TRAVELLING NATURALIST TRIP REPORT

GAMBIA

26 NOVEMBER - 10 DECEMBER 1999


Leaders:
Graham Hearl
Seedy Saidy

Friday 26th November Travel day

We all arrived at Gatwick South Terminal more or less on time and booked in for our charter flight to The Gambia. The plane was delayed at Gatwick for just under an hour, but due to following winds the time was made up and we arrived not only on time but five minutes early. There was the usual chaos at the airport collecting luggage but not nearly so stressful as previous years due to the new terminal at Yundum airport. However we were in Africa and to prove it the temperature was 30?C.

We were met by our guide for the tour, Seedy Saidy, and transferred to the Senegambia Hotel. After checking in we actually had time for a bit of birding before it got dark and this certainly gave us a flavour of Gambian birds (aren't Yellow-crowned Gonoleks and White-crowned Robin-chats superb!) as well as seeing a few terns off the beach.

At dinner we dined under the stars, due mainly to Peter and Elonwy who wanted to eat out, and we were well entertained by fruit bats flying low over the tables getting to the flowers of the overhanging trees - I eventually identified them as Epauletted Fruit Bat Epomorphorus gambianus.. By the way the food was excellent and we knew we were going to enjoy it here

Saturday 27th November

Bijilo forest and the Kotu area

Our pre-breakfast walk was due to start at 6-30 am, but it was still very dark and dawn did not arrive until after 7-00 am; nevertheless it gave us a good hour before breakfast to get to grips with the local species such as Black-capped and Brown Babblers, Beautiful and Scarlet-chested Sunbirds, African Thrush, plus other usual species such as Firefinches, Red-cheeked Cordonbleu and the spectacular Glossy Starlings.

After breakfast we joined Seedy and walked to the Bijilo forest which is very close to the hotel. On the way we really got into doves, their calls I mean, plus Yellow-billed Shrikes. In the forest we started off with two real goodies in Oriole Warblers which are hard to see at any time. The forest also produced Western Red Colobus monkeys and Green Vervet Monkeys, which are now called Savannah Monkeys as vervets do not occur in the west of Africa. We also saw a good selection of forest bird species including Snowy-crowned Robin-chat.

After our morning in this great coastal forest reserve we lunched at the Badala Park Hotel before returning to the Senegambia Hotel for a siesta in the midday heat.

After an hour's rest and relaxation we met up again with Seedy and visited the Kotu area. We started off down the cycle track and saw some splendid birds including Broad-billed Roller in display flight, Harrier Hawk, a fantastic pair of Pearl-spotted Owlets that Seedy called up much closer for us, a Blue-bellied Roller and we even got to grips with a cisticola, a pair of Singing Cisticolas.

Time was marching on so we travelled the short distance to the Kotu Bridge over the Kotu stream where we connected with lots of waders - we were going to the Fajara golf course but it was full of people, presumably a tournament, but never mind, we did splendidly at the bridge and later at the Kotu ponds. Here, to finish the day, we saw White-faced Whistling Ducks including some very small chicks plus more waders and an Intermediate Egret.

All in all a splendid day's birding certainly to start our tour off with a bang, the weather had been a bit overcast in the morning but hot and sunny all afternoon which I am sure we had to get used to.

At the log we had totalled 93 bird species for the day

Sunday 28th November Abuko Nature Reserve and Lamin rice fields

An early start after an early breakfast at 7-00 am. Our guide and driver arrived a little late so we did not arrive at Abuko until about 8-30 am. Our first port of call was of course the crocodile hide where we immediately saw two Giant Kingfishers in flight, Black-headed Herons, Black-crowned Night Herons and a juvenile Sittatunga right by the water.

We later saw three Palm-nut Vultures in the air and perched in a tree and the sight for me of two crocodiles displaying, probably threat display, of raised tails and heads whilst snapping their snouts was VERY impressive - we later realized that the display may have been about a prey item that we later saw in the pond.

We carried on our walk to the centre where a rehabilitation refuge is situated on the way getting to grips with Little Greenbul and plenty of Grey Plantain-eaters - John M called the Little Greenbul his favourite bird with as much panache as a junior civil service clerk.

At the reserve we took a fifteen minute break where a pair of Bearded Barbet were found giving excellent close views - the lions and spotted hyenas were also impressive but caged I hasten to add.

On our return trip through the reserve back to the bus we eventually got excellent views of Common Wattle-eye and Snowy-crowned Robin Chat.

We joined the bus and travelled the short distance to Lamin Lodge on Lamin Creek where we partook of fine local fare in a wonderful log cabin on three storeys right on Lamin Creek. Here we saw Sandwich Terns, distant Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters and three Red-chested Swallows.

After lunch and a rest at the lodge we drove a short distance to the Lamin rice fields and saw a Greater Honeyguide , Long-tailed, Purple and Bronze-tailed Starlings plus a fair selection of birds of prey.

On the way back to the van we saw five Black-headed Plovers and Wattled Plovers. We arrived back at the hotel just after 6-00 pm after another hot and sunny day and we met up for the log at the usual time giving a running total of bird species in the region of 132, really a fantastic start. Could we keep it up??

Monday 29th November Marikissa forest area and Dasilami

Again our usual early start but Ian and myself heard and saw a White-faced Scops Owl in a tree just outside our room. After breakfast at 7-30 am, we travelled to the Marakissa region to look at the wet areas for a start-off. We saw Grey, Purple, Squacco and Black-headed Herons as well as Hammerkops; birds of prey were well in evidence with three Harrier Hawks, two Tawny Eagles and a magnificent Long-crested Hawk-Eagle all perched and in flight. We also had a female Giant Kingfisher perched very close just above our heads and two very close Malachite Kingfishers. We walked the adjacent fields hearing a rarity in Spotted Honeyguide but seeing Pygmy Kingfisher, two Double-spurred Francolin and Lizard Buzzards plus a splendid Dark-chanting Goshawk in flight.

We had our picnic lunch down a track in a scrubby area seeing a male Bateleur Eagle. Our afternoon walk into regeneration land came to a superb stop when Seedy started calling his Pearl-spotted Owlet call which produced an amazing number of wanted species such as Violet-backed Sunbird, Senegal Batis, Yellow-fronted Canary, Green-backed Eremomela, Scarlet-chested Sunbird and Melodious Warbler to name a few.

Continuing on we stopped for two Dark Chanting-Goshawks, a Northern Red Bishop, a Whistling Cisticola, a superb Black-winged Red Bishop and a pair of Vieillot's Barbet: not a bad finish to yet another hot and sunny day although a bit humid.

On the way back Ian called a stop for a very close-perched Black-shouldered Kite.

By the way a very impressive swarm of bees passed close by us in the afternoon, but as swarms are not aggressive we were safe - ish!!

Tuesday 30th November The Bund Road, Brufut forest and the coast at Kotu

The usual after-breakfast start and we headed towards Banjul stopping off at a nice wet area and mangroves where we eventually got to grips with Mourning Doves, even Ian was happy. We also saw some good birds including a Gull-billed Tern and a Goliath Heron which was a species Peter hopefully had wanted to see.

Our next stop was at Denton Bridge for a quick look at a Peregrine Falcon accompanied by lots of Little Swifts.

The next major stop was at the famous Bund Road stopping for an Abbyssinian Roller before walking the length looking at waders and terns - the tide was low and therefore just right and we had super views of Royal, Caspian, Little and Sandwich Terns, gulls were good also with excellent views of Grey-headed, Black-headed and Lesser Black-backed. At the rear of the harbour the wet area produced good views of some Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters. Having seen everything to be seen at the Bund Road we headed off for an early lunch at the Badala Park Hotel where the beer had gone up in price and produced some hassle due to a wrong totalling of orders - I think we shall change this lunch spot. However all was sorted and we returned to the Senegambia for an hour's rest before embarking on a trip to Brufut forest followed by a short sojourn for nightjars.

After a rest we left at 3-00 pm to travel to Brufut forest some 45 minutes away, we walked in this open area and immediately saw two Swallow-tailed Bee-eaters. Other good birds in this area were Cardinal Woodpecker, Black-crowned Tchagra, Orange-cheeked Waxbill, Northern Crombec. Our last site here was to Madiyana bridge where we saw a pair of Violet Turaco.

