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|A Report from birdtours.co.uk|
The Gambia, 30 January - 6th February,
TRIP BY BOB BIGGS AND STEVE SCOTT
I don't want to start off by boring everyone but if you knew me, you wouldn't believe that I would ever contemplate a trip to Africa. I've been ill in Spain, Portugal, the Canaries, Torquay.you name it. However, for a "treat" ahead of my 50th birthday in March 2003, I allowed myself a moment of madness last March, to the concern of all of my family, and booked a week in the Gambia with my birding friend, Steve Scott.
Then in January of this year came the injections, in themselves a likely cause of illness I thought, and just prior to the holiday, the anti-malaria tablets - Doxycycline. I was pleased to see that they were an anti-biotic. I thought this might come in handy!
Absolutely fantastic! No health problems, no reaction to injections or tablets, no bites, two mosquitoes seen all week, etc. - just absolutely brilliant. Get the picture? - I liked it!
In view of the excellent variety of reports on the internet, I don't intend to go into any great detail of sites and will keep daily logs to a minimum. Instead, I would like to share my thoughts on this trip with those who will have the same kind of reservations as I did previously. I can't guarantee that everything will go as smoothly for everyone else but I hope I can allay some fears.
One of the main reasons for our trip being so successful can be put down to our guide, Tijan Kanteh. He was recommended to me by a group of fellow Northumberland Birders who went to the Gambia in February 2002. They had hired Tijan and had been very pleased with him. He charges £10 per person per day, plus the locally-set taxi rate. This is between 250 and 400 Dalasi for the local trips and about 800 Dalasi for places like Pirang and Marakissa. That's excellent value as far as I'm concerned.
If you are going to the Gambia, I would recommend Tijan, particularly if you want to be escorted by a guy who is very interested in birds, very good company and is likely to feel more like your friend than your Guide by the end of your trip. I say this as someone who would normally never hire a guide. I've birded [and driven] in several Countries in Europe, the USA, Canada and Trinidad and Tobago without a guide. I like to find my own birds. However, if I were to go back to the Gambia tomorrow, I would be straight back in touch with Tijan. I would not even consider driving in the Gambia and the lack of hassle from bumsters, which could have come our way without Tijan, was worth the £10 per day in itself. There will be times when you may have "discussion birds". However, overall, Tijan found us so many birds that we would not have seen without him that a few difficult IDs just added to the entertainment!
Thanks to Neil Money for helpful advice before we went. Thanks to all those who have written previous reports, particularly those on Birdtours' website. The report from Willy Aelvoet and Gerard Mornie is very useful, as are those by Jan Vermeulen and George Watola.
Booked through Thomsons, half board at the Hotel Senegambia Beach. Cost approx £450 each. We were more than satisfied with accommodation and food [although I did eat with my eyes] and in particular with the gardens! These are far larger than I thought but then this is the reason for a garden/hotel list of nearly 50 birds!
We got 38 Dalasi to the pound and exchanged our money at a supermarket across the road from our hotel, where they were offering 33 Dalasi for much of the time! Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised at the current exchange rate.
Have a few small notes with you when you go out. You might just want to give them away. At the airport and hotel, baggage handlers are happy to accept £1 coins for their endeavours. As an aside, you might be asked if you have a tenner for ten coins as they can only exchange notes. Talking of airports and money, you pay a fiver to get in when you arrive. Well worth it!!
When you go back to the airport, it seems to be the done thing to hand over a small amount of money when your passport is checked. Seems quite odd to me but it ensures a happy chat with the man in uniform! There is a duty free in the arrivals and departure areas. 200 Cigs were about £8 but cheaper in the Shops! I almost wished I smoked!
The much-loved Julbrau regularly mentioned in other reports was 35 Dalasi at our hotel.
It gets light at about 7.15 am at this time of year and dark about 12 hours later. Birds such as Weavers, Bishops and Whydahs are not at their best!
