Sunday, March 20, 2011

Uganda - morning, Tuesday March 8th - Ruhija, Bwindi

As noted previously, we were delighted with Harriet's willingness to adapt the itinerary to suit what we wanted to achieve, specifically a chance to see some of the Albertine Rift Endemics, so an early start saw us driving from Buhoma to Ruhija to the higher elevations with which these species are associated. The drive was planned to take two hours, including stopping for anything encountered along the way, such as Mountain Buzzard for example:

Or African Golden-breasted Bunting:

As we headed-up, it started to rain, however we were lucky and rather than persisting it cleared up about three-quarters of the way into our journey. We stopped to take a few photographs of the scenery as the weather cleared:

This is a fairly typical landscape in Uganda, that is steep sloping hills and mountains, dotted with small and medium sized plots of land, it is beautiful to behold:

A relatively frequent encounter on the drive up was with Cinnamon-chested Bee-eaters:

At one specific stop we tried (unsuccessfully) to track down Dusky Twinspot, however the area was inhabited by African Stonechats:

As you can see the sun was really coming out by this time and with it the temperature soared.

The prime birding location in Ruhija is the road itself, so Confidence parked-up and we walked down the road, looking to see what might be about. We did add two of the Endemics, specifically Blue-headed Sunbird and Mountain Masked Apalis, the photographs I managed weren't however of sufficient quality. Other birds sighted along the road include a Yellow-whiskered Greenbul:

A Copper Sunbird:

A White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher, of the race which doesn't really have a have white-eye ring, surely to be isolated as its own species sometime soon:

A female Sunbird, I believe Northern Double-Collared Sunbird:

Little Greenbul:

Chubb's Cisticola:

These are tremendous birds to hear, often duetting in their song and isolated to higher elevations only.

Black-billed Weaver:

African Dusky Flycatcher:

A soaring Augur Buzzard:

An African White-tailed Blue Flycatcher:

As the day warmed-up and birds went quiet we drove into Ruhija itself, for tea and coffee at a mountain-top resort, as well as a wander around their grounds, there seeing Yellow-fronted Canary:

And Baglafecht Weavers, pair-bonding:

In the extensive agapanthus:

We then headed back to our accommodation in Buhoma, stopping again en-route, first for a Brown-crowned Tchagra, rummaging underneath some tea bushes:

A Cassin's Grey Flycatcher at our lunch stop by the river:

As well as White-throated Greenbul:

And for me the star bird of the day, a Black Bee-eater:

Stunning bird and hard to locate, so we were chuffed when it showed up!

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