We finished the day by travelling back just past the Senegambia to the Kotu area where we walked out into the scrub just on the coast for a nightjar watch. We were not disappointed for as dusk fell a pair of Long-tailed Nightjars started performing obviously flying around displaying over their territory in fact there was probably two pairs in this vicinity - a brilliant finish to a day that saw us well over a hundred bird species, 114 in fact in the day.

Wednesday 1st December Makasutu and pirogue trip

What a fantastic area - we left at our usual time for the one hour and a half travelling time to this new birding area. The Makasutu is a new private reserve area where we partook of a very civilized cup of tea before embarking on the bottom numbing pirogue trip through the mangroves - they were more dugout canoes. It was well worth it as we saw Guinea Baboon (well down river and not at all common in The Gambia) Mouse-coloured Sunbirds, Mottled Swifts and Darters as well as Senegal Thicknees.

After the pirogue trip we walked through this excellent forest area seeing some splendid birds including Grey-headed Bristlebill, Yellow-breasted Apalis, White-crested Helmet-Shrikes as well as the usual Beautiful and Splendid Sunbirds. On the way back to a late lunch at the centre we again had excellent views of Swallow-tailed Bee-eaters, an African Golden Oriole and a couple of Whistling Cisticolas.

Lunch at this new place was superb topped off with various local specialities such as palm wine, a cacophony of bird noise mainly created by a Common Bulbul screaming in the ear of a Pearl-spotted Owlet who we thought had taken one of its chicks - it was in his talons, and the finale of a low overflying and circling Martial Eagle - Seedy was very pleased.

We returned directly after our late lunch to the Senegambia Hotel for tour members to pack and birdwatch - whilst doing my notes outside my room I was entertained by - Grey-backed Camaroptera, Yellow-crowned Gonoleks, White-crowned Robin Chats, Purple, Glossy, Bronze-tailed and Blue-eared Glossy Starlings, African Thrush and African Firefinch to name a few.

Thursday 2nd December Berending Savannah, north bank of The Gambia river and savannah area near Keur Saloum, Senegal

Our very early start proved to be unnecessary when our coach was delayed getting to the Senegambia Hotel but nonetheless we arrived at Banjul dock in time for the eight o'clock ferry which turned out to be leaving at nine o'clock. This delay in fact all worked out very well as we were able to get in some cold drinks and do some sea watching seeing three Pomarine and one Arctic Skua as well as Grey-headed plus a Kelp Gull and a Lesser Crested Tern as we were leaving.

The journey across was VERY entertaining seeing all the local life and what a joyful seething mass. On arrival at the other side a Wire-tailed Swallow put in an appearance as well as some sunbathing pigs.

We departed to the Berending area where we immediately saw a female Black-bellied Bustard in flight, a distant Striped Kingfisher and heard several Bush Petronias and, more interestingly, two males and a female Pygmy Sunbird. On the way back we had a much-discussed Red-shouldered Cuckoo-shrike that had yellow/orange shoulders - a very unusual form for this bird, and from the bus two Red-rumped Swallows. We returned to Barra where we saw a few Slender-billed Gulls, Yellow-legged Gull, four Kentish Plovers and more Lesser Crested Terns. On leaving Barra we saw a Northern Anteater Chat from the bus.

We took lunch by the roadside, again excellent chicken and potato salad whilst being entertained by some very close White-crested Helmet-shrikes including an adult feeding a young bird and all much closer than our previous sightings.

The afternoon walk in the savannah close to Keur Saloum was a bit quiet but it did produce our closest yet Abyssinian Roller and African Golden Oriole and I caught a glimpse of a snake eagle hovering but too far away to identify.

On the way to our hotel we saw a super group of Red Patas Monkeys and very elegant they were too. Our hotel, the Keur Saloum, is in a superb location right next to the mangrove swamp overlooking a large creek in the Saloum Delta N.P. so we felt very relaxed and hoped we were going to enjoy the evening entertainment. We were not wrong the drums and dancing were absolutely superb.

The log was held previous to the entertainment giving a running total of bird species at 197. I don't have to mention that the weather was hot and sunny if a bit hazy.

Friday 3rd December Missirah area and an afternoon pirogue trip

A casual start with breakfast at 7-30 am leaving by our coach at 8-30 am. We stopped for a couple of walks in the Missirah area by Nemaba bridge our first stop being at a wet pond area where we saw superb views of Abyssinian Roller, and adult and juvenile Green Herons, Palm Nut Vulture, yet another Bearded Barbet, an immature male Montagu's Harrier close overhead, Mourning Dove actually singing, a male Namaqua Dove, Shikra also overhead and again Red-rumped Swallows whilst getting back onto the bus.

On the way to Missirah we stopped for three Grasshopper Buzzards, our two hundredth species for the trip, two Striped Kingfishers and a Whinchat. Further on we saw a flock of Northern Anteater Chat, a species that looks much better in flight with the white wing patches. At Missirah we looked out from the fish drying area putting up with the smell but seeing another Slender-billed Gull and two Curlews - a species somewhat scarce in the region.

Lunch was taken back at the Keur Saloum Lodge at 1-30 pm and then everyone relaxed until the long pirogue trip starting at 3-30 pm - thank god we had bought the sponge for our seats!!

In fact we started at 4-00 pm and there were sponge cushions in the pirogue but I for one was still happy to have the extra padding. The trip was rather short of birds when we started due to high tide but we stopped at Jorum Island and walked a short distance seeing some splendid Ring-necked Parakeets and Senegal Parrots plus displaying pairs of Broad-billed Rollers. We then re-embarked and sped across the broad creek to a heron roost.

WHAT a spectacle!! The roost was a small island of mangroves in a side creek some fifty metres by twenty metres and from 6-00 pm to 6-45 pm we saw approaching seven hundred and fifty Western Reef Herons including about a dozen white morph, well over eight hundred Cattle Egrets and about twenty Black Egrets, one hundred Long-tailed Cormorant, twenty Pied Kingfishers and the odd Intermediate Egret - what a superb show.

We got back to our lodge just after seven o'clock and met up for dinner at eight o'clock entertained by yet more dancing this time by local people from the nearby village.

Saturday 4th December Travel to Georgetown

An early breakfast at 6-00 am so we left nearly on time to catch a very important ferry at Kerewan but had to return for the forgotten picnics. However this did not delay us for too long and we arrived at the Kerewan ferry just in time - in fact we drove straight on board and on the way across we did see Spur-winged Geese. There is a bridge being built over the creek so hopefully the next trip will not have the ferry problem.

In Kerewan village I spotted a Chestnut-bellied Starling on a wire, so we turned the coach round and searched the village. It did not take long before we were all seeing this uncommon bird, in fact we saw quite a few and just outside the village a small flock landed in a close-by tree.

Because of the long travelling day we moved fairly fast only stopping at a roadside pool that produced some lovely birds such as Cut-throat Finch, Sudan Golden Sparrow and White-rumped Swift as well as lots of Namaqua doves and other previously seen species.

We stopped soon after for our picnic lunch which we took in the heat of the day overlooking the superb Kaur wetland. In fact the main reason for stopping was of two close Egyptian Plovers giving fantastic views and what a spectacular bird. I forget the other species seen but we did stop a little further on where there were SEVEN more of this stunning plover and even closer. It was here that Ian spotted our first Marsh Sandpiper and of course there were other species but not the hoped for Kittlitz Plover. Travelling on, Seedy's amazing eye spotted Little Green Bee-eaters by the roadside as well as seeing a flight view of Marabou Stork. He also spotted an eagle in a roadside tree which turned out to be a Short-toed Eagle, but in a plumage I have never seen before - it may well have been the ssp. beaudouini now probably split as a full species and called Beaudouin's Harrier Eagle.

With time again getting short we moved on only stopping at the Wassu stone circle, some 1,300 years old. We made the ferry at Georgetown with time to spare and from the ferry we saw a Bruce's Green Pigeon - not rare but very handsome as are most of this genus.

