overfliers, Great White Pelicans:

Their formation flying is very consistent and makes for good photography:

Other birds included Slender-billed Weavers, browsing the ceiling of the building for prey:

and last but not least, as we headed back to the bus for the short drive down to the boat, Swamp Flycatcher:

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