BUND ROAD – BANJUL FERRY TERMINAL BEACH AREA – CAPE POINT
WEATHER; very hot, very humid. Temp. 25-35C
Our last morning’s birding had arrived and we still had several species to look for, we are also 9 species shy of our 300 target. Modou was determined to break the 300 mark, let’s see what happened.
Three of the group dropped out of this last adventure that left 7 of us and Modou and the hot and humid weather. We got to Bund Road quite easily despite all the roadworks going on. Bund Road hasn’t changed much, it has mangrove swamps, open pools full of litter and tons of birds. The has the mangroves on one side and the shore of the mighty River Gambia on the other. At this point the river is 25km wide!!
Western Reef Heron - by Tony Moore
We got off the bus halfway along the swamps and quickly started logging species. Several Reef Herons, Pied Kingfishers, Great Egrets, Long-tailed Cormorant, Spur-winged Lapwings, Common and Green Sandpipers, all went on the list.
A short walk produced Melodious Warbler, lots of Black-winged Stilts, Redshanks, Greenshanks, Ringed and Little Ringed Plovers, our very first Moorhen and we tracked down two or three African Reed Warblers with a Sedge Warbler in the reeds. A Striated Heron showed for a few of us at the back of the line.
the marsh - those lumps are tyres and rubbish
Wood Sandpipers were in good numbers too, with distant Black-tailed Godwits, Hamerkop, African Spoonbills overhead and dozens of Hooded Vultures and Yellow-billed Kites permanently in the sky.
We walked along the busy road to view a lot more open water where a huge number of Caspian Terns, Grey-headed Gulls and waders were roosting. In the distance there was a bunch of Sanderling, a few Whimbrels and a Spotted Redshank was picked out.
Modou then told us that a small flock of Sudan Golden Sparrows had been seen along Bund Road and within minutes of looking he found them. Wow! What a great looking bird and a superb record for Banjul. We spent a lot of time watching them, the road was busy with lorry traffic and the birds were very flighty, we managed to get reasonable pictures of at least 4 of them. The rest of the feeding flock comprised of Little and Village Weavers.
Golden Sudan Sparrow
Sudan Golden Sparrow looking into the sunshine - not good
male Sudan Golden Sparrow taken by Tony Moore
During the Sparrow session I scanned the pools again and produced a Kittlitz’s Plover, another great sighting for Banjul. We also logged Gull-billed Terns, Lesser Black-backed Gulls and Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters.
Our next stop was on the beach of the river near the ferry terminal and next to the small-ferry docking areas. The whole beach area was alive with movement, colour, fishy smells and noise. It looked like complete chaos but I am sure everyone knew what they wanted or where they were going.
The birding was quite poor there, we only saw Grey-headed Gulls, Caspian Terns, Little Swftsa and Red-chested Swallows. There was no sign of any Skuas, of which, there is usually an abundance. We gave up looking after a short while, time was pressing.
We drove round to Cape Point hoping to see something from the beach there. We never made it to the beach as there was so much to see in the scrub and fields behind the dunes. Modou stopped the bus several times so that we could photograph Blue-bellied Rollers, Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters, Red-chested Swallows and other species.
Striped Kingfisher - by Tony Moore
More swamps and open pools produced much of the same as earler, a Caspian Tern roost was impressive with over 200 birds. We saw Little Bee-eater, Grey-backed Eremomela, a Marsh Harrier, Grey Woodpecker, Common Redstart and Zitting Cisticola. Tracking down the Grey Woodpecker we found our last migrant of the tour, a Common Redstart!
saying goodbye to Modou for another year
It was now approaching 12 noon and time for us to stop birding and return to the hotel. We had fallen short of the 300 mark having found only 5 new species today.