Saturday, 13 August 2016

Snowy-headed Robin-Chat: Uganda

Another bird that I found in Uganda that was beautiful, a 'chance see' as I really did not expect to see it. The bird was the Snowy-headed Robin-Chat also called Snowy-crowned Robin-Chat. Well people little realise that bird watching is also of many a variety. I will talk about my trip to Uganda - that was specifically for birdwatching with a large group of people - it was birdwatching for sure but the "Pokemon Go" variety. You are let off in a Botanical gardens and given time - 3 hours and said - Go ! you go running around and seeing all the birds that you can see. Sometimes you go together, other times either you huddle in small teams at other times you go alone. This kind of birding is not the peaceful kind where in you locate a spot, sit down, let the birds be naturalised to your presence and then wait for them to hop around you if you are lucky. Well both have their merits but then there are birds that you do not expect to see while in your "Pokemon Go" hunt variety. The birds you do not expect are the extremely shy ones, the ones for whom you have to time and effort on your hands. All that is well but here is where the luck factor can call it a draw.

Article of this bird on wiki is a stub and the handbook says this about the bird - 'not uncommon but shy'. See why it was perfectly placed this bird in my 'may not see' category. 

On the first day of visit to Uganda after having a lunch we still had time and the majority decided to go to Entebbe Botanical forests before checking in the rooms. So with luggage still in the vehicle we got down at the gardens, the guide paid up the fees and we were running around like kids chasing birds (Average age of our group may be near the 55s or 60s). I decided that it was best that I set course along a path and I was leading by about an hundred odd yards when I came across a stream crossing the path. I saw some common bulbuls taking bath and got down on my knees to photograph them. It might have taken 10 min or so of my waiting, kneeling still like that punishment in class in the golden 80s era. And bingo this Robin-chat hops in for a quick bath. 

If I was surprised - then let me assure you the bird seemed as surprised to find me there. It did a few hops and it was gone. With no time to adjust the settings, towards the dark undergrowth of the tropical forest, I let go a lot of shots. Though they were too dark - it was only after reaching India and post processing I could salvage the pictures.

My first and only encounter with this bird: Snowy-headed Robin-Chat

It was looking at me as if to say - Holy Sh*t - who's there ? and off it was...