January 28th 2012
We had another relaxing canoe trip to start the day exploring the balons opposite Tendaba just as the sun was coming up. Presumably it was a large fish that breached the surface as we crossed and caused some brief excitement hoping it was a dolphin then on approaching the first balon a small bat was still out hunting among the mangrove roots. Again kingfishers were plentiful with over 30 seen and at this hour a lot of species were just thinking about leaving their roost sites so species such as Herons, Egrets and African Darters were seen in good numbers.
Abyssinian Roller by Colin Potter
As we continued creeping along we managed to find a number of passerines feeding in the undergrowth like African Blue Flycatcher, plenty of Mouse-brown Sunbirds, Senegal Batis, Northern Crombec and Yellow-crowned Bishop while a woodpecker species was eventually tracked down and found to be another lifer for me-Golden-tailed Woodpecker. In the clearer areas we had Woolly-necked Stork and Montagu’s Harrier while overhead we kept an eye out for the longed for Martial Eagle that had been present but it wasn’t to be but did find a Mosque Swallow. Some of the specialised birds of this habitat such as White-crowned Night Heron we dipped on but Goliath Heron and African Fin-foot did appear. The Fin-foot decided it would perform and showed for along time allowing plenty of photographs and videos to be taken.
On our return to Tendaba we grabbed a cool drink then went for a walk behind the village managing 8 White Crested Helmetshrike and 60 White-backed Pelican overhead but nothing added to the trip list then on our return we packed and started out for the long journey back to the Halcyon compound, Bijilo. To get back to the main road we followed a number of dirt tracks through Kiang West seeing White-fronted Blackchat but the Lesser Kestrel female put doubt in the minds of a few and never made the list.
As we headed east a comfort stop brought us our first Tree Pipit of the trip and we experienced Mus buying firewood and charcoal for his mum from the roadside as it was cheaper than in the capital. Arrived back tired and dusty but soon perked up with a hot shower and food and as the gang drifted away for beddy byes, Dennis and I had a Barn Owl flying over the compound and a White-faced Scops Owl was heard later on in the evening.
African Blue Flycatcher, African Darter, Barn Owl, European Swallow, Golden-tailed Woodpecker, Mosque Swallow, Mouse-brown Sunbird, Northern Crombec, Senegal Batis, Swallow-tailed Bee-Eater, Tree Pipit, White fronted Blackchat, White-throated Bee-Eater, Woolly-necked Stork, Yellow-crowned Bishop.
January 30th 2012
Our last full day in the field started at Farasuto a local wood near Mus’es home village which the local community had turned in to reserve where there was a stunning roosting Greyish Eagle Owl which had taken up residence. Earlier we had spent some time under the canopy where we managed to see Oriole Warbler, Green Crombec and Grey Headed Bristle Bill from the 60 or so species recorded here.
Next stop was Faraba Banta where we added Copper Sunbird to the trip from a tree dripping with sunbirds before moving on to have our packed lunch at Tanji Beach. – Not the prettiest location due to the local fishing industry but there were plenty to see while sheltering from the heat of the day and we managed a few species not previously seen on the trip Bar-tailed Godwit, Caspian Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Sanderling and after a long wait I finally caught up with Kelp Gull. Plenty of other gull species seen here and 2 Ospreys.
Once rested we were back on the move this time to Turjering and managed Cardinal Woodpecker, Klaas's Cuckoo, Northern Puffback, Vieillots Barbet, Common Swift and Whinchat amongst a wide range of species.
January 31st 2012
African Mourning Dove by Colin Potter
We were not due at Yumdum Airport till 3pm so chilled out by the pool enjoying the wares of a travelling stall holder we had invited round to buy gifts which saved us from the hassle of the markets
The final group pic then homeward bound to -2