We arrived at the Baobolong camp at 6-00 pm, had a welcome drink and a very welcome shower and met at 7-00 pm for the log. The Baobolong camp is basic African but clean and the food was very good.

Sunday 5th December Basse and back

After breakfast at seven o'clock we left by our coach for Basse stopping off on the way for a roadside stop near Sankolikunda that got us some nice birds including Levaillant's Cuckoo and a later stop at Ellakunda for a wonderful collection of vultures including Ruppell's, White-backed and European Griffon.

Our last stop before Basse collected us twenty Carmine Bee-eaters, surely one of the most spectacular of birds.

At Basse we embarked on yet another ferry to get to Fulladu camp for lunch - this ferry being a sculled ironclad. At the Fulladu Camp the food was wonderful and we also saw a few Red-throated Bee-eaters, also a very spectacular species.

After lunch we were going to return to Georgetown by the north bank but the rains had washed away some areas that had not been repaired so the safest journey back was the route we had taken in the morning. On the way back to the south side by our steel ferry we saw yet another pair of Egyptian Plovers flying and perched on the jetty where we were to disembark.

On the way back to Georgetown we stopped at the Bansang quarry for the most spectacular breeding colony of Red-throated Bee-eaters - about one hundred pairs - plus other goodies such as Yellow-crowned Bishops and Cinnamon-breasted Rock Bunting. Another stop was a bit quiet for birds but the wet area by the ferry to get to Baobolong camp produced three Greater Painted-snipe.

To finish the day we decided to go for owls with Lawrence the chief of our hotel. We did not succeed with owls except perhaps hearing a Pel's Fishing Owl? and certainly hearing African and White-faced Owls but we did score with sandgrouse both Four-banded AND possibly Chestnut-bellied.

After dinner our log now stood at around 247 bird species

Monday 6th December Pirogue trip to Baboon Island

Our usual 7-00 am breakfast and we then immediately embarked on a substantial Pirogue complete with bar, toilet, seats and covered deck - all very important. What a relaxing day we all fell asleep at some time during the day most of us probably three times. However the birding was good both morning and afternoon with excellent views of Western-banded Snake Eagle, African Fish Eagles, Palm-nut Vultures, a swirl of Marabou Storks and excellent views of Woodland and Grey-headed Kingfishers not to mention Swamp Flycatchers and hearing Oriole Warblers. We also saw a few monkeys, Western Red Colobus and Savannah plus a real goody in a large Hippo, rare in this area. The monitor lizards were entertaining as well, especially a very large example on the way back.

Our midday lunch was excellent and we relaxed with beers and fantas from a fairly early start. We returned just after five o'clock and most of us went on a stroll to the nearby wet area just to stretch the legs. There was not much in the wet area but we did see four Black-headed Plovers, a close Gabar Goshawk and a skulking sylvia warbler probably a garden warbler.

Our log total was now well over 250 species so we were all pleased with our sightings.

Tuesday 7th December Travel to Tendaba

After the seven o'clock breakfast we left for Tendaba stopping off early on at Jahally Pacharr rice fields. This area is absolutely brilliant and stuffed with herons especially Squacco and good numbers of Black Herons. We also saw two Black Coucal and a brief view of Great Swamp Warbler plus flight views of Knob-billed Duck and an immature in one of the rice fields. Waders were also in good numbers with Ruff and Wood Sandpiper predominating.

Our lunch stop later on was literally by the road but we did see vultures including three White-headed and a Lappet-faced seen by two of the party.

We arrived promptly at Tendaba approaching 3-00 pm, we settled in our rooms and met up with Seedy at four o'clock to visit the airfield for some birding.

The airfield is right by the creek and of course is sand and mud; in fact 'Terminal Three' is just like Heathrow NOT. We started at the inland end where Seedy spotted a pair of Abyssinian Ground Hornbill that we stalked to get better views. On the way closer to the hornbills we saw a Sedge Warbler and whilst waiting for cranes a single Avocet put in an appearance. We progressed to Terminal Three and sat waiting for dusk - it was almost dark when we decided to head back to Tendaba camp stopping for a pair of Four-banded Sandgrouse in the gloom. At that same moment ten Crowned Cranes flew over our heads but by now it as so dark we could only make out the silhouette. The walk back to camp was in darkness but the track was flat and therefore no problem in fact it was quite enthralling walking past huts with low light and wood fires.

The log was taken after dinner totalling a really good 265 - the entertainment after dinner or really commencing at eleven o'clock was fantastic for those that stayed up

Wednesday 8th December Tendaba walk and pirogue trip

We took a walk from the camp at about eight o'clock after breakfast but having seen three African Spoonbills whist taking breakfast overlooking The Gambia River. The walk started with a bang when a close Blue-breasted Kingfisher was seen perched closely followed by two more. Seedy trying his Pearl-spotted Owlet call produced a Brubru.

Further on the walk got a little difficult when we had to negotiate a couple of loose bridges and a muddy area nonetheless the Short-toed Eagle in the tree was well worth it.

Returning by a slightly longer route to miss the mud and bridges Seedy spotted three White-shouldered Black Tit as well as us finding Melodious and Willow Warblers. Just by the camp on our return close to midday we had Yellow-billed Stork circling by.

Quite a few of us indulged in a swim before lunch with most taking a siesta after.

We commenced our pirogue trip at 4-00 pm and crossed The Gambia River entering a creek for a slow punt round. Our first sightings on entering the creek were White-throated Bee-eaters - Ian was pleased as he was now getting in twitch mode. We cruised slowly along seeing lots of Blue-breasted Kingfishers and new birds such as Woolly-necked Storks as well as a fine Goliath Heron. Further up the creek we eventually got the wanted species, White-backed Night Heron, albeit a juvenile but a few minutes later we connected with two adults very close and giving excellent views. We travelled right up to the end of the creek and connected with another creek to return to the river. The journey down was just a good seeing over two hundred European Bee-eaters and the real star of this trip, a White-crested Tiger Heron. We were looking for Pel's Fishing Owl, but it has not been seen this year.

Crossing the river we saw three Crowned Cranes much earlier and much closer than the previous evening. Returning after dark we ran the gauntlet of village kids to get back to camp having negotiated an over vertical steel ladder - didn't the girls do well!!.

The evening log now showed a grand total of 279 ish

Thursday 9th December Kiang West National Park

At breakfast at Tendaba we watched a party of fourteen African Spoonbill feeding on the mud fairly close to the camp. After breakfast we left by landrover to visit Kiang West National Park. The park was fairly quiet for birds compared to what we had been used to but we did see two parties of Guinea Baboons, the first numbering fourteen and the other at least twenty and very impressive they were to giving loud grunts and barks obviously worried by our presence - they made us think as well.

At a viewpoint we did see a rare migrant for the Gambia in eight European Spoonbill in with a party of African Spoonbill down on a bank by the river - it was interesting to compare the two species, the size difference being quite noticeable (African being larger). Other good views of the morning were a pair of African Hawk Eagles that sailed just over our heads and a group of twenty Bruce's Green Pigeons.

We took a picnic lunch in the park and returned to the Tendaba Lodge just after one o'clock - the trip had been fairly uncomfortable bouncing around in the landrovers but all part of the experience.

We all rested, swam and repacked and then revisited the Tendaba airfield area concentrating on the rice fields backing onto it. Again the birds were a bit quiet compared to ALL the previous days but we did get excellent views of the species we had come to know and enjoy such as Long-tailed Glossy Starling, African Fish Eagle on nest, Yellow-billed Kites, Abyssinian Rollers and even long distance Swallow-tailed Bee-eaters - it was interesting to see Spur-winged Geese sitting in trees. We even got a new species for the trip in Plain- backed Pipit.

Our tour total was now over 280 bird species, when we had expected something around 250 so we were all well pleased with the total.

Friday 10th December Travel day to UK

We left Tendaba after breakfast heading for Yundum airport stopping on the way at Bama Kotu woodland but it was somewhat quiet here as per Kiang West N.P.

Our final stop was at Yundum woodland where we had our picnic lunch but being around midday we again saw little however our bird for the half-day totalled thirty seven so all somewhat comparative.

