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WEATHER; very hot and humid, but a nice breeze all morning kept us cool. 30C +

We had a terrific day today with many, many sightings! We added 27 species to the trip list including one or two that I really did not expect.

Breakfast was taken at 7am and by 7:20 we were all outside the hotel boarding our bus! We wanted to make a quick exit in order to get to Pirang Shrimp Farm before it got too hot. As it happens we got there a little later than expected but it stayed fairly cool up until about 11am.

Walking around the Shrimp Pools at Pirang

I don’t know whether or not they still farm shrimps, there are certainly many large, shallow lakes that look like salt pans and the birds obviously love it there. We started off on foot around 8:30am, we logged a few birds straight away with Pied Kingfisher, Red-rumped Swallow, Senegal Coucal and Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters.

The first few pools held nothing much of note: Long-tailed Cormorants, Grey Heron, Great Egret, Whimbrel and a couple of distant Little Terns. We picked up a couple new birds on the track in the shape of a Crested Lark and a Black-faced Quail-Finch, the latter was quite unexpected and a little beauty.


A Black-faced Quailfinch - by Tony Moore

As we progressed further into the Srimp Farm more birds came into view, we saw groups of African Spoonbills, Greater Flamingos, Yellow-billed Storks, Pink-backed Pelicans and many waders, gulls and terns.

The Slender-billed Gull was present in the hundreds as was Caspain Tern, with fewer Sandwich Terns and a single Royal Tern. Waders came into view, we started with Little Ringed and Greater Ringed Plovers, Grey Plovers and to our great delight we found two Kittlitz’s Plover with a bunch of Kentish Plover.

A Kittlitz's Plover in the foreground with a Common Ringed Plover and a Kentish Plover out of focus in the background, taken by Tony Moore


We found a few Black-tailed and a single Bar-tailed Godwit, lots of Avocets, Redshank, Greenshank and Marsh Sandpipers, Ruff, Curlew Sandpipers and Common, Green and Wood Sandpipers. A few Little Stints were also dotted about.

Wood Sandpiper left, with 4 Curlew Sandpipers and a Marsh Sandpiper, right

Marsh Sandpiper

a mixed feeding flock - Pink-backed Pelicans wit Great, Little and Western Reef Egrets, African Spoonbill

Slender-billed Gull

Greater Flamingo with a Grey Plover

Modou called out a Northern Shoveler in flight, some of the group saw it. We added Rufous-chested Swallow to our list they were seen with Red-rumped, Mosque and Barn Swallows, whilst Wire-tailed Swallows dashed about near sluice gates.

a mix of Caspian Terns, Black-winged Stilt and Slender-billed Gulls

It started to get warm by now so we continued our circular walk back to the bus, it had been a superb morning’s birding with always plenty to see. We added over 20 new species to our list!!

For lunch we bought some picnic supplies and drove to the bird reserve at Pirang Forest a few minutes away. We sat on benches watching birds coming to drink whilst we ate our sandwiches and drank cold drinks.

Before we left for a forest walk we were shown a sleeping Northern White-faced Owl and a pair of Pied Hornbills appeared briefly before we set off.

Northern White-faced Owl by Tony Moore

Modou had a few target species lined up for us in the forest, we quickly found another pair of Pied Hornbills before w stopped to watch a pair of Green Crombecs. They were difficult to see but I think everyone got on them.

in the forest on the hunt for Parrots

The Green Hylia was even more elusive, but with patience Modou called the bird down and had reasonable views, Luckily it appeared well at the back of the group where I was standing. The last gaet bird was far more difficult to see, the Brown-necked Parrot! Modou tracked down a pair of then in the canopy of a fruiting tree. They were very well hidden and silhouetted against the bright sky. We managed to get them in the scope so everyone had a glimpse of them.

Pied Hornbill - taken by Tony Moore

Another pair of Green Crombecs showed better on the way out of the forest. We left the area around 4:30pm and drove back to the hotel. We had added 27 species to the trip list and have 285. A couple more outings are planned and we may reach the species target-count of 300.