Farakunku Lodges Area March 22-29th
Back to a place where I love to go and be with wildlife, a weeks visit this time and back to the Farakunku Lodges, out at Tujering.
A couple of days to settle back in to the Gambia the culture and the heat. I stayed around the lodge for a couple of days before days out ensued, walking around the area birds were numerous with me encountering 62 species in total for the week. Highlights for the week for me were Scarlet Chested, Splendid and Variable Sunbirds, always like watching Yellow billed Shrikes and Blue bellied Rollers, Bats, Dragonflies and Butterflies around the pool and of course the noisy Yellow Crowned Gonolek
Splendid Sunbird (Farakunku Lodges)
Abuko and Lamin Rice Fields 24th March
My first trip out, organised by Farakunku and with Masanneh Sanyang Bird Guide cost was £55 for the day, lunch not included.
We arrived at Abuko Nature Reserve at 8:30am, picking up Red Colobus monkeys in the Car Park. we made our way into the reserve, after taking photos of the monkeys African Jacana were easy to see from the first bridge along with Black Crowned Nights Herons and Hammerkop. Our first stop of course was the centre hide were you can get an elevated view of the swamp, Nile Crocodile were lazing on the banks of the swamp, Palm Nut Vulture, Squacco Heron, Western Grey Plantain Eaters, Fanti Saw Wing overhead.
We moved further into the forest seeing Snowy Crowned Robin Chat, Little Greenbul, African Palm Swift, the find of the day was a splendid African Goshawk hunting the forest (we saw this bird on a few occasions as we made our way around the forest, Western Bluebill was also another great find.
After a great time at Abuko we called at the Lamin Rice Fields (after dinner at the Lodge) here we saw a fantastic birds as we explored the small area, Pearl Spotted Owlet, Little Swift, Little Bee Eater, Squacco Heron, Striated Heron, Black Egret, Western reef Heron, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Sacred Ibis, Orange Cheecked Waxbill, Sedge Warbler to name only a few….brilliant area
Calypso Corner near Bund Road 25th March
A tourist day today on the cape point picking up a few presents from the wood carving market but then on to the Calypso Beach Bar where they have a large pond area where you can chill have some lunch and watch the wildlife go by, really enjoyed this spot
Plenty of crocs, Caspian Terns coming in for water, skimming as they did so , Pied Kingfishers, Common and Green Sandpipers. I decided also to take a walk along the beach to a little inlet area, where I saw Whimbrel, Greenshank, Pelican, Lesser Crested Tern, Royal Tern, Grey Plover, not much but a great little spot to chill out, we all need that
Kartong Bird Reserve 26th March
The big day one I was looking forward to, my day was to be spent with Colin Cross again who would be guiding me around the area. The day couldn’t have started better as soon as I arrived Colin called me over to the veranda from where he hade been watching African Water Rail, and Allens Gallinule to some picking up but eventually had some great and long views of both species, Kartong delivers again.
Out onto the reserve to pick up Abyssinian Roller, Tree Pipit, Crested Lark (Heard Only), Yellow Wagtails (Iberiae), Grey Headed Kingfisher, European Turtle Dove, plenty of Swift Species going thru (Pallid/Common),
Dinner was again near the Allahein River where after we explored by boat, this is where the birds came in the tide was low so we saw lots of Royal and Caspian Terns along with Gull billed Terns, Slender Billed Gulls, Little Stints in big numbers, Redshank, Oystercatchers, Greenshank, Whimbrels, Turnstone, Common Sandpiper, Sanderling, Ringed Plover, Curlew Sandpipers and the list goes on (For a full list see the link below)
Royal Terns with Slender Billed Gulls
Tujering 27th March
Today was the day I was hoping for the hoped for bird of the Holiday and my guide delivered, we were reward with excellent views of Temminck’s Coursers, along with young. They were continually on the move scurrying amongst the vegetation and being difficult to photograph, it was only when I gave in that I accidentally caught site of a bird nearby stood still, I filled my boots, beautiful bird and one happy fellow.
Other bird highlights were Woodchat Shrike, Brown Backed Woodpecker, Red Winged Warbler, Common Wheatear, Senegal Batis, and White fronted Black Chat
Our next move was on to Brufut Woods where the highlights were Long tailed Nightjars, Verreaux Eagle Owl, Yellow White Eye, Swallow tailed Bee Eater and White Faced Scops Owl
Long tailed Nightjar
Back to Farakunku then for lunch and a nap before setting out again at about 4pm for an evening back at Tujering, no Coursers this time but Black shouldered Kite, Whistling Cisticola, Osprey, Yellow Wagtail, Chestnut Crowned Sparrow Weaver all made up for it
Gunjur Project 28th March
A new place/site for me and an excellent place it turned out to be. I had arranged a easy day today before setting off back tomorrow so was only out for the morning and was to be escorted around by Lamin the warden, just seeing the area on arrival I was amazed at the amount of Herons/Egrets and Waders about.
We started our morning near the water’s edge easily picking out Great White Egrets, Little Egrets, Western Reef Herons, Black Crowned Night Herons, Squacco Herons, White Faced Whistling Duck, Black Winged Stilts, Grey headed Gulls, Caspian and Royal Terns, and a new for the Gambia, Great Cormorant
Lamin then took me further in to the reserve where we saw the elusive Greater Painted Snipes and Black Crakes, I managed a couple of dark pictures as the snipes were mainly among the reeds. Lamin then took me even further in to the reserve where we found Pygmy Kingfisher and Woodland Kingfisher, 2 Kingfishers missing from the holiday list this time, we also had better views of Greenshank and Black Winged Stilts from this advantage point
We then heeded back and moved on to another part of the reserve where we sat and picked out the birds, like Green, Common and Wood Sandpipers, Redshank, Turnstone, Sanderling, Grey Plover, Spur Winged Plover , Giant, Pied and Blue Breasted Kingfishers, Pink Backed and Great White Pelicans, Palm Nut Vulture, we were having a good time. Overhead I managed to pick out Little Swifts, African Palm Swifts and House and Sand Martins. Walking back we found Yellow Crowned Gonolek and Snowy Crowned Robin Chat.
An excellent site very much well worth a visit and do support this project
Sadly that is the end of my 5th visit to the Gambia hopefully it won’t be long until the next one
An Extensive lists of the birds from the various sites can be seen here at Gambia Visit 2017, with times visited etc along with the Gambian Visit Itinerary
Photos from my visit which includes Birds, Butterflies, Dragonflies etc can be visited at my Flickr site here Flickr Page