The Gambia, Day 5 - 15 February 2011, Fajara, Kotu Ponds, Kotu Bridge and the Casino Cycle Track

This was the one day