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|A Report from birdtours.co.uk|
Cabo Verde, 21-12-2006 to 04(08)-01-2007,
During our Christmas holidays, (dec.2006/jan.2007) I visited together with my wife Daniëlle, several islands of Cabo Verde in search of the island endemics possible during that period.
I knew beforehand that Cape Verde Shearwater and Cape Verde Little Shearwater would be almost impossible to see and of the remaining 10 endemics I recorded 8.
Despite 3 outings at dusk/evening at a known stake-out for Cape Verde Barn Owl I neither heard or saw this species and a total of 7 hours scanning the skies around the Pico do Antonio on Santiago did not give me the hoped for Cape Verde Peregrine.
The owl is probably rather common but the Peregrine is rare.
If you can arrange the boat trip to Raso the Raso Lark is guaranteed and the challenge is to organise the trip to the island.
The other tricky species is Cape Verde or Bourne’s Heron as they can be absent from their breeding area, especially if it has not rained much. I read several reports of birders missing the heron in February/March.
One of the highlights of the trip was watching the tree, harbouring the ONLY known breeding colony of this species in the world, and actually observe adult and juvenile birds in this tree.
The other endemics found were Cape Verde Buzzard, Alexander’s Kestrel, Neglected Kestrel, Cape Verde Swift, Cape Verde (Cane) Warbler and Iago Sparrow.
I visited Santiago, São Nicolau (Raso), São Vincente , Santo Antão and Sal. The latter was not planned and more about that later.
Cabo Verde is not a cheap destination (especially during the Christmas holidays) and the total cost for the trip amounted to about € 2000,- a person.
We flew with TACV directly from Amsterdam to Praia (Santiago) and we also used TACV for inter island flights between the different islands.
Until the last 2 days the logistics went smoothly but then it happened. Because of sand/dust storms from the Sahara region almost all inter island flights were cancelled for at least 6 days (to my knowledge). This meant that we (plus plenty of other tourists) missed our international connection. I cannot remember to have ever witnessed such a chaos for several days as we did then in Cabo Verde. TACV did not do anything at all for stranded passengers. People had no money, no accommodation and did not receive any info about possible future flights.
At the airport of São Vincente the police had to intervene as a group of French tourists who had camped for 2 days already on the airport stormed one of the few planes which came in.
Well I can fill several pages of stories but I do not think a birding trip report is the right place to write them down. But take my word for it that it was a nightmare for hundreds of tourists. It took us 5 days to get out of the country. (See detailed itinerary)
So my advice to future birders is to take into account that these weather conditions do occur from November to March and that TACV does not do much to help you out.
If you miss your connection to Europe with TACV then you are in real trouble. You might be better of using TAP to travel to Cabo Verde as this company has daily flights to Lisbon.
We only used taxi and aluguers to travel around.
At Santiago we rented a taxi for a full day. (8 hours) for 8000 Esc.and paid 4000 Esc. for a half day excursion.
The aluguer from the airport on São Nicolau to Tarrafal cost 1200 Esc.
The aluguer from Tarrafal to Ribeiro Brava on São Nicolau cost 1000 Esc.
Taxi from Ribeira Brava to the airport cost 500 Esc.
Aluguer from Porto Novo to Ponta do Sol on Santo Antão cost 400 Esc.
You do need a visa for Cabo Verde. I arranged this through my travel agency and this cost me € 35,-
The currency used in Cabo Verde is the escudo. During our visit the rate was: 1 € = 110 Esc.
I suggest that you bring plenty of cash Euros with you. These can be easily changed at the larger airports, hotels and exchange offices at banks.
I had some traveller cheques with me as back-up for several years already and this time I needed them.
A credit card is also very useful. We brought master card with us but at most places they only accepted Visa. I recommend to bring with you a Visa card, preferable with PIN code, as these cards are the only possibility to draw cash from ATM machines.
I had also hired a car for 2 days at Santiago (Hertz) for €52,- a day, including unlimited mileage and all insurances, but they cancelled the deal because I did not bring a Visa card with me!!
Together with our flights we booked accommodation on Santiago and São Vincente.
These were rather expensive, nice hotels with swimming pool. Prices varied between €70,- and €75,- for a room, including breakfast, when pre-booked. Otherwise you pay substantially more.
On Santiago we stayed at Hotel Pestana Tropico. Nice with a friendly, helpful staff.
On São Vincente we stayed at Hotel Foya Branca. Also nice with unfriendly, slow staff.
A single room at Pensão Alice at Tarrafal, São Nicolau was 2000 Esc.
