12th January 2020
A stunning looking Long-tailed Starling
This morning, like yesterday, we were up with the sun to water the thirty or so Bananna Trees in the garden. To do this ain’t as simple as it would be back home. The water comes from a well, seventeen meters below, where it’s pulled up by hand on a rope and then poured into a big container where you dip your bucket into to and then water the plants. The water is also used to wash, including cloths and to drink, although Graham and I have to boil it if we what a tea or coffee. And a bucket of water comes in handy as there is no flush in the toilet. The electricity is from solo panels on the roof of the house but only stay alive up to late evening and comes back on when the sun has beaten down for a few hours. To cook or boil your water, you have to start a fire outside in the garden. To this can be hassle trying to find wood to burn. It just takes longer to get things done over here and it’s no different to everyone else that lives in this village or the many other villages in Gambia.
Gambia is 86% Muslim and in the area where Graham and I are living, a mosque has been built very close from each other. You walk away from one mosque and five minutes later, you hit another one. While just around the corner they are in the process pf building a more modem looking one. They also prey five times a day and that includes late evening and early hours of the morning, as I discovered in many other Muslim countries that I’ve visited. When we first arrived, there was a large gathering and celebrations goin on just outside the compound where we were goin to stay. I thought they got a sniff of my arrival and they were showing how excited they were in seeing me. They were in fact celebrating their new mosque and we turned up on the opening day. Didn’t think anythin of it until some ridiculous time in the early hours of our first morning when we were both awoken by the imam shouting out of the loud tannoy attached to the mosque, in Arabic ‘Come to prey. God is great. Allah is one’ and then this is followed by the imam reading from the Quran. While I was in Palestine and Morocco, you could hear the imam but had no problem in goin back to sleep as the mosque were further away. You could hear the imam breathing as he continued to keep us awake for the next half an hour. Then the village starts to come alive. You find that all the roosters in the village are not competing with each other but the loud speakers echoing from the three mosques close together. Dogs start barking, including the two outside our window and this is followed by Donkey’s, and man, they’ve got some volume on them as they sound like they’ve got a bad case of hopping cough.. You would think they were in your room. If that’s not enough, the guys that your living with, heed the amin calls and get up and start slamming doors. I really never thought that the shuffling of feet in plastic slippers on tiles could keep you awake was possible. The boys are also all half asleep and haven’t got the energy to lift their feet up as they walk and instead they drag them creating an irritating sound. Because they are in this condition, liked they’re stoned. No sorry, they are stoned from smoking so much weed from a few hours ago, except the 15 and 16 year old, it takes them what seems like for ever to get to the outside door before they all disappear in their noisy footwear. Then it all goes calm and you start dozing off as you turn over, get comfy and lay on your side. Then suddenly, your eyes are wide open as you can hear the repeat of plastic slippers on those tiles again. There’s the slam of doors once more and after a few minutes, you listen and silence at last. You hear nothin as you start to nod off. then, Graham starts snoring! No he’s not in the same bed as me or room or next door. No, he’s in the next village and I’ve got earplugs in! Is this the way it’s goin to be every night?
Today was the start of us working on the building site. So we thought. We were told that the tools had not arrived yet and there is no point in beginning. As this was the case, Graham and I walked the 4 mile to the West Coast just after Sanyang. At the time we didn’t know it was so far away. When looking at the map of the area in Gosney’s book, we made the mistake of thinking it was probably only two mile away. On top of that, when we were almost at the coast searching for some lagoons that we never did find, we ended up walking another two mile in the hottest part of the day! We had already seen a Tawny Eagle from almost the back garden.
This Tawny Eagle we saw near to our digs.
Kicking up the dust just before reaching sanyang
Graham being ambushed by a nursery school as we made our ways towards the fishing village
Two species we encountered after the kids had nearly strangled Graham with the strap from his own bins, were Black-crowned Tchagra
And White-billed Buffalo Weaver
Near to Sanyang fishing village there were common birds and of note, African Harrier Hawk and in the same tree together, 2 Long-crested Eagle. We found an area of acacias just at the back of the fishing boats next to the Chinese Shrimp Factory that nearly killed me from breathing in the strong, powerful, intense smell of rotten fish. There were Melodious, Western Olivacious, Willow, a few Bonelli’s Warbler, Chiffchaff and Bru-Bru feeding near to the factory. Also up to 3 Woodchat Shrike and single Whinchat, Wheatear, White Wagtail and Grey’s Kestrel.
These impressive 2 Long-crested Eagle let me walk under the tree that they were resting in.
While at the same time, this individual flew high overhead.
This Bru-bru was feeding in the acacias
There were up to 3 Woodchat Shrike in the area
Just relaxing enjoying the view
The Acacias where many species of warbler feed in by the shrimp factory
We spent some time observing the fishermen at work on the beach before we had fish and chips at a place called ‘Black and White’ and didn’t see another soul in the two hours we rested and ate there. Local fresh fish caught just up road that morning and it turned out to be one of the best fish and chips we both had in a long while at a very good price. We didn’t want to move on as we knew we had a long haul ahead of us back to our digs but on the return we did get another Tawny Eagle using the same air space as a small number of Mottled Spinetail and nearby there were single Lizard Buzzard and Dark-chanting Goshawk. A very kind taxi driver took pity on us as we walked the dusty track and gave us a lift as far as Sanyang but we still had over another hour to walk home.
100s and 100s of Grey-headed Gull scavenging for scraps
This Common Tern had also caught on
This Dark-chanting Goshawk showed superbly in the evening light as we just started making our way home near to the fishing village
Must warn you that if you do visit Gambia keep away from the ‘bumsters’ as they are called. They are young males looking for easy targets to show you around on how it all works. Then they say that their boat needs maintaining and they need money as they haven’t been out for weeks and kinda of bully you if you don’t give them what they want. The truth is, they haven’t got a boat and they have never been out to sea.
One thought on “Gambia Sanyang Fishing Village Day 9”
That’s a great picture of the bike and the long horned animal Kris! Good comment too!