It was hot most of the time but not humid. You have to wear a hat to be safe. I looked a total prat but I was glad of the protection my wide rimmed sunhat gave me! Just in case it wasn't working, I had factor 20 on the few parts of my body that were on show.
Everywhere is dusty at this time of year. Your feet will become black. White socks are not a good idea!
The most important point in this report now follows. Take loads of pens and lollies. The kids will love them and really appreciate any gifts, no matter how small. Our cases were loaded with these plus books, old clothes, a few old mobile phones, etc. All were gratefully received. Although it is sad to see such poverty, the smiles on the faces of so many people suggest they might know a thing or two about life that we've missed. Pretty deep stuff, eh? I'll move on!
ITINERARY AND DAILY LOG
Left Manchester at 9.30am. Just missed the snow that was to cause havoc elsewhere in the North. Flew on a DC10 with Mytravel. I thought they had all been scrapped! However, strong winds pushed us on and we arrived early, 5 hours and 30 minutes after leaving Manchester. We were at the airport for some time before our bus eventually got us underway.
Tijan met us at our hotel on arrival. We had already agreed a draft itinerary by e-mail. We agreed to see him on the following afternoon for a local trip. It was approaching 5.30 pm by now so we went back to our room to sort out a few things.
We then birded the gardens for the rest of the evening until darkness fell at 7.15pm. What an introduction to African birds! You have to experience it for yourself but try to imagine 4 Gonoleks at your feet, with scores of Red-Cheeked Cordon Bleu and Bronze Mannikins, Babblers, the odd Black Flycatcher, Speckled Pigeons, Doves, Hornbills, Firefinches, Sunbirds, Weavers, White Crowned Robin Chats and Yellow Billed Shrikes as close support!! Finally, we went to see the roosting Harrier Hawks having just missed the Pearl Spotted Owlet!
It goes down as one of those special birding moments. An hour of bliss!
Walked around the gardens all morning. Saw the Hooded Vultures on the lawn before, during and after feeding time! Best new birds included Long Tailed Glossy Starling, Green Wood Hoopoe and Piapiac. We then walked across to the perimeter hedge [near Block D] and watched birds drinking from a tap in the hedge - very convenient! We walked a little further and hit lucky as within 10 minutes we added Yellow Fronted Tinkerbird, Northern Crombec and Pygmy Kingfisher to our Garden List! Phew, time for a little rest!
After lunch, the first bird we saw in the garden was a Broad Billed Roller. Nice start! Then followed another lucky break. On the opposite side of the gardens [near the lawn] the Senegambia Hotel looks over the Kairaba Hotel. The nice gardener there had decided to water the lawn. So we started a new kind of list from the Senegambia Gardens - a Kairaba list! A puddle soon formed on the lawn and within a couple of minutes, birds were everywhere. Lavender Waxbill  led the charge with two of their Orange-Cheeked Cousins following behind. These were the only two we would see on the trip. Other birds included Northern Red Bishop, Black Flycatcher, Cordon Bleu  African Thrush  Purple Glossy Starling, several Firefinches and Mannikins - all having a whale of a time. Then it was over, the water dried up and the birds disappeared. Spooky. The morale of the story - look out for taps and watering devices.
We met Tijan as agreed and travelled for at least 2 minutes before stopping at Badala Park pools. I won't list everything but what a place! Lifers included Jacana, Sacred Ibis, Black Crake and African Spoonbill, plus loads of "our" waders. We then moved on to Kotu Creek and walked around and through Faraja Golf Course. Senegal Thick-knee , Wattled Plover , Grey Headed Gull , Little Bee Eater , Senegal Coucal, Black Headed Plover , Blue Bellied Roller and Senegal Parrot were among loads of lifers for me. We finished at the Nightjar site where we got torchlight views of Long Tailed Nightjar.
