The Gambia, Day 7 – 17 February 2011, Lamin Lodge, Abuko NR, Kotu Bridge and Kotu Ponds

Our last day so we decided to visit the gloriously appointed Lamin lodge, on stilts in the water amongst the mangroves. Birding here was disappointing however with just several White-biiled Buffalo Weavers, Red-chested Swallows and Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters amongst scattered commoner terns.

The afternoon was a different story however as I decided on a return visit to Abuko NR to show Belinda, Jacob and Hannah how good a place this is. Most of the birds seen were similar to my first visit but this time I managed to photograph a perched Giant Kingfisher. Common Wattle-eye, Lavender Waxbill, Snowy-crowned Robin-chat, African Thrush, Red-billed Firefinch, Black-necked Weaver, Violet Turaco, Green Wood Hoopoe and Black-shouldered Kite were all seen but this time I scored with 3 news birds as well – Little Greenbul, an amazing male African Paradise Flycatcher and a Pied-winged Swallow.
Black-necked Weaver

Giant Kingfisher

Green Wood Hoopoe

Vinaceous Dove

To round things off I opted for a stroll around the Kotu Bridge and Ponds area from late afternoon until dusk.  Hamerkop, Black Heron, African Grey Hornbill and Little Bee-eaters entertained as did another Lizard Buzzard and then 3-4 Black Crakes and Little Grebe at the ponds. A new bird in the form of a Siffling Cisticola was a nice find as were the flock of 50+ White-faced Whistling Ducks that circled over before presumably settling on the ponds. Senegal Coucals showed nicely in the evening sun as I headed towards the bridge and my final tick of the trip – 2 glorious Blue-breasted Kingfishers! As dark descended a perched Broad-billed Roller allowed some dingy photographs to be hastily snapped.
Broad-billed Roller

Grey-headed Gull

Little Bee-eater

Lizard Buzzard

Pied Kingfisher

Senegal Coucal

Spur-winged Plover

Wattled Plover

White-faced Whistling Ducks

What a trip, 153 species including 103 lifers despite only birding for a total of about 2 days!         

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