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WEATHER: very hot and very humid all day, our hottest day yet. average 35C

We left Camp at 7:30am and headed east continuing our journey along the south of the river. We made a lot of roadside stops and we had a couple of walks all of which produced new bird sightings.

Raptors often stopped the bus, either perched or circling on the thermals, the majority of these were buzzards, but we also stopped to look at Dark-chanting Goshawks, Sikra, Harrier-Hawks and the best raptor of all was a MARTIAL EAGLE. This bird circled on thermals at a low level over the road right above us, we had great views of it.

Martial Eagle - taken by Tony Moore

Our first walk produced a few nice species, we took a track into open woodland with some overgrown open spaces. We saw a lot of birds and butterflies and some of them were new for us, such as: African White-eye, Senegal Eremomela and Variable Sunbird. We also saw Violet-chested Sunbird and Modou called out a Pearl-spotted Owlet, which showed extremely well. Many birds came to ‘mob’ the Owlet including a Melodious Warbler.

Pearl-spotted Owlet - by Tony Moore

Another stop on a causeway near Soma produced some waterbirds and a pair of Chestnut-backed Sparrow-Larks, three Red-throated Pipits, a Yellow Wagtail (flava), Green Sandpiper, two Ospreys, some very distant Senegal Thick-knees. Hamerkops flew over as did Yellow-billed Kites, our first Red-rumped Swallows and small flocks of Red-billed Queleas.

Red-billed Quelea

We stopped by the roadside for lunch near a large pond covered in lilies. We saw African Jacana, more Red-billed Quealeas, Abyssian Roller and a few common species. Just a little further along the road we pulled over to look for Verreaux's Eagle, it is a regular place for them and luckily for us two were present.

two pics of the Verreaux's Eagle Owl

loving the pink eye-lids

Moving on, we made another stop to look at a small colony of Marabou Storks. Two of these huge, ugly creatures were present, but in silhouette becuase of the postion of the sun. We picked up a few more raptors along the way, eventually we arrived at Janjanbureh (Georgetown Island) for a two night stay at the infamous Boabalong Camp.

Abyssinian Roller by Tony Moore

After settling into our rooms we reconvened for a late afternoon walk at 5pm, we got back onto the bus and drove to eastern end of the island which is less inhabited and consists mainly of open woodland.

It was full of birds, we had the river either side of us and marshy areas as well as woodland and small farming plots all around us, birds were flying all over the place, Hadada Ibis was a frequent flyer, as was lots of egrets, herons (including Purple Heron), swallows, swifts, hornbills, rollers and such like.

record shot of the Double-spurred Francolin

We had good views of our first Pin-tailed Whydahs, also Double-spurred Francolin and we patiently waited for a noisy group of Stone Partridges to appear, we only saw them briefly in flight when we got too close to them. We saw Cardinal Woodpecker and heard Fine-sotted Woodpecker.

A few nice butterflies were also seen near a bridge, we found several Pierrot species, Guineafowl, African Tiger, Common Zebra Blue and River Sailor.

Mediterranean Pierrot

As dusk approached we waited near an open area for nightjars to appear, we passed the time by watching a pair of Grey Kestrel and we saw our first Black-crowned Night Herons fly over. All of sudden Modou spotted a Nightjar behind us, then three Nightjars flew right over us, you could see the pennants on one of the birds, identifying it as a Standard Winged Nightjar. That was all we got!! No more sightings were made, we did hear an African Scops Owl and tried to call it in without any luck.

African Tiger settled down to roost for the night

We walked almost a mile back to the bus in the dark before driving back to camp for an 8pm dinner.