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|A Report from birdtours.co.uk|
THE GAMBIA 2nd 9th MARCH 2001,John Kirby e-mail. Monicak@lineone.net
These are notes of a birding trip to The Gambia based on the Tanji tour offered by Gambia Experience and on trips arranged by us.
We booked with Gambia Experience staying at Bakotu Hotel on a bed and breakfast basis and including the Tanji tour. We flew from Manchester by JMC. The seats did not have much legroom, but the food was reasonable. You have to pay for all drinks and headphones.
BANJUL YUNDUM AIRPORT.
Flights from Manchester and Gatwick arrive within half-hour of each other. 600 people and all their baggage causing chaos in the small airport.
The porters gave us a lot of hassle trying to carry the cases for £1 coins and purporting to be attached to the tour operators. Then they demanded another £1 coin to put the bags on the bus roof rack. We refused and after much arguing the bags were put on the racks. Transfer to the hotel took about 40 minutes.
The Bakotu Hotel gave us 21.20 Dalasis to the pound, one of the best rates. We got 21.50 from a black market dealer without too much bother. We were told hotels such as Senegambia and Atlantic were only giving 18 or 19 to the pound.
The Bakotu Hotel is small and friendly sited near Kotu Bridge and Fajara golf course. It has a pool and there are several beach restaurants nearby that are good value : i.e.- AliBaba, Sailors and Il Mondo. An evening meal with drinks cost about £8-10 per person.
Whilst it is possible to do The Gambia oneself using taxis, a guide will prove invaluable. A guide will stop other Gambians hassling you, can identify the birds quickly and know the sites well.
I wrote to one from England Gib Saidy telling him my hotel and arrival time and he turned up there. I arranged a days birding with him for £85 for two of us including a driver and car and he was very good. His only vice was his chain-smoking.
PO Box 2239.
The Gambia - Tel (220) 370031 or (220) 392259
I also bumped into Dawda Barry and agreed two 3-hour sessions with him for £5 a person each trip, and he proved good also.
30a, Grant Street,
On the Tanji trip we had Sering Bojang as a guide and he was excellent knowing all the calls. He also does independent guiding.
C/o Bakary Bojang.
West Africa Tel 472140
I also met Lamin Sibbideh who appeared very knowledgeable but wanted £22 per person for ½ days birding.
Virtually none seen, no mosquitoes but we still took anti-malarial tablets. (Doxycycline)
Hot and sunny throughout. No humidity. Daytime temperature ranged from 32C to 40C. By 11.30 am it was too hot and the birds had disappeared. It was cool enough by 5 pm to re-start. We did try birding in the afternoon but it was a waste of time.
Abuko with Sering.
The reserve opens at 8 am. We didnt do the extension due to the heat.
Gambia River with Sering.
Took a boat from Denton Bridge and slowly sailed to Banjul Port where we disembarked and walked along the Bund Road a short distance
Brufut Wood with Sering.
This was an afternoon trip and a waste of time due to the heat. A morning trip would have been more productive.
Tanji Reserve with Sering.
A morning trip including the lagoon and was very good. We went on to Tanji village to see the Tabaski celebrations.
Lamin Creek and Rice fields.
An early morning start for Birds and Breakfast trip. The tide was in so the river wasnt very good, but the walk around the rice fields was excellent.
Marakissa Woods with Gib.
This was a whole day trip and very interesting early on. After lunch the birds dried up as the heat increased.
Fajara Golf course and Kotu Creek with Dawda.
A morning trip and we saw all the common species easily.
Kotu Creek and Nightjars with Dawda.
A late afternoon trip around Kotu Creek and then walking to the rear of the Palma Rima Hotel for the Nightjars which appeared at 7.45 pm.
Kotu Creek and sewage pools with Gib.
A free late afternoon 2hr trip. The men at the sewage pools demanded money to view the pools which Gib refused to pay. We left after an argument. By then we had seen the birds anyway.
Fajara Golf Course.
This was an early evening trip by ourselves without a guide. We were continually hassled by every Gambian who passed by offering to show us the owl we had been shown by Dawda. But we eventually shook them off with a firm No thank you !
We visited this hotel late one morning. The gardens are extensive and the birds confiding, providing good photographic opportunities. (Gonolek, Coucal, Long tailed Glossy Starling, African Thrush and Snowy crowned Robin Chat.) The hotel has a resident birdman and they feed the vultures at 11.30 am each day. Bijilo Wood is near the hotel and I was told it was worth an early morning visit by birders staying at the hotel. I did not go there due to lack of time.
Birds of The Gambia and Senegal. - Barlow, Wacher and Disley.
