Friday, 13 February 2015

Gambia out and about

This is a series of holiday snaps taken when I was out and about with family, just as I saw them so its a bit of a mismatch of items but interesting nonetheless, I think.
A day out planned by the in-laws took us back to Lamin Lodge for another trip around the mangroves, yes it was the same thing but with birding every day is a little different.
sandwich tern (Thalasseus sandvicensis)
The Gambia has a significant number of seabirds, obvious I suppose given the majority of it is pretty close to the sea.  I noticed this group of Sandwich Terns with their black bill with a tiny tip of yellow.  These guys are in non breeding uniform but a little later will have a black head and shaggy crown.
whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus)
Wherever the is wading to be done the Whimbrel is to be found here at this time of year.  Spent a delightful 10 minutes or so watching this one bathing before I took the photo, he had a proper scub up, underarms, behind the ears, the works :).

spur-winged lapwing or spur-winged plover (Vanellus spinosus)
At the opposite side of the sandbank was the Spur Winged Lapwig (or Plover).  We get these guys in small numbers around Riyadh wherever there is a good water source, a very handsome bird.

whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) and western reef heron (Egretta gularis)
This is just a little happy snap of a Western Reef Heron (Dark Morph, in case you hadn't noticed) and a Whimbrel Feeding.
Across the inlet from where we were standing were a couple of local fishermen, they use a for of seine netting where they spread the net in a semicircle towards the shore then pull it together taking any fish that may be in that area. Hard work for not a huge reward as those nets are bloody heavy when wet.

common redshank (Tringa totanus)
A Common Redhank spent a good deal of time hunting by the shoreline while we were there, there were no huge numbers of any of the birds we saw at this site but that's perhaps because there are so many places around here for them to feed.

 ringed plover (Charadrius hiaticula)
A lone Common Ringed Plover was wandering about on the sandy mud too looking for tasty morsels to eat.  These guys will be heading north pretty soon I would imagine.

greenshank (Tringa nebularia)
A Common Greenshank was also enjoying the bounty of the shallows.

pied kingfisher (Ceryle rudis)
OK I have put up some pics of Pied Kingfisher before and will again but I liked this one as managed to catch it right at the start of dinner!!  This caused consternation on the boat, funny how our modern world leaves some people with the impression that all food comes from packets!!

grey-headed gull (Chroicocephalus cirrocephalus)
A small collection of Grey Headed Gulls  squabbling over a morsel of food someone threw off a passing boat.
lesser black-backed gull (Larus fuscus)
This guy was at a bit of a distance so the photo is not brilliant but I have pretty much convinced myself that it a Lesser Black Backed Gull, any other opinions? On a postcard please ... ;)
common sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)
A Common Sandpiper looking for breakfast.

ruddy turnstone (Arenaria interpres)
and a Ruddy Turnstone doing the same!

red-necked falcon or red-headed merlin (Falco chicquera)
This is a Musa special, we were heading out on our first mornings outing and literally travelling along the road when he shouts, Red-Necked Falcon, look, look.  At this stage I have to say I was still asleep but popped out of the car camera and bins flying all over the place to see this guy perched happily on a large road sign right beside the early morning traffic.  A great first spot.
yellow-billed shrike (Corvinella corvina) Juv.

As with all of my reports to date, there is one which I have yet to identify, for this report this is is.  Will get back to you on this one. -- well getting back, It is a young Yellow Billed Shrike or Long tailed Shrike (thanks Musa for the help).

As you can see this place is a goldmine for birders.  More reports to come, have not got to the really exciting stuff yet!!

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