Bird watching in Mabira forest

Mabira is the largest tropical forest nearest to Kampala which makes it a great choice to visit. It is one of those places that has great activities to indulge in, namely bird-watching, mangabey tracking, zip lining, nature walks etc. On this particular day we were interested in bird watching with 2 clients who had come for a conference in Entebbe.  The good thing about birding is that you get to enjoy the birds and other activities, you will be bird watching and still sight other animals and primates as they go about  their business. You are also able to enjoy the forest in the form of a nature walk, learn about the  different tress, culture of the people and certainly the beautiful butterflies.

We set off from Entebbe botanical hotel at 6.30 am and drove towards Mabira forest. Our first stopover was near the new Entebbe highway where we sighted some birds. After that short stop we continued on our way to Mabira. Our next stopover was a brief one in Mbalala – the mini forested area which is a great habitat for birds.

Eventually we arrived at the Eco tourism center in Mabira. There is not much activity and the staff are rarely in their offices. The staff on duty arrived after the cleaner informed her of our arrival. This was a bit frustrating because we wanted to start birding immediately but lost time waiting for about 20 minutes. Birding is best early morning before the sun is hot and the birds get into hiding, which means that next best time is evening. Eventually the staff arrived but unfortunately the site guide was away, which again required us to wait some more. Eventually he also arrived and we set out to explore the forest in all its fullness.

We started with birding near the office area, our attention was taken on by some red tailed monkeys jumping form tree branch to another.  After a short while we continued our birding walking deeper into the forest. We eventually decided that the trail we were on was not as fruitful so we decided to drive to another area which is said to usually have more bird activity. This was true but unfortunately it is also a road leading to the community which means there is a lot of activity of boda bodas and cars to and from the community which makes birding difficult. You sight a bird only for it to quickly fly away because of an approaching truck or car or bodaboda on a high speed.

All in all the day was good, we had lunch at the beautiful Rain forest lodge in Mabira after which we continued birding and left for Kampala about 4 pm. The different colorful butterflies were another  highlight for the day including the freshness of the forest. The birds of the day were the Great Blue Turaco,  Pygmy Kingfisher, White spotted fluff tail, White throated Bee eater etc.

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