We arrived at Yundum airport at around 1-30 pm and got through the formalities with very little fuss despite the first worry over our plane that was supposed to be delayed on one display but actually arrived on time. We departed from The Gambia a little late and arrived at Gatwick about half an hour late. Getting the luggage was quite interesting as the baggage handlers had smashed a number of fish boxes; consequently some cases were dumped right on top of the smelly fish - however none of our cases were involved thank goodness.

Review

The holiday had given us a full picture of The Gambia from both sides of the river and up to Basse, including a taste of Senegal, and Gambian bird life our bird total being just over 280 bird species including covering all species of bee-eaters and most of the sunbirds. The weather had been hot and sunny nearly everyday and on some days VERY hot and sunny certainly from the 4th to 10th December.

Special highlights were the amazing heron roost at Keur Saloum, the Red-throated Bee-eater colony at Bansang quarry, Egyptian Plovers on the north shore, the gardens at Senegambia hosting some special species such as Yellow-crowned Gonoleks and White-crowned Robin-chats plus many excellent sightings of both colourful and 'difficult to see' species such as the spectacular 'glossy' starlings and rollers, many birds of prey and rarities such as Grey-headed Bristlebill, Spotted Honeyguide, Black Coucal and many others.

Acknowledgements

To all the party for being such good company with plenty of humour and stories and especially to Ian for his company and keeping us honest at the bird log each evening. Finally many thanks to Seedy Saidy whose knowledge of Gambian birds and sites is extremely good and his spotting ability amazing

I hope to see you all again on yet another Travelling Naturalist tour.

Graham Hearl, Mallorca

Species Lists

Birds

The nomenclature and order follow A Field Guide to Birds of The Gambia and Senegal by Clive Barlow, Tim Wacher and Tony Disley, well-known alternative names are bracketed.

Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis

Two seen from Kotu Bridge on 27th

African Darter Anhinga rufa

Recorded on nine days with maximum of four plus on 6th from the pirogue trip

Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo

Two flying over the sea on 27th

Long-tailed Cormorant Phalacrocorax africanus

Recorded on eleven days with a maximum of over one hundred at the Saloum Delta N.P. roost

Pink-backed Pelican Pelecanus rufescens

Recorded on nine days with maximum of twelve on 30th at the Bund Road and over twenty at Tendaba on 8th

White-crested Tiger Heron Tigriornis leucolophus

An example of this rare species was seen on the pirogue trip at Tendaba both perched and in flight on 8th

White-backed Night Heron Gorsachius leuconotus

Two adults and a juvenile were seen perched in the mangroves on the Tendaba pirogue trip on 8th

Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax

Seven seen at Abuko on 28th and over fifty seen on the pirogue trip to Baboon Island from Georgetown on 6th

Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides

Recorded on eight days with a maximum of 'lots' at Jahally rice fields on 7th

Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis

Recorded on every day in various habitats

Striated (Green-backed Heron) Butorides striatus

Recorded on ten days mostly in the mangroves

Black Egret Egretta ardesiaca

Singles seen of this rare heron on 28th and 30th with twenty at the Saloum Delta N.P. heron roost on 3rd and over thirty at the Jahally rice fields on 7th

Western Reef Heron Egretta gularis

Recorded on twelve days with over seven hundred and forty counted at the heron roost at Saloum Delta N.P. on 3rd. At this roost twelve white morph were counted giving a fair proportion of this form

Little Egret Egretta garzetta

Recorded on six days from 30th to 8th

Intermediate (Yellow-billed Egret) Egretta intermedia

Two seen at Kotu Creek on 27th and then every day from 3rd to 10th

Great White Egret Egretta alba

Two seen on 27th, 30th and one on 1st, thereafter every day from 4th to 10th

Purple Heron Ardea purpurea

Recorded on seven days mostly odd ones and twos

Grey Heron Ardea cinerea

Recorded on twelve days with maximum of over twenty on the pirogue trip to Baboon Island on 6th and thirty on the pirogue trip from Tendaba on 8th

Black-headed Heron Ardea melanocephala

Recorded on four days from 27th to 30th and four days from 4th to 7th

Goliath Heron Ardea goliath

One seen at the mudflats of Camalou corner on 30th and another or two on the pirogue trip from Tendaba on 8th

Hammerkop Scopus umbretta

Recorded on eleven days with a maximum of twenty five on 6th on the pirogue trip to Baboon Island on 6th

Yellow-billed Stork Mycteria ibis

One and nine seen on 8th at Tendaba and five on the pirogue trip on 9th

Woolly-necked Stork Ciconia episcopus

Twelve seen on the pirogue trip at Tendaba on 8th

African Marabou Leptopilos crumeniferus

One seen in flight on 4th and twenty four plus six on 6th on the pirogue trip to Baboon Island on 6th plus one en route to Tendaba on 7th

Sacred Ibis Threskiornis aethiopicus

Two seen in flight on 30th and two on 4th

European Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia

Eight of this rare bird to The Gambia were seen at Kiang West N.P. on 9th

African Spoonbill Platalea alba

Only recorded at Tendaba from 8th to 10th with a maximum of thirty on 9th

White-faced Whistling Duck Dendrocygna viduata

Parties up to forty recorded on four days on 27th, 30th, 4th and 7th

Spur-winged Goose Plectopterus gambensis

Recorded on 4th and from 6th to 9th in flocks from fifteen to thirty

Knob-billed Duck Sarkidiornis melanotos

Seven and one seen at the Jahally rice fields on 7th

Black-shouldered Kite Elanus caeruleus

One seen from the road on 29th

Black Kite (Yellow-billed Kite) Milvus migrans

Recorded on twelve days with a maximum of ten on 9th at Tendaba

African Fish Eagle Haliaeetus vocifer

One at Keur Saloum on 3rd, up to ten on the pirogue trip to Baboon Island on 6th out of Georgetown on 6th and singles at Tendaba on 9th and 10th

Palm-nut Vulture Gypohierax angolensis

Recorded on nine days on 28th and 29th and from 3rd to 9th with a maximum of twelve on the pirogue trip to Baboon Island on 6th

Hooded Vulture Necrosyrtes monachus

Recorded on every day, the very common vulture of The Gambia

White-backed Vulture Gyps africanus

Only recorded from 5th to 7th with a maximum of ten on the way to Basse on 5th

Rüppell's Griffon Vulture Gyps ruppellii

Again only recorded on 5th and 7th with three plus two on 5th on the way to Basse

European Griffon Vulture Gyps fulvus

Also only recorded from 5th to 7th with a maximum of six on 7th

Lappet-faced Vulture Torgos tracheliotus

One seen in flight on 7th

White-headed Vulture Trigonoceps occipitalis

Three and one seen on 7th and 8th

Short-toed Eagle Circaetus gallicus

Singles seen on 29th, 2nd and 8th

Beaudouin's Harrier Eagle Circaetus gallicus beaudouini

Still a ssp. in The Gambia Guide but now probably a full species, we had excellent views of one on the way to Georgetown on 4th

Brown Snake Eagle Circaetus cinereus

Singles seen on 4th and 5th

Western Banded Snake Eagle Circaetus cinerascens

Two seen on 6th on the pirogue trip to Baboon Island

Bateleur Terathopius ecaudatus

A nice male seen at the lunch stop on 29th at Marakissa

African Harrier Hawk (Gymnogene) Polyboroides typus

The second commonest raptor after Hooded Vulture recorded on twelve days

Montagu's Harrier Circus pygargus

Sightings of immature males on three days 3rd and two on 4th at Keur Saloum and at Tendaba on7th

Eurasian Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus

Recorded on four days, two on 28th, one on 4th, three at the Jahally rice fields on 7th and two on 8th at Tendaba

Gabar Goshawk Micronisus gabar

Singles seen on four days on 28th, 29th, 6th and 7th

Dark Chanting Goshawk Melierax metabates

This smart raptor seen on six days on 29th, 2nd, 4th to 6th and 9th

Shikra Accipiter badius

Recorded on nine days in singles with a maximum of four on 6th

Grasshopper Buzzard Butastur rufipennis

Seen mainly on the north bank on 3rd, 4th and 5th with six plus on 5th and again with three at Kiang West N.P. on 9th

Lizard Buzzard Kaupifalco monogrammicus

Another common raptor recorded on nine days mostly in singles but two pairs on 6th

Tawny Eagle Aquila rapax

Two seen on 29th at Marakissa and one on the pirogue trip to Baboon island on 6th

Wahlberg's Eagle Aquila wahlbergi

Singles seen at Lamin rice fields on 28th, at Marakissa on 29th and at Berending on 2nd

African Hawk Eagle Hieraaetus fasciatus

One seen on the way to Georgetown on 4th, one in the morning and another in the afternoon on the way to Tendaba on 7th and a superb pair flying very close on 9th at Kiang West N.P.

