Indoor Meetings about Birds and Wildlife

Birds and Wildlife of South-western Uganda
by Andy Warren

Date: Thursday 21 March 2019 at 19:30

Details:

Forty-seven people attended this meeting at which Andy Warren made a welcome return and gave an illustrated presentation on the wildlife of south-western Uganda.

Andy’s presentation style was infectiously enthusiastic as well as highly informative and included a very high bird species count, many iconic mammals and some reptiles. The picture quality was not always clear and this was probably due to a poorly performing digital projector.

The bird count was far too big to include in this report but showed that the wildlife reserves of this area of Uganda are a real bird diversity hotspot. Papyrus specific endemics were numerous as were various species of barbets, woodpeckers, thrushes, weavers, hornbills, pigeons, babblers, egrets and storks, trogons, sunbirds, eagles and owls! There were some iconic species including shoebill, 150 cm tall saddle-billed stork and one of the world’s rarest birds – the African green broadbill with only 30 or 40 thought to exist. At the other extreme is the world’s most populous bird, the red-billed quelea, with many millions in existence.

African mammals were well represented with tree dwelling lions, leopards, elephants, hippos, buffalo, Ankole cattle, zebras, elands, impalas, bushbucks, warthogs, chimpanzees, baboons and various monkeys including the red-tailed monkey. Perhaps the most iconic mammal was the Ugandan gorilla; just across the border from Rwanda is a forest with several groups of gorillas, all being protected by a substantial team of nature reserve wardens.

The authorities are proving that gorillas are worth more alive than dead and carefully organise a tourist trade based upon them. Great pictures and stories of these creatures included some brief shots of a very grumpy old silverback that did not appear to appreciate the tourists gaze!

Andy presented south-western Uganda as a biodiversity hotspot with lots of iconic animals, not too troubled by armed strife and dangerous poachers whilst offering good quality accommodation, a friendly population and relatively safe to visit and walk around. Many areas don’t have lions on the loose and as long as you treat hippos, elephants and the very large crocodiles with respect they are not looking for trouble. Andy certainly proved his claim that south-western Uganda is a wildlife haven and well worth a visit - a thoroughly enjoyable presentation.

What’s About

The report was prepared by Brian Clews and given by Ken Cottam:

Queen Mother Reservoir – glaucous gull, wheatear, brambling
Eton Wick – green sandpiper
Black Park – raven
Little Marlow Gravel Pit – little ringed plover, 10 sand martins, 2 red-crested pochards
Maidenhead – little egret at Green Lane bridge over The Cut, peregrine still being seen in West Street
Dinton Pastures – little gull and little egret
Theale Gravel Pits – red crested pochard, redshank, oystercatcher (which in fact are in many locations in Berkshire), 23 singing chiffchaffs!! Hooray spring is here!!
Reading – white stork seen flying over

--- Original Programme Information ---

Presentation

Join us for an account of this under-explored corner of the Dark Continent. From the swamps around Lake Victoria, via the savannahs of Mburo, to the aptly named Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, South-western Uganda has everything you could want from a trip to wild Africa. There are antelopes and buffalo, tree-climbing lions, elephants, mountain gorillas, chimpanzees and a whole plethora of monkeys.

Lion   Ross's Turaco
Lion   Ross's Turaco

And then there are the birds! Andy’s talk will take us from shoebills, barbets and turacos to one of Africa’s, and the world’s, rarest birds, the near-mythical African green broadbill, only found in one small part of Bwindi. Add to this the foothills of the Rwenzori mountains, aka the fabled Mountains of the Moon, and you have an exciting talk guaranteed to have you digging out the walking boots and pith helmet!

Mountain Bulbul   Spot-flanked Barbet
Mountain Bulbul   Spot-flanked Barbet
 
Double-toothed Barbet   Shoebill
Double-toothed Barbet   Shoebill

Biography

Andy Warren has been watching birds since 1972 and has now seen over a quarter of the world’s birds in 48 countries. He continues to travel widely and is gradually working his way around the West African avifauna. When not off in search of birds, Andy is an ecological consultant, although many years ago his first paid employment was as a warden for the RSPB.

All pictures are © Copyright. Do not reproduce without permission from Andy Warren.