A report by Nigel Eaton-Gray Nigel is the Proprietor of the birder friendly Great Tree Hotel in Devon.
One of the problems of running a hotel in beautiful surroundings with superb birdwatching on the doorstep, is that it is very frustrating. A small hotel means that one is at the "coalface" all the time and there is very little chance to experience all that is around us. Consequently, the only time that I manage to get much time to enjoy the birds is when I am on holiday and away from all that is so marvelous here.
I have just come back from one of those short, sharp trips to my favourite haunt, the Gambia. Four of us made a quick one week visit where we disappeared up country to a new camp near Georgetown for two nights, and to Tendaba for two nights. With two of the group collecting bird sounds and two of us concentrating on video, we didn't expect to accummulate a large species list in that week, but it was, never-the-less, over 220 species. Also having been several times before, one hopes but doesn't expect to get many new species on tape, one just hopes to get better pictures of those that one has seen before. However, in this respect we were pleasantly surprised with several new species caught on camera one of which was this lovely Western Banded Snake Eagle which sat in a leafless tree on MaCarthy Island and was totally unperturbed by our presence.
The day after our arrival we met up early in the morning with Solomon and Tamba who were to accompany us on our trip and provide the transport. That first morning to visited Tanji reserve which were pleased to see had been little changed by the new road that is being constructed through the area. However, the road is not as yet in use so the area is still as quiet as it ever was. The crunch will come when someone decides to build hotels to the south and the traffic along the road increases to that currently passing towards the Senegambia and Kairaba Hotels.
At Tanji I was able to get some good pictures of one of the few Woodland Kingfishers still in residence at the end of the rainy season. A Pintailed Paradise Wydah still in breeding apparel and an Oriole Warbler were also added the collection of "improved" images.
A trip to Brufut for Pigmy, Malachite, Blue Breasted and Pied Kingfishers, followed by a stop in Serakunda to change money as darkness fell and we had finished out first day.
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