Visit your favourite destinations
|A Report from birdtours.co.uk|
Birding in the Gambia, November 17th - 24th 1998,
Participants on this one week birding trip to The Gambia were John King (Sussex) and Stephen Mawby (Northants). Basically, this was a package tour with Thomsons Holidays and it was booked through the local Thomas Cook Travel Agency. Flights were with Britannia Airways from London (Gatwick) direct to Yundum airport in The Gambia, approximately a one hour coach ride from the resort area of Kotu Beach. (A new road was under construction from the airport to direct to Koto Beach and this may now be open. This road avoids the town of Serekunda).
Whilst a certain amount of birding was done in and around the vicinity of Koto Beach (the first day and most afternoons), this is very restrictive as to the number and variety of species to be seen within a reasonably short distance. I have a friend who is a regular visitor to The Gambia and he has made a good contact with one of the local tourist taxi drivers (Name - Abu). We found him to be extremely good, with a good knowledge of the birding sites (but with no knowledge of bird identification) and although his vehicle is rather old and battered it is no worse than many of the others that ply for hire. We used Abu whenever we needed transport and at the end of each days use, we made arrangements with him for time of pick-up the following day. He was found to be both honest and trustworthy (unlike some of the people we encountered).
Our accommodation was at the three star Kombo Beach and was part of the package deal. We had initially booked a different hotel (across the road from the Kombo Beach) but Thomsons removed it from their listings after we had booked. As a result of the change, they gave us a discount on the holiday and gave vouchers for free evening meals for the duration of the holiday. As a result, the trip became extremely good value for money. (Our original booked hotel was of a lesser category than the Kombo Beach and we had paid for bed and breakfast only.) The Kombo Beach Hotel, as well as many of the other hotels in the Kotu Beach area, are well placed for birding, giving quick and easy access to many of the sites.
[Birdtours recommend the Gambia Experience]
Local Bird Guides
Most mornings, we encountered many "bird guides" around the bridge over the Kotu stream. They all have binoculars and a copy of the field guide but their competence may be questionable. Even if you state that you do not need a guide, they will often follow you and become something of a nuisance. The friend previously mentioned had also had contact with a bird guide that he found to be excellent and arrangements were made before our arrival in The Gambia, for him to meet us on our first morning. Malik was found to be an excellent birder and without his help throughout the week we would not have seen many of the birds. He knows most calls and songs and even with his old battered binoculars, he was able to find birds that we were missing. Although not cheap, (he charged the equivalent of £25 per day which included the cost of the transport - he paid Abu), split between the two of us we felt that it represented reasonable value. His "working day" was from 7.00am to 1.00pm (give or take) but by that time, birding had in the main gone quiet and it was probably not worth while being out and about. We did local birding late afternoon until dusk (3.00pm to 6.00pm) without a guide. Malik did take us out one evening for nightjars but he did not make any charge for this. If you are visiting The Gambia for the first time as an independent birder, the value of a good guide cannot be overstated, but negotiate charges and ensure that the guide can identify and find the species you want to see. Never pay up-front.
Gambian currency is not available outside of the country. On advice from my friend, sufficient money for the week was taken in pounds sterling (banknotes only) and money changers frequent the area outside of the airport terminal where the tour buses are parked. Whether or not this is "legal" I have no knowledge, but the exchange rate we negotiated was very favourable. An "official" money exchange existed in the local shopping area next door to the Kombo Beach Hotel.
A Field Guide to the Birds of
the Gambia and Senegal
A Birdwatchers' Guide to The Gambia. Ward. Prion.
The Gambia Itinerary
Flight from London (Gatwick) to Yundum
Kotu Beach area including Casino cycle track and Kotu stream 7.00am to 1.00pm
Kotu stream and Fajara golf course 3.00pm to 6.00pm
Camaloo Corner; Bund Road pools; Bund Road and Cape Point 7.00am to 12.30pm
Fajara golf course and Atlantic Road 3.30pm to 6.00pm
Yundum area 7.00am to 1.00pm
Beach and Senegambia Hotel grounds 3.30pm to 6.00pm
Lamin Lodge and Abuko 7.00am to 2.00pm
Fajara golf course; Atlantic Road and grounds of the MRC 3.00pm to 6.00pm
Pirang 7,00am to 2.00pm
Bijilo reserve 3.00pm to 6.00pm
Sukuta; Brufut woods and Tanji reserve 7.00am to 2.00pm
Casino cycle track and Kotu stream 3.00pm to 6.00pm
Kotu sewage ponds and Bijilo reserve 7.00am to 12.00pm
Flight Yundum to London (Gatwick)
Systematic List of Species Seen
Taxonomy, sequence and nomenclature follow A World Bird Species Checklist M.G.Wells 1998
New species are indicated by *
LITTLE GREBE Tachybaptus ruficollis
Only noted at the Kotu sewage ponds with 4 present on the 18th and 3 on the 24th.