A single room at Pensão Jardim at Ribeira Brava, São Nicolau was 3000 Esc.
A double room at hotel Bluebell at Ponta do Sol, Santo Antão was 4500 Esc. (overpriced)
FOOD & DRINKS
Generally the food is good and cheap. I had almost daily very good fish meals.
Depending on where you eat, you can have a good meal for 600 to 1100 Esc.
A bottle of beer is 100 – 150 Esc. The latter at the more expensive hotels.
Only some people speak English so it comes very handy to speak some basic Portuguese. I managed to communicate with some Spanish and at our hotels the managers spoke English.
HEALTH & SAFETY
During our stay we were never sick of the food and we did not encounter any safety problems. We were advised though to take a taxi at evenings/nights when staying in Praia, Santiago and not to walk to certain areas.
During our stay the weather was generally excellent. Sunny with nice warm temperatures but the unpredictable factor is the wind. Some days we had some pretty strong winds.
Dave Sargeant Cabo Verde,A Birder’s Guide to The Cape Verde Islands, Based on a trip from 3-16th March 1997
Chris Batty Cape Verde Islands, 24th February – 7th of March 2005
Rob Payne Cape Verde Islands, 3 to 16th March 2003
Nico Geiregat Cape Verde Islands, 05-21 April 2003
Erling Krabbe Bird Observations on the Cape Verde Isl. 18-26th October 2003
Bakker/van Dijk Cabo Verde March 1996. A report on a 4 week trip to Cabo Verde. Privately published.
C.J. Hazevoet The Birds of the Cape Verde Islands. BOU checklist No.13
C.J. Hazevoet Ornithological news from the Cape Verde Islands in 1995.
C.J. Hazevoet Notes on distribution, conservation and taxonomy of birds from the Cape Verde islands, including 6 species new to the archipelago. 1997
C.J. Hazevoet Third annual report on Birds of the Cape Verde Islands 1998.
C.J. Hazevoet Fourth Report on Birds from the Cape Verde Islands 1999
C.J. Hazevoet Status of Raso Lark with notes on threats and foraging behaviour. Birdlife International 1999.
1. CLIFFS east of the city, above the harbour and the Shell Oil Terminal.
This site can easily be visited from Praia. You can either walk or take a taxi to the Shell Terminal. Walk past the building and continue along the cliffs.
Birds recorded were Red-billed Tropicbird, Cape Verde Swift, Black-crowned Finch-Lark, Spectacled Warbler and Iago Sparrow. Others have seen Cream-coloured Courser, Bar-tailed Desert Lark and Cape Verde Peregrine.
2. LIBERÃO/BANANA DE RIBEIRA MONTANHA
This is the only known breeding site of Cape Verde/Bourne’s Heron. It takes roughly 1 hour to reach this site from Praia. The dirt road into the valley was ok, so we were able to drive straight to the obvious, large mahogany tree in which the species nest.
Take the road from the round-about just before João Teves (when coming from Praia) to the right to Pedra Badejo. From this road you take the first cobblestone road to the left (just before a sharp right hand turn), continue over the ridge and descend into the valley.
The road goes through the bottom of the valley and after roughly 2 km. you reach the tree. You can also ask directions at the locals if you have problems, locating the site
3. SÃO JORGE DOS ORGÃOS.
Just after João Teves, on the road from Praia to Assomado/Tarrafal, a road goes left to São Jorge dos Orgãos. After passing through a small village, the road ascends to a botanical garden and a viewpoint (Ponto de vista). In the scrub below this viewpoint I heard and saw Cape Verde Warbler. It is also a good place to scan the peaks of Pico do Antonio for raptors.
I recorded Brown-necked Raven, Cape Verde Buzzard, Alexander’s Kestrel, Cape Verde Swift. Others have seen Cape Verde Peregrine in the area but I dipped.
4. PRAIA, SCRUBBY AREA JUST BELOW THE PLATEAU
This is not a very nice area to hang around in the evening but it is supposed to be a reliable site for Cape Verde Barn Owl. Instead of going up the road to the plateau when coming from the south where my hotel was situated, you continue at the bottom of the plateau to the left (west) of the plateau. At the first round-about you go right, still following the bottom of the plateau, and after 100 meter you are in the general area where the owl is regularly observed.
Another good area is supposedly the area just south of Tarrafal in the north of Santiago.
1. MINDELO SEWAGE PONDS
This is THE place in the Cape Verde islands to find rarities.
During 2 visits I observed a whole set of rare and uncommon species.
