Zino's Petrel off Madeira - June 2018

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Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Uganda - Day 18 4/7/16

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
This was a site I had been excited about visiting for a number of reasons, one of which is that its not on too many birding group's radar, and secondly its the best site in Uganda to find the Rwenzori Turaco, a family that I'm particular fond of. Today the area was very windy that certainly hindered the number of species seen, though we found some good stuff including the Turaco. Carrying on from last night, breakfast was a disaster with manky fruit being provided and the food in general taking an age to get to us, so we gave up and headed for Mgahinga. The best site for the Rwenzori Turaco is the gorge, accessed on the Batwa Trail. The walk up was slow going and other then plenty of Dusky Turtle Doves there wasn't a great deal going on. A couple of so far un-identifiable Orchids were spotted, and for a while we were following some very large Forest Elephant footprints, but alas these remained unseen. The habitat wasn't what I was expecting with mainly low bushes and lots of Bamboo, though it wasn't until we reached the gorge the mature trees came into view and straight away we heard the raucous call of a Rwenzori Turaco, but Turacos being Turacos it took a while for the bird to come into view, and when it did it was rather distant, but careful viewing produced good enough views, and confirmed what the book read as being the smartest Turaco in East Africa. The scenery all the way was stunning, with three ancient volcanos dramatically breaking the landscape. The local guide heard what he thought was a good candidate for a Shelley's Crimsonwing, and despite a lengthy search, we successfully dipped. On the long walk back down we remarkably came across an endemic that we thought we had missed elsewhere, the bird in question being a very smart Blue-headed Sunbird. But just in front of the Sunbird, I somehow noticed a slight movement on a lichened branch, and it turned out to be a Rwenzori Side-striped Chameleon. So in the end a productive visit to the smallest national park in Uganda, and on the way back hundreds of kids waved at us, some spat at us again (windows closed thankfully) and we very nearly drove into a kid not looking at the road. All very eventful and by the time we reached the hotel, the Yellow-billed Kites were flying into the back garden to roost, but even better, there was power in the hotel.

Dusky Turtle Dove - 15
Speckled Pigeon
Double-toothed Barbet
Cinnamon Bracken Warbler - 3
Mountain Yellow Warbler - 6
African Hill Babbler
White-tailed Crested Flycatcher - 4
African Dusky Flycatcher - 2
Mountain Sooty Boubou - 1
White-necked Raven
Streaky Seedeater
White-starred Robin - 1

Dusky Turtle Dove - the only bird photo taken today, and not a very good one at that
 the gorge walk

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