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The Gambia - the coastal area, 19th - 26th February 2011

Published by Richard Knightbridge (richard AT knightbridge.myzen.co.uk)

Participants: Richard and Julie Knightbridge, guided by Dawda M Barry

A great destination for a combination of R&R and birding! My wife and I stayed at the Kairaba Hotel near Banjul (booked on line through Thomas Cook) for one week in February (UK school half term). The hotel was very comfortable with a wide range of birds to be seen in the extensive gardens (which adjoin those of the Senegambia Hotel).

We searched the internet for a good guide and chose Dawda M Barry largely on the back of a review on the African Bird Club website (http://www.africanbirdclub.org/countries/Gambia/contacts.html) which described Dawda as not only a great guide but also “Quiet, unassuming and not pushy like many of the other guides. He was really good company”. Our experience of Dawda mirrors this description and we wholeheartedly recommend him to others.

We arranged to meet with Dawda on our first day in order to arrange trips out on subsequent days, when we would spend most mornings with Dawda returning to the hotel in the heat of early afternoon, just in time for lunch and an afternoon of chilling out round the pool or on the beach. Dawda also arranged a boat trip for us on the Gambia River (just us, Dawda, the captain and the cook – who prepared a feast for us!) and a trip to Banjul market.

Contact: Dawda M Barry (00220)7712785
Email: dawdambarry@yahoo.co.uk

ITINERARY:

20 February: Grounds of Kairaba Hotel
21 February: Abuko Nature Reserve and Lamin rice fields
22 February: Gambia River and creeks
23 February: Mandina Ba, Farasuto Forest, Pirang rice fields, Faraba Banba Bush Track
24 February: Kotu Bridge area (including sewage works)
25 February: Brufut Woods and Tanji
26 February: Grounds of Kairaba Hotel and then home

Species Lists

(EXCLUDING VERY COMMON SPECIES – cattle egret, great white egret, black kite, hooded vulture, pied crow, grey-headed gull, wood sandpiper, common sandpiper, green sandpiper, greenshank, redshank, whimbrel, wattled plover, spur-winged plover, laughing dove, speckled pigeon, red-eyed dove, palm swift, little swift, common bulbul, village weaver, bronze manikin)

KAIRABA HOTEL (birds seen 20 -26 February)

Palm nut vulture
Osprey
Little tern
Caspian tern
Pomarine skua
Piapiac
Senegal coucal
Green wood hoopoe
Broad-billed roller
Western grey plantain-eater
Grey woodpecker
African grey hornbill
Red-billed hornbill
Senegal parrot
White-crowned robin chat
Beautiful sunbird
Yellow-crowned gonolek
Yellow-billed shrike
Purple glossy starling
Long tailed glossy starling
Lavender waxbill
Red-billed firefinch
African thrush
Oriole warbler
Northern black flycatcher

ABUKO NATURE RESERVE

Black-crowned night heron
Palm nut vulture
Shikra
Ahanta francolin
Malachite kingfisher
Violet turaco
Green turaco
African-grey hornbill
Little greenbul
African thrush
African paradise flycatcher
Red-bellied paradise flycatcher
Variable sunbird
Black-winged red bishop
Common wattle eye
Black-necked weaver
Orange-cheeked waxbill
Lavender waxbill
Red-bellied firefinch

(Mammals: Western red colubus; green monkey; Gambian sun squirrel; western bushbuck)

LAMIN RICE FIELDS

Striated heron
Squacco heron
Western reef heron
Intermediate egret
Black-shouldered kite
Lizard buzzard
Lanner
Black crake
African jacana
Senegal thick-knee
Piapiac
Blue-bellied roller
Swallow
Pied-winged swallow
Fork tailed drongo
Swallow-tailed bee-eater
Little bee-eater

THE GAMBIA RIVER

Pink-backed pelican
Long-tailed cormorant
African darter
Grey heron
Purple heron
Western reef heron
Sacred ibis
Osprey
African harrier hawk
Grey plover
Bar-tailed godwit
Marsh sandpiper
Black-winged stilt
Caspian tern
Sandwich tern
Pied kingfisher
Blue cheeked bee-eater

MADINA BA

African harrier hawk
Shikra
Lizard buzzard
Grey kestrel
Double-spurred francolin
Black-billed wood dove
African green pigeon
Pearl-spotted owlet
Senegal coucal
Piapiac
Mottled spinetail
Blue-bellied roller
Abyssinian roller
Bearded barbet
Red-billed hornbill
African golden oriole
Blackcap babbler
Brown babbler
White-crowned robin-chat
Tawny flanked prinia
Red-bellied paradise flycatcher
Yellow-crowned gonolek
Purple glossy starling

FARASUTO FOREST

White-backed night heron
Black-headed heron
African harrier-hawk
Dark chanting goshawk
Senegal thick-knee
Giant kingfisher
Grey-headed kingfisher
Rufous-crowned roller

PIRANG SHRIMP FARM

Hammerkop
Western reef heron
Grey heron
African harrier-hawk
Senegal thick-knee
Turnstone
White wagtail
Crested lark
Wire-tailed swallow

FARABA BANTA BUSH TRACK

Dark-chanting goshawk
Rufous-crowned roller
Red-cheeked cordon-bleu

KOTU BRIDGE area

Sacred ibis
Little grebe
Hammerkop
Long tailed cormorant
Intermediate egret
Squacco heron
Western Reef heron
Black egret
White-faced whistling duck
Palm nut Vulture
Osprey
Moorhen
Purple swamphen
Little ringed plover
Black-winged stilt
Blue Breasted Kingfisher
Pied Kingfisher
Malachite kingfisher
Blue-bellied roller
Vinaceous dove
Grey hornbill
Little bee-eater
Western grey plantain-eater
Northern red bishop
Red-cheeked cordon-bleu

BRUFUT WOODS

Black-headed plover
Black-billed wood dove
Blue-spotted wood dove
Senegal coucal
Verreaux’s eagle owl
White-faced scops owl
Long-tailed nightjar
Black-shouldered kite
Abyssinian roller
Little beater
Violet turaco
Senegal parrot
Rose-ringed parakeet
Grey hornbill
Grey woodpecker
Greater-honey guide
African golden oriole
Fork-tailed drongo
Red-billed hornbill
Tawny-flanked prinia
Grey-backed camaroptera
Red-bellied paradise flycatcher
Splendid sunbird
Variable sunbird
Beautiful sunbird
Northern red bishop
Black-necked weaver
Red-billed firefinch
Orange cheeked waxbill
Red-cheeked cordon-bleu
Pin-tailed wyndah

TANJI

Slender-billed gull
Lesser black-backed gull
Caspian tern
Royal tern
Bar-tailed godwit
House sparrow
Pomarine/arctic skua