Long-crested Hawk Eagle Lophoaetus occipitalis

Good sightings of three singles on 29th at Marakissa, on 1st at Makasutu and on 10th on the way to Yundum airport

Martial Eagle Polemaetus bellicosus

Superb close flight views of an adult at Makasutu on 1st

Osprey Pandion haliaetus

Recorded on eleven days always over water with a maximum of six on the pirogue trip out of Georgetown on 6th

Grey Kestrel Falco ardosiaceus

Seen on five days with three on 27th at Bijilo and Kotu, two at Marakissa on 29th and singles on 30th morning and afternoon, 6th and morning and afternoon on 7th

Red-necked Falcon Falco chicquera

Seven sightings on two days in the Georgetown/Basse area on 6th and 7th

Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus

Singles seen at Denton Bridge on 30th and 2nd and another on 9th at Kiang West N.P.

Double-spurred Francolin Francolinus bicalcaratus

Recorded on nine days usually in flight

Black Crake Limnocorax flavirostra

Five adults and two juveniles seen at the Jahally rice fields on 7th

Black-crowned Crane Balearica pavonina

Silhouette views of ten at Tendaba airfield on 7th with much better views of three in flight over the pirogue at Tendaba on 8th

Black-bellied Bustard Eupodotis melanogaster

A female in flight close by on 2nd at Berending

African Jacana Actophilornis africanus

Seen on seven days from five at Abuko on 28th to six at Jahally rice fields on 7th

Greater Painted Snipe Rostratula benghalensis

Superb views of two females and a male next to the Georgetown ferry on 5th

Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus

Two seen on the Bund Road on 30th and three and one at Keur Saloum on 3rd

Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus

Recorded on seven days from twenty plus at Kotu Bridge on 27th, over ten at Camalou corner on 30th and in wet areas on 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 7th and 9th

Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta

One seen on the wet area by Tendaba airfield on 7th

Senegal Thick-knee Burhinus senegalensis

Recorded on eight days with a maximum of thirty plus on the pirogue trip to Baboon Island on 6th

Egyptian Plover Pluvianus aegyptius

Two and seven examples of this fantastic bird were seen at the Kaur wetlands on 4th with another two on the jetty at Basse on 5th

Collared Pratincole Glareola pratincola

An impressive flock of over one hundred seen at the Kaur wetlands on 4th with another two on the pirogue trip to Baboon Island on 6th

Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius

Seen at Kotu on 27th and two on the Tendaba pirogue trip on 8th

Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula

Recorded on five days at the Bund Road, Barra, Kaur wetlands and Tendaba pirogue trip

Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus

Four plus seen on the coast at Barra on 2nd

Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola

Recorded on nine days and mostly singles

Wattled Plover Vanellus senegallus

Recorded on every day

Black-headed Plover Vanellus tectus

This smart plover was seen on four days, seven at the Lamin rice fields on 28th, one on the North Bank on 4th, five at Sankolikunda on 5th and four on the pirogue trip to Baboon Island on 6th

Spur-winged Plover Vanellus spinosus

Recorded on twelve days

Sanderling Calidris alba

Two at the Bund Road on 30th and at Barra on 2nd

Little Stint Calidris minuta

Five seen at Keur Saloum on 3rd

Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea

Three at Kotu on 27th, thirty at the Bund Road on 30th and at Keur Saloum on 3rd

Dunlin Calidris alpina

One at Keur Saloum on 3rd

Ruff Philomachus pugnax

Four plus at Kotu on 27th, six at the Kaur wetlands on 4th and at Jahally rice fields on 7th

Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago

One at Keur Saloum on 3rd and three at Jahally rice fields on 7th

Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa

Twenty at the Bund Road on 30th one at Barra on 2nd, at Keur Saloum on 3rd and sixty at the Jahally rice fields on 7th

Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica

Six at Kotu on 27th, at the Bund Road on 30th, at Barra on 2nd and at Keur Saloum on 3rd

Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus

Recorded on eleven days

Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata

Two of this rare migrant seen on 3rd at Keur Saloum

Common Redshank Tringa totanus

Recorded on eight days

Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis

Three seen at the Kaur wetlands on 4th

Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia

Recorded on ten days

Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus

Recorded on eight days mostly singles

Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola

Six plus at Kotu Bridge on 27th, one at Kaur wetlands on 4th, at Jahally rice fields on 7th and at Tendaba on 9th

Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos

Recorded on nine days

Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres

Eight at Kotu Bridge on 27th, at the Bund Road on 30th, ten plus at Barra on 2nd and five at Tendaba on 8th

Pomarine Skua Stercorarius pomarinus

Two from the Bijilo coast on 27th and six from the ferry to Barra on 2nd

Arctic Skua Stercorarius parasiticus

One from the ferry to Barra on 2nd

Grey-headed Gull Larus cirrocephalus

Two seen on 27th on the coast, over one hundred on 30th at the Bund Road, also seen on 2nd, 3rd and 4th

Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus

Six seen at the Bund Road on 30th and on the ferry crossing from Banjul to Barra on 2nd

Slender-billed Gull Larus genei

Three seen on 2nd at Barra, one on 3rd at Keur Saloum and two on 4th on the North Bank

Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus

Only seen on 2nd, one at the ferry at Banjul and two whilst crossing and again at Barra

Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus

Three at the Bund Road on 30th and at Barra on 2nd

Yellow-legged Gull Larus cachinnans

One seen at Barra on 2nd

Gull-billed Tern Sterna nilotica

Two at the Bund Road on 30th, four at Barra on 2nd and at Keur Saloum and North Bank on 3rd and 4th

Caspian Tern Sterna caspia

Recorded on the coast and up river on nine days

Royal Tern Sterna maxima

Twelve plus on the coast on 27th, over thirty on 30th at the Bund Road and again on 2nd and 3rd at Barra and Keur Saloum

Lesser Crested Tern Sterna bengalensis

Only seen on the north shore at Barra with nine on 2nd

Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis

Recorded on six days but only on or near the coast

Little Tern Sterna albifrons

Six plus seen on 30th at the Bund Road and again at Barra on 2nd

Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse Pterocles exustus

A possible sighting of a pair near Georgetown on 5th

Four-banded Sandgrouse Pterocles quadricinctus

Nine plus near Georgetown on 5th and a pair on 7th at Tedaba airfield

African Green Pigeon Treron calva

One seen on 28th at Abuko N.R. and two on 1st at Makasutu

Bruce's Green Pigeon Treron waalia

Only seen up-river on six days from 4th to 9th when twenty were seen in a flock at Tendaba

Blue-spotted (Red-billed)Wood Dove Turtur afer

Only seen in wooded areas from 28th to 1st and again from 7th to 9th

Black-billed Wood Dove Turtur abyssinicus

Recorded on eleven days

Namaqua Dove Oena capensis

A female seen on 29th and a male on 30th were the only ones seen near the coast, thereafter recorded on seven days from 3rd to 9th up-river

Speckled Pigeon Columba guinea

Recorded on all days from 26th to 7th but not at Tendaba

Red-eyed Dove Streptopelia semitorquata

Recorded on all days except from Georgetown to Basse on 5th and 6th

African Mourning Dove Streptopelia decipiens

Noted in quantity near water on 30th at Camalou corner, on at Keur Saloum and from 5th to 7th up river

Vinaceous Dove Streptopelia vinacea

The most common dove recorded on all days

European Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur

One seen on3rd at Keur Saloum and two on 7th at Tendaba

Laughing Dove Streptopelia senegalensis

Also recorded on every day but in less numbers than Vinaceous Dove

Senegal Parrot Poicephalus senegalus

Recorded on all days except at Makasutu on 1st

Rose-ringed Parakeet Psittacula krameri

Recorded on ten days in twos to small flocks and up to forty on 8th and on the pirogue trip to Baboon Island on 6th, spectacular in flight

