… AND NOT AN ELEPHANT IN SIGHT …
Says Charlotte Beauvoisin / Author of the Diary of a Muzungu in Episode 5 of Volume 1 of her ongoing series: From the Edge of Kibale Forest
(Posted 24th July 2020)
Bingeing on the great outdoors
In the fifth of a series, Charlotte Beauvoisin shares some of her #LockdownDiaries from Kibale Forest in Western Uganda.
While others have been bingeing on takeaway and Netflix, I’ve spent lockdown bingeing on the great outdoors.
Here on the edge of Kibale National Park, every day brings something new to marvel at. I keep a note of the birds I’ve seen from my balcony and was thrilled to add the Blue Maccoa to my list recently. It wasn’t easy to see the whole bird. A flash of grey blue feathers deep in the undergrowth alerted me to its presence. It was too big to be an African Blue Flycatcher. I couldn’t think what it might be. I just happened to look through the leaves and branches at the right time to spot a bright green caterpillar wriggling in its bright yellow bill.
This gorgeous big – yet secretive forest-edge bird – is a member of the cuckoo family. The Blue Maccoa was formerly known as the Yellowbill. Why this name had to change, beats me. One of my frustrations as an amateur birder is that name changes often confuse rather than add knowledge to our understanding.
Another case in point is the Common Bulbul. It’s a pretty little bird but far easier to identify when it was known as the Yellow-vented Bulbul. That made sense. Common? Yes, it’s common but the loss of the physical description does not aid identification. Complex or nonsensical names deter people from birding, and the enjoyment it brings. What is the knock-on effect to conservation if people struggle to grasp such names? Add Latin to the mix; add local language names (which are crucial for the community to appreciate thecultural values of animals and birds) and you are presented with a series of small barriers that all add up to hamper conservation…
Such are my thoughts as I sit on my balcony, counting myself lucky for being stuck here in lockdown!
Even though I have been based here for two years, I still see things I’ve never seen before. The smallest sighting fills my heart with joy.
If you enjoyed this story, look out for the next one in this series, exclusively here on ATCNews, written by Charlotte Beauvoisin.
Charlotte has been the first media partner of www.ATCNews.org
ever, a sign of a close up cooperation to promote travel to and
across Africa, and in her case in particular to Uganda, her adopted