Lesser Florican - August 2023

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Thursday 28 July 2016

Seaford Head 28/7/16

Another dire morning for migrants despite clear and calm conditions. Nothing moving overhead but the best was saved until last when a Nuthatch started calling in Harry's Bush. Being a patch tick I went into persuit and quickly found it, and was my second patch tick in two visits, so despite no migrants, I can't really complain.

Totals are:
Nuthatch - 1 juv.
Nightingale - 2 'croaking'
Willow Warbler - 2
Reed Warbler - 1
Whitethroat - 17
Lesser Whitethroat - 3

Late news from yesterday:

Splash Point briefly in the morning produced a female Common Scoter offshore. Newhaven West Beach produced juveniles of both Yellow-legged and Mediterranean Gull.

juv. Nuthatch in Harry's Bush - the black line running through the eye gets thinner close to the bill and towards the nape ageing this bird as a juv., as well as the pale underparts. An interesting link here

Monday 25 July 2016

Seaford Head & Lower Cuckmere 25/7/16

My first visit to the Head this autumn was unfortunately very quiet for returning migrants. All was good in the end though as from Harry's Bush I scanned the Lower Cuckmere, and in the distance I spotted an Egret among the cows. Being at such a long distance and having seen a Little Egret with the cattle last week, I dismissed it as this. I sat down and watched the bird, and its behaviour in fact reminded me of a Cattle Egret. With time to waste I walked down towards the cattle and bingo......it was one. It remained elusive for the hour it was present, often hiding in the pools and spending not much time with the cattle. For years I've wondered why I hadn't seen this species down here, but thankfully I can put that thought to rest. The only previous record in the Cuckmere was back in 2000, and like this bird, it didn't linger.

Totals for the Head are:
Nightingale - 1 'croaking'
Reed Warbler - 2
Lesser Whitethroat - 2
Willow Warbler - 1
Swift - 7W

Cattle Egret - 1 adult 8.30 - 9.45

Cattle Egret in Lower Cuckmere

Wednesday 20 July 2016

Uganda Day 11 27/6/16

At long last the next and final 10 days have now been fully updated. Enjoy!

Queen Elizabeth NP
We were out early and started birding the main road up towards the park checkpoint where the first few mammals were being seen. Once at the checkpoint, we opened up the roof and went into safari mode. Large herds of Ugandan Kob were spectacular as they fed across the large open and green plains with mountains in the backround. Some good birds were being seen including a very showy family of Collared Pratincoles. The first of very few Elephants were seen occasionally and our first Vultures of the trip were chilling out in some dead trees. We continued to drive around the park up until late morning where it became very hot and activity had dropped right of. However it was a good morning notching up a good range of species and at long last some good raptor counts. A quick lunch was had back at Marafiki with the usual 5-star service from the locals. The afternoon was spent on the west side of the park and the Kazinga Channel where we embarked on a brilliant boat trip getting stunning views of plenty of mammals as well as hundreds of birds, including the much hoped for African Skimmers. The boat trip ended at Lake Herald that is shared between Uganda and The Congo. On our return an albino Malachite Kingfisher was caught us out. A short game drive afterwards produced a family of Elephants, and then a Nightjar drive back to Marafiki produced no Nightjars at all, but an Owl crossing the road was presumably a White-faced Scops but it kept flying away and a definite identification was unlikely to get. In the distance as we were driving back, a set of eyes crossed the road. It took a while to see the culprit, and when we did it wasn't the best of views, but we were in no doubt the culprit was a Leopard. Apart from nearly running over a Snake, we saw nothing else.