Among them Common Teal, Spoonbill, American Golden Plover, Lesser Yellowlegs, Spotted Sandpiper, Eurasian Bee-eater and White Wagtail.
Follow the road from Mindelo towards the airport and just after the Shell Storage Unit a dirt road turns inland. After roughly 1 km. you reach the ponds. During my visits I was never hassled by anybody.
1. PONTA DO SOL
We mainly visited the island for the great scenery and the opportunity to observe seabirds from the pier of Ponta do Sol. During a 4-hour sea watch I recorded 120+ Fea’s Petrels but no other shearwaters.
Above the cliffs behind this village Egyptian Vultures are sometimes seen and possibly Cape Verde Peregrine.
The Cape Verde Kite is now considered extinct on the island and there is also doubt about the taxonomic status of this bird.
1. RASO ISLAND
If you travel to Tarrafal on São Nicolau, if you contact the husband of Alice of Pensão Alice in this village, if the sea is not too rough and if you are prepared to pay, then you will see Raso Lark on the island of Raso.
It was a little tricky as I had only one day to achieve this but it all worked out fine.
The visit to Raso was for me the highlight of the whole trip.
Other birders usually spent a day in the Fajara valley, looking for Helmeted Guineafowl. I was lucky to observe a small flock along the main track from Ribeira Brava to Tarrafal.
Wednesday, December 20
In the early evening we drove from Geldrop to the Van der Valk Schiphol hotel, just 10 minutes from the airport. Through the internet I had booked a room for €90,- , including breakfast. They provide a free shuttle service to the airport and an additional advantage is that you can park your car here for a maximum of 30 days without charge.
Thursday, December 21
At 7.20 we took the shuttle to Schiphol Airport. We checked in at 8.00 am., 3 hours prior to our departure. Already a lot of people were standing in line checking in, especially Cape Verdians, living in the Netherlands and returning home for Christmas. It turned out that the flight was heavily overbooked and we were glad that we checked in early. With a little delay our flight left for the 6 hour flight to Praia, Santiago.
Arrived at Praia around 16.00 pm. Changed €300,- cash at the bank and took a taxi (500 Esc.) to our hotel.(Hotel Pestana Tropico) Wandering around the hotel gave me my first Alexander’s Kestrel.
Friday, December 22
A morning stroll around the hotel produced a distant Brown Booby, a lonely Sandwich Tern, 3 Grey Herons, Cattle Egret, Bar-tailed Godwit, Greenshank, Ringed Plover, Sanderling and Common Sandpiper. Spanish Sparrows were very common.
After breakfast we walked to the centre of Praia and visited the local, colourful market. The afternoon was spent around the pool.
Saturday, December 23
In the morning I tried to hire a car for the next couple of days for our trip inland.
When I finally tracked down the manager of Hertz, which company had an office in our hotel, and with whom I made a nice deal (€52,- a day, including unlimited mileage and all insurances/taxes), it turned out that it was only possible to hire a car with them if you have a Visa card. As we both use Master this was a problem.
So in the end I arranged a taxi for the next day and this cost us 8000 Esc. for the whole day. (8 hours).
In the afternoon I visited the cliffs near the harbour of Praia / Shell Terminal area.
Between 12-15 Red-billed Tropicbirds seen and also 2 more endemics , Cape Verde Swift and Iago Sparrow. Black-crowned Finch-Lark and Spectacled Warbler were also common but I failed to observe the hoped for Cape Verde Peregrine.
Sunday, December 24
At 8.00 am we left with our taxi to Liberão(Banana) de Ribeiro Montanha. We drove straight into the nice valley towards the tree where the only colony of Cape Verde/Bourne’s Heron is located.
To my relief we observed at least 3 adult and 7 juvenile birds in this tree and these gave great views in the scope.
We then continued to a viewpoint (right hand side of the Botanical Gardens) near São Jorge dos Orgãos, where we had good views of the Pico do Antonio. I immediately heard several Cape Verde Warblers sing and within 10 minutes I had good views of at least 2 different birds.
We scanned the skies for raptors but we only observed Brown-necked Ravens and Cape Verde Swift.
In the afternoon we paid a brief visit to Boa Entrada, where we heard more Cape Verde Warblers but not much else. Continued to Tarrafal where we had lunch.
Late afternoon was again spent at the same viewpoint and this time we saw a total of 3 Cape Verde Buzzards. Helmeted Guineafowl was also heard. At 17.30 pm we arrived back at our hotel.
Monday, December 25
In the morning I visited again the cliffs near the harbour, where I recorded more or less the same species as during my first visit.
