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WEATHER; hot all day, humid later when back in Banjul.

It was another hot and sticky day in the bus, the air-con has broken down and cannot be fixed until Saturday, we drove with the windows open but that didn’t help much. It was a relief to get out of the bus in the afternoon.

Our two morning trips were quite successful, we drove to a site about 10km east of Tendaba, so that was back towards Georgetown, we turned off on a new track that was obviously being prepared for a new road directly through pristine habitat!! Habitat, in fact, that was ideal for Spotted Thick-knee. We found several with very little effort, a smashing looking bird, more slender and elegant than the Senegal Thick-knee.

Spotted Thick-knee - Tony Moore

With the job done we jumped back onto the bus and headed westward back to Tendaba and beyond. We turned off on one of the main tracks to Kiang West Forest reserve and near some open fields where we stopped the bus and got out for our second walk of the morning. The temperature at this point was still very amenable, it was very pleasant out there. Many birds flew over us or dash from field to field.

Black-headed Lapwing - by Tony Moore

We quickly found three of the common glossy starling species, also a Dark Chanting Goshawk, lots of Namaqua Doves, Black-headed Lapwings, Fork-tailed Drongo, Abyssinian Roller, Grey Kestrel, Yellow-billed Kite, Grasshopper Buzzard and a flock of Piapiacs. This was in addition to the large number of doves, pigeons, weavers and finches dashing about.

Three pictures of Grasshopper Buzzard with prey ( a Grasshopper - what else would it be?) all by Tony Moore

just about finished!

We then found our most wanted bird, the Temminck’s Courser, what a beautiful creature, we saw two of them on the far side of a peanut field. Whilst watching the coursers we discovered a couple of Northern Wheatears, a Whinchat and a bunch of Yellow Wagtails, we could have been in the UK on a summer’s day! Then on the way out of the field we put up a Common Quail!!

Temminck's Courser - Tony Moore

A Rufous-crowned Roller was nice to see in good morning light, with more Grasshopper Buzzard sightings and Modou found us a Double-spurred Francolin.

Rufous-crowned Roller - not by Tony Moore

We continued our search of the area in the hope of finding the elusive Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, we never saw one but added a Melodious Warbler, Grey-headed Sparrow, several Grey Hornbills, and a few Palm Swifts on the way back to the bus.

When then spent an hour or so on the actual forest tracks looking for more species. We added Brown-back Woodpecker to the list but could not find a calling Black Scimitarbill. Striped Kingfisher was a fleeting glimpse but the Scarlet-chested Sunbird showed extremely well in the morning sunlight.

Brown-backed Woodpecker - Tony Moore

We left the area around 11am and after stopping to buy lunch provisions we set off in earnest for Banjul, Around 1pm we pulled over at the watering hole near Kampanti, the same place we stopped off on the way upriver.

Scarlet-chested Sunbird - taken by Tony Moore

Eating lunch and spending time raptor watching produced a lot of sightings. We added Brown Snake Eagle to the list and we saw Harrier-hawks, Grasshopper Buzzards, Yellow-billed Black Kites, Wahlburg Eagle, Palm-nut Vulture, White-backed Vulture, Woolly-necked Storks, Black-headed Heron, Yellow-billed Oxpecker and lots of other species.

Brown Snake Eagle (juvenile) - by Tony Moore

The last hours of the journey were horrendously slow, the construction of the new dual-carriageway from the airport area to Kololi, where our hotel is, was full of diversions and hold-ups. It took an hour longer than expected, and in our non-air-conditioned bus it was like sitting in a dusty oven. We were all glad to get out the hotel and head for our air conditioned rooms for a shower.