Tijan picked us up at 8.00 am and after getting ice for our water to sit in for the rest of the day, we made our way to Marakissa. We saw a few good birds along the way. It's a long trip and roads quickly deteriorate. I don't think we did quite as well as we expected but we had great views of some birds. These included Giant Kingfisher, Grey Hornbill, African Pied Hornbill, Malachite Kingfisher and White Crested Helmet Shrike. We then had brilliant views of Blue Breasted Kingfisher along the river. We stayed in the same spot for over half an hour. During this time, we added Lesser Honeyguide and Little Greenbul to our list.
We went back to the camp for that most African of meals - chips and bottled water. It was excellent! While we ate, we watched over the water seeing the occasional heron and Kingfisher and the only Bronze Tailed Glossy Starling of the trip. I remember thinking that all this had the edge on work! Talking of the camp, they have some excellent rooms out there for anyone wanting to spend a couple of days in this area.
Tijan then played his ace by suggesting we went for a walk by the river. He said there was an interesting bridge we would see. We started well enough - Greater Painted Snipe  did their best to keep out of our sight but failed. Then came the dreaded bridge - a few planks of wood that didn't look like they would take my 15-stone frame. Until then, I'd seen little reason to inform Tijan of my several years of gout infected, cartilage defective left kneecap. Would it stand the test? I didn't fancy the crossing at all. In the event, I made the first 90% of the walk pretty well. Unfortunately, I lost my momentum towards the end and was left balancing "a la highwire" [well it was at least a 3 foot drop into the water] with my two colleagues watching - together with half a dozen locals! Which of the planks to take, that was the question. Too many options. Eventually, the Committee decided that I should step off the one I was on and move onto an adjoining plank for the rest of my trip. I was so tensed up that as I moved off, my left knee gave way as I asked it to manoeuvre me into position. Thankfully, I had so little distance left to make that I was able to scramble on to the bank before losing my balance. Everyone thought it was very amusing - with one exception! Tijan got the message that bridges were out from now on!
The rest of the walk was on terra firma and we saw some excellent birds, including Green Pigeon, Abyssinian Roller, Long Crested Eagle, Palm Nut Vulture and Intermediate Egret. Steve saw a Yellow Throated Leaflove. I never did catch up with one.
We then moved on and from the van, saw our first Oxpeckers  hitching a ride on cattle. We were now looking for Abyssinian Ground Hornbill at a near known by Tijan near to the Senegal border. We did see Whinchat but little else. On our way back we stopped at a very birdy tree, which contained Fork Tailed Drongo , Tawny Flanked Prinia  and Green Backed Eremomela . Three nice lifers to end the day.
We met Tijan outside the Hotel at 9.00 am and made our way to Bilijo in the hope of seeing White Throated Bee-Eater. The forest was fairly quiet but things livened up when we came to a clearing. We saw our first Striped Kingfishers and then a skulking Singing Cisticola. Tijan went for a quick look round while we stayed in the shade. As usual, the difficult bird then appeared! It was probably a Whydah, well out of breeding plumage, with a clear supercilium and central stripe on its head, and a Chestnut band on its chest. The books don't really help. Has anyone seen a bird like this at this time of year?
We also saw Grey Woodpecker, Fine Spotted Woodpecker and Buffalo Weaver at this area before walking back through the forest. There was no sign of Bee-eaters but plenty of monkeys! When we got back to the entrance, a friend of Tijan's told him that the Bee-eaters had been seen on the previous evening at about 5.00 pm between the forest and beach.
We had agreed to have a relaxing day today so we went back to the hotel for the next three hours and wandered around the Gardens. This turned out to be fairly quiet although we did get frustrating views of an Oriole Warbler. I managed to see a Silverbill among a large number of Weavers, Babblers and Bulbuls but it flew off before I could alert Steve. Someone told us that Bearded Barbets were showing well near to one of the apartments and we made our way to watch them, seeing a Yellow Fronted Tinkerbird on the way.
