An exciting morning lay ahead of us as we left the lodge at 6am and drove to the main reception of the park HQ and picked up our tracker/guide. Then we drove into the forest and walked down a narrow trail which dropped steeply. At the bottom pf this trail we joined a Birdquest group and saw a Green-breasted Pitta feeding further along the path in front of us. Between heads, Tilley hats and an accompaniment of local rangers we managed to scope the pitta in the gloom, but the views were less than satisfactory. When the pitta disappeared, we walked further into the forest and managed to find it again, and at one stage the pitta almost flew into us. It was still dark under the canopy and we craved better views, so returned to the main path where unbelievably we watched an adult and 2 fully grown young feeding right out in the open.
|The best I could do in the gloomy Kibale Forest of Green-breasted Pitta|
For the next 15 minutes we soaked up incredible views of the most-wanted bird of the tour (arguably). From here we walked back to the main road, stopping to look at a singing Rufous (Fraser’s) Flycatcher-Thrush along the way, and we also heard Scaly-breasted Illadopsis and Western Black-headed Oriole.
At the point where Paul was driving to pick us up our tracker/guide pointed out a juvenile Chimpanzee feeding high up in a nearby tree. We then found the mother lower down and watched the young one climb down to join her. Wow! And a short while later a Narina Trogon was seen. So we then drove back along the main forest road and walked into the forest again, this time in search of Chimpanzees. In no time at all we joined quite a few other people in watching a few Chimps feeding high up in the trees. Amazingly, and after a bit of a run around, we had point-blank views of two Chimpanzees feeding on fruits, whilst sat on the forest floor about 15 feet away…… Words cannot do the experience justice and to say we were satisfied with the views is an understatement.
|It was a fantastic experience to see these Chimpanzee's up close|
By now it was only 10;40am and still time to nail a few new birds so further along the road we drove and stopped when a Red-chested Cuckoo began calling and after a bit of waiting eventually managed to scope one of three that were continuously calling. A Honeyguide Greenbul was also singing away and we managed reasonable looks at it, scoped an African Shrike-Flycatcher, but only had flight views of Yellow-throated Tinkerbird.
By now the overcast morning was breaking up into bright blue sky and it became quite hot, so decided to drive back to the lodge. Along the way we stopped to look at a flock of Vieillot’s Black Weavers and a White-browed Coucal, and further scanning produced Fan-tailed Widowbird, Cardinal Quelea and Snowy-crowned Robin-Chat.
Lunch on the upper deck of the lodge gave us a splendid view across the treetops of Kibale Forest and the gardens where a Sabine’s Spinetail patrolled the valley below us. There was also African Yellow White-eye, African Pygmy Kingfisher, African Harrier-Hawk, Lizard Buzzard, Olive-bellied and Bronzy Sunbirds, Mosque and Lesser Striped Swallows, Yellow-fronted Canaries, an ultra-brief Black Cuckooshrike, and an African Blue Flycatcher found by Andy. And then a pair of Red-headed Malimbes showed in a big tree, and a pair of Black-and-white Shrike-Flycatchers were spotted in the same tree! Wow! Just before we left for our afternoon excursion a pair of White-chinned Prinias performed admirably to set us off in high spirits.
We walked around Bigodi Swamp in the afternoon, which was a little quiet. However, we still notched up a number of goodies beginning with a Tambourine Dove perched next to the path, followed by Yellow-throated Tinkerbird, Violet-backed Starling, Grey-winged Robin-Chat having a feast at an ant swarm and a Little Greenbul. We did get brief views of a White-spotted Flufftail, saw a Red-bellied Paradise-Flycatcher, Magpie Manikin and a close pair of Black-and-white Shrike-Flycatchers. Plus some monkeys….!!