6th Febuary Bintang 2020
Pygmy Sunbird, including this male, are pretty widespread in this area as they buzzed past me throughout the day while I was out in the field
The idea of coming to Gambia was for Graham and myself to do ‘Workaways’ with a family of Gambians. This involves us working 4-5 hours a day, five times a week with weekends off and in turn we get free accommodation and food. That’s the way it has gone at other ‘Workaways’ I’ve done in the past. Are work here in Gambia would of involved building a house from scratch. However, the family are very poor, something we didn’t know about until we first met them and as a result we decided to pay for the accommodation and food. This would help them to immediate effect as now they could not just buy food but they also now had the funds to buy tools. My plan was to stay with the family for three weeks and help on the construction site and then I was going to move away from the west coast and head inland. I’ve been at the digs for over a month now and they’ve only just begun building and I’ve only got a week left before I return to the UK while Graham is staying on into March.
From the well in the garden is where we get are water from to wash, boil water, water the garden and to use as a flush for the toilet. Also, sometimes you have to wait your turn to use as the children and women from the village also use it.
Uasiff looking after the bananas that Graham and I water most mornings.
This is his step-brother Muhammad
And here they both are with their uncle, Dembo
So after I had been put on the wrong bus taxi from Brikamma, I was finally dropped off at the entrance of Bintang Eco-lodge where I’ll be staying for a few days. It took about an hours drive and only cost me 50 Dalasi (33p) to get there. It would of taking longer in getting to the lodge if it wasn’t for the police, who stopped us at a checkpoint on the South Bank Road. This is where I found out that I was goin towards the south Senegal border and not to Bintang. The police were very helpful and put me on the right track and organised for me to be picked up by another bus-taxi to my destination.
I was dropped off at the entrance of Bintang and introduced myself to the manager of the eco-lodge and asked if he had vacancies? He didn’t let me know what his name was and from that moment on, he was extremely cold with me and I felt a bad vibe and something wasn’t right.. I think he might of judged me already by what i was wearing. Very worn faded out brown jeans with one large slash on my left thigh. Everyone else that I could see were casually smart. Maybe it was just in my head. The rest of the staff were sound and the room was very clean and spot on. I returned to the reception to find out about where I could venture to in the area and about dinner tonight. As I approached, a new couple had just arrived and they were given a free welcome drink each and boy, he had totally changed with all smiles and showing them around. A complete contrast to my welcoming I got. It didn’t bother me at all but what did annoy me was when the manager, now focused on his new guests, rudely interrupted me and the receptionist four times in the space of two minutes while I was attempting to get some information out of her. The poor girl had to restart over and over again in what she was trying to tell me and I thought that if he interrupts us again, I was goin to say something as the receptionist and I weren’t getting anywhere. He had no consideration and really didn’t care how rude he was. I left and went through the back door into the mangroves as the girl instructed me to.
Looking down river with the lodge on the left
Purple-eared Glossy Starling
This Fiddle Crab was with Mud Skippers on the river bank
Eventually I found myself in Savannah habitat and could hear European Bee-eater and located over 20 with an equal number of White-throated Bee-eater. A male Pygmy Sunbird played hide and seek and I sneaked up on to 6 Helmet Bush-shrike feeding low down. The heat was so intense that I was soon heading back to the eco-lodge to have a nap. At dinner, I found my table in the middle of a small confide space surrounded by everyone else that were also eating. It was Ok i guess but I asked if tomorrow at breakfast I could be moved to a table on the outside. Also, I’ll be looking out at the stretch of the river instead of peoples heads.
This White Helmet Bush-shrike puts Creasted Lark to shame
This male Pygmy Sunbird was the only one of this species that showed out in the open
Male Variable Sunbird
There were up to 20 white-throated Bee-eater