Green Turaco Tauraco persa

One seen at Abuko on 28th

Violet Turaco Musophaga violacea

A pair seen at Madiyana Bridge on 30th and another in flight on 10th on the way to Yundum airport

Western Grey Plantain-eater Crinifer piscator

Recorded on every day, birds typical of The Gambia with their distinctive calls

Levaillant's Cuckoo Clamator levaillantii

Two seen on 29th at Dasilami and one on 5th at Basse

Klaas's Cuckoo Chrysococcyx cupreus

A male at Bijilo Forest on 27th and another on 30th at Brufut Forest

Diederik Cuckoo Chrysococcyx caprius

A female seen at Bijilo Forest on 27th

Black Coucal Centropus grillii

Two seen very well at Jahally rice fields on 7th

Senegal Coucal Centropus senegalensis

Recorded on thirteen days and not seen on the North Bank on 2nd. Another species typical of The Gambia

African Scops Owl Otus senegalensis

Heard at Georgetown on 5th and again at Tendaba on 9th

White-faced Scops Owl Otus leucotis

Heard and seen at the Senegambia Hotel from 29th to 1st and again heard on 5th at Georgetown

Pearl-spotted Owlet Glaucidium perlatum

Seen at the Senegambia Hotel on 26th, two at Bijilo Forest on 27th, one seen at Makasutu having problems with a Common Bulbul, and one on 5th at Georgetown. Seedy's copying call responsible for many other species seen

Long-tailed Nightjar Caprimulgus climacurus

Two pairs seen at the Kotu coastal scrub on 30th and heard on 5th at Georgetown

Mottled Spinetail Telacanthura ussheri

Twelve plus seen at Makasutu on 1st and again on 4th along the North Bank at the poolside stop

African Palm Swift Cypsiurus parvus

Recorded on eight days near the coast from 29th to 1st and up river from 5th to 10th

White-rumped Swift Apus caffer

Only one pair seen at the pool roadside stop on 4th

Little Swift Apus affinis

Recorded on twelve days especially near and at Banjul

Grey-headed Kingfisher Halcyon leucocephala

Two seen on the pirogue trip to Baboon Island on 6th

Blue-breasted Kingfisher Halcyon malimbica

Three examples of this stunning bird seen at Tendaba in the morning and another six on the pirogue trip at Tendaba on 8th

Woodland Kingfisher Halcyon senegalensis

Three seen on the pirogue trip to Baboon Island on 6th

Striped Kingfisher Halcyon chelicuti

One seen on the North Bank on 2nd, two at Keur Saloum on 3rd and at Tendaba on 8th and 9th

African Pygmy Kingfisher Ispidina picta

One seen on 29th at Marakissa and singles seen morning and afternoon between Georgetown and Basse

Malachite Kingfisher Alcedo cristata

Seen from 29th to 1st near the Bund Road to Makasutu and from 5th to 8th from Georgetown to Tendaba with one and four on the pirogue trip

Giant Kingfisher Megaceryle maxima

Two seen at Abuko N.R. on 28th, females seen on 29th at Marakissa and at Makasutu on 1st, also seen on 3rd and 4th at Keur Saloum and near Georgetown

Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis

Recorded on all days except the last, seen in a variety of habitats

Little Bee-eater Merops pusillus

The common bee-eater of The Gambia recorded on eight days from Bijilo Forest to Tendaba

Swallow-tailed Bee-eater Merops hirundineus

The first pair seen at Brufut Forest on 30th, thereafter ten plus at Makasutu on 1st and on another five days from 2nd to 9th

Red-throated Bee-eater Merops bullocki

Only seen on one day, eight at Fulladu camp, Basse and over one hundred pairs at Bansang Quarry on 5th - what a sight!!

White-throated Bee-eater Merops albicollis

Six seen on the Tendaba pirogue trip on 8th was the only sighting

Little Green Bee-eater Merops orientalis

Four examples of this jewel seen on 4th on the way to Georgetown

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater Merops persicus

Seen on three days, two at Lamin Lodge on 28th, twelve at the Bund Road on 30th and three at Keur Saloum on 3rd

European Bee-eater Merops apiaster

Only seen at Tendaba with twenty five on the am walk and over two hundred on the pirogue trip on 8th and four at Kiang West N.P. obviously an influx

Northern Carmine Bee-eater Merops nubicus

Twenty seen on 5th on the way to Basse, another spectacular bird

Rufous-crowned Roller Coracius naevia

One seen at Bijilo Forest on 27th, one on the way to Basse on 5th, one plus two on the Baboon Island pirogue trip on 6th and two on the way to Tendaba on 7th

Blue-bellied Roller Coracius cyanogaster

Six seen on 27th at Bijilo Forest and Kotu on 27th, thereafter seen on six days with a maximum of eight plus on the Georgetown pirogue trip on 6th

Abyssinian Roller Coracius abyssinica

Another spectacular bird. Scarce on the coast but common inland seen on ten days, on 30th and from 2nd to 10th

Broad-billed Roller Coracias glaucurus

Seen on twelve days with a maximum of twenty on 6th on the pirogue trip to Baboon Island

Green Wood Hoopoe Phoeniculus purpureus

Recorded on twelve days with a maximum of six at Missirah on 3rd

Black Wood Hoopoe Rhinopomastus aterrimus

Only seen up river, six on the way to Basse on 5th and two at Tendaba on 8th

Abyssinian Ground Hornbill Bucorvus abyssinicus

One pair at Tendaba airfield on 7th and another pair on the north bank at Tendaba on the pirogue trip on 8th

Red-billed Hornbill Tockus erythrorhynchus

Recorded on every day, by far the commonest hornbill and typical of The Gambia

African Pied (Allied) Hornbill Tockus fasciatus

One seen on 28th at Abuko N.R. and three on 30th at Brufut Forest

African Grey Hornbill Tockus nasutus

Seen on thirteen days mostly in pairs

Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird Pogoniulus chrysoconus

Heard on 30th and seen on 1st at Makasutu, also seen up river on the north bank on 4th and to Basse on 5th. Also heard on 8th, 9th and 10th

Vieillot's Barbet Lybius vieilloti

Pairs seen, on 29th at Dasilami, on 30th at Brufut Forest, on 2nd at Berending and a singleton on 5th on the way to Basse

Bearded Barbet Lybius dubius

A common species but the first pair at Abuko N.R. on 28th were spectacular, seen on eleven days

Spotted Honeyguide Indicator maculatus

A rather frustrating individual heard calling at Dasilami on 29th. This species has just colonized The Gambia with a couple of pairs in this one area

Greater (Black-throated) Honeyguide Indicator indicator

Only one bird seen on 28th near the Lamin rice fields

Lesser Honeyguide Indicator minor

Only one seen on 1st at Makasutu

Fine-spotted Woodpecker Campethera punctuligera

Two seen at the Kotu area on 27th, heard on 28th at Abuko N.R. and one seen on 29th at Dasilami area

Cardinal Woodpecker Dendropicos fuscescens

One seen on 30th at Brufut Forest and another on 1st at Makasutu

Grey Woodpecker Dendropicus goertae

Two plus one seen at Bijilo Forest on 27th and a pair on 29th at Dasilami

Chestnut-backed Sparrow-lark Eremopterix leucotis

Seen at the poolside stop to Georgetown on 4th and another two seen on 5th at Bansang quarry

Fanti Saw-wing Psalidoprocne obscura

Four plus and two seen at Abuko N.R. and Lamin rice fields on 28th, again on 30th at the Bund Road and Brufut Forest, at Makasutu on 1st and two on 9th at Tendaba

Mosque Swallow Hirundo senegalensis

Singles seen on 26th at the Senegambia Hotel, 27tth at Bijilo Forest and 29th at Dasilami

Red-rumped Swallow Hirundo daurica

Seen on six days from 2nd on the north bank to 9th at Tendaba

Wire-tailed Swallow Hirundo smithii

Three seen at the Bund Road on 30th, one on 2nd at Barra and two on 9th at Kiang West N.P.