Goliath Heron - 2
Yellow-billed Stork
African Spoonbill - 1
Lesser Flamingo - 100
White-backed Vulture
Ruppell's Griffon Vulture
Brown Snake Eagle
Martial Eagle
Crested Francolin
Red-necked Spurfowl
Black Crake
Water Thick-Knee
Temminck's Courser - 1
Spur-winged Plover
Senegal Lapwing
Kittlitz's Plover
African Skimmer - 100+
African Mourning Dove
Bare-faced Go-Away Bird - 1
Grey-headed Kingfisher
Madagascar Bee-Eater
Spot-flanked Barbet
Rufous-naped Lark
Flappet Lark - 1 displaying
Red-capped Lark
Plain Martin - 2
Wire-tailed Swallow - 2
Rufous-chested Swallow - 2
African Pipit
Grey-capped Warbler - 1
Black-headed Batis - 1
Yellow-billed Oxpecker
Lesser Masked Weaver

Ugandan Kob
Yellow-throated Longclaw
Temminck's Courser

Collared Pratincole

a very young Collared Pratincole

Red-necked Spurfowl

White-browed Coucal

African Skimmers
Giant Forest Hogs
Yellow-billed Stork
Water Thick-Knee

Water Thick-Knee keeping a safe distance
Hamerkop with a Marabou Stork
African Fish Eagle
albino Malachite Kingfisher

 Kazinga Channel

Uganda - Day 12 28/6/16

Ishasha to Buhumo, Bwindi
We drove through the Ishasha section of Queen Elizabeth NP which is known for its tree-climbing Lions as well as a good variety of birds. The drive was slow but we had plenty of time, and thankfully we found two Lions hanging in the tree looking just like Leopards. Along the way we saw two fisherman being eyed up by a Hippo and next to them another Papyrus Gonolek. We made our way closer to Bwindi passing a couple of small towns where we filled up on biscuits and fuel. We were finally entering the foothills of Bwindi where every hotel name had the word Gorilla in them. We arrived at Buhumo Eco-lodge with still time for birding, and a whole different range of species were seen, some right from our lodge. A walk up the road good, but back at the lodge a real songster got going, which proved itself to be a Grey-winged Robin-Chat. Also at our tent-like accommodation, were plenty of moths and insects, but inside our tent was a monster Spider, that certainly caused a panic but the situation was soon resolved with the help of Jake's flip-flop. Another lovely dinner was had with stunning views of the opposite hillside. Very much looking forward to tomorrow with hopefully the first of the Albertine Rift Endemics to be seen.

Striated Heron
Western Banded Snake Eagle
Augur Buzzard
Crested Guineafowl
African Emerald Cuckoo
Diederik Cuckoo
Striped Kingfisher
Common Scimitarbill
White-headed Barbet - 2
Double-toothed Barbet
Spot-flanked Barbet
Elliot's Woodpecker - 2
Grey Woodpecker - 2
Plain-backed Pipit
Toro Olive Greenbul
Trilling Cisticola
Stout Cisticola
Siffling Cisticola - 1
Wing-snapping Cisticola - 2
Lesser Swamp Warbler - 1
Broad-tailed Warbler - 1
Moustached Grass Warbler - 10
White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher - 1
Grey-winged Robin-Chat - 1
White-tailed Blue Flycatcher - 4
Little Green Sunbird
Purple-banded Sunbird - 1
Northern Double Collared Sunbird - 2
Green-throated Sunbird
Pink-footed Puffback - 1
Ludher's Bushshrike - 2
Papyrus Gonolek - 1

 Ludher's Bushshrike
Lion at Queen Elizabeth NP
 Sunrise from Makalali
 Ishasha Section
the view from our tent

Uganda - Day 13 29/6/16

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest - Buhumo Section
After a freezing nights sleep in our tent, we were up early and had breakfast in time for a full days birding as it was just getting light. We met the local guide and off we went along the Buhumo Trail and other various trails that produced a great selection of birds. At times it was quiet, but with forest birding, activity often comes in waves, and in one very short section we had African Broadbill, White-bellied Robin-Chat, Black Bee-Eater and Mountain Illadopsis, the latter liked the look of my shoes as it very nearly hopped onto them. The big dip for me today was a brief Jameson's Antpecker when I was looking elsewhere. An event of the day were three students who worked for the park tried to confiscate our binoculars as we weren't on a Gorilla trek or that's what I got from the whole thing. Basically we all laughed at them and carried on. All day we had two armed guards behind us, not sure for our safety or for the safety of the Gorillas. All day was spent out and we arrived at the tent just as the sun was going down. An excellent day