Tijan re-appeared at 3.30 pm and he took us to Cape Point. Shortly after leaving the hotel he stopped and we got great views of our first Blue Cheeked Bee-eaters of the trip. A mile on and he stopped to show us our first Rufous Crowned Roller, which was on wires next to a Woodchat Shrike. We moved on to a smelly wader-type place, seeing Gull Billed Tern, Little Ringed Plover  and other more familiar waders, together with two Giant Kingfishers!
We then drove towards Bund Road. The mud flats were full of waders but many were too far away to enjoy. We did see both species of Pelican fairly well and the 'scope gave us reasonable views of Yellow Billed Stork , Sacred Ibis, Black Winged Stilt , loads of Terns and Gulls, White Breasted Cormorants and lots of common waders. Great place and presumably, even better if the tide is not so far out. I'm not sure.
We then made our way back to the Hotel via Bilijo again. This time we walked up the beach in the hope of seeing White Throated Bee-eater. We managed Little Bee-Eater and a Palm Nut Vulture flew over us but after 20 minutes there and 20 minutes back, it proved to be all in vain.
This day was always going to be a challenge! We decided to go to Pirang, via Mandinaba, to see Black Crowned Crane and Hadada Ibis respectively. We had spoken to a number of birders at the hotel who had dipped on one or both but we felt we were in with a good chance. We started at 8.00 am and soon arrived at Mandinaba to be met by several young people who were interested in relieving us of our pens and lollies! Unfortunately, there were no Ibis there with them!
We moved on to Pirang and set off for a long walk. There were several Swallows over the first area of water we came to and lifers came thick and fast! Wire Tailed, Mosque and Red Chested Swallows were positively identified and a number of Little Swifts were flying around with them. A little further on we also saw single Sand Martin and Red Rumped Swallow, both sat having a breather in a field. One of our best "stalking" moments gave us a view of a Quail Finch on the ground after several had flown over us on a number of occasions. On the same path, we saw Plain Backed Pipit  and Chestnut Backed Sparrow Lark , together with Crested Lark. Overhead, a number of Pink Backed Pelicans flew around aimlessly, with African Spoonbill , Blue Cheeked Bee-Eater  and our only Montagu's Harrier for the trip. On our way back to the van, Steve saw a Purple Heron and we all saw Namaqua Dove.
You will have noticed that I haven't mentioned Cranes. There was no sign so Tijan drove about half a mile to a place where he had seen them before. First bird??. White Throated Bee-Eater!! - just about sums up birdwatching, doesn't it! Two birds gave long and splendid views. A Marsh Harrier flew over as we watched, as did an Osprey. As we left, three Oxpeckers passed by on a group of cattle. Good place but no Cranes!
We then moved on to the Faraba Bantang Track. It was very hot by now. We saw our only Grasshopper Buzzard along the track. A little further on, Tijan stopped the van for a break - it was about 3.00 pm by now. We saw very little but having moved on again, we hit lucky as we stopped and walked around a different area to get great views of Senegal Batis, Yellow Fronted Canary and Copper Sunbird. Memories of Durham flowed back as a large group of European Bee-Eaters flew over. That made four species of, probably, my favourite family of birds. We stopped off and on for a while but didn't see much of note. Steve and Tijan probably had a fly-over Lappet Faced Vulture at one area but it was distant by the time I saw it. I can't remember where it was but Tijan said it was one of the few places where this species is recorded in the Gambia.
Tijan insisted that we returned to the Hadada Ibis site. I said it didn't matter and that we would see them next time! However, he was the man with the wheel so off we went. We returned to the same site. Unfortunately, we were devoid of pens and lollies by now so the crowd of children were disappointed. As it happens so were we. Tijan was told by one of the women who was working in the fields that the birds had appeared about 15 minutes after we had left in the morning. Needless to say, they weren't there when we returned either!
We then made our way back to the hotel, arriving at about 7.00 pm after getting stuck in a couple of long traffic jams.
