September 2010 | ExpedEvac
7 Aug; Guided walk in and around Kihingami Swamp. (Local guide - Alex and student Moses) 07:30 - 13:15


Kihingami Wetland Sanctuary is a community-based project and located adjacent to Kibali Forest at the Sebitoli area. The local guides are trained with backing from Kaberole Tours in Fort Portal who also initiated the project. A walk through part of a village and agriculture brings one to patches of forest and closed woodland after which crosses the swamp area.

Our walk toward the 1st patch of forest produced a few of the more "common" species like Green-headed Sunbird, Western Citril (with nesting material), Tawny-flanked Prinia, Brimstone Canary, Violet-backed Starling, Holub's Golden Weaver, Great Blue Turaco, Black-crowned and Common Waxbills we hadn't seen yet on the trip. The African Blue Flycatcher was a huge bonus and we had reasonable albeit a bit distant views of it.

Reaching the 1st forest patch was like a veritable bird rush-hour starting with Green Hylia, Luhder's Bush-shrike, Red-bellied Paradise-flycatcher, Grey-headed Nigrita, Western Nicator, Grey-winged Robin-chat (ID on photo by Callan Cohen - thanks a lot), Red-headed Bluebill and an ever elusive calling White-spotted Flufftail.

Crossing over the swamp and through the papyrus, a White-winged Warbler responded to playback but refused point blank to show itself. Going into another stretch of forest produced cracking views of Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo, something which doesn't happen often - well, has never happened to me before this. This was just after some good views of Masked Apalis and an elusive Black-faced Rufous Warbler. We tracked the latter down eventually and got some good views followed by quick glimpses of Lizard Buzzard.

Leaving this area and walking back through the tea plantation which is bordered by some good forest trees; we came across a little sunbird party with Collared, Olive-bellied and Green-throated Sunbirds. A Long-crested Eagle lazily floating in the afternoon wind rounded up a pleasant morning's birding even though the birds weren't in the mood for posing for photos as opposed to the insects who were much more obliging.

Sebitoli Forest Camp

5 Aug; Drive Ruhengeri to Sebitoli Forest Camp, Kibali Forest Uganda
Self-guide walk: 17:15 - 19:00

We arrived at Sebitoli Forest Camp at around 17:15 after a full day driving from Ruhengeri (Rwanda). Sebitoli Forest Camp is run by Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and has no electricity yet but comfortable twin rooms with en-suite bathrooms. The shower has cold water but I did notice a "donkey" outside so hot water would be available on request. Food is available at the campsite and includes a fair range of really tasty food. Having sorted out the room etc we walked down the approach road to the camp which goes through a section the forest and were welcomed (upon arrival already actually) by Common Bulbul and the calls of Great Blue Turaco and in the air the pleasant surprise of Rufous-chested Swallows. The birds were initially a bit quiet as we walked, probably due to the heat, but things soon started happening with Sooty Flycatcher, 4x Olive-bellied, Collared, Green-throated and Green-headed Sunbirds, Purple-headed Starling and Grey-headed Nigrita. Brown-capped Weavers had a nest and it appeared that the young had already fledged. Another surprise was the short but very good view of a Dusky Crested Flycatcher, one of this family that has eluded me for awhile. Other birds for the afternoon till dark (around 7pm) were White-chinned Prinia (2x adults with 2 young), Yellow-whiskered Greenbul, Yellow White-eye, Speckled Mousebirds, African Dusky Flycatcher, Red-faced Cisticola, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Black & White Mannikin, White-headed Saw-wings and last but not least, an African Black Duck flying over.
White-chinned Prinia

6 Aug; Guided walk along road to river and back through forest: 07:30 - 13:15
Guided walk in forest: 16:00 - 19:00

Up early in the morning and waiting for the coffee, a Black-shouldered Nightjar was calling nearby followed by the Yellow-whiskered Greenbuls and Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird. Just after breakfast we set off with Richard our ranger/guide at 07:30 down the approach road to the camp. The birds were being spotted at a very quick pace starting with a pair of Petit's Cuckoo-shrike, Grey-throated Barbet, Olive-bellied Sunbirds, Green Pigeon and White-chinned Prinia. Grey-headed Nigrita, Brown-throated Wattle-eye, Black-backed and Brown-capped Weavers and Western Citril. Whilst a Luhder's Bush-shrike was calling nearby we got stunning views of Bocage's Bush-shrike.

We decided to walk down to and along the road to the river to see if we could find Mountain Wagtail and Cassin's Blue Flycatcher. The walk along the road commenced with Brown-crowned Tchagra, Buff-throated Apalis, Collared Sunbird, Petit's Cuckoo-shrike and Chubb's Cisticola. We were still dealing with the massive surprise of an Alpine Swift (brilliant views) when a group of Red Colobus came into sight on the other side of the road. This was time for some mammal moments and photos (if possible) of this lovely primate. Back on the other side of the road, both of us got a lifer with Joyful Greenbul complying nicely with all the field guide notes and making ID fairly easy, especially with it's song. More notable species as we walked further down the road, in addition to the Olive Baboons, were Black & White Casqued Hornbills. Little & Slender-billed Greenbuls, Thick-billed Weaver, Levaillant's Cuckoo and some Hooded Vultures in the air as well as Narrow-tailed Starlings flying over.
Emerald Cuckoo

Down at the river it was all "quiet" although a couple of Great Blue Turacos and Emerald Cuckoo kept us happily occupied. Red-tailed Monkeys didn't want to show themselves but we clearly heard them on our return route before we left the road and took a more pleasant route back to camp through the forest. Going through the forest was rather quiet as it had become quite hot by this stage but we still got little extras like Toro Olive Greenbul, Black-necked Weaver, Western Black-headed Oriole (great views, recordings and photos) and Luhder's Bush-shrike. Otherwise on the animal front we encountered a variety of dung beetles doing their thing, Blue-headed Agama, Red-legged Sun Squirrel and some more Red Colobus.

The afternoon at camp proved extremely productive with Mottled Spinetail stealing the show and side appearances by Alpine Swift, White-rumped Swift, African Black Swift and Red-rumped Swallows. Ross' Turaco popped in for a few moments but some time was spent with a pair of Yellow-crested Woodpeckers. The afternoon walk started at 4pm and we kicked off on a high note once more with Masked Apalis, Luhder's Bush-shrike and a very obliging Blue-throated Roller (photo at left) while Afep Pigeon was calling in the distance. Levaillant's Cuckoo was seen again and Yellow-spotted Barbet, Yellowbill, Black-billed and Great Blue Turacos, Honeyguide Greenbul, White-breasted Nigrita, Buff-throated Apalis and Many-coloured Bush-shrikes - all in the same patch! The walk back eventually was complimented by an elephant grunt a little way off and some fairly fresh signs of it's movements. Close to camp an African Broadbill teased us with it's display deep inside the forest and a Red-capped Robin-chat hopped onto the path briefly.