The chimpanzees of Kibale Forest have been screeching loudly for the previous two weeks. I’ve stayed right here at Sunbird Hill many instances, however by no means have I heard them so shut or so typically.
On the drive again from Fort Portal yesterday, Julia stopped the automobile alongside the monitor to her land to investigate what John (in his vibrant yellow Nationwide Resistance Motion T-shirt) was engaged on. “I’m wanting on the chimpanzees,” he stated. And there they have been, half a dozen of them, excessive in a medium measurement fig tree on the boundary of Kibale Forest.
At present we enterprise to the forest edge, tracing the sound of the primates. “One of many females could also be in oestrus,” says primatologist Julia, making an attempt to clarify the exuberant din.
On our stroll, we come throughout a pile of contemporary dung – stuffed with industrious dung beetles. The place did the dung come from? We don’t discover any footprints – both elephant or buffalo – solely a damaged Albizzia department. Elephants are identified to like Albizzia bushes; Julia has seen the elephants in the exact same spot earlier than.
We final noticed elephants simply 5 minutes’ drive from right here. Julia filmed some Forest Elephants crossing the Fort Portal to Kamwenge Street that passes by way of Kibale Forest. You possibly can see a brief clip on the Sunbird Hill Fb web page beneath.
I noticed a Forest Elephant final week too – from the again of a matatu taxi; the Ugandan passengers (notably the toddler in entrance of me) have been in awe!
Again at Sunbird Hill, we examine the freshly-cut trails on our stroll again in the direction of the Birders’ Lounge. Flowers, flowers, in all places: we’ve beloved the Aloe flower; the Kagelia’s darkish crimson flowers are putting, even beneath the darkish cover. The vantage level from Julia’s towering treehouse workplace reveals vibrant crimson Jatropha flowers that aren’t seen from the bottom. From right here, we’ve got watched the Black-crowned Waxbills weave a dainty nest within the mango tree. The doorway is a slender tunnel, beneath the nest itself.
I’ve by no means seen so many nesting birds as we see now. The Purple-bellied Paradise Flycatcher has flown the nest, as has the African Blue Flycatcher. One morning after a heavy storm, Dillon seen an Olive-bellied Sunbird chick and its nest on the bottom. Julia scooped them up (away from the jaws of three canines and a cat!) and moved them right into a safer place. The chick survived. After every week, it was gone… we hope it survived.
It’s quarter to seven within the night. Within the distance I hear the Yellow-spotted Barbet (making a whirring noise, like a woodpecker). Nearer by is Easter. We loved his brother Christmas.
The remaining turkey has had a reprieve. The household has turn into used to his comical gobbling noises. Easter has been renamed Easter 2019! No-one is in a rush to lose his pleasant tones (though 7-year-old Dillon is fearful of this huge chook with a fair larger angle!)
At present we’ve got had a reprieve from the season’s thunderstorms and drizzle.
After Saturday morning’s heavy rain, we had a fiercely scorching few hours of sunshine. Stepping onto the veranda at nightfall was like strolling right into a filmset: my pals sat bathed in orange and pink mild, in entrance of a ravishing backdrop of cotton wool cloud sky and the darkish define of the forest. The magical atmosphere was enhanced by the flickering of a thousand wings, a flight (can I name them that?) of enswa (white ants). They didn’t fly however floated, rising upwards from the lengthy inexperienced grass (which clearly hid a termite mound!) I opened my eyes extensive to soak up each second of it.
The romance of the second was short-lived as we batted away insect after insect, picked enswa from inside our garments, our drinks and in all places else!
Fortunately the enswa invasion was short-lived. The following day, the veranda – and even my mattress – was a sea of wings. The ants themselves had vanished.
Nights on the forest edge will be very darkish. Final night time Venus shone brightly above Kibale Forest.