Birding Without Borders

Day 251: Swamp-Warblers and Sammies

At the end of a long hike, a little reward.

September 8, 2015: Ruhija, Uganda — At the Impenetrable Forest of Ruhija, if you want to see a Grauer’s Swamp-Warbler—a little brown bird with a streaky throat—then you have to go to the Mubwindi Swamp to find it. Getting to the swamp requires a fairly steep hike that is downhill all the way and uphill on the return. I won’t find a Grauer’s Swamp-Warbler anywhere else this year, so today Livingstone and I made the trek.

We were joined by a local birder named Emos, the same who heroically spotted our Grauer’s Broadbill yesterday afternoon. Emos lives within walking distance and knows the birds here practically on a first name basis. (And yes, there are several birds around here named after Rudolf Grauer, an Austrian ornithologist who collected African birds in the early 1900s.) On the way to the swamp, we made few stops, though a black-fronted duiker (a type of small antelope) was a nice sighting. I’ve seen most of the birds here already and the swamp-warbler was our big target.

As it turned out, the hike was the toughest part of seeing this particular little brown job. On arrival at the Mubwindi Swamp, a swamp-warbler sat up like a greeter, gave us great looks, then dove for cover. With the pressure off, Emos, Livingstone and I took our time climbing back up the hill and broke for a picnic halfway up. As we ate our sandwiches, a pair of Dwarf Honeyguides—a new species which wasn’t even on my radar here—interrupted our lunch. Picnicking pays off once again!

New birds today: 6

Year list: 4192

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