AFRICAN DARTER Anhinga rufa *
One alongside the Bund Road on the 19th, one from Lamin Lodge on the 21st and up to 4 around the Pirang shrimp ponds on the 22nd.
LONG-TAILED CORMORANT Phalacrocorax africanus
Noted in suitable habitat on four dates with a maximum of 30 on the 19th around Camaloo Corner and the Bund Road.
PINK-BACKED PELICAN Pelecanus rufescens
In excess of 100 birds on wrecks off the Bund Road on the 19th, with 20 or so around Pirang on the 22nd and one over Tanji on the 23rd.
GREY HERON Ardea cinerea
Noted on five dates in small numbers.
BLACK-HEADED HERON Ardea melanocephala *
The first was in flight over Yundum fields on the 20th, with 6 around Lamin Lodge and Abuko on the 21st and 2 at Pirang on the 22nd. Nowhere common or widespread.
GOLIATH HERON Ardea goliath *
Two birds noted atop the mangroves some distance down-stream from Lamin Lodge on the 21st were identified as this species when they took flight and passed in front of our position.
PURPLE HERON Ardea purpurea
One at Pirang on the 22nd was the only sighting.
CATTLE EGRET Bubulcus ibis
Widespread and common in all habitats.
GREAT EGRET Casmerodius alba
A maxima of 10 on the 22nd at Pirang with smaller numbers on two other dates.
INTERMEDIATE EGRET Egretta intermedia *
Noted on two dates with 3 on the 18th around Koto Creek and 6 within the grounds of the MRC on Atlantic Road, Farjara on the 21st.
BLACK HERON Egretta ardesiaca *
Noted on three dates with a maxima of 20 on the 22nd around the Pirang shrimp ponds.
LITTLE EGRET Egretta garzetta
Noted in small numbers on three dates in suitable habitat.
WESTERN REEF EGRET Egretta gularis
Fairly widespread, all noted birds being of the dark morph.
SQUACCO HERON Ardeola ralloides
Noted on five dates in small numbers in suitable habitat. Maximum of 6 on the 19th around Camaloo Corner area.
STRIATED HERON Butorides striatus
Noted on five dates in small numbers with a day maxima of 3 on the 22nd and 23rd.
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERON Nycticorax nycticorax
Only one noted, that being at Abuko on the 21st.
HAMERKOP Scopus umbretta *
Noted on five dates with a maximum day count of 10 on the 21st at Abuko.
SACRED IBIS Threskiornis aethiopicus *
Brief views of 5 in flight at Camaloo Corner on the 19th with one on top of a tree alongside the main road between Denton Bridge and the Bund Road later that morning. At least 2 were noted at Pirang on the 22nd.
AFRICAN SPOONBILL Platalea alba *
Only seen in flight with 10 at Camaloo Corner on the 19th, one at Lamin Lodge on the 21st and 6 at Pirang on the 22nd.
WHITE-FACED WHISTLING DUCK Dendrocygna viduata
Good numbers noted on three dates, with 50 around Camaloo Corner on the 19th, 80 at Pirang on the 22nd and 40 at the Kotu ponds on the 24th.
OSPREY Pandion haliaetus
Five around Camaloo Corner on the 19th, 2 at Pirang on the 22nd and one at Sukuta on the 23rd.
BLACK-SHOULDERED KITE Elanus caeruleus
Five on the 19th around Camaloo Corner area were the only ones seen.
BLACK KITE Milvus migrans
Small numbers noted on four dates with a maxima of 5 on the 20th.
HOODED VULTURE Necrosyrtes monachus *
Widespread around the coast with up to 50 birds in the air at any one time.
PALM-NUT VULTURE Gypohierax angolensis *
Two over the Golf Course on the 18th, with another there on the 21st, one at Bijilo on the 22nd, one at Tanji on the 23rd and up to 3 at Bijilo on the 24th.
BROWN SNAKE EAGLE Circaetus cinereus *
One in flight over Brufut woods on the 23rd.
DARK CHANTING GOSHAWK Melierax metabates *
A very smart raptor with one seen well at Yundum fields on the 20th and one near to Brikama and one at Pirang on the 22nd.
GABAR GOSHAWK Micronisus gabar *
Good views of one at Yundum on the 20th in close proximity to a Dark Chanting Goshawk, with another possible at Sukuta on the 23rd.
AFRICAN HARRIER-HAWK Polyboroides typus *
Noted on 6 dates with 4 on the 23rd being the highest day count.
LIZARD BUZZARD Kaupifalco monogrammicus
Another smart smallish raptor with 4 noted around Camaloo Corner on the 19th, 2 on the 20th at Yundum, 2 on the 21st at Lamin Fields and 2 on the 22nd at Pirang.
EURASIAN MARSH HARRIER Circus aeruginosus
Singles noted on three dates, with 2 on the 20th around Yundum area.
AFRICAN GOSHAWK Accipiter tachiro *
One being mobbed (or mobbing) at Dark Chanting Goshawk near Brikama on the 22nd.
SHIKRA Accipiter badius *
Fairly widespread and seen in small numbers on most dates, often perched in close proximity to humans.
