Zino's Petrel off Madeira - June 2018

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Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Uganda - Day 15 1/7/16

Ruhija - Bwindi
Today was the day we tracked the Mountain Gorillas. The Gorillas were probably the top priority for us so it was fair to say we were pretty excited about the whole thing. We assembled at the base where around 25 or so other visitors were. We were given a brief and then split into groups and given a Gorilla family we were to track. We were given the Bitakura Group that has three Silverbacks in. We started the trek with an idea of where the family had slept that night and they don't normally travel too far. It did take two hours of hard graft to reach the area where the Gorillas had been by hiking up steep hills through tangles and vines. However, despite the others fitness levels, we made it and soon we were watching our first Gorillas climbing down a tree, and then others were spotted on the ground. It was an awesome moment to finally set eyes on our first Gorillas, and over the next hour we were finally rewarded with unbelievable views of these gentle giants going about there own business by either just eating or rolling down the hill to get to their next favoured patch to eat. A real privilege to come face to face with the Mountain Gorillas in their natural habitat.

The afternoon was spent savouring the moment and then birding at a higher elevation where lots of species were on offer, including yet more Albertine Rift Endemics, that are capitalised below. The highlight being a Rwenzori Nightjar that showed well in the torch light after initially hearing it singing.

Ayre's Hawk Eagle - 1
Crowned Hawk Eagle - 4
Great Blue Turaco
Black-billed Turaco
Grey-throated Barbet - 2
Mountain Greenbul
Black-throated Apalis
White-starred Robin - 1
Black-tailed/Montane Oriole - 2
Sharpe's Starling - 15
Yellow-mantled Weaver
Olive Thrush

 Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
Regal Sunbird near Ruhija
 Ian making the hike look easy

Ian and Jake watching a Gorilla (in the tree to the left and near the top)

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