Tijan picked us up at 8.30 am and we made straight for Tanji. There was nobody there when we arrived. Nevertheless, we got out the car and the first bird we saw was a Common Wattle Eye! We walked along one of the paths but it was very quiet. We came out of the trees to an open area where we saw at least four Ospreys flying around. Then we went back to the van, where we saw Scarlet Chested Sunbird before moving off along the main road. We stopped shortly afterwards and walked through an area full of bushes and trees. It looked perfect but was almost devoid of birds, four Yellow Wagtails apart.
We walked to the beach and saw a number of common waders. Eventually, we saw the one we had gone for - White Fronted Plover. There was just the one but it was a male and gave and very nice 'scope views on a sand bank across the water. We saw a number of Terns and Gulls too, with Osprey  sat on the beach, one eating a fish.
We made our way back, seeing Pin-tailed Whydah and Black Flycatcher in the bushes and Pink-Backed Pelican and Marsh Harrier flying over. We decided to go to the Paradise Inn for a bite but went via the Fisherman's beach at Tanji in the hope of a Skua. There were loads of Gulls and a few Terns but that was it. We went on to the Paradise Inn - chips and water again - and Steve saw another Purple Heron flying over after lunch. I missed it again. After that we made our way to the Brufut area. We walked through an area of dry riverbed, seeing the occasional Roller and then a new bird, Brown Snake Eagle. Then Steve got on to a bird and said he had a Pipit on top of a bush. I saw the bird he was looking at. I agreed it looked like a pipit but couldn't decide what kind because it had a streaky back. Then it turned around and it had a streaky head too! I called over to Tijan who was looking at a different bird a few yards away. "You're looking at the wrong bird" I said, somewhat exasperated ."I see it", he said just as both flew away together. "Croaking Cisticola" he said. "What"? Steve and I looked at each other - we'd never even heard of it and we'd both studied our books for months before leaving for the trip. Sure enough, it made sense once we'd seen the description in the book. We'd never had got it on our own. I just hadn't put Cisticola into the "possible" list owing to its size. I don't know whether to tick it or not - so I haven't, yet!
We then went back to the hotel to have a look around the gardens and add a few birds to the video list. We eventually came across a very noisy area and found a Pearl Spotted Owlet in a tree, getting a load of hassle from all kinds of birds, particularly Gonolek and Woodpecker! We moved on to the "tap in the hedge" area and at last saw the Snowy Crowned Robin Chat which had been appearing there every day, but which we had missed every day. It came right out onto the lawn and gave great views.
Our last full day started at 8.30 am and Tijan drove immediately to Yundum. This proved to be one of my favourite areas. We had great views of Pied Winged Swallow and Rufous Crowned Roller as soon as we started walking into the bushes. Shortly, a Lanner landed in a tree and the 'scope did the rest. The area had all kinds of birds and this included Wheatear, Whinchat and Whitethroat as well as Brubru, Brown Backed Woodpecker and Vieillot's Barbet!! We also saw at least two Black-Crowned Tchagra, Long Crested Eagle and Greater Honeyguide. I could have stayed here all day but we had to move on.
We had a good look for Temminck's Courser but there was no sign. We decided to go to Lamin Lodge for lunch. We got a bit of hassle from bumsters outside the entrance. This was a reminder of how little we had had elsewhere. We didn't stay long - just long enough to add Village Indigobird to the list. Lunch took too long so we didn't bother.
We moved on to Abuko. In my "plan", I had intended to go there at least twice but time had flown by. We made our way to the first hide. I was surprised how little water there was. However, there was enough to attract African Spoonbill , Black Egret, Hamerkop, Night Heron , a couple of Jacana and a few common waders. We then walked along the first path and Tijan stopped and pointed at an area well under the bushes. I didn't really understand what he was looking at but eventually, I got on to a bird on the floor with a red chest. "All I can see is part of a Gonolek", I said. That's a Western Bluebill", answered Tijan. He was right! It came out from behind its branch for a couple of seconds and was never seen again. Steve missed it.
