Friday, June 17, 2011

More from Mpigi Marsh

Mpigi marsh is magical and not just because of the shoebills. There is plenty more to see. I am sure you want to see more of the marsh. There are lots of birds moving around the marsh, settling on the papyrus or taking up residency in a tree. The pelican is especially majestic as she floats around taking lunch.
Then I also have some more of the Shoebill as she flaps her wings to take flight. She looks a bit like the dinosaur she is, as she mobilizes all her energy and intention to take flight. A flurry of effort and determination after hours patiently and silently watching for eels moving slowly among the reed on the marsh bottom.
Here is a closeup of the eel, so enjoyed by the Shoebill. The eel is lying in the middle of bottom of the dugout. We didn't realize it was not a fish until the fellows hauled it up to show us that it had no gills and looked more like a snake than a fish. I suspect the presence of the eels is one of the main reasons for this grouping of Shoebills in the Mpigi Marsh.
The people of Mpigi Marsh are hardworking, frugal and resourceful. They have to be. The repairs on this dugout are a testament to all three qualities, showing how they use plastic jerry cans to repair their canoes.
Life is also hard. The morning we spent with them in the Marsh, we found them at a communal dinner, part of the funeral for a young child who died from malaria, a scourge of this swampy area, but something that can be prevented with bednets and access to early treatment. It isn't an easy life, for people or for shoebills. Many of the "fisherfolk" are children, likely bringin in extra food and extra cash for their family.



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