FOX'S WEAVER EXPEDITION AND DISCOVERY MISSION.
We left on 25th May 2018 for the Eastern region of the country to take photographs of the only Ugandan endemic bird FOX'S WEAVER Ploceus Speke's. The expedition was successful but tough if you go during the ☔ season as you can see. You will need gumboots that are not to protect you from getting wet but from sharp stones. If you don't like gumboots and don't mind your shoes getting wet, 🚶 with your shoes but you need extra long shoe laces tighten them extra well.
To plan well, book yourself at Akalabai Villagestay in Atutur. It is 1.5 kms from the Mbale-Soroti road and quiet for a good night sleep where you may get three different Owls. Barn Owl, Greyish Eagle Owl and African Wood Owl.
Akalabai Villagestay is a decent, clean place and, Robert Ochoa aka Fox's Weaver who will be taking you to see the bird is stationed here. There 6 rooms so far that can sleep 7 - 12 depending on the rooming.
It is 105kms from Akalabai Villagestay to Amugetum where we parked.
Leave Akalabai Villagestay with Robert Ochoa aka Fox's Weaver and drive past Kumi town, Kaput, Awoja bridge and then take the first right turn on a narrow tar road. Drive through Gweri, Toroma, Magoro up to Amugetum if it is flooded. If it is a dry season, you could drive up to Angisa.
We got to Amugetum at 11:30am and started walking in the 💧for about 3 kms and on dry land for about 2kms getting at the nesting spot at 1:00pm. The water was quite heavy to walk fast.
We saw males building nests and then breaking by feeding on Crematogaster nigriceps 🐜 🐜 that nest in the Whistling Acacia 🌲 🌲.
I saw a female fly out and we saw it come back after about 20 minutes and did not come again till we left the site.
It seem to inhabit bushed and wooded grassland in wetland areas.
At least now we can confirm that May is one of the breeding months.
They communally build big nests with roughly woven grasses.
We saw several other bird species Karamoja Apalis being one of them since it is the right habitat, Dwarf Bittern, lots of Lesser Havana, Pygmy Goose, Red-pate Cisticola, Allen's Gallinule, Silverbird, Dark chanting Goshawk, Hartlaub's Marsh Widowbird among lots more.
We got back at the vehicle at 4:50pm but got back to Akalabai Villagestay at 19:07hours. We were looked after nice, enjoyes the Akokor, Atapa, emuchele etc and there after engaged in a nice conversation with John Steven Okuta, Abraham and Robert Ochom aka Fox's Weaver.
We will be back to keep monitoring and learning about this bird.
I thank my mates that I traveled with, Herbert Byaruhanga, Abia Atukwatse and Desire Atwijukye. John Steven Okuta, Robert Ochom and his better half for looking after us.
And finally Ben Ntale for waking this up and like we have always done, the mission is accomplished but the war has just begun. 😉
Note that all photographs are HTC products.
Agnes Joy K
British Birdwatching Fair