WAHLBERG'S EAGLE Aquila wahlbergi *
One or two noted high over Yundum on the 20th.
LONG-CRESTED EAGLE Lophaetus occipitalis
Unmistakable flight views of one (or possibly two) bird(s) on the 20th over Yundum fields.
COMMON KESTREL Falco tinnunculus
One noted at Sukuta on the 23rd.
GREY KESTREL Falco ardosiaceus *
Flyovers seen briefly on two dates with two birds seen well at Pirang on the 22nd.
RED-NECKED FALCON Falco chicquera *
Brief flyovers noted on the 18th and 19th with 3 in flight together at Pirang on the 22nd were seen well.
DOUBLE-SPURRED FRANCOLIN Francolinus bicalcaratus
Noted on six dates in small numbers, often in flight.
STONE PARTRIDGE Ptilopachus petrosus *
Three feeding late afternoon, at the side of a forest path in Bijilo on the 22nd were watched closely for some minutes before being flushed back into thick undergrowth.
BLACK-CROWNED CRANE Balearica pavonina *
Two stood atop a dead tree at Pirang on the 22nd, were later seen in flight close to our position before landing in a grassy/reedy area in one of the dis-used shrimp ponds. Very smart birds and possibly one of the high-lights.
AFRICAN BLACK CRAKE Amaurornis flavirostris
At least three noted on a roadside reedy pool at Camaloo Corner on the 19th. Unexpected at this location.
AFRICAN JACANA Actophilornis africanus *
One (or possibly 2) at Abuko on the 21st with one at the Kotu ponds on the 24th were the only ones seen.
GREATER PAINTED-SNIPE Rostratula benghalensis
A male distantly and in vegetation at the Kotu ponds on the 24th was the only sighting.
EURASIAN OYSTERCATCHER Haematopus ostralegus
One off the Bund Road on the 19th and 2 on Tanji beach on the 23rd.
BLACK-WINGED STILT Himantopus himantopus
Noted on four dates in suitable habitat with a day maxima of 25 on the 19th.
SENEGAL THICK-KNEE Burhinus senegalensis
Noted on five dates in small numbers with 4 on the 22nd being the highest day count.
SPUR-WINGED LAPWING Vanellus spinosus
Seen on all dates. A widespread and common bird.
BLACK-HEADED LAPWING Vanellus tectus *
Only seen at two locations - Fajara golf course and the MRC grounds with a maximum of 20 at the two locations on the 21st.
WATTLED LAPWING Vanellus senegallus *
Noted on six dates, with a maxima of 10 on the 19th. Seen in a variety of habitats and overall a very smart looking wader.
GREY PLOVER Pluvialis squatarola
Small numbers noted on five dates.
RINGED PLOVER Charadrius hiaticula
Noted in small numbers on four dates.
WHITE-FRONTED PLOVER Charadrius marginatus
Two on the beach pool at Tanji on the 23rd were the only ones seen. A small sand-plover not dis-similar to Kentish Plover.
BLACK-TAILED GODWIT Limosa limosa
Noted on the 18th and 19th in small numbers.
BAR-TAILED GODWIT Limosa lapponica
One on the Cape Creek pools at Camaloo Corner on the 19th was the only sighting.
WHIMBREL Numenius phaeopus
Small numbers on five dates.
EURASIAN CURLEW Numenius arquata
Two on Kotu Creek on the 18th were the only sighting.
COMMON REDSHANK Tringa totanus
Only noted on the 18th and 19th in small numbers.
MARSH SANDPIPER Tringa stagnatilis
Five birds noted on the 19th around the Cape Creek pools at Camaloo Corner and the Bund Road.
COMMON GREENSHANK Tringa nebularia
Noted on five dates in small numbers.
GREEN SANDPIPER Tringa ochropus
Individuals noted on three dates.
WOOD SANDPIPER Tringa glareola
Seen on three dates with 8 on Kotu Creek on the 23rd being the largest count.
COMMON SANDPIPER Actitis hypoleucos
Seen on six dates. Widespread in small numbers.
RUDDY TURNSTONE Arenaria interpres
Noted in suitable habitat on three dates.
COMMON SNIPE Gallinago gallinago
One on the Bund Road pool on the 19th was the only sighting.
SANDERLING Calidris alba
Two on Tanji beach on the 23rd.
CURLEW SANDPIPER Calidris ferruginea
Three on the Bund Road pool on the 19th.
RUFF Philonachus pugnax
Noted on five dates, with 10 on the 19th around the Cape Creek pools at Camaloo Corner and the Bund Road.
LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL Larus fuscus
An individual, probably of this species although not seen well, flying out to sea from Kotu beach on the 20th.
GREY-HEADED GULL Larus cirrocephalus *
Noted on three dates, with 10 on the 18th being the largest count. All birds were in winter plumage and lacking the grey hood.
BLACK TERN Chlidonias niger
Small numbers around the Pirang shrimp ponds on the 22nd.
