In 2011 I took a field course with the Tropical Biology Association (TBA). The TBA is a great organization that aims to train conservationists and forge closer links between biologists in Africa and Europe. The course was based in the incredibly bio-diverse Kibale forest, close to the western border of the country.
Kibale rainforest – home of the mango flies.
Kibale is a biologically rich (and fairly damp) place.
Studying in a field station comes with it’s own set of advantages and challenges.
You’re definitely sharing any room you occupy in a field station. Pro tip – always shake out your shoes. I found a mole cricket in mine one morning. I don’t have a photo of it but a quick Google image search will show you why I was alarmed.
Think I’ll just wait over here…
If you’re wondering why they’re congregated here, it’s probably because something urinated on this branch.
Dung beetles are incredibly industrious.
You can find all manner of exotic spider webs in an African rainforest.
A beetle straight from Tim Burton’s last movie.
If I had to vote for one insect that was actually an alien, it would be the preying mantis.
Each night we set a light trap. This is just a white sheet lit by a bulb. The insects land and become cold overnight, then you can survey them in the morning. Also doubles as a breakfast buffet for hornbills.
I think it’s a katydid (?), but in any case, top marks for camouflage effort.
I know it really looks that way, but I promise that we did not colour in the right one with felt tip pens.
Like jets lined up ready for take off.
A real high-light- a pangolin. Bizarre and adorable in equal measures.
Mist-netting for bird surveys provided a little glimpse into the wealth of avian life in the forest.
A tea plantation.
The frog surveys were regularly disrupted by unruly (and terrifying) elephants,
I’ve always had a soft-spot for chameleons.
The day we stumbled upon the chimpanzees. Or rather, the day they found us. Luckily for us they were well habituated to humans thanks to ongoing studies in this area, so we were reasonably safe around them.
A trip to the Queen Elizabeth National Park allowed us to experience the savannah side of Ugandan wildlife.
The national animals or Uganda – the East African crowned crane and in the distance, a Ugandan cob.