Freelance photographer, guide, divemaster and travel blogger. Travelled 47 countries and counting; 30 in Africa plus the Caribbean, Europe and SE Asia. Now in South America and as always, still working and involved in the tourism and hospitality industries.
Search for Green-breasted Pitta, Kanyanchu, Kibale Forest (day 1)
10 Aug: Birding from Kanyanchu UWA office in Kibale Forest with UWA guide Gerald T 06:00 - 12:20
As we were leaving Chimp's Nest to go to Kanyanchu, a Wood Owl was calling but there wasn't time to look around for it, the hunt for the Green-breasted Pitta had to get underway. We set off at 6am from the UWA office with head torches into the forest to get to the location where we'll be hoping to hear the display of the Pitta and then find it from there. 20min into the walk a soft rain started coming down and when we reached the spot where we would wait, there was a good shower underway.
By 7:30 we still hadn't heard any Pitta displaying and started searching on the ground in the areas that Gerald knew as their territories. The rain eventually let up but the forest was still dripping from the rain and it was also strong dusk-type light inside the forest, not making it any easier to find this lovely yet cryptically plumaged bird. Other birds were waking up and the first calls were that of Red-chested Cuckoo, Scaly-breasted Illadopsis, Rufous Flycatcher Thrush and White-tailed Ant-thrush.
Luckily we also eventually started seeing some other birds as well whilst the Pitta eluded us; White-throated Greenbul, Crested Guineafowl, Scaly-breasted Illadopsis, Western Black-headed Oriole, Purple-headed Starling and an immature Narina Trogon were the first sightings.
We slowly worked our way back to the main trail where we encountered a Red-capped Robin-chat busy with its morning song. Perfectly posing, it was ideal (other than the light) for some good photos and I gradually crept closer getting better shots. One moment I paused, shocked/surprised/amazed - the bird had just mimicked my camera shutter! Big smiles all round at this amazing mimic and songster. Still no Pitta yet though - luckily we had booked an extra night at the lodge, so we'll try tomorrow again.
Narina Trogon immature
We reached the office at 10:40 where there was time for a quick coffee and tea. Whilst chatting and seeing what birds were around the UWA office area, 2 large Hornbills flew in rather quietly which seemed a bit odd considering we just randomly put them down to B&W Casqued. Having a closer look with the binoculars though revealed a pair of White-thighed Hornbills! What a bonus - totally an unexpected species here, for us anyway. Gerald then tells us that they haven't been noted there for quite a few years and that it was also his 1st sighting of them there in 7 years!
Little Green Sunbird at nest
Other birds were quite active and Little Green and Collared Sunbirds were nesting and Gerald found us a pair of Buff-spotted Woodpeckers. A Yellowbill also made a brief appearance. Wandering through the campsite and the office approach road, we also found Bronze Mannikin, Olive-bellied (nesting) and Green Sunbirds, Lizard Buzzard and rounded off very nicely with excellent views of a pair of Yellow-billed Barbets (the species I'd missed out on in Semuliki Forest).
Collared Sunbird with nesting material
As we were leaving the office, we found a pair of Little Green Sunbirds with a juvenile, Black-necked Weaver and White-winged Widow, the latter being as we left the main Kibale Forest along the road to the lodge.
Other species heard (some seen) included; Blue-spotted Wood Dove and Tambourine Dove (seen), Yellow-throated and Speckled Tinkerbirds (both only heard), Yellow-crested Woodpecker (heard), Black & White Casqued Hornbill (heard).