We kept on walking, seeing Snowy Crowned Robin Chat very well and getting good views of Green Turaco. Then we came out into an open area and we stood in the same place for 5 minutes, waiting for something to fly in. Something did! At least 3 Swallow-Tailed Bee-Eaters flew around for the next 10 minutes, putting on a great aerial acrobatic show. Occasionally they were joined by Little Bee-Eater. That was 5 Bee-Eater species for the trip. On our way back we met a couple of birders and exchanged news. As we did, their guide heard a Klaas Cuckoo calling. After a minute or two, it flew into a tall tree above us and we all got pretty good views of it. We also saw Paradise Flycatchers in this area and Black Necked Weaver, a new bird for the trip.
We then called it a day and went back to the Hotel and another look around the gardens before enjoying a rather good barbeque outside with an African band playing a few local tunes.
It was the last day of our trip already. We decided to take a couple of hours with Tijan, to go back to a few local sites to grab some video footage. We started at Kotu Ponds where we saw a number of waders and added a few new birds to our list. There was a single Curlew Sandpiper in with the species we had seen all week. We also had our best views of Marsh Sandpiper . A Subalpine Warbler in the bushes was new as were about 30 White Faced Whistling Duck and Little Grebe  on one of the pools. We also had flyover African Spoonbill and Sacred Ibis.
We moved on to Kotu Creek, hoping to get good views of Wattled Plover and Thick-Knee for the video. There were none at all! A walk around the golf course gave us good views of Black Headed Plover but generally, it was quiet. Finally, we went to the Badala Park pools where we saw nothing new but had good views of Painted Snipe and some good footage of a Black Egret doing what Black Egrets do!
That was it! Back to the hotel, goodbye to Tijan, pack up and wait for the bus. We had a couple of hours to kill so stayed in the gardens but saw very little. Then we were off to the airport, which we left late but, in keeping with the rest of the holiday, the winds had turned round and we were blown home, arriving back in Manchester early.
I don't usually have holidays like this. Let there be plenty more, please!
Anyone wanting to contact me can do so by e-mail
The systematic list follows. I haven't gone into great detail as our sightings were so similar to others whose reports I have referred to previously.
[G] = Seen in or from hotel gardens
About 20 at Kotu Ponds
GREAT WHITE PELICAN
Bund Rd 
Bund Rd , Pirang , Tanji
Seen often near Kotu ; also Marakissa and Abuko
WHITE BREASTED CORMORANT
Bund Rd 
Seen on a few occasions at different sites
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERON
Only seen at Abuko
CATTLE EGRET [G]
Seen often, in all types of places including hotel lawn!