Red-chested Swallow Hirundo lucida

The commonest hirundine seen on ten days throughout The Gambia

Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica

Only two seen at the rice fields by Tendaba airfield on 9th

Common House Martin Delichon urbica

Twelve seen at Keur Saloum on 4th and at Tendaba on 8th, 9th and 10th

Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava

Four seen on 4th at the pool stop on the north bank, two at Jahally rice fields and one at Tendaba on 9th

White Wagtail Motacilla alba

Seen on five days from 2nd on the north bank, Keur Saloum, Jahally rice fields and Tendaba

Plain-backed Pipit Anthus leucophrys

One seen at the Tendaba airfield rice fields on 9th

Red-shouldered Cuckoo-shrike Campephaga phoenicea

A very interesting example with yellow/orange wing flashes seen on 2nd on the way to Keur Saloum, another with classic red flashes seen on 8th at the Tendaba rice fields

Little Greenbul Andropadus virens

Two plus seen at Abuko N.R. on 28th and another at Makasutu on 1st

Yellow-throated Leaflove Chlorocichla flavicollis

Singletons seen at Bijilo Forest on 27th and at Marakissa area on 29th and three at Makasutu on 1st

Grey-headed Bristlebill Bleda canicapilla

One seen at Makasutu on 1st

Common Bulbul Pycnonotus barbatus

Another bird typical of The Gambia recorded on every day

Snowy-crowned Robin-chat Cossypha niveicapilla

One seen at Bijilo Forest on 27th, one plus two at Abuko N.R. on 28th and another on 1st at Makasutu

White-crowned Robin-chat Cossypha albicapilla

Seen every day at the Senegambia Hotel from 26th to 1st and two seen at Janjangbureh on 6th

Common Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus

Two seen on 3rd at Keur Saloum

Whinchat Saxicola rubetra

One seen on 3rd at Keur Saloum

Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe

One seen on 4th at the pool stop on the north bank

Northern Anteater Chat Myrmecocichla aethiops

One seen on 2nd at Berending, twelve seen on 3rd at Keur Saloum and again on 4th

African Thrush Turdus pelios

Recorded every day from 26th to 2nd but only at the Senegambia Hotel

Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus

One seen on 7th at Tendaba airfield

Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus

One seen at the Jahally rice fields on 7th

Greater Swamp Warbler Acrocephalus rufescens

One seen at the Jahally rice fields on 7th

Olivaceous Warbler Hippolais pallida

Singles seen and heard in many locations on seven days

Melodious Warbler Hippolais polyglotta

One seen at Dasilami on 29th, two at Brufut Forest on 30th, one at Makasutu on 1st and four at Tendaba on 8th

Singing Cisticola Cisticola cantans

Two in the Kotu area on 27th and singles at Tendaba on 9th and 10th

Whistling Cisticola Cisticola lateralis

Singles seen at Marakissa and Brufut Forest on 29th and 30th and two seen at Makasutu on 1st

Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis

One at the Bund Road on 30th, two near Basse on 5th and two at Tendaba on 9th

Tawny-flanked Prinia Prinia subflava

One in the Kotu area on 27th, one at Makasutu on 1st, one near Missirah on 3rd, six and four at Tendaba on 8th and 9th

Yellow-breasted Apalis Apalis flavida

Two seen at Makasutu on 1st

Grey-backed Camaroptera Camaroptera brachyura

Two plus one seen at Abuko N. R. On 28th, one at Marakissa on 29th and two at Makasutu on 1st

Green-backed Eremomela Eremomela pusilla

Three seen on 28th at Abuko N.R., two the next day at Dasilami, one on the way to Basse on 5th and seen at Tendaba on 8th

Northern Crombec Sylvietta brachyura

Two sen at Brufut Forest on 30th, one at Makasutu on 1st, two on the way to Basse on 5th and one at Tendaba on 8th

Oriole Warbler Hypergerus atriceps

A pair seen in the Bijilo Forest on 27th and many heard on the pirogue trip to Baboon Island on 6th

Yellow-bellied Hyliota Hyliota flavigaster

One seen at Sankolikunda on 5th

Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus

Two at Tendaba on 8th

Garden Warbler Sylvia borin

Seen near Georgetown on 6th and 7th

Subalpine Warbler Sylvia cantillans

One seen at the Bund Road on 30th

Northern Black Flycatcher Melaenornis edolioides

Singles seen at Bijilo Forest on 27th and at Marakissa area on 29th

Swamp Flycatcher Muscicapa aquatica

Twelve plus seen on the pirogue trip to Baboon Island on 6th

Lead-coloured Flycatcher Myioparus plumbeus

One seen at Makasutu on 1st

Senegal Batis Batis senegalensis

A pair seen at Dasilami on 29th and a female on the way to Basse on 5th

Common Wattle-eye Platysteira cyanea

Three pairs seen at Abuko N.R. on 28th, one at Makasutu on 1st and six heard on the pirogue trip to Baboon Island on 6th

African Blue Flycatcher Elminia longicauda

A brief view of one in flight on the Tendaba pirogue trip on 8th

Red-bellied Paradise Flycatcher Tersiphone rufiventer

Three and two seen at Abuko N.R. and Lamin rice fields on 28th and two at Makasutu on 1st

African Paradise Flycatcher Tersiphone viridis

A pair at Abuko N.R. on 28th. The well known hybrid were also seen at Abuko N.R.

Brown Babbler Turdoides plebejus

Recorded in the gardens of the Senegambia Hotel from 27th to 2nd

Blackcap Babbler Turdoides reinwardtii

Recorded in the gardens of the Senegambia Hotel from 26th to 2nd and two seen on the pirogue trip to Baboon Island on 6th

White-shouldered Black Tit Parus leucomelas

Three seen at Tendaba on 8th

Mouse-brown Sunbird Anthreptes gabonicus

Twelve seen in the mangroves at Makasutu from the dugout canoes on 1st and three at Tendaba on the pirogue trip on 8th

Western Violet-backed Sunbird Anthreptes longuemarei

Brief views of a pair at Dasilami on 29th

Collared Sunbird Anthreptes collaris

A male seen at Abuko N.R. on 28th

Pygmy Sunbird Anthreptes platurus

Two males and a female seen at a roadside stop on the north bank on 2nd with two and three at Keur Saloum on 3rd and 4th with a male at Kiang West N.P. on 9th

Scarlet-chested Sunbird Nectarina senegalensis

Seen in the gardens of the Senegambia Hotel on 26th and 29th and at Makasutu on 1st

Variable Sunbird Nectarina venusta

Singles seen at the Senegambia Hotel on 27th, 28th, 1st and 2nd

Splendid Sunbird Nectarina coccinigaster

Singles seen on 27th and 28th, four on 30th at Brufut Forest, two on 1st at Makasutu and one on 5th near Bansang quarry

Beautiful Sunbird Nectarina pulchella

This spectacular sunbird seen on eight days from 27th to 5th

Yellow White-eye Zosterops senegalensis

Only one seen on 5th on the way to Basse

African Golden Oriole Oriolus auratus

Singles heard and seen on seven days from 28th to 9th

Woodchat Shrike Lanius senator

One seen on the way to Basse on 5th

Yellow-billed Shrike Corvinella corvina

The typical shrike of The Gambia recorded on twelve days from 27th to 8th

Brubru Nilaus afer

Two were seen at the Tendaba rice fields on 8th

Northern Puffback Dryoscopus gambensis

A pair seen at Dasilami on 29th, one at Makasutu on 1st and two at Berending on 2nd

Black-crowned Tchagra Tchagra senegala

Two seen at Brufut Forest on 30th

Yellow-crowned Gonolek Laniarius barbarus

Recorded on every day, seen and heard in the gardens of the Senegambia Hotel through to 9th

White-crested Helmet Shrike Prionops plumatus

Parties seen were, four on 1st at Makasutu, six and four near Keur Saloum and three at Tendaba on 8th

Fork-tailed Drongo Dicrurus adsimilis

Seen in ones and twos on nine days from 27th to 1st and from 6th to 10th with a maximum of six at Tendaba on 9th

