Birding Without Borders

Day 242: Papyrus Swamp

Stalking the Papyrus Gonolek and coming up empty.

August 30, 2015: Masindi, Uganda — Livingstone and I headed northwest from Entebbe and spent the day in scrubby forest patches along the highway to Masindi. We had just a few targets to look for, and birding took a deliberate pace. Lunch was packed sandwiches in a shady spot. In mid-afternoon a thunderstorm overtook us and we sat through slashing hail for half an hour before the sun reemergedthe first real precipitation I’ve seen in many weeks.

One of my hoped-for birds in Uganda is a bird called the Papyrus Gonolek, which lives only in papyrus swamps. Elsewhere in Africa, I haven’t seen much papyrus, but it’s all over in this area: Long-stemmed plants with a spherical, pom-pom-like spray of leaves, growing thickly together in flat, wet spots. One swamp we passed had burned, and Livingstone explained that papyrus was one of mankind’s original fire-starting materials. Others had been cleared, evidently harvested for some more modern use. We stopped at every intact swamp and listened for the gonolek, but they stayed quiet today. A close-up Ross’ Turaco was good consolation.

Just like that, August is nearly finished! Eight months down, four to go: This year is two-thirds done. The passage of time sure gets weirder when it’s measured in birds instead of weekdays. At that, I think I’ll hit the hay. Good night from Masindi.

New birds today: 6

Year list: 4,096

 

Follow Along:

Next Day

Previous Day

“The views expressed in user comments do not reflect the views of Audubon. Audubon does not participate in political campaigns, nor do we support or oppose candidates.”