GULL-BILLED TERN Gelochelidon nilotica
One on the 19th on the Cape Creek pools at Camaloo Corner.
CASPIAN TERN Sterna caspia
Seen on three dates with at least 15 birds together on Tanji beach pool on the 23rd.
ROYAL TERN Sterna maxima *
Seen on the same three dates as above with maximum numbers around the Bund Road on the 19th.
LESSER CRESTED TERN Sterna bengalensis
Only seen around the Bund Road on the 19th in small numbers.
SANDWICH TERN Sterna sandvicensis
The commonest tern and seen in small numbers on six dates in both coastal and riverine habitats.
SPECKLED PIGEON Columba guinea *
Noted on most dates in most habitats with the largest day count of 30 on the 18th.
AFRICAN MOURNING DOVE Streptopelia decipiens
Only specifically noted on the 18th due to its similarity to other species. Probably widespread and common.
RED-EYED DOVE Streptopelia semitorquata *
Only specifically identified on the 18th but noted throughout.
VINACEOUS DOVE Streptopelia vinacea *
Only specifically noted on the 18th, with a maxima of 5 on that date.
LAUGHING DOVE Streptopelia senegalensis
Widespread and common and noted on all dates.
BLACK-BILLED WOOD DOVE Turtur abyssinicus
Noted on five dates in suitable habitat with 3 on the 20th being the highest day count.
BLUE-SPOTTED WOOD DOVE Turtur afer *
Less common that the aforementioned species, and singles only noted in suitable habitat (Abuko on the 21st, Tanji on the 23rd and Bijilo on the 24th).
AFRICAN GREEN PIGEON Treron calva *
One sitting in a tree-top along the Casino cycle track on the 18th was unexpected; a flyover at Pirang was more typical, whilst a flock of 25 at Brufut woods on the 23rd was something of a highlight. A very smart looking pigeon and the first Treron species ever seen.
BROWN-NECKED PARROT Poicephalus robustus
Three at Pirang on the 22nd were unexpected that close to the coast, although they apparently breed in the woods alongside the shrimp ponds. Only seen in flight although they were quite extended views.
SENEGAL PARROT Poicephalus senegalus *
Noted on four dates with a maxima of 5 on the 19th around Camaloo Corner and 4 at Sukuta and Brufut on the 23rd. Seen well, perched on palms which appeared to be their favoured tree.
ROSE-RINGED PARAKEET Psittacula krameri
Noted on five dates in small numbers.
WESTERN GREY PLANTAIN-EATER Crinifer piscator
Noted on all dates. Widespread and common and more often than not seen in pairs.
VIOLET TURACO Musophaga violacea *
Brief views of two birds, both in flight, at Abuko on the 21st and Brufut on the 23rd.
LEVAILLANT'S CUCKOO Clamator levaillantii
Two both in flight and perched along the Casino cycle track on the 18th were the only sighting.
AFRICAN CUCKOO Cuculus gularis *
An unexpected species seen both in a tree and feeding on the ground at Yundum fields on the 20th. Not dis-similar to Eurasian Cuckoo.
SENEGAL COUCAL Centropus senegalensis *
Noted on most dates and widespread in suitable habitat. A maxima of 14 on the 18th.
PEARL-SPOTTED OWLET Glaucidium perlatum *
Three individuals seen on the 18th around the Kotu beach area with singles noted on the 19th on the golf course and the 23rd at Brufut.
LONG-TAILED NIGHTJAR Scotornis climacurus*
Seen at dusk over scrub-land behind Kotu beach on the 23rd. The long tail was very obvious.
STANDARD-WINGED NIGHTJAR Macrodipteryx longipennis
Seen in company with the above species and flight silhouette was totally different, being a more compact bird. Numbers not estimated, but believed several of each species were present.
MOTTLED SPINETAIL Telacanthura ussheri *
An unexpected species, with a movement of hundreds north-wards over the Brufut area on the 23rd. Not noting the pale belly patch, most were assumed to be juveniles.
AFRICAN PALM SWIFT Cypsiurus parvus *
Noted on most dates with low-level views obtained as individuals flew low over a fresh water pond at Pirang on the 22nd. Referred to through-out as "flying pencils".
COMMON SWIFT Apus apus
Noted in small numbers on the 18th.
LITTLE SWIFT Apus affinis
Widespread and relatively common with large numbers around Yundum airport on the 17th and 24th and Denton Bridge, Banjul on the 19th. Elsewhere, the most frequently observed swift.
GIANT KINGFISHER Megaceryle maxima *
The only sighting was on the 18th at Kotu Creek as a female sat atop a mangrove just inland of the bridge.
PIED KINGFISHER Ceryle rudis
The most common kingfisher and noted in both coastal and riverine habitats with good numbers regularly around Kotu Creek and at Pirang on the 22nd.
MALACHITE KINGFISHER Alcedo cristata *
A total of 5 were seen, with one at the Bund Road pool on the 19th, one at Lamin Lodge on the 21st, 2 at Pirang on the 22nd and one at Kotu Creek on the 23rd.
