Ghana, Days 11 - 13, 4 - 6 December 2023 - Mole NP

We spent 3 nights staying at the Mole Motel with 2 full days and an early morning sessions birding. During this time we did one morning out in a jeep which allowed us access to some spots that need a 4-wheel drive and visited areas around the Zaina Lodge, Samole Loop and nearby waterholes. 

The bushy savannah habitat reminded me a little of certain areas in Kruger, South Africa but rather more grown up. As such the birding was generally easier than in thick forest. The only hazards were Sweat Bees and Tsetse Flies which necessitated a certain amount of covering up at one spot! 

My personal highlights were the difficult Forbes's Plover, Gambaga Flycatcher and Togo Paradise Whydah, rather unexpected views of 2 Narina Trogons, Grey-headed Kingfishers, Sun Lark, Chestnut-backed Sparrow-lark, Rock-loving Cisticola, Dorst's Cisticola, Rufous Cisticola, Red-throated Bee-eaters, White-headed Vulture, Golden-tailed Woodpecker, Bruce's Green Pigeon, Four-banded Sandgrouse, Brubru, White-shouldered Black Tit, White-fronted Black Chat, Little Weaver, Red-headed Weaver, Vitelline Masked Weaver, Gosling's Bunting and Brown-rumped Bunting.  By the Mole River we had 2 African Blue Flycatchers, lovely views of Moustached Grass-warbler, Pearl-spotted Owlet, Malachite Kingfisher, Blue-breasted Kingfisher and Blackcap Babblers.

It was also a great place to boost the triplist with many new species due to the different habitat. These included a good selection of raptors such as Hooded Vulture, White-backed Vulture, Bataleur, Palm Nut Vulture, Shikra and Banded Snake-eagle plus Painted Snipe, Spur-winged Goose, Helmeted Guineafowl, Stone Partridge, Green Woodhoopoe, Hadada Ibis, Northern Red-billed Hornbill, Abyssinian Roller, Senegal Parrot, African Golden Oriole, Senegal Batis, Senegal Erememola, Yellow-breasted Apalis, Lesser Blue-eared Starling, Long-tailed Glossy Starling, Yellow-billed Shrike, Familiar Chat, Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Pygmy Sunbird, Lavender Waxbill, Double-spurred Francolin, Brown-throated Wattle-eye, Fork-tailed Drongo, African Paradise Flycatcher, Northern Crombec, Yellow-crowned Gonolek, Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-weaver, Sahel Bush Sparrow and Northern Black Flycatcher plus palearctic migrants such as Pied Flycatcher, Whinchat, Northern Wheatear and Willow Warbler

A couple of evenings out including 2 visits to an old airstrip got us African Scops Owl, Greyish Eagle Owl, Northern White-faced Owl, Standard-winged Nightjar and Long-tailed Nightjar.      

Mammals were also pretty decent with African Elephant (including one at 20 meters range!), Bushbuck, Western Kob, Common Warthog, Olive Baboon, Green Vervet Monkey and Patas Monkey.

Leaving Mole on  6 December for the long drive south back to Kumasi we first stopped at Laraganga to look at the oldest mosque in West Africa (adding Red-chested Swallow) and then at a roadside between Fulfoso and Damongo. Here it was a bit of a raptor-fest with Beadouin's Snake-eagle, Dark-chanting Goshawk, Lizard Buzzard, Grasshopper Buzzard and c25 Black Kites plus Black-headed Herons and Senegal Thicknees

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