4-6th January 2020
This male Beautiful Sunbird are pretty common in the Senegambia Hotel.
The morning of the 4th January at Gatwick Airport, an hour delayed, I got on my Titan flight non-stop to Banjul. I was the last one to board to find that there were only less than ten people also on board! I was told that it was an extra flight and a few minutes after take off, the captain came on to tell us that we were stopping off in Freetown, Sierra Leone! I had almost a plane to myself! So. instead of a six hour flight, it turned out to be a seven hours to Freetown and then another hour and half sitting on the tarmac waiting for the hundred passagers or so to hop on and join us and fly to Banjul, Gambia. Like Freetown, Banjul Airport is tiny and it took ten minutes to go straight through security and jump into the taxi and to a hostel. The next day I had to move on to an Airbnb in the suburbs of Sukuta and for three nights I had a great time with the owner and his mates. They fed me and also took me places in their wagon. The first place I wanted to visit was a ten minute drive up road to Senegambia Hotel. Mosa, the owner of the guesthouse, took me where in the hotel gardens is said to be good to see birds. Up to now the only bird of note that I had seen was Ayssanian Rollar and Lesser Whitethroat. From now on, most of the birds that I see will be new species and in the two hours of walking around the hotel gardens I got all common in Gambia.
Driving in the Taxi’s in the Banjul area I had seen the odd Abyssinian Rollar overhead and it was until my third day I got this stunner on the wires.
White-crowned Robin-chat was one of the most common species in the hotel grounds
Followed by Brown Babbler
There were 2 Beaded Barbet in the gardens
This Oriole Warbler was foraging next to a tiny pool surrounded by hotel rooms
This Piapiac was the only one I saw
There was only this single Hamerkop spending time in a sewage sream just outside the hotel rooms!
There a small group of Purple Glossy Starling
I didn’t know it at the time but at 11.30 this guy comes in and feeds the Hooded Vultures and kites for a splendid show for the guests.
Some 100 Hooded Vulture came to feed and bath
While Black (top two) and Yellow-billed Kite tried to scavenge anythin they could of the vultures by swooping down in style.
As I came out of the hotel entrance, feeding at the side of the road were from top, Village Indigobird, Red Cheeked Cordon-blew and Red-billed Firefinch
Early afternoon, I made the short walk to Bijilo Forest, just south of the hotel. Here I encountered a lot of the species that I had just seen in the hotel garden. I followed the sandy path that circles the area where you can take paths off to the beach. All I saw at the latter site were distant Caspian and Sandwich Tern. In the wood itself there were Swallow-tailed Bee-eater, Yellow-billed Shrike, Double-spurred Francolin, Leaflove, Senegal Coucal and a very noisy Yellow-crowned Gonolek
Red-billed Hornbill were very common at both sites
Green Vervet Monkey