Friday, September 30, 2016

Day 2 - Forest Gardens Hotel, Kampala

We arrived yesterday afternoon.  The drive from Entebbe airport to the hotel in northern Kampala was rather stressful although the driver emphasised how we were in a quiet time.  We were in bed soon after dinner and seemed to have slept off the jet lag successfully.  This morning we wandered several km towards central Kampala to a rich people shopping mall where we could buy sims for our phones and a wi-fi hotspot device.  We also managed to get some cash after trying several ATMs.  With these successes under our belt we are taking it easy after lunch with thunder rumbling overhead and Vervet Monkeys in the trees near our cabin.  It will rain most days about midday at this time of year.

Jenny looking for birds at lunch on the hotel verandah.
Tomorrow we will head out to Buloba in a taxi to explore where we want to rent a house.

Few birds here yet.  We are in a nice leafy area so have Ross's Turaco, Plantain-eater, African Thrush and Dark-capped Bulbul and Grey-backed Camaroptera.  An African Harrier-Hawk appeared to be hunting the monkeys.  The sunbirds have eluded me.  Walking this morning we saw Little Swifts, Yellow-billed Kites, Pied Crows and Speckled Pigeons.  Before dinner a wander in the gardens produced two Great Blue Turaco, two Black-and-white Casqued Hornbills and a small flock of Thick-billed Seedeaters.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Sad to hear this morning of the earthquake near Bukoba that has killed or injured quite a few people.

Hope all our friends and neighbours are OK.  Such a beautiful little city.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Formerly my blog on birding in Tanzania (2010-11).  We are now off to Uganda in a few weeks for 10 months or so.  I hope to have lots of birding posts and other stuff soon.

You should check out Jenny's blog as well at

Monday, February 13, 2012

A report on the birds I saw in Tanzania

I've had my arm twisted by a couple of people to write up my birding year in Tanzania.

For those interested there is a report available here.  It's a 6 MB download.

Thanks for reading and commenting


Thursday, June 30, 2011

Dinner with a couple of birders and the final effort

Jenny and I are in Dar now for our last day in Tanzania.  Last night we had dinner with Neil Baker of the Tanzanian Bird Atlas project and Tony Evans, another British birder living in Dar for a while.  Tony had been to Minziro a couple of years ago and showed us some of his mystery bird photos from the forest.  We were able to sort out a few but some will remain mysteries I guess.  Jenny, of course, thought we were all mad.

This morning (0500!) Tony picked me up and we headed for the Pugu Hills to the south east of Dar.  This is a degraded patch of forest that still holds some great birds.  We arrived before dawn and had Fiery-necked Nightjars and Bushbabies calling.  As the light improved the birds woke up and began to call but rarely showed themselves.  A pair of Black Sparrowhawks (tick!) have an active nest and we had several nice views of the birds coming and going.  Not sure what they are up to but probably incubating.  Other new birds for me were Trumpeter Hornbill, Little Yellow Flycatcher and Red-throated Twinspot.  We had good views of male and female Black Cuckooshrikes, Crowned Hornbills, Dark-backed Weavers and Collared Sunbirds.

Black Sparrowhawk

Crowned Hornbills

On the way home we stopped on the coast in Dar and scanned the exposed reefs.  Eight Greater Flamingos were a good find and we saw a Grey Heron and a Dimorphic Egret.

Dar es Salaam, 30 June 2011

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Care for a Swan?

On our last drive through Bukoba yesterday morning I was able to snap a photo of these Swans which have recently migrated to town.  Unfortunately I only managed to capture a small selection of the 50-60 present. 

Jenny was very keen to bring one home but we already had about 30 kg of excess luggage so I had to put my foot down.

We flew to Dar yesterday via a 4 hour wait in lovely Mwanza airport and arrived at our nice hotel at Slipway about 11pm.  Two days now for Jenny at the VSO office then home we come.

Dar es Salaam, 29th June 2011

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Some birds and a couple of insects

I've been trying to squeeze in a few final trips to my favourite birding spots in our last couple of weeks.  Minziro, Karagwe Road and Katoke have all been covered and I hope for one more trip to Minziro before we leave.

Since I last wrote I've seen Common Scimitarbill and Stout Cisticola at my acacia woodland site (Karagwe road) and Buff-spotted Woodpecker, Grey-chinned Sunbird, Afep Pigeon and Purple-throated Cuckoo-shrike at Minziro.

Not many photos but I finally have some decent pics of a Lilac-breasted Roller.  These are big and colourful but they are often just silhouettes.


The first insect was a (pair of) caterpillars with the most amazing camouflage I've ever seen.

The second is a Giant Robber Fly (genus Hyperechia) with a captured wasp.  This monster is about 3 cm long.  They mostly feed on Carpenter Bees and apparently their appearance is similar.  I think they take the occasional small child as well.

Bukoba 23rd June 2011