AFRICAN PYGMY KINGFISHER Ceyx picta *
One just inside the entrance to Abuko on the 21st was, in my opinion, one of the trip highlights.
WOODLAND KINGFISHER Halcyon senegalensis
One along the Casino cycle track on the 18th, one at Yundum fields and one again along the cycle track on the 20th and one at Bijilo on the 24th.
BLUE-BREASTED KINGFISHER Halcyon malimbica
One at Abuko on the 21st was the only sighting, although it showed well for some considerable period of time.
STRIPED KINGFISHER Halcyon chelicuti *
One at Yundum fields on the 20th and one at Brufut on the 23rd.
LITTLE BEE-EATER Merops pusillus *
Noted on all dates but the 24th with at least 20 being the largest day count on the 18th. The commonest bee-eater along the coast and found in a variety of habitats.
SWALLOW-TAILED BEE-EATER Merops hirundineus
Two along the Casino cycle track on the 18th and 2 at Brufut on 23rd were the only sightings.
BLUE-CHEEKED BEE-EATER Merops persicus
Ten perched on wires along the Bund Road on the 19th with 4 over Pirang on the 22nd.
ABYSSINIAN ROLLER Coracias abyssinica *
One along Atlantic Road on 20th was possibly a juvenile as it lacked tail-streamers, whilst 3 around Sukuta on the 23rd and one at the airport on the 24th all displayed full plumage.
RUFOUS-CROWNED ROLLER Coracias naevia *
One at Bijilo on the 22nd and one at Brufut on 23rd. The least common of the rollers.
BLUE-BELLIED ROLLER Coracias cyanogaster
The most frequently observed roller, noted on five dates with 3 on along the coast between Kotu beach and the Senegambia hotel on the 20th being the most in any one period of time.
AFRICAN BROAD-BILLED ROLLER Eurystomus glaucurus
Noted on five dates, with 2 on the golf course on the 18th and singles on subsequent dates in the same area. Also noted at Bijilo.
GREEN WOOD HOOPOE Phoeniculus purpureus *
Seen on four dates with up to 16 on both the 18th and 19th around Kotu beach on the first date and Camaloo Corner and the golf course on the second.
BLACK SCIMITARBILL Rhinopomastus aterrimus
A brief (and untickable) flight view of three birds disappearing into the bush at Brufut on the 23rd.
AFRICAN PIED HORNBILL Tockus fasciatus *
One seen briefly at Abuko on the 21st, with 2 seen well at Brufut on the 23rd. The smartest of the three species of hornbill seen.
AFRICAN GREY HORNBILL Tockus nasutus *
Seen less frequently than the above species, the the golf course area producing the most sightings with up to 6 noted on the 18th. Also seen at the Senegambia Hotel, Bijilo and Sukuta/Brufut.
RED-BILLED HORNBILL Tockus erythrorhynchus
Widespread and frequent in small numbers. Seen on all dates with up to 16 noted on the 22nd around Pirang and Bijilo.
YELLOW-FRONTED TINKERBIRD Pogoniulus chrysoconus
One seen in fading light along Atlantic Road on 21st was compensated by excellent views of one in woodland/bush near Brikama the following day. Another trip highlight, although not an uncommon species.
VIEILLOT'S BARBET Lybius vieilloti *
Up to 3 birds at Yundum fields on the 20th and one at Brufut on the 23rd. Like the previous species, they tend to favour the tree tops and all stayed around for a period of time allowing prolonged views.
BEARDED BARBET Lybius dubius *
At least 2, but possibly 4 birds seen along the Casino cycle track on the 18th, with the second 2 showing well in a tree-top at the back of the Palma Rima hotel. One in flight at the golf course on the 21st was the only other sighting although Malik had one briefly at Brufut on the 23rd.
LESSER HONEYGUIDE Indicator minor
Un-tickable views of 2 birds. The first was a rear-end view of a bird dis-appearing into a wooded clump on the golf course on the 19th, the second being a fading light silhouette in the same small tree as a Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, along the Atlantic Road on the 21st.
FINE-SPOTTED WOODPECKER Campethera punctuligera
Three on the 18th, with one along the Casino cycle track in the morning and 2 on the golf course in the afternoon, and then one at Brufut on the 23rd. Not as common as expected.
BUFF-SPOTTED WOODPECKER Campethera nivosa
One in Abuko on the 21st showed well over a period of some minutes whilst in company with a party of other small birds (Common Wattle-eye, Green Hylia etc)
CARDINAL WOODPECKER Dendropicos fuscescens
A male at Bijilo on the 22nd was not really accepted by JK, so a female at Tanji the following day made sure - in his mind anyway.
GREY WOODPECKER Dendropicos goertae *
The most frequently observed woodpecker, with up to 2 birds seen on four dates in suitable wooded habitat.
BROWN-BACKED WOODPECKER Picoides obsoletus
One at Yundum fields on the 20th with 2 in neighbouring trees at Brufut on the 23rd.
