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Father Claude

As I was saying.....

I embrace the world from my backyard at the University of Portland, January 1, 2018. I again invite you to "clod-hop" with me on my journeys to Latin America via this blog. More...

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This is for the birds! (Category: My Everyday Life in Uganda)


I just returned from a wonderful, restaurant experience. The French Bistro is walking-distance from where I live (Nsambya district and hill of Kampala). Last Sunday, Brother Alan and I went for Sunday afternoon lunch at the French Bistro. The food was a good as anything you might find in Portland, a five-star meal, with steak and short ribs nicely cooked to order. The building itself was very Ugandan, thatched roof an d simple furniture. It looked like something you might find described in The Power and the Glory (a Graham Green novel set in Veracruz during the civil war and religious persecution) -- and after our meal, when I stood, I thought of the "whiskey priest" from that same novel...


Earlier, when I visited Kenya, I thought I had found bird-heaven. But Uganda is even more extraordinary than that. Since my arrival, I have been totally distracted by birds of all kinds, with songs I never heard before, small birds and many, many large birds.

If you want more precise information, you might look up the following:

So, allow me to summarize information I have received since my arrival. Uganda is about the size of the UK and has more birds species per square kilometer than any other African country It has a NATIONAL LIST of 1,008 species. There are about 550 species in the Kampala region alone.
Uganda is a unique bird paradise because of the great diversity of geography, from forests, savannas, wetlands, semi-desert regions, rainforests, vulcanos, lakes, rivers (the Nile, in particular). Kampala is about a mile high, but there are mountains as high as Mt Hood!


The beautiful crowned crane is the national bird. But, here in Kampala, it is the shrieking "marabou stork" that is the City Bird. Unlike the elegant crane, the Marabou stork is a huge, ugly, pathetic-looking critter, a scavenger with reddish head, long legs and necks and the mature bird has a wing-span of about 10 feet. When a group of these birds fly overhead, it darkens the sky and conversations are suspended... Frodo comes to mind.
Now, these storks don't rule the roost, by any measure. There are great white hawks that fly overhead in groups of 10 to 20, in random, swooping formations. During this rainy season, especially, you can see shoebills, brown-chested plovers, African green broad bills, African jacanas, booted eagles, hawks, shrikes, finches, thrushes, warblers and starlings of all kinds.

However, the most amazing birds of all (for the musician in me) are the song birds. But, that's for another entry, and for another time, with another tune.

Permalink | Thursday, September 25, 2008