Afternoon at the pool. At dusk I walked to the scrubby area just below the plateau, below hotel Sol Atlantico. This is an area where birders have frequently heard and seen Cape Verde Barn Owl. Not a sniff.
Tuesday, December 26
I drove with a taxi to the same viewpoint near São Jorge dos Orgãos. I spent 4 hours scanning the sky around the Pico do Antonio but only observed Brown-necked Ravens, Alexander’s Kestrel, Cape Verde Buzzard and Cape Verde Swift.
Afternoon at the pool. In the evening I tried again for the owl but no luck.
Wednesday, December 27
At 9.30 I left for the airport for my flight to São Nicolau. Daniëlle would not accompany me on the trip to Raso. Instead she would fly to São Vincente in the afternoon.
After a short delay I arrived at 14.00 pm. on São Nicolau. Joined some people on an aluguer to Tarrafal. On the way I had good views of a small flock of Helmeted Guineafowl, just beside the road.
Around 15.30 I was dropped at pensão Alice near the harbour of Tarrafal.
After checking in, I immediately went together with Lido, the husband of Alice, to the harbour to arrange my boat trip to Raso the next day.
The owner of a sport fishing boat was willing to take me there, but I had to wait until 19.00 pm. for confirmation. This made me rather nervous as I only had one day, one opportunity to visit Raso.
He normally asks a fixed price of €300,- for this trip. If you are with a group of 4 to 6 people this is reasonable but for one person it is very expensive. He first dropped to €250,- and eventually we agreed on € 200,-
Still not cheap but if you have come all this way to observe Raso Lark, you sure as hell want to make sure that you see this bird.
Lido took me around the area in his car but I did not see much.
In the evening I had a nice meal, prepared by Alice and exactly at 19.00 I was told that the trip was on and that we would leave between 7.00 and 7.30 am.
Thursday, December 28
I was up at 6.00 and at 6.30 I had to wake Alice and Lido because they had overslept.!!
A quick breakfast, plenty of water, a packed lunch, made by Alice and I was on my way to the harbour. The crew (4 people) were preparing the boat and at 8.45 we left the harbour.
It took us a little more than 2 hours to reach Raso and as soon as we reached the open sea between São Nicolau and Raso the sea became rather choppy. Fortunately I am not susceptible to seasickness. The only birds encountered were Brown Boobies, Red-billed Tropicbirds near Raso and some Fea’s Petrels.
The crew had taken a smaller boat with them to navigate between the bigger boat and the only landing place on Raso. I read in reports that some birders struggle to get on the island without getting soaked but I did not have any problems.
As soon as I have landed, the boat left for a nearby bay to go fishing.
I climbed the 4 meter high cliffs and then I was standing on the plateau of Raso.
It took only a few minutes before I spotted my first pair of Raso Larks. They are by no means common on the island. During my 4-hour stay I observed between 15 to 20 birds, mostly pairs but also once a small group of 5. I also visited the cliffs where I had excellent views and photographic opportunities of Brown Boobies and Red-billed Tropicbirds. Unexpected was the observation of a Western Marsh Harriër, hovering and patrolling slowly over the plateau.
To wander over this arid, uninhabited, small island, just on your own and observing one of the rarest bird of the world, was just quite an experience.
After 4 hours I was picked up again by the crew and after eating some freshly caught fish, we returned to Tarrafal. We had a really rough crossing but I only saw 1 lonely Fea’s Petrel on the way back. At 16.00 pm. I checked out of the pensão and took an aluguer to Ribeira Brava.
Around 18.30 pm. I arrived at Pensão Jardim in Ribeira Grande where I had a shower and afterwards a good meal and some well deserved beers.
Friday, December 29
After breakfast I took a taxi to the airport and right on time (10.00 am.) my plane (12-seater) left for the short flight to São Vincente.
Just around noon I arrived at hotel Foya Branca, which is only 1 km. from the airport, and found Daniëlle at the pool.
In the afternoon we took the free shuttle to Mindelo and went to the harbour to get info on the ferry to Santo Antão. We had intended to take the ferry to Santo Antão on December 31 and back on January 1 but unfortunately on January 1 no ferries were scheduled.
So we decided to travel the next day (December 30) and return on December 31. We bought 2 return tickets for which we paid 2800 Esc.
Saturday, December 30
We took the early shuttle to Mindelo and the driver drove us straight to the ferry.
At 8.00 am the boat left Mindelo harbour for the 1 hour crossing to Porto Novo on Santo Antão. No seabirds were seen during the crossing.