CRESTED LARK Galerida cristata
Noted at Pirang on the 22nd and Tanji on the 23rd, with larger numbers at the former site.
SAND MARTIN Riparia riparia
Noted in flight in company with the Mottled Spinetails over Brufut on the 23rd.
FANTI SAW-WING Psalidoprocne obscura *
Brief views of 2 over the pool at Abuko on the 21st was more than made up for by seeing at least 10, some perched in a low tree top, at Brufut on the 23rd.
RED-CHESTED SWALLOW Hirundo lucida *
Initially thought to be European Barn Swallows, this species was also relatively common, showing the whiter under parts and still present tail streamers of this species as opposed to their European cousins.
WIRE-TAILED SWALLOW Hirundo smithii *
The most frequently observed swallow species, seen on four dates over suitable watery habitats.
PIED-WINGED SWALLOW Hirundo leucosoma *
A potential dip was averted, following JK's sighting of an individual at Pirang that I was unable to get on to, when I found what was possibly the same bird later that morning over a nearby area. The white covert patches were less obvious than expected and made identification at distance impossible.
MOSQUE SWALLOW Hirundo senegalensis *
A species that I really wanted to see and which lived up to expectations. Looking like an over-grown Red-rumped Swallow, two were seen all too briefly as they swooped back and forth over a fresh water pool at Pirang on the 22nd.
YELLOW WAGTAIL Motacilla flava
Winter plumaged individuals (and therefore un-assignable to race) were noted at Camaloo Corner on the 19th (1), the grounds of the MRC on the 21st (2) and Pirang on the 22nd (1).
WHITE WAGTAIL Motacilla alba
Singles seen with the above species on the 19th and 22nd.
YELLOW-THROATED LONGCLAW Macronyx croceus
Not seen at the expected location of Camaloo Corner, one was eventually flushed onto the top of some twiggy scrub in the rice fields close to Kotu Creek on the 23rd. A species I wanted to see and one with which I was not dis-pleased.
PLAIN-BACKED PIPIT Anthus leucophrys *
One seen well at Pirang on the 22nd although there were no doubt others present.
COMMON BULBUL Pycnonotus barbatus
Widespread and common (as its name suggests).
LITTLE GREENBUL Andropadus virens
Un-tickable views of one close to the entrance of Abuko on the 21st and unable to "get onto" a second further into the forest.
YELLOW-THROATED GREENBULL Chlorocichla flavicollis
One heard calling alongside the track to Lamin Lodge on the 21st could not be enticed from its tree.
WHITE-CRESTED HELMET-SHRIKE Prionops plumatus
Brief and again untickable views of three birds distantly in flight at Brufut on the 23rd.
NORTHERN PUFFBACK Dryoscopus gambensis *
Always seen in pairs (male/female) with pairs along the track to Lamin Lodge on the 21st and at the MRC also on the 21st, Pirang on the 22nd and Brufut on the 23rd.
BLACK-CROWNED TCHAGRA Tchagra senegala
Singles noted at Yundum on the 20th, near Brikama on the 22nd and Brufut on the 23rd.
YELLOW-CROWNED GONOLEK Laniarius barbarus
One in scrub alongside Kotu Creek on the 18th, one at Yundum on the 20th and 2 at Bijilo on the 24th were the only sightings, although the call was heard far more.
SULPHUR-BREASTED BUSHSHRIKE Telophorus sulfureopectus
Brief, untickable views of a bird high in canopy at Tanji on the 23rd was disappointing.
YELLOW-BILLED SHRIKE Corvinella corvine *
Seen in good numbers on at least four dates with at least 12 birds on two of those dates. Widespread and relatively common and always in groups of at least four birds.
WOODCHAT SHRIKE Lanius senator
One in the rice fields alongside the Casino cycle track on the afternoon of the 23rd.
AFRICAN THRUSH Turdus pelios *
Seen in small numbers on four dates, with one regularly seen around our hotel (Kombo Beach).
SNOWY-HEADED ROBINCHAT Cossypha niveicapilla
Only one seen and that was moving through thick cover at the edge of the golf course alongside Kotu Creek on the 18th.
WHITE-CROWNED ROBINCHAT Cossypha albicapilla
Two along the Casino cycle track in the grounds of the Badala Park Hotel on the 18th and one feeding a youngster in Bijilo forest on the 24th, the latter two birds showing particularly well.
COMMON REDSTART Phoenicurus phoenicurus
A male at Lamin Lodge was unexpected.
WHINCHAT Saxicola rubetra
Two noted at Yundum fields on the 20th.
NORTHERN WHEATEAR Oenanthe oenanthe
Two at Pirang on the 22nd and one on Tanji beach on the 23rd.
BLACKCAP BABBLER Turdoides reinwardtii *
Brief (and un-tickable) views of 2 in trees close to the Kombo Beach hotel on the 18th, with one at Yundum on the 20th showing itself much better.
BROWN BABBLER Turdoides plebejus *
Seen on most dates with at least 10 noted on the morning of the 18th around the Casino cycle track.