A few at Kotu; also Abuko and Marakissa
Marakissa, Cape Point and Abuko
Seen at most coastal sites and Abuko
Seen at Marakissa for sure and probably elsewhere but overlooked
WESTERN REEF HERON
Seen regularly near Kotu; also Marakissa and Cape Point
GREAT WHITE EGRET
Kotu, Marakissa and Tanji
Two sightings by Steve at Pirang and Paradise Inn
8 at Bund Rd
Seen at Kotu , Pirang  and Abuko 
WHITE-FACED WHISTLING DUCK
About 30 at Kotu Ponds
Seen on a number of occasions in the Kotu area; also Marakissa
Seen occasionally at coast, including 4 at Tanji
AFRICAN HARRIER HAWK [G]
Seen regularly. A pair roosted in a tree in the hotel grounds
PALM NUT VULTURE
Marakissa, Pirang, Abuko 
HOODED VULTURE [G]
A bird appearing to be this species was seen by Steve and Tijan
Seen on two occasions at Marakissa and Yundum
BROWN SNAKE EAGLE
Seen at Brufut
BLACK KITE [G]
Seen every day
Only seen once at Faraba Bantang Bush Track
One at Pirang
Seen near Pirang, Tanji and Yundum
DARK CHANTING GOSHAWK
Seen at Marakissa and Tanji
Seen less often than anticipated but at least one at Yundum
Seen on a number of occasions
Seen at Yundum
Only one seen at Bund Rd
One seen at Yundum
Seen occasionally but never particularly well
One at Badala Park Pools
Far easier to see than anticipated, several at Marakissa
GREATER PAINTED SNIPE
3 at Marakissa and One at Badala Park Pools
Several at Badala Park Pools and small numbers elsewhere
Seen well and often at suitable sites, max.c.15 Kotu Creek
Only seen at Faraja Golf Course - but excellent views, max 5 golf course
Seen fairly regularly, usually with Thick-Knees, max c.10, Kotu Creek
One at Kotu
LITTLE RINGED PLOVER
Three at Cape Point
A few at coastal sites
WHITE FRONTED PLOVER
Three at Bund Rd
Seen at coastal sites
Seen fairly regularly
Seen at Kotu Ponds and occasional distant sightings elsewhere
Seen in Kotu area
Seen regularly at appropriate sites
One at Bund Rd in flooded area [opposite side of Rd to Sea]
Seen regularly in Kotu area and Bund Rd
Seen on a couple of occasions
Bund Rd and Tanji
Seen along the coast in small numbers
One juv at Tanji was the only definite record
LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL
A few at Bund Rd and One at Tanji
Seen occasionally along coast
Seen in groups of Terns at Bund Rd and Tanji
LESSER CRESTED TERN
Seen with other Terns at Bund Rd and Tanji
One at Cape Point area
Seen at hotel in small numbers and at Bilijo
BLUE-SPOTTED WOOD DOVE
Seen at Marakissa
BLACK-BILLED WOOD DOVE [G]
Seen at Marakissa, hotel gardens and Bilijo
SPECKLED PIGEON [G]
Always a few around hotel gardens
AFRICAN GREEN PIGEON
Seen at Marakissa - near that "bridge"!
Best seen at Pirang
RED EYED DOVE [G]
AFRICAN MOURNING DOVE
Only seen at Marakissa but probably over-looked
VINACEOUS DOVE [G]
Seen at hotel but not often
AFRICAN COLLARED DOVE
One at Marakissa
SENEGAL COUCAL [G]
Seen at Abuko
PEARL-SPOTTED OWLET [G]
Seen at usual site
AFRICAN PALM SWIFT [G]
Seen most days
Several at Pirang
A few over Abuko
GREEN WOOD HOOPOE [G]
Seen first in hotel gardens, then occasionally elsewhere
Seen at Marakissa, Cape Point  and Abuko
Seen at a few sites but best at Marakissa
Two near Bilijo
PYGMY KINGFISHER [G]
Only seen in hotel gardens
Only seen at Marakissa
BROAD BILLED ROLLER [G]
Hotel gardens. Seen on one other occasion
Seen most days, max 5 at Marakissa [in the same tree!]
Cape Point, Brufut and Yundum
First seen at Marakissa, then on a number of occasions
At least 3 at Abuko
Seen on three separate occasions in good numbers, max 8 at Pirang
Seen at Faraba and Tanji
Seen most days
Two near Pirang
WESTERN PLANTAIN EATER [G]
Seen at Abuko
YELLOW-FRONTED TINKERBIRD [G]
Seen at hotel twice and once at Faraba Bantang
BEARDED BARBET [G]
One pair building a nest at hotel. Seen fairly often elsewhere
AFRICAN PIED HORNBILL
Two at Marakissa
RED-BILLED HORNBILL [G]
AFRICAN GREY HORNBILL
Seen at Marakissa and Bilijo
Bilijo and Yundum
Bilijo, Faraba Bantang and Yundum
2 at Yundum
One at Marakissa
A few at Pirang
4, including a male, at Pirang
PLAIN BACKED PIPIT
At least 4 at Pirang
One at Pirang
At least 2 at Yundum
Several at Pirang and seen occasionally elsewhere
At least 3 at Pirang
One near Marakissa - probably over-looked elsewhere
Several at Pirang
One at Pirang
FORK TAILED DRONGO
Seen regularly at suitable sites
Seen occasionally, including 4 at Tanji
One at Cape Point
COMMON BULBUL [G]
Seen by Steve and Tijan twice - golf course and Marakissa
Seen well at Marakissa and Abuko
ORIOLE WARBLER [G]
Seen badly at hotel gardens!
