26th Nov-3rd Dec 2019 – The Gambia, Part 2

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…part 2 of the photos from our recent trip to The Gambia (ahead of a tour there in 2020).

Day 3 – 28th November

We headed slightly further afield today, to the area around Farasuto. We walked in through an area of overgrown fields with scattered trees. A flowering tree held a good selection of sunbirds feeding on nectar. A small reserve has been set up here with drinking pools and pots and we stopped here for a while to watch the variety of birds coming in to drink.

Afterwards, we made our way on to the Farasuto Forest Community Nature Reserve, with the local forest guide taking us on a short diversion on the way there to show us Greyish Eagle Owl and Standard-winged Nightjar. The Forest itself added African Wood Owl and, on the edge of the mangroves beyond the trees, White-backed Night Heron. In the afternoon, we went back to the first place with drinking pools and also explored the neighbouring cultivations here.

Striped Kingfisher
Striped Kingfisher – a bird of dry savannah woodland
Scarlet-chested Sunbird
Scarlet-chested Sunbird – one of the visitors to the flowering tree
Spotted Honeyguide
Spotted Honeyguide – coming for water at the drinking pots
Greyish Eagle Owl
Greyish Eagle Owl – we were shown a pair roosting in the trees
Standard-winged Nightjar 1
Standard-winged Nightjar – a male with its large wing feather ‘standards’ not fully grown
Standard-winged Nightjar 2
Standard-winged Nightjar – the female, lacking the oversized wing feathers
African Wood Owl
African Wood Owl – our second owl species of the day, in Farasuto Forest
Senegal Thick-knee
Senegal Thick-knee – there were lots on the edge of the mangroves, beyond the Forest
Violet Turaco
Violet Turaco – the highlight at the drinking pots in the afternoon was a pair of these stunners
Blackcap Babbler
Blackcap Babbler – also came down to drink
African Thrush
African Thrush – another visitor to the drinking pools
Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird
Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird – not uncommon but hard to get good views of in the open
Bearded Barbet
Bearded Barbet – a spectacular looking barbet
Senegal Parrot
Senegal Parrot – common, but often well hidden in the trees

Day 4 – 29th November

Today we made our way down to Kartong, an area of old sand mines on the coast in the far south of The Gambia, close to the border with Senegal. The pools here held a good variety of waterbirds, the surrounding open savannah woodland was packed with migrant warblers from Europe and we then made our way through the mangroves and out onto the beach.

In the afternoon, after it had cooled down a little from the heat of the day, we stopped on our way back at Tanji fishing village – a good spot for gulls, terns and waders. We finished with a walk through Tanji bird reserve, an area of open bushes and scrub behind the coast.

Saddle-billed Stork
Saddle-billed Stork – a rare visitor, this young bird had been at Kartong for several days
Greater Painted Snipe
Greater Painted Snipe – another highlight at Kartong, albeit a duller male
White-faced Whistling Duck
White-faced Whistling Duck – common anywhere there is water
African Harrier Hawk
African Harrier Hawk – one of the commoner raptors, in open countryside
Plain-backed Pipit
Plain-backed Pipit – we flushed several as we walked through the savannah woodland
White-fronted Plover
White-fronted Plover – our main target, out on the beach, roosting with Kentish Plovers
Grey-headed Gull
Grey-headed Gull – the commonest gull, very good views at Tanji fishing village
Royal Tern
African Royal Tern – common, fishing offshore at Kartong and Tanji with other terns
Lizard Buzzard
Lizard Buzzard – hunting from the wires at Tanji
Little Bee-eater
Little Bee-eater – one of the commonest of the several bee-eaters
Pied-winged Swallow
Pied-winged Swallow – encountered at several sites, this one our first at Tanji
Pied Hornbill
Pied Hornbill – the scarcest of the three common hornbills

Having enjoyed a very productive few days on the coast, it would be time to start heading inland and upriver tomorrow.

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