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Lutembe Bay Under Threat

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Lutembe bay and its bird species are largely now threaten by the existence of the new flower farm. This bird migratory area of international importance, also a marked Ramsar site is faced with new challenges of possible pollution, and becoming drained.

This new flower farm constantly used chemicals to either kill off pests or make the soils more fertile for the flowers. During the rains plenty of these chemical are washed into the bay. An independent report says that the levels of agro-chemicals are still low however problem needs to be mitigated very fast.

The farm also pumps water from is very bay to irrigate its flowers, a process that stirs up mud and eventually will lead to less feeding grounds and roosting area for the birds.

The bay is a magical place that comes alive with millions of different birds species flipping, flopping, feeding, roosting, all at the same time in just one place.

These migratory birds are said to have advanced navigation system that enables them to fly from as far away as Siberia non-stop to Lutembe Bay or Lake Victoria in Uganda.

For billions of years scientist think that , Lutembe Bay has been hosting both native and millions of Palearctic migrant birds. They come mainly from the arctic region that includes mainland Europe, Scandinavian countries and as far away as Russia.

They live nine months of the year in Uganda and only go back to Europe to breed. Some fly non-stop to and from the Caspian Sea.

Lutembe Bay is home to closely 80% of the world’s population of white-winged black terns, grey-headed gulls, gull-billed terns and black-headed gulls.

The migration season starts in September till October every year making the most of their stay in Uganda, while escaping the hash winter in The Northern hemisphere. The journey starts again in February and March enabling the to arrive back in Europe in time for summer.

The hatchlings are left behind to practice breeding. At this stage, their all–white colour changes to black. Others only have their heads change to black. This change of colour is called breeding plumage.

When it is time to go back and breed, the young ones fly as black birds, breed and come back to Lutembe when they are white. The cycle has been going on for centuries.

Uganda receives the biggest share of all Palearctic birds in Africa due to the country’s big and fresh water masses. And great weather all year round compared to other countires.

Aside from Lutembe bay migratory birds nest at the banks of  Kazinga Channel in Queen Elizabeth National Park  and Musambwa Island on Lake Victoria. On Musambwa Island the birds lay their eggs on the beach sand, the in stones or the trees. This Island is also widely known for having a large number of friendly snakes. For millions of years these snakes have lived with the natives on this Island and absolutely no record of anyone ever being attacked. And as such it’s forbidden to hit any snake on this Mystery Island. The birds feed on insects and small fish.

Uganda earns about 20 billion shillings from birding, almost twice the revenue from gorilla trekking safari. Bird watching safaris are normally long because there is more to see each day.

Uganda was recently declared a preferred bird watching destination 2013/2014, and the travel destination of choice by lonely planet for 2013. Awards largely deserving due to its natural beauty and the stunning hospitality witnessed in the country by travelers.

Uganda hosts over 1,000 bird species of which about 290 can be seen in Lutembe bay, representing about 50% of the bird species in Africa. Lutembe hosts the globally threatened species including The Madagascar Squacco, Shoebill, Papyrus Yellow Warbler, Papyrus Gonolek and The African skimmer Great Snipe.

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