Monday, August 18, 2008

Greycap spotted

The grey-capped warbler (Eminia lepida) is widespread and fairly common through much of its range, but is so secretive in most places that its unusually loud and varied call notes are the only clue to its presence. When one does actually see one in a brief appearance on the edge of its usual bushy habitat (as I did yesterday), its striking grey, black and burnt-orange head-and-throat pattern is worth stopping to stare at. (I just discovered a very short video recording of one of these guys singing, here -- colors are not great, so it's hard to tell that his throat is not just dark; you can also hear a pair of black-headed gonoleks giving a signature combo-call in the background a couple of times.)

I noticed a lone black kite (Milvus migrans) overhead this morning. They've been absent for a while but I expect they'll be back in force soon.

We've continued to have green-headed sunbirds (Nectarinia verticalis) resident in the yard. These have usually been infrequent around here, so this has been pleasant.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Swallows et al.

There was a lone white-headed saw-wing swallow winging over our neighborhood this morning -- not an every-day, or even every-month, sight. I think I also caught a glimpse of a couple of lesser striped swallows in the Namakwekwe area of town today. A few days ago I came across a small flock of what were probably barn (European) swallows, although I saw them so briefly in passing that there's the possibility they were Angolas. It's about the time of year that the first of the Palearctic migrants should be making their appearance, so I'm going to consider these my first encounter with what will become in the next couple of months quite a wave of species coming to here or through here as they flee the cooling temperatures of the temperate zones.

Western black-headed orioles are calling frequently in the area these days, and occasionally one comes into view with its spectacular yellow and black plumage.

We continue to have green-headed sunbirds in our compound, and a pair of scarlet-chested sunbirds has an active nest in our young ficus (Benjamina) tree outside the front door. I've also been seeing what is most likely a little purple-banded sunbird just a city block or two from our house; could be a marico, but the beak seems too short.

A trip planned to western parts of Uganda next week should bring opportunities to see several bird species that I don't normally meet here on the eastern side of the country. Hope I'll have some interesting sightings to report after I get back!