African Green Pigeon
Black-billed Turaco - 2
Scarce Swift - 1
Bar-tailed Trogon - 5
Black Bee-Eater - 3
White-headed Wood Hoopoe
Yellow-spotted Barbet - 2
Tullberg's Woodpecker - 1
Cardinal Woodpecker
Elliot's Woodpecker - 3
African Broadbill - 1 displaying!! Stunning bird!!
Black Saw-wing
Shelley's Greenbul
Ansorge's Greenbul - 2
Honeyguide Greenbul
Cabanis's Greenbul
Toro Olive Greenbul
Banded Prinia - 3
Black-throated Apalis - 4
Grey Apalis - 15
White-browed Crombec
Equatorial Akalat - 2
White-bellied Robin-Chat - 1
Red-capped Robin-Chat - 1
Mountain Illadopsis - 2
Dusky Tit
Blue-throated Brown Sunbird
Stuhlmann's Starling - 1
Slender-billed Starling
Brown-capped Weaver
White-breasted Negrofinch

 Equatorial Akalat
 Yellow-spotted Barbet
 African Broadbill - amazing to watch it display
 Black Bee-Eater
 White-bellied Robin-Chat
 Ansorge's Greenbul - this species has only recently been described in Uganda. The other East African location for this Greenbul is in SW Kenya. The broken eye-ring as well as the call helped confirm the id.
 Yellow-backed Duiker - this extremely shy and rare Duiker showed for a few minutes along the main trail. Our local guide for the day who walks this path as he says twice a week, last saw this species over two years ago!!
 Bar-tailed Trogon
Black-billed Turaco

Uganda - Day 14 30/6/16

Buhumo - Ruhija (Bwindi)
A really good day today catching up on a few more Albertine Rift Endemics. We again started at Buhumo Eco Lodge where we saw a wealth of birds from the restaurant balcony. Once again I had a poor nights kip suffering from some kind of allergy, but I survived. After breakfast the porters collected our bags from our tent, and my bins as I had left them down there!! We left Buhumo and birded several areas along the way to Ruhija, including 'The Neck' that proved to be quieter then normal. The views as we climbed higher were breathtaking, literally!! Lunch was had next to a singing Chestnut-throated Apalis. We arrived at our base in Ruhija mid-afternoon. Ruhija is a tiny village based very high up with superb panoramic views of the mountains. Our lodge was nice enough for the location, and the owner was just very funny. He felt very privileged to give us a tour of a single open room where he pointed out tea & coffee, restaurant and for some reason a chimney. I got the giggles and resorted to looking at the floor for the remainder of the brief. Anyway, we birded a trail on the opposite hillside and this proved to be very productive with a good list of Albertine Rift Endemics seen, and a lovely sunset to finish off a productive day.

Black Sparrowhawk
Augur Buzzard
Crowned Hawk Eagle - 1
Grey-crowned Crane
Olive Pigeon - 20
African Grey Parrot
Black Bee-Eater - 5
Cinnamon-breasted Bee-Eater
Blue-throated Roller - 1
Scaly-throated Honeyguide - 1
Dwarf Honeyguide - 1
Grey/Grauer's Cuckooshrike - 2
Shelley's Greenbul
Honeyguide Greenbul
Olive Thrush - 1
Chubb's Cisticola - 2
Chestnut-throated Apalis
White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher
Grey-winged Robin-Chat
African Stonechat - 2
Chinspot Batis - 2
Rwenzori African Hill Babbler - 1
Arrow Marked Babbler
Mackinnon's Fiscal - 4
Ludher's Bushshrike - 2
Pink-footed Puffback
Purple-headed Glossy Starling
Black-billed Weaver
Holub's Golden Weaver - 1
Red-headed Malimbe
Yellow-bellied Waxbill
Golden-breasted Bunting
Streaky Seedeater
Thick-billed Seedeater
Black-throated Canary

 Mackinnon's Fiscal
 Black Bee-Eater
 Stripe-breasted Tit
 Grauer's Warbler - unexpectedly very good views
 Streaky Seedeater
Olive Piegon