The Gambia Birdwatching Report. - Sonja Tausch-Treml & Rainer Tempel.
A Birdwatchers Guide to The Gambia - R. Ward
Trip Report The Gambia - Tony and Viv Day (internet)
Trip Report The Gambia - Gruff Dodd
A total of 192 species were seen.
Birds seen every day.
Cattle Egret Rose Ringed Parakeet
Great White Egret Western Grey Plantain Eater
Western Reef Egret Palm-Nut Vulture
Grey Heron Senegal Coucal
Hammerkop Pied Kingfisher
Hooded Vulture Common Bulbul
Spur Winged Plover Piapiac
Wattled Plover Grey-headed Sparrow
Whimbrel Pied Crow
Common Sandpiper Red-billed Firefinch
Marsh Sandpiper Red cheeked Cordon Bleu
Grey Headed Gull Village Weaver
Red Eyed Dove Little Bee-Eater
Laughing Dove Vinaceous Dove
Senegal Parrot Wire Tailed Swallow
Birds seen at specific sites.
Abuko Nature Reserve.
Black Crowned Night Heron Little Greenbul
Striated Heron White-Crowned Robin Chat
Great White Egret Grey-Backed Camaroptera
Black-headed Heron Common Wattle Eye
African Harrier Hawk Collared Sunbird
Shikra Scarlet-Chested Sunbird
African Hobby Splendid Sunbird
Blue-Spotted Wood Dove Black-Necked Weaver
Black-Billed Wood Dove Hybrid Paradise Flycatcher
Violet Turaco Tree Pipit
Green Turaco Mottled Spinetail
Swallow-Tailed Bee-Eater Blue-breasted Kingfisher
Blue-Cheeked Bee-Eater Giant Kingfisher
Blue-bellied Roller African Thrush
Pied-Winged Swallow Black Crake
Fantis Sawwing Green Wood-Hoopoe
Kotu Area including Fajara Golf Course
Little Grebe White-backed Vulture
Grey Plover Yellow-throated Longclaw
Black-headed Plover Barn Swallow
Wood Sandpiper Little Swift
Black Egret Pallid Swift
Double spurred Francolin Piapiac
Senegal ThickKnee White-Faced Whistling Duck
Ruff Black-headed Plover
Red-necked Falcon Pearl Spotted Owlet
Black-Shouldered Kite SubAlpine Warbler
Turnstone Yellow-Throated Leaflove
Little Gull House Sparrow
Long-tailed Nightjar White-billed Buffalo Weaver
River trips and Bund Road.
Goliath Heron Black-Tailed Godwit
Sacred Ibis Bar-Tailed Godwit
Mouse-Brown Sunbird Oystercatcher
Curlew Sandpiper Redshank
Black-headed Gull Royal Tern
Yellow-billed Stork Sandwich Tern
Lesser Black-Backed Gull Caspian Tern
Gull-Billed Tern Blue-Headed Wagtail
African Spoonbill Namaqua Dove
Osprey Speckled Pigeon
Black-Winged Stilt Mourning Dove
Pied Avocet Yellow Wagtail
Ringed Plover White Wagtail
Sanderling Great Cormorant
Eurasian Curlew Pink-Backed Pelican
Marsh Harrier Grey-Headed Bristlebill
Tanji Reserve and Lagoon
White Pelican Yellow Wagtail
Purple Heron Tawny-flanked Prinia
Lizard Buzzard Blackcap Babbler
Long Crested Eagle Brown Babbler
White-Fronted Plover Variable Sunbird
Greenshank Splendid Sunbird
Slender-Billed Gull Beautiful Sunbird
Crested Lark Yellow-billed Shrike
Mottled Spinetail Brubru
Pygmy Kingfisher Black-crowned Tchagra
Broad-Billed Roller Sulphur-bellied Bush Shrike
Red-Billed Hornbill Sudan Golden Sparrow
African grey Hornbill Northern Black Flycatcher
African Pied Hornbill Bush Petronia
Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird Lavender Waxbill
Lesser Honeyguide Orange-cheeked Waxbill
Tanji Village and Brufut Wood.
African green Pigeon
African Reed Warbler
Squacco Heron Grey-Backed Camaroptera
Short-Toed Eagle Red-bellied Paradise Flycatcher
Grey Kestrel African Golden Oriole
African Jacana Fork-tailed Drongo
Wood Sandpiper Purple Glossy Starling
Klaass Cuckoo Long-Tailed Glossy Starling
Malachite Kingfisher Black Scimitarbill
Abyssinian Roller White-Crested HelmetShrike
Greater Honeyguide Bearded Barbet
Fine-Spotted Woodpecker Whinchat
Northern Red Bishop