Well its been six years since we were last in the Gambia our visit dates were to be from the 12th to the 26th of November and we would be stopping well away from the Senegambia strip this time down at Tujering and at the Farakunku Lodges, see my trip details here
We had four days out birding
Abuko and Lamin Rice Fields on the 14th
Kotu Creek/ Cycle Track and Fajara Golf Course on the 19th
Mandina Ba/Farasuto and Bonto Woods 24th
Abuko and Lamin Rice Fields
Our first days outing was arranged thru Farakunku Lodge at a cost of £75 for the day lunch not included and the guide for the day was a Lamin K Njie, who turned out to be an excellent guide and is farakunku main guide, he was used by many people in the lodges that week and he was praised by all who used him.
We started at Abuko Nature Reserve a place we had been on all our Gambian visits and always turn out to be a good place, we had heard reports this time that it was now in the hands of some Europeans and was in the process of being tidied up, we could see the evidence of that when we hit the first pool by the bridge. It appears the pools have overgrown quite a bit and the evidence was in the lack of Herons and Egrets about the place, but there were plenty of dragonflies in evidence. Our first birds were around the Darwin Centre and these were Giant and Pygmy Kingfisher along with African Darter, Palm Nut and Hooded Vultures, a Hammerkop gave a us a brief encounter as it flew thru, Pied winged Swallows along with Blue Cheeked Bee eaters were overhead. On then into the forest were we were to see Little Greenbul, Snowy crowned Robin Chat, African Thrush to name a few, it was then onto dinner at Lamin Lodge.
Over dinner when I finally got it as the local Green vervet Monkey pinched half of it before I saw it so that had to be remade but we watched Cattle Egrets, Sandwich and Royal Terns with the odd Western reef Herons and plenty of Hooded Vultures overhead, Common Wattle Eye and Beautiful Sunbirds calling from the mangroves nearby it was then on to the Lamin Rice Fields nearby seeing Little Green Bee eaters in the mangroves as we travelled from Lamin.
At Lamin we were blessed with an array of Herons and Egrets…. Black Egret, Cattle Egret, Great White Egret, Striated (Green Backed) Heron, Squacco Heron, Western Reef Heron, Purple Heron we were also blessed with Blue breasted Kingfisher, Pied Kingfisher, Woodland Kingfisher, Malachite Kingfisher, what a place , other waders about were Senegal Thick Knee, Common and Green Sandpipers, Greenshank, now lets add some raptors Shikra, Lizzard Buzzzard, Hooded Vulture, Red Necked Falcon, African Harrier Hawk and Osprey. What a day thanks to Lamin K Njie for being our guide for the day…..to see the full list visit the Trips Tab, Gambia and November 2014 or press this LINK.
Here’s a few photos of the day
Blue Breasted Kingfisher
Broad Scarlet Dragonfly
Our second birding trip was for a half day around the Kotu Bridge area taking in the sewage ponds, cycle track with Fajara golf course as well.
Our bird guide for the day was Muttar Barry a guide we came across thru a friend and I was suitably impressed with the guy, arrived on time for the pickup, always keeping a look out for birds, and pleasant to get on with.
So our first port of call of course was the bridge where we now have a raised platform to view across the mangrove/mudflat area, all I will say about this is watch the steps it is whats makes the Gambia for us lol!. Viewing across the flats we saw Ringed Plovers, Grey Plovers, Whimbrel, Greenshank, Common Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Senegal Thick Knee, Wattled Plover and Spur Winged Plovers, leaving the platform we picked up Pied Kingfishers, Wire tailed Swallows and Hooded Vultures overhead, we made a brief stop by a well-known tree that attracts warblers and here we saw Namaque Dove, Beautiful and Splendid Sunbirds, Olivaceous and Willow Warblers, Oriole Warbler (heard), Grey backed Camaroptera, Northern Crombec and new for me for the Gambia Sedge Warbler.
We then made our way along the cycle track picking up a Subalpine warbler, Variable Sunbird, Blue Breasted Kingfisher and Blue cheeked Bee eaters overhead, around at the ladies pond a Western Reef Heron, Great White Egret and a Long Tailed Cormorant.
Over at the Sewage ponds we saw plenty of Spur winged Plovers, Black winged Stilts, Wood Sandpipers, Cattle Egrets and a white morph Western Reef Heron, Grey Heron, Black Egrets and a Little Grebe. We then made our way over to the golf course taking in a new pit stop, this place turned out to be a where you can get to sit and have a cold drink etc step up by the bird guides of the area a nice rest up, watered we moved on to the golf course where our highlights were Violet Turaco, African Golden Oriole, Lesser Blue Eared and Long Tailed Glossy Starlings and a Striped Kingfisher .
A great days birding with a good guide who I would happily use again, for a detailed list of all the birds seen that day see this LINK
Black Winged Stilt
Cattle Egrets at the Sewage Ponds