8th January 2020
Yellow-billed shrike are common in Gambia and hunt together in flocks of up to eight to twelve birds normally
Last year I went birding to Kuwait with Mashuq Ahmed and the year before I joined Martin Goodey in Thailand. So when Graham Gordon asked if I would like to visit The Gambia? I said ‘I always wanted to go there’ It was later that I discovered that Graham would be coming as well and I changed my mind as I told him ‘I want to go with a proper birder mate’ So this morning at 09.00, as planned, I met the main man, Mustapha, the taxi driver with Graham in the passager seat at the entrance of Senigambia Hotel after a few hours of Graham just arriving late last night from Gatwick. Between us we didn’t have a guide book or had not really done our homework on the country but we did have the Gosney’s guide which will come in very handy when I feel like colouring in the black and white maps inside for when I get bored. After an hour of birding the hotel garden, Graham was blown away as every bird he observed, like me yesterday,was a new species for him. The only new species that I got were 4 stunning Broad-billed Roller perched out in the sun.
4 Broad-billed Rollers showed superbly in the garden
Don’t hang around with that food in your hand mate Graham was entertained to the feeding of the vultures and kites at 11.00
Thanks from the help of man, Hooded Vulture is increasing every year in Gambia.
Graham looking for his contact lenses
Graham had booked two nights in the Bakotu Hotel at a cheap rate to let us have a bit of luxury before we go and start our ‘Workaways’ project in the small village of Ma muda, NW of Janbanjelly living and working with a Gambian family. We checked in at the hotel and Graham went to sleep. Not in the reception but in the bed and not in the same bed. We had twin beds. Just wanted to clear that. A lot of birders stay here, I don’t mean in Graham’s bed, but stay at the hotel as it’s a very popular area to bird. Kuto Bridge is only a five minute walk but I opted for the golf course just at the back of the hotel instaed. It didn’t take long until I was spotting more new species including, Fork-tailed Drongo, Little Bee-eater, Seganal Parrot and a flock of Yellow-billed Shrike. At the creek there were Malachite Kingfisher and Long-tailed Cormorant. Species that I had seen before were Western Reef Heron, Wire-tailed Swallow and Pied Kingfisher. The highlight for both us was the Black Heron or Umbrella bird.
The sun was goin down and I was still on the golf course and in the NW corner there were Black-throated Weaver and Yellow-throated Tinkerbird. As I returned, I joined Graham near to to the back entrance of the hotel where we got Senigal Coucal, Blue-headed Wood Dove, a showy Double-spurred Franklin and a large flock of White-faced Whistling Ducks flew overhead.
Some 70-80 White-faced Whistling Duck flew overhead towards the sewage works that we will be visiting tomorrow.
I’ve seen many Senegal-spurred Franklin flying away from me since arrived but this individual showed very well in the evening
Kotu Golf Course