Mubwindi Swamp, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest (Uganda)

View of Mubwindi Swamp
Byron and I met up with a ranger at the Ruhija UWA (Uganda Wildlife Authority) office who happened to also be the guy who took some birders the day before to see the African Green Broadbill. This was going to be a "go go go" trek so we didn't hang around and set off. The trek starts with a short section along the main road before cutting into the forest from where a couple of ascents and descents test the old legs a bit. At one stage we came across some very fresh mountain gorilla faeces and tracks - the ranger radioed in to the UWA office to report that the gorillas had passed a few minutes. Just after this we reached a look-out point where we could Mubwindi Swamp below us in the distance - we still had to drop around 600m to get to the Swamp level.

Black & White Colobus monkey
With not much time to hang around for 'other' birdwatching unfortunately, we hammered on and commenced a very steep descent where the ranger also pointed out where an elephant had slipped its way down a few days before. 09:05am we reached the site where the broadbill had been seen the day before and we went into high alert mode for an appearance. While we were waiting, we took some time to see what other birds were around; Bar-tailed Trogon, African Paradise Flycatcher (2 adults at a nest), Tambourine Dove and Northern Puffback were there whilst Grauer's Warbler and Black-billed Turaco were calling.

African Green (Grauer's) Broadbill
09:30 on the dot, the ranger pointed excitedly as an African Green Broadbill arrived at the nest. What a stunning little bird! Another adult soon arrived as well and the 2 of them continued collecting lichen and working on their nest. As if this wasn't enough, 2 juveniles/immatures also arrived and were flitting about - it wasn't clear if this was a recent 'batch' from the same parents but didn't seem unlikely as the adults didn't chase them away.

We had to set off back again, so after 20minutes of watching these little jewels started on the return trail which is a different route to the descent route and not as steep. Half-hour into the walk and there seemed to be an opportunity to get Byron his bogey bird, the Black-billed Turaco - and didn't he get it. There were eventually 4 birds around us and all calling and providing great views including a couple of flight views which showed their amazing red underwings. Some White-headed Wood-hoopoes popped out just after this as well. A Black-fronted Duiker (photo below) was foraging on the trail ahead of us giving me a brief opportunity to get a photo.

Once we got back to the road, Byron got another of his wishes - great views of Black & White Colobus monkeys in addition to some Sykes (Blue) Monkeys in the immediate vicinity. This was a brilliant ending to a fantastic morning and overall, excellent trip.


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