SINGING CISTICOLA Cisticola cantans *
One on top of a tree at Yundum on the 20th, was well seen.
WHISTLING CISTICOLA Cisticola lateralis *
One at Yundum on the 20th and one at Brufut on the 23rd were both well observed.
ZITTING CISTICOLA Cisticola juncidis
Noted in small numbers on three dates in suitable habitat.
TAWNY-FLANKED PRINIA Prinia subflava *
Singles noted along the Casino cycle track on the 18th, Camaloo Corner on the 19th and Lamin Lodge on the 21st, with an adult and three young along Atlantic Road on the 21st and two at Sukuta on the 23rd.
GREY-BACKED CAMAROPTERA Camaroptera brevicauda
One in an acacia at Yundum fields on the 20th, with 2 in Abuko on the 21st, one at Pirang on 22nd and one in Bijilo on the 24th. No where are these small warblers common or abundant.
REED WARBLER Acrocephalus scirpaceus *
A bird seen at the Bund Road pool on the 19th may have been a resident African Reed Warbler rather than a Palaearctic migrant.
OLIVACEOUS WARBLER Hippolais pallida *
Less common than I had been led to expect with 2 noted on the 18th and one on the 20th.
MELODIOUS WARBLER Hippolais polyglotta
Two at Yundum on the 20th and one at Brufut on the 23rd. All were singing.
SMALLER GREEN-BACKED EREMOMELA Eremomela
Only one seen, that being on the 20th at Yundum fields.
NORTHERN CROMBEC Sylvietta brachyura *
Two around the track to Lamin Lodge on the 21st and one at Brufut on the 23rd.
ORIOLE WARBLER Hypergerus atriceps *
Up to three birds in scrub alongside the Kotu Creek bridge on the 18th was surpassed by the 4 that pishing produced in Bijilo on the 24th. These latter birds showed long and well although in deep shade for most of the time.
GREEN HYLIA Hylia prasina *
One moving through the canopy within Abuko on the 21st was identifiable by its very prominent (and wide) supercilium.
WILLOW WARBLER Phylloscopus trochilus
One at Yundum on the 20th and one near Brikama on the 22nd sharing territory with a tinkerbird.
COMMON CHIFFCHAFF Phylloscopus collybita
One on the 18th around Kotu Creek was the only sighting.
WOOD WARBLER Phylloscopus sibilatrix
One at Yundum on the 20th and one at Abuko on the 21st pleased our guide considerably, as to him, they were the rarities.
BLACKCAP Sylvia atricapilla
One along the Casino cycle track on the 18th.
SUBALPINE WARBLER Sylvia cantillans
Four around Camaloo Corner area on the 19th with singles on the 18th along the cycle track and on the golf course and the 20th at Yundum.
NORTHERN BLACK FLYCATCHER Melaenornis edolioides
One seen well (but distantly) from the grounds of the Senegambia on the 20th, with 2 together in Bijilo on the 22nd much closer.
SCARLET-SPECTACLED WATTLE-EYE Platysteira
Three in total seen within Abuko on the 21st, all seen well and over a prolonged period of time.
RED-BELLIED PARADISE-FLYCATCHER Terpsiphone
Three seen around Abuko on the 21st, with individuals seen on the 22nd at Pirang and the 23rd at Brufut possibly being hybrids with the following species.
AFRICAN PARADISE-FLYCATCHER Terpsiphone viridi
One seen well just inside the entrance to Abuko on the 21st.
MOUSE-BROWN SUNBIRD Anthreptes gabonicus
One in the mangroves alongside the board-walk to Lamin Lodge showed itself well.
COLLARED SUNBIRD Anthreptes collaris *
Two in the scrub at the rear of the Palma Rima hotel on the 18th were the only sighting.
YELLOW-BELLIED SUNBIRD Nectarinia venusta
One at Yundum fields on the 20th, one at Lamin Lodge on the 21st and 2 at Brufut on the 23rd.
SCARLET-CHESTED SUNBIRD Nectarinia senegalensis
One in an acacia tree at Yundum fields on the 20th.
COPPERY SUNBIRD Nectarinia cuprea *
One at Camaloo Corner on the 19th and one at Yundum fields on the 20th.
SPLENDID SUNBIRD Nectarinia coccinigaster
Singles along the Casino cycle track and the golf course on the 18th, Yundum on the 20th and 2 again along the cycle track on the 23rd.
BEAUTIFUL SUNBIRD Nectarinia pulchella *
The most widespread and common sunbird and seen on most dates in small numbers.
SQUARE-TAILED DRONGO Dicrurus ludwigii *
One at Sukuta on the 23rd was unexpected, being as it is a relatively rare bird.
COMMON DRONGO Dicrurus adsimilis *
Two along the Casino cycle track on the 18th, 2 at Yundum on the 20th, 2 along Atlantic Road on the 21st and 2 at Sukuta on the 23rd.
PIAPIAC Ptilostomas afer *
Noted on at least five dates and always in groups with up to 15 on the golf course and in the ground of the MRC on the 21st.
