I started bird watching at about eight years of age. A book that my parents had and a keen classmate got me going, after that it was self sustaining. It usually consisted of a long walk making a list of what I found, I loved doing it then and I still love doing it 60 years later.
Along the way I took the time to study ornithology and earn a Graduate Diploma. I got involved in some research projects and have a Licence to Band Birds. While banding migratory waders I met Dr Will Steele who got his PhD studying sea birds on Marion Island. I met Dr Mark Antos whilst banding bush birds, he earned his PhD studying foraging in forest passerines. They are both professional biologists. We have been friends for many years.
We were in Uganda to join an Earthwatch Project investigating threats to Chimpanzees but we would also get the chance to share our knowledge of bird banding with a local team.
At breakfast the next morning the group of three Aussies were joined by Cristina and Silvana. Cristina, originally from Brazil, is a zoo keeper at Dallas Zoo looking after Chimpanzees, Gorillas and Baboons. Silvana is a banker from Switzerland.
At 8.00 am two vehicles pulled up, Geoffrey Muhanguzi, director of the Budongo Research Centre, was driving one. We were soon on our way. Our route took us north through the outskirts of Kampala then on to Masindi where we had lunch. After lunch we left the main road and slowly bumped our way north-west to the Budongo Forest arriving late afternoon. The journey was a shade under 300 km, it took about 5 hours actual driving. The traffic around Kampala was chaotic, the main road was fairly poor, beyond Masindi it was really poor.
Along the way we got to see life on the streets.
And almost everything you could imagine being transported on a motorbike from building materials to furniture. Mum Dad and three kids, no problem, four adults likewise. To transport a few planks lay them across the saddle and sit on them, just don’t try going through a narrow gap, the same technique will work for a dining table.
In the country side we passed the odd herd of extremely well horned cattle …
And eventually we reached our destination …