Just under an hour away from our guesthouse is Nsuta Forest, a seldom-visited piece of reasonably extensive forest. It’s being logged these days and probably not as good as it used to be, yet we found a number of new birds here this morning. Arriving around 6.30am we started walked along a side track that took us far into the forest and we got the ball rolling with a cracking Finsch’s Flycatcher Thrush that came in several times allowing everyone to get on it. Then a few Cassin’s Spinetails flew low over the treetops and we had a pretty decent look at them before they disappeared behind the tall trees. We followed this with scope views of the often-tricky Yellow-billed Barbet, Square-tailed Saw-wing and a great Western Nicator. A Dusky-blue Flycatcher then posed nicely before we headed along a narrow trail where a few of the group got on a Kemp’s Longbill. Whilst tinkering with this bird a Tessmann’s Flycatcher flew in right in front of us.
|Group at Nsuta Forest|
Back on the main track we stopped to scan from an open area at the top of a hill and enjoyed nice looks at several Sabine’s Spinetails, a couple Red-fronted Parrots flew right past us, a Blue-throated Roller flew overhead, a Blue-headed Wood-Dove flew by and a pair of Gabonensis Black Cuckoos were called in. Walking downhill we came across a flock of superb Red-billed Hemet-Shrikes and they lingered near us for some time giving great views through the scope.
|Red-billed Helmet-Shrikes - fonescoped.|
We then decided to walk back towards the coach as the temperature began to soar and we were seeing more butterflies than birds. A good decision as it turned out, as a pair of scarce Black Dwarf Hornbills were seen. Then a Blue-headed Crested Flycatcher showed briefly and a cracking African Emerald Cuckoo flew in and landed overhead.
|African Emerald Cuckoo - fonescoped|
One of the best birds of the morning was the diminutive African Piculet that posed repeatedly over the track. We ended our morning session with Yellow-whiskered Greenbul and Crested Malimbe before returning to the sanctuary of our air-conditioned coach….!
Here's a short video using my iPhone & Swarovski scope of the African Piculet:
We returned to the forest in the late afternoon where a tree full of Great Blue Turacos was the highlight. We also saw Copper-tailed Starling and a few commoner species before waiting for the sun to set. Once it was sufficiently dark we called in a fantastic Fraser’s Eagle-Owl to round off yet another great day.