PIED CROW Corvus albus *
Noted on all dates. Widespread and common although never in great numbers.
AFRICAN GOLDEN ORIOLE Oriolus auratus *
Possibly up to 3 birds (2 males and a female) seen in the grounds of the MRC along Atlantic Road on the 21st.
PURPLE GLOSSY STARLING Lamprotornis purpureus
Mostly seen as flyovers late afternoon over the golf course, until up to 6 birds were seen well at Sukuta on the 23rd.
BLUE-EARED GLOSSY STARLING Lamprotornis chalybaeus
Seen on four dates with up to 35 noted on the 21st around Lamin Lodge, Abuko and the grounds of the MRC.
LESSER BLUE-EARED GLOSSY STARLING Lamprotornis
One at Camaloo Corner on the 19th and four in a tree at Yundum on the 20th were all seen well, and separated from their "Greater" cousins.
NORTHERN LONG-TAILED GLOSSY STARLING Lamprotornis
Seen on all dates and always in pairs. Widespread and common.
YELLOW-BILLED OXPECKER Buphagus africanus
These were only seen on the one occasion, with 3 together on the same calf on the golf course on the 19th.
YELLOW-FRONTED CANARY Serinus mozambicus
Three at Yundum fields on the 20th and one in Abuko on the 21st.
RED-BILLED FIREFINCH Lagonosticta senegala
Widespread and common and along with Bronze Mannikin the most frequently encountered waxbill.
RED-CHEEKED CORDON-BLEU Uraeginthus bengalus
Seen on most dates in small numbers with 20 on the 20th around Yundum being the highest count.
LAVENDER WAXBILL Estrilda caerulescens *
One in a weedy field along Atlantic Road on the 19th and one in the gardens of the Senegambia Hotel on the 20th were the only sightings.
ORANGE-CHEEKED WAXBILL Estrilda melpoda *
One along the Casino cycle track near the rear of the Palma Rima Hotel on the 18th.
BLACK-RUMPED WAXBILL Estrilda troglodytes
Two at Pirang on the 22nd stayed still just long enough for the features to be seen well.
AFRICAN SILVERBILL Euodice cantans *
Two (a pair) around the thatched poolside sunshades of the Kombo Beach Hotel on the lunchtime of the 24th were our final tick of the trip.
BRONZE MANNIKIN Lonchura cucullata *
Widespread and common and seen on most dates.
CUT-THROAT FINCH Amadina fasciata *
One along the Casino cycle track at the rear of the Palma Rima Hotel on the 18th was the only sighting.
VILLAGE INDIGOBIRD Vidua chalybeata *
A pair at the start of the Casino cycle track were noted on every visit, whilst two on a small cultivation outside our bedroom block at the Kombo Beach Hotel were often present. Not seen elsewhere.
PIN-TAILED WHYDAH Vidua macroura *
At least 3 birds, including 2 males with tail streamers in a small mixed flock with quelea at Brufut on the 23rd.
WHITE-BILLED BUFFALO WEAVER Bubalornis albirostris
Noted on four dates, with parties around Kotu Creek on the 18th (3), Camaloo Corner on the 19th (15), Yundum fields on the 20th (20) and Sukuta on the 23rd (10).
LITTLE WEAVER Ploceus luteolus *
A single sighting of one in an acacia at Yundum fields on the 20th.
BLACK-NECKED WEAVER Ploceus nigricollis *
Up to 8 birds seen in Abuko on the 21st, all being female types.
HEUGLIN'S MASKED WEAVER Ploceus heuglini
Two in a tree at Yundum showed themselves well, enabling us to note the yellow eye.
VITELLINE MASKED WEAVER Ploceus vitellinus
One at Abuko, sharing a tree with the above species, was the only sighting. It was a male and showed the red eye that separates it from the following species.
VILLAGE WEAVER Ploceus cucullatus *
Widespread and common and seen in numbers on all dates.
YELLOW-BACKED WEAVER Ploceus melanocephalus
At least six noted on the edge of a scrubby area and in company with Village Weavers at Camaloo Corner on the 19th.
RED-BILLED QUELEA Quelea quelea *
Two in a small flock with wydahs at Brufut on the 23rd was unexpected.
YELLOW CROWNED BISHOP Euplectes afer *
At least six with 2 nicely marked males around a reedy pool near Camaloo Corner, sharing the habitat with the Black Crakes.
NORTHERN RED BISHOP Euplectes franciscanus
Males, still mostly in breeding plumage noted on five dates with up to 6 around Yundum on the 20th. Many juveniles/females went specifically un-identified.
YELLOW-MANTLED WIDOWBIRD Euplectes macrourus
One in a crop of couscous at Yundum fields on the 20th was the only sighting.
HOUSE SPARROW Passer domesticus
Noted on three dates around the Kombo Beach hotel.
GREY-HEADED SPARROW Passer griseus *
Noted on six dates with a maxima of 10 on the 18th around the Casino cycle track area.