BLACKCAP BABBLER [G]
Common in hotel gardens
BROWN BABBLER [G]
Seen at Faraba Bantang [in a tree!] and Yundum
WHITE-CROWNED ROBIN CHAT [G]
Seen every day at hotel. Also at Tanji.
SNOWY-CROWNED ROBIN CHAT [G]
Seen [eventually] at hotel. Also at Abuko
Seen at Yundum
AFRICAN THRUSH [G]
OLIVACEOUS WARBLER [G]
A few in the gardens
Seen occasionally in the hotel gardens
One at Yundum
One at Kotu Ponds
One at Bilijo
Seen at Marakissa, Bilijo and Yundum
NORTHERN CROMBEC [G]
Seen in hotel gardens
Only seen a couple of times.
AFRICAN PARADISE FLYCATCHER
PARADISE FLYCATCHER SPECIES [HYBRID]
NORTHERN BLACK FLYCATCHER
Seen a few times in gardens and occasionally elsewhere
BEAUTIFUL SUNBIRD [G]
Seen at Faraba Bantang
At least 2 at Yundum, one treated us to a song-flight!
One at Yundum
NORTHERN PUFFBACK [G]
Golf course, Marakissa and hotel gardens
YELLOW CROWNED GONOLEK [G]
Seen every day in hotel gardens and reasonably often elsewhere
WHITE CRESTED HELMET SHRIKE
At least 4 at Marakissa
Cape Point, Pirang, Tanji and Yundum
YELLOW-BILLED SHRIKE [G]
Seen every day at hotel [max.6] and regularly elsewhere
PIED CROW [G]
GREATER BLUE-EARED GLOSSY STARLING [G]
Seen at hotel. Often confused us with Purple Glossy Starlings for some reason
PURPLE GLOSSY STARLING [G]
Seen occasionally but see above!
BRONZE-TAILED GLOSSY STARLING
One at Marakissa
LONG-TAILED GLOSSY STARLING [G]
YELLOW- BILLED OXPECKER
Seen on two occasions, 4 near Marakissa and 3 near Pirang
At least 2 at Faraba Bantang
HOUSE SPARROW [G]
A few in the hotel grounds
GREY-HEADED SPARROW [G]
WHITE-BILLED BUFFALO WEAVER
Seen near Kotu Creek and Bilijo
NORTHERN RED BISHOP [G]
Seen in small numbers in drab plumage
VILLAGE WEAVER [G]
One at Abuko
ORANGE-CHEEKED WAXBILL [G]
2 seen from Hotel gardens in Kairaba Hotel gardens
LAVENDER WAXBILL [G]
Good numbers in hotel gardens and occasionally elsewhere
RED-BILLED FIREFINCH [G]
AFRICAN SILVERBILL [G]
One in hotel gardens
BRONZE MANNIKIN [G]
Always present in Hotel gardens, also regular elsewhere
A couple at Lamin Lodge
One seen well at Pirang, where others flew over us
One at Abuko
DISCUSSION BIRDS AND/OR THOSE SEEN BY TIJAN
WHITE-WINGED BLACK TERN
AFRICAN GOLDEN ORIOLE
RED- BELLIED AFRICAN FLYCATCHER
WESTERN BANDED SNAKE EAGLE