Birding Without Borders

Day 248: An Inner Voice

Pondering impatience with a 154-species day.

September 5, 2015: Bwindi, Uganda — “The great thing about birding in Uganda,” said Livingstone this morning as we headed south through Queen Elizabeth National Park, “is that there are so many habitats in such a small area!”

This brought to mind an old Oregon joke: If you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes. The same could be said about Uganda’s natural environments, I suppose. If you run out of birds, just move on to the next spot, which will be totally different.

Finding new sightings this morning at Queen Elizabeth was hard work. Livingstone had a stakeout for Fan-tailed Grassbird, and we lucked out with a flyby buttonquail en route. Otherwise, we drove around for a while, looked at the elephants and buffalo, and racked up a bunch of birds I’d already seen. 

Sometimes this big year doesn’t measure days very well. By any reckoning, today was an awesome session of birding: Livingstone and I saw 154 species of birds between dawn and dusk (breaking the 100-species mark for the eighth consecutive day) but today’s “score” suggests a below-average effort. The year list is impartial, insatiable, and cares only for novelty. It becomes a voice inside your head, motivating yet impossible to escape, and on days like today I sometimes have to step back from it a little bit, and appreciate just how awesome the birding is.

The scenery changed dramatically this afternoon when we climbed to Bwindi, in a misty cloud forest about four kilometers from the Congo border. As Livingstone pointed out, all the birds here are different, and so are the other animals. Wild gorillas live in these hills, though we probably won’t see them. It’s a jungle out therethe official name of this place is Bwindi Impenetrable National Park!

New birds today: 5

Year list: 4154

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