Piapiac Ptilostomus afer

Recorded on eight days from 27th to 4th with a maximum of five at Dasilami on 29th

Pied Crow Corvus albus

Recorded on all days except at Tendaba from 7th to 9th

Purple Glossy Starling Lamprotornis purpureus

A single seen at Lamin rice fields thereafter recorded in small numbers at Makasutu on 1st, near Basse on 5th and Tendaba from 7th to 9th

Bronze-tailed Glossy Starling Lamprotornis chalcurus

Seen in the gardens of the Senegambia Hotel on 26th, 28th and 1st, towarsd Basse on 5th and near Jahally rice fields on 7th

Greater Blue-eared Glossy Starling Lamprotornis chalybaeus

Recorded on nine days from 26th to 8th including the Senegambia Hotel

Lesser Blue-eared Glossy Starling Lamprotornis chloropterus

Recorded on nine days from 27th to 8th including the Senegambia Hotel

Long-tailed Glossy Starling Lamprotornis caudatus

The commonest glossy starling recorded on thirteen days from 27th to 9th

Chestnut-bellied Starling Lamprotornis pulcher

This uncommon resident seen in parties of five and eight at and near the village of Kerewan on the North Bank on 4th

Yellow-billed Oxpecker Buphagus africanus

A few seen on cattle on six days, two on 27th and then from 2nd to 9th

House Sparrow Passer domesticus

Recorded on all days from 26th to 4th, especially around the Senegambia Hotel and Keur Saloum

Grey-headed Sparrow Passer griseus

Recorded on every day except 6th

Sudan Golden Sparrow Passer luteus

Two plus four seen at the Pool roadside stop on 4th

Bush Petronia Petronia dentata

The first seen on 2nd at Berending a male and two females, thereafter seen in numbers on 5th and 7th to 9th

Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-weaver Plocepasser superciliosus

Four plus seen on the way to Basse and at Bansang quarry on 5th

White-billed Buffalo-weaver Bubalornis albirostris

Recorded on every day, their straggly nests always on view

Little Weaver Ploceus luteolus

Only noted on the way to Basse on 5th

Black-necked (Spectacled) Weaver Ploceus nigricollis

A few seen on 27th at Bijilo Forest, on 30th and 1st at Brufut Forest and Makasutu, at Keur Saloum on 3rd and on the pirogue trip to Baboon Island on 6th

Village Weaver Ploceus cucullatus

Recorded on every day, the common weaver of The Gambia

Yellow-crowned Bishop Euplectes afer

Only two seen at Bansang quarry on 5th

Black-winged Red Bishop Euplectes hordeaceus

Only one seen on 29th at Dasilami

Northern Red Bishop Euplectes franciscanus

Recorded on nine days but not many males in full plumage, from 28th to 30th and again from 4th to 9th

Red-billed Firefinch Lagonisticta senegala

Recorded on every day except 2nd

Red-cheeked Cordon Bleu Uraeginthus bengalus

Recorded on ten days with excellent views at the Senegambia Hotel

Lavender Waxbill Estrilda caerulescens

This gorgeous little bird seen at Bijilo Forest on 27th and at Brufut Forest and Makasutu on 30th and 1st

Orange-cheeked Waxbill Estrilda melpoda

Twelve and seven seen at Brufut Forest on 30th

Black-rumped Waxbill Estrilda troglodytes

Two sen at Bansang quarry on 5th, one on 6th and another on 8th at Tendaba

Quail-finch Ortygospiza atricollis

One perhaps two seen on the way to Basse on 5th

Bronze Mannikin Lonchura cucullata

Recorded on all days from 26th to 5th

Cut-throat Finch Amadina fasciata

A few seen at the pool roadside stop on the north bank on 4th and again at Tendaba on 8th

Village Indigobird Vidua chalybeata

One seen at Bijilo Forest on 27th and in the North Bank area and Keur Saloum from 2nd to 5th with twenty seen on 7th at Jahally rice fields

Exclamatory Paradise Whydah Vidua interjecta

A few of this spectacular bird in flight seen on 4th on the north bank and one seen near Bansang quarry on 5th

White-rumped Seedeater Serinus leucopygius

Two plus a few seen on 2nd at the north bank stops

Yellow-fronted Canary Serinus mozambicus

Recorded on seven days, from 29th to 1st near the coast, on 4th and 5th on the north bank and Bansang quarry and again on 8th and 9th at Tendaba

Cinnamon-breasted Bunting Emberiza tahapisi

A nice male seen at Bansang quarry on 5th

Mammals

The order and nomenclature follow The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals by Jonathan Kingdon

Western Red Colobus Piliocolobus badius

Two seen in Bijilo Forest on 27th, in Abuko N.R. on 28th and along the North Bank on 4th

Guinea Baboon Papio papio

An impressive group of red furred animals at Makasutu on 1st and more usual coloured red/olive-grey grizzled groups seen at Tendaba on 7th (eight plus) and 9th (fourteen plus twenty or more)

Patas Monkey Cercopithecus (Erythrocebus) patas

A group of twelve of this elegant ginger/red monkey seen near Keur Saloum on 2nd

Savannah Monkey Cercopithecus aethiops sabaeus

Seen in Bijilo Forest, Abuko, three from the pirogue trip to Baboon Island and at Tendaba on 8th

Epauletted Fruit Bat Epomophorus gambianus

Seen nightly in the gardens of the Senegambia Hotel

Striped Ground Squirrel Euxerus erythropus

Singles seen at Abuko N.R. on 28th, two at Brufut on 30th, at Keur Saloum on 3rd and 4th, on the pirogue trip to Baboon Island on 6th and near Georgetown on 7th

Gambian Sun Squirrel Heliosciurus gambianus

Two at Dasilami on 29th, at Makasutu on 1st, two near the North Bank on 2nd

Hippopotamus Hippopotamus amphibius

A lone animal seen in The Gambia River from the pirogue trip to Baboon Island on 6th - a rare animal for The Gambia

Sittatunga Tragelaphus spekei

A juvenile seen from the crocodile hide at Abuko on 28th, another seen dead with crocodiles at the same site

Amphibians

African Toad Bufo regularis

Recorded every night at the Senegambia Hotel, at Baobolong Camp and at Tendaba Camp

Reptiles

Yellow-headed Agama Agama agama

Recorded regularly at the Senegambia Hotel, Keur Saloum, Baobolong and Tendaba Camps

Chameleon sp. Chamaeleo gracilis senegalensis

Seen at Abuko N.R. and Dasilami on 28th and 29th

Gecko sp.

Seen at Makasutu on 1st and Tendaba on 8th and 9th

Nile Monitor Lizard Varanus niloticus

Seen in the Senegambia Hotel Keur Saloum, on the pirogue trip to Baboon Island (one at least five foot long) and at Tendaba

Bosc's Monitor Lizard Varanus exanthematicus

An example seen in the dry Brufut Forest on 30th

Nile Crocodile Crocodylus niloticus

Two or more seen in the crocodile pond at Abuko N.R. on 28th (an impressive threat display seen by two of these leviathans) and again at Tendaba

Smyth's Water Snake Grayia smythii

One seen swimming at Kerewan on 5th

Other Taxa

Mud Skipper sp.

Seen on all mud banks by The Gambia River and creeks

Butterflies

List prepared by John Groombridge-Harvey

African Monarch Danaus chrysippus

Seen Daily

Papilo demoleus

Seen on 27th and 28th

African Veined White Belenois gidica

Seen on 27th, 29th and 30th

Common African White Belenois creona

Probably this species seen on 27th and 30th

Zebra Pina copteryx eriphia

Probably this species seen on 27th, 28th, 30th, 3rd and 4th

Common Blue Leptoles pirithous

Probably this species seen on 27th, 28th and 8th

Gaika Blue Zizula hylax

Probably this species seen daily

Diadem Hypolimnas misippus

Seen on 27th

African Migrant Catopsilia florella

Seen daily

Scarlet Tip Colotis danae

Seen on 1st and 7th

Mocker Swallowtail Papilio dardenus

Seen on 2nd

Dancing Acraea Acraea eponina

Seen daily

Hawkmoth Hippotion osiris

Seen on 4th


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