At Porto Novo we took an aluguer to Ponta do Sol via Ribeira Grande which took 1,5 hour.
The scenery during this ride was absolutely astonishing and I still regret not asking the driver to stop from time to time to take some shots from the landscape.
We finally arrived at the small fishing village of Ponta do Sol. We took a room in hotel Bluebell which was ok but not very special. We made a stroll through the village and visited the small harbour. I saw immediately that at the right hand side of the harbour there was a good vantage point for a sea watch.
After lunch I took my scope and spent 4 hours scanning the waves. I was hoping to spot an early Cape Verde Shearwater but all I observed were Fea’s Petrels (120 +).
Also photographed a rather approachable Neglected Kestrel.
In the evening, at the small restaurant in the harbour, we had an excellent meal, accompanied by good live music which created a really nice atmosphere.
Sunday, December 31
In the early morning I visited the harbour again and scanned the peaks behind Ponta do Sol, where sometimes Egyptian Vultures are observed.
At 10.30 we left Ponta do Sol for Porto Novo and then at noon the ferry back to São Vincente. Again no seabirds.
In the afternoon I walked along the beach to São Pedro but besides Sanderling, Kentish Plover en Ringed Plover nothing special. An uneventful new year’s eve.
Monday, January 1
This morning I spent 4 hours at the Mindelo Sewage Ponds. Took the shuttle to the Shell building and walked along the dirt track to the ponds.
I found a nice selection of waders and I kept myself busy trying to locate some Americans among them. First I located a lonely imm. Spoonbill but no Intermediate Egret. Also a drake Teal was swimming in one of the ponds.
I did find some American waders and these were 2 American Golden Plovers, 1 Lesser Yellowlegs and finally a Spotted Sandpiper between the Common Sandpipers.
Other waders recorded were: Whimbrel (10), Bar-tailed Godwit (2), Greenshank(12), wood Sandpiper (2), Grey Plover (6), Turnstone (50+), Sanderling (30+), Dunlin (4), Little Stint (5), Curlew Sandpiper (4), Ruff (1), Ringend Plover (10+) and Kentish Plover (12). Also good views of Osprey and 1 White Wagtail.
Other species recorded were Cape Verde Swift, Neglected Kestrel , Iago Sparrow and House Sparrow. Along the coast I saw an adult winter Atlantic Gull.
In the afternoon we visited Mindelo.
Tuesday, January 2
Again a full morning at the Mindelo Sewage Ponds.
When I walked up to the ponds I discovered that people had hanged 2 dogs by the neck to some trees. Being a dog lover this was not nice thing to see, especially when you realise what a terrible death struggle these dogs must have had.
Almost the first bird I observed when reaching the ponds was an immature Bee-eater, which is a vagrant to the Cape Verde islands. I saw more or less the same birds as I had seen yesterday.
When waiting for the shuttle bus back to the hotel I saw 5 Atlantic Gulls (1 adult, 1 second year and 3 imm./juv. exx.) at the beach.
On my way back I noticed some problems at the airport and I found out that people were stranded at the airport because all flights were cancelled due to the fact that there was too much sand in the air. This was caused by sand/dust storms from the Sahara region.
Back at the hotel I also met people who were stranded and that was the moment that I got a bad feeling about things. We were supposed to fly to Praia, Santiago the next day and after a six hour stay on Santiago we would continue from Praia to Amsterdam.
Wednesday, January 3
Until now the trip went smoothly but from now on things would change. In the morning we made a walk along a nice track to a lighthouse. Had Willow Warbler in the bushes in front of our room.
When we checked out of our hotel at noon we already heard that all flights up to now were cancelled. We were supposed to fly to Praia on 17.00 pm. so at 15.00 we showed up at the airport. Complete chaos as people were already waiting for flights from 9.00 am. in the morning. Finally at 18.30 came the announcement that there would be no more flights today which meant that we would miss our international flight from Praia to Amsterdam.
We also knew that there was only 1 flight a week from Praia to Amsterdam!!
The people from TACV did not do anything to help. We got the advice to contact their main office in Mindelo the next day. So we returned to our hotel where we had checked out earlier in the day.
Thursday, January 4
Took the shuttle to Mindelo en visited the main office of TACV, together with dozens of other people. When It was finally my turn they wrote down my name and hotel and told me to wait for news. There would definitely be no flight out today.
That turned out to be false information as we heard at our hotel that a plane had landed and that a group of French tourists had tried to storm the plane as they were already waiting for 2 days to get out. With the help of the police and some military they were “gently” removed.
I phoned my family and my travel insurance in The Netherlands.
Then we got “lucky”. When I visited the reception at 19.10 pm. I overheard that a plane had landed and that everybody who would be able to get to the airport before 20.00 pm. had a chance to board that plane that would fly to Sal. Getting to Sal meant more possibilities to get out of the country. Ran back to my room, to Daniëlle, threw everything in our suitcases, ordered a taxi and raced to the airport together with our neighbours, another Dutch couple. After some hassle we were able to board that plane and relieved we left São Vincente.
We landed at Sal at 9.30 pm. and until 1.00 am. we tried to board a TACV flight to Munchen.
At first they gave us permission but just when I wanted to check our luggage in, they told me that the flight was overbooked and that we were not allowed on that flight.
Disappointed we left the airport and drove to nearby hotel Atlantico.
Friday, January 5
After breakfast a television crew of local television visited our hotel to interview tourists who were stranded in Cabo Verde. This was organised by some French tourists who had also asked the French embassy to intervene. So at least Daniëlle and I made an appearance on local television.
We later moved to hotel Da Luz in Santa Maria where I made another set of calls to my insurance company. They booked a flight for us on Thursday January 11 with TAP from Sal to Lisbon and from Lisbon to Amsterdam. This was the first flight available.
We spent 3 hours at the bank to obtain cash money with my credit card.
I could have visited the saltpans in the afternoon but did not feel like going to do some birding.
Saturday, January 6
Spent some time at an internet facility to mail to friends, family and work. Afternoon reading.
Sunday, January 7
Lazy day, just hanged around town.
In the evening we decided, together with the Dutch couple, to go to the airport and to try our luck on the flight from Sal to Paris. We knew that the flight was fully booked but we also knew that there were hardly any flights arriving from other islands so maybe we got lucky again.
The flight was supposed to leave at 1.30 am (January 7) and at 1.15 the station manager turned up and said that another 7 people could come on this flight. I was lucky and fast and all 4 of us got on that flight.
Monday, January 8
We arrived at Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris at 11.20 am. After we had collected our luggage we decided to take the TGV train to Amsterdam. At 14.00 pm. we left Paris and arrived at Amsterdam Airport at 19.00 pm.
Took the shuttle to the Van der Valk Hotel where we had dinner. We had something to celebrate as we managed to get out of Cabo Verde within 5 days.!! Drove home in pouring rain.
Geldrop 23 January 2007
Henk Hendriks email@example.com
20 december: In the evening Drive to Van der Valk Hotel , Schiphol Airport
21 december: Flight Amsterdam – Praia on Santiago. Transfer to hotel Pestana Tropico.
22 december: Visit to Praia in the morning. Swimming pool in the afternoon.
23 december: In the morning arranging the logistics for inland trip. In the afternoon birding the area east of Praia, near Shell Terminal.
24 december: Trip to Liberão de Ribeira Montanha, Jorge dos Orgãos, Boa Entrada, Tarrafal area.
25 december: Birding the area east of Praia, near the Shell terminal. At dusk visit to scrub area below hotel Sol Atlantico, Praia.
26 december: With taxi to Jorge dos Orgãos. Afternoon hotel grounds. At dusk visit to scrub below hotel Sol Atlantico, Praia.
27 december: Morning flight to São Nicolau, aluguer to Tarafal.
28 december: Boat trip to Raso. Late afternoon aluguer to Ribeira Brava.
29 december: Taxi airport. Flight to São Vincente. Afternoon Mindelo.
30 december: Ferry to Santo Antão. Aluguer from Porto Novo to Ponta do Sol. Sea-watch in the afternoon.
31 december: Birding around Ponta do Sol. Aluguer from Ponta do Sol to Porto Novo and ferry to Mindelo on São Vincente.Afternoon hotel grounds and beach.
1 january: All morning Mindelo Sewage Ponds. Afternoon Mindelo.
2 january: All morning Mindelo Sewage Ponds. Afternoon swimming pool.
3 january: Morning walk to the light house. Afternoon to the airport. Flight cancelled. Back to our hotel.
4 january: Visit to Mindelo to TACV office. Afternoon swimming pool. Early evening flight from São Vincente – Sal. Small hotel on Sal.
5 january: Transferred to Santa Maria (Hotel Da Luz). To the bank for cash.
6 january: Santa Maria
7 january: Santa Maria.
8 january: Early morning flight to Paris. TGV from Paris to Amsterdam. Picked up car and drove home to Geldrop, arriving early evening.
SYSTEMATIC LIST OF BIRDS OBSERVED
Cape Verde/Fea’s Petrel Pterodroma feae
On 28 decmber a total of 12 exx. recorded on the crossing to and from Raso.
On 30 december 110-120 exx. during a 4-hour sea watch from Ponta do Sol on Santo Antão.
Red-billed Tropicbird Phaethon aethereus
During 2 visits to the cliffs, east of Praia I observed 12 exx. and 8 exx. on the second visit.
During my stay on Raso on 28-12 at least 40 exx. seen.
Brown Booby Sula leucogaster
On 22-12 1 ex. near Praia.
Common of the coast of São Nicolau near Tarrafal.
Regularly observed on the crossing to Raso and on the island itself 60+.
Common Teal Anas crecca Vagrant
A male was seen on both visits to the Mindelo Sewage Ponds.
Little Egret Egretta garzetta
On 23 and 25-12 1 ex. Praia harbour area.
On 24-12 3 exx. Tarrafal, Santiago. Also 2 exx. along the east coast that day.
On 27 and 28-12 2-3 exx. harbour of Tarrafal, São Nicolau.
During every visit to the Mindelo Sewage Ponds 5-7 exx. Also single birds seen along the coast near Mindelo and Mindelo harbour.
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
On 22 dec. 3 exx. and on 23 dec. 2 exx. Praia.
On 1 jan. 1 ex. Mindelo Sewage Ponds.
* CAPE VERDE/BOURNE’S HERON Ardea bournei Critically endangered.
Only 1 small colony remain on Santiago at Liberão/Banana de Ribeira Montanha.
On 24 december I observed 3 adult and 7 juv. birds in the big mahogany tree which harbours this small colony.
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia Rare winter visitor.
On both visits to the Mindelo sewage Ponds an immature bird was seen.
Osprey Pandion haliaetus
On 28 december 1 pair was present on Raso.
On 29 december 1 pair at Foya Branca Resort on São Vincente.
On 30 december 1 ex. in the harbour of Mindelo and 1 ex.on the crossing to Porto Novo.
Also 2 exx. seen near Ponta do Sol on the same date.
During both visits to the Mindelo Sewage Ponds great and close views of 1 ex.
Western Marsh Harriër Circus auriginosus Rare winter visitor.
An unexpected observation 28 december of 1 ex. on Raso.
* CAPE VERDER BUZZARD Buteo bannermani Rare.
On 24 december 3 exx. near São Jorge dos Orgãos.
On 26 december 1 ex. in the same area.
* NEGLECTED KESTREL Falco neglectus
Common on São Nicolau, Santo Antão and São Vincente.
* ALEXANDER’S KESTREL Falco alexandri
Common on Santiago.
Helmeted Guineafowl Numida meleagris
On 24 december heard at São Jorge dos Orgãos, Santiago
On 26 december 2 birds seen in the same area.
On 27 december a small flock of 5 birds between Ribeira Brava and Tarrafal on São Nicolau.
Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica
On 22,23 and 24 december 1 ex. along the beach near our hotel at Praia.
During both visits to the Mindelo sewage Ponds 2 exx. observed.
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus
Common. Small numbers along the coast near Praia and Tarrafal, Santiago.
Also small numbers at Tarrafal, São Nicolau and along the coast near Mindelo, São Vincente.
During both visits to the Mindelo Sewage Ponds 20+ exx. observed.
Also a few seen at the harbour of Ponta do Sol on Santo Antão.
Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia
Daily 1-2 exx. along the coast near Praia, Santiago.
10-12 exx. were present at the Mindelo Sewage Ponds.
Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa Vagrant.
I observed 1 ex. on both visits to the Mindelo Sewage Ponds.
Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola
2 exx. were present at the Mindelo Sewage Ponds.
Common Sandpiper Tringa hypoleuca
10-12 exx. were seen on both visits to the Mindelo Sewage Ponds.
Spotted Sandpiper Tringa macularia Vagrant.
I found 1 ex. between the Common Sandpipers at the Mindelo Sewage Ponds. It took some observation time before I was sure of the determination. But again and again the bird was picked out by jizz alone because the tail was distinctively shorter than the tail of the Common Sandpipers and this gave the bird a much more compact impression. I did not find the leg colour and the overall colouration of the bird a very good feature.
Another thing I noticed was the reduced white upper wing bar of the Spotted Sandpiper, especially visible just before landing. This could also very good be compared with the accompanying Common Sandpipers.
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
Common on all shores.
50+ at the Mindelo Sewage Ponds.
Sanderling Calidris alba
Daily 20+ along the beach near our hotel in Praia, Santiago.
On 28 december 2 exx. on Raso.
Common along the beaches and rocky shores of São Vincente.
40+ present at the Mindelo Sewage Ponds.
Little Stint Calidris minuta
3-5 birds present at the Mindelo Sewage Ponds
Dunlin Calidris alpine Rare.
On 1 january 4 exx. Mindelo Sewage Ponds. Surprisingly not observed the following day.
Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea
2 birds seen on both visits to the Mindelo Sewage Ponds
Ruff philomachus pugnax
1 bird present at the Mindelo Sewage Ponds on both visits
American Golden Plover pluvialis dominicus Vagrant.
2 birds observed on both visits to the Mindelo Sewage Ponds.
Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola
On 1 and 2 january 2/3 exx. along the coast near Mindelo.
On the same dates 5 and 20 exx. at the Mindelo Sewage Ponds.
Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula
Daily 10+ along the beach near our hotel, Praia, Santiago.
Daily 30+ along the near our hotel Foya Branca, São Vincente.
Regularly observed along the coast near Mindelo.
10+ during both visits to the Mindelo Sewage Ponds.
Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus
Daily 10+ along the beach near our hotel Foya Branca, São Vincente.
10+ during both visits to the Mindelo Sewage Ponds.
Atlantic Gull Larus michaelis atlanticus
On 1 januari an adult winter was observed near Mindelo.
On 2 january an adult winter, 2 second year birds and 2 imm./juvenile birds were seen near Mindelo.
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis
On 21 and 23 december 1 bird was seen along the beach of Praia, Santiago.
Rock Dove (Feral Pigeon) Columba livia
* CAPE VERDE SWIFT Apus alexandri
On 23 december 2 exx. cliffs, east of Praia. On 25 december 4 exx. in the same area.
On 24 december 18-20 exx. São Jorge dos Orgãos area. 20+ on 26 december in the same area.
On 30 and 31 december 6 – 10 exx. between Porto Novo and Ponta do Sol, Santo Antão.
Also a few around Ponta do Sol itself.
Up to 20 exx. around the Mindelo Sewage Ponds on 1 and 2 january.
Grey-headed Kingfisher Halcyon leucocephala)
Common, especially inland, on Santiago.
European Bee-eater Merops apiaster Vagrant.
On 2 january 1 ex. at the Mindelo Sewage Ponds.
Brown-necked Raven Corvus ruficollis
On 24 december regularly birds seen during our inland trip on Santiago.
6 exx. just before Assomado, Santiago.
On 24 december 10+ in the São Jorge dos Orgãos area.On 26 december 15+ in the same area.
On 28 december 2 exx. Raso. A few observed on route on São Nicolau.
Regularly observed en route on Santo Antão and near Ponta do Sol.
Daily observed on São Vincnte.
* CAPE VERDE (CANE) WARBLER Acrocephalus brevipennis Endangered
On 24 december 2 birds seen just below the viewpoint near São Jorge dos Orgãos, on Santiago. A few more heard. On the same date we heard more birds at Boa Entrada but no attempts were made to lure them into view.
Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochiloides Rare visitor.
On 3 january 1 bird was seen very well in the low bushes in front of our hotel room.
Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla
Commonly observed on Santiago.
Spectacled Warbler Sylvia conspicillata
Daily recorded on Santiago, 2 near Tarrafal, São Nicolau, 2 near the airport of São Nicolau, heard at Ponta do Sol and daily near Mindelo, São Vincente.
A few seen very well but more often heard.
Black-crowned Finch-Lark Eremopterix nigriceps
A small flock (6-7 exx.) was present around our hotel in Praia.
Common (40+) in the area above the cliffs, east of Praia.
* RASO LARK Alauda razae Critically endangered
During my stay on the tiny island of Raso I observed some 20 birds. Mostly pairs but twice a small flock of 3 and 5 birds. To observe this extremely rare and vulnerable species was the highlight of the trip for me.
House Sparrow Passer domesticus
Only observed around Mindelo, São Vincente, where common.
Spanish Sparrow Passer hispaniolensis
Commonly seen on Santiago.
* IAGO SPARROW Passer iagoensis
Common on every island visited.
Common Waxbill Estrilda astrild
Common on Santiago.
White Wagtail Motacilla alba Vagrant.
On 2 dates I observed 1 ex. at the Mindelo Sewage Ponds.
50 species observed.