Mabamba …

You sometimes hear the expression “And the food was to die for”. I don’t think that means it was poisonous, or so fatty as to instantly clog your arteries. I think the suggestion is that having eaten such delicious food life is complete, nothing will ever match the experience again, you may as well die now. Birdwatching is evidently nothing like eating.

I had seen the Shoebill, I could never tick it again, but life goes on. There are other pebbles on the beach, fish in the sea, birds in the swamp. The Papyrus Gonolek would be nice.

It’s rare, has limited distribution, skulks in the papyrus and is a lot smaller than a Shoebill. And considerably prettier.

You can’t beat local knowledge, our guide for our couple of days in the Entebbe region was Nanyombi Proscovia. It would not be easy but she would do her best, she said, to find us the Gonolek.

Prossy, the bird guide.

So, Mabamba for the second morning, back into our boat and back into the swamp along with the local people going about their daily lives.

We nosed along, sometimes through narrow water ways, sometimes across more open expanses, mostly driven by outboard motor but where the vegetation was particularly dense the boatman resorted to pushing us along with a pole. It was surprising how close some of the birds would let us get.

African Jacana
Malachite Kingfisher
Purple Heron
Blue-breasted Bee-eater

Where’s its blue breast? It’s an immature bird, give it time and it will develop a neat blue collar.

The Intermediate Egret has a huge range. You can even find them in Australia but it’s not often we see them in their breeding finery.

Intermediate Egret

What’s this flying past? Oh, I’ve seen them before …

What we need is …

Papyrus Gonolek

Prossy was an excellent bird guide. If you need a first class guide in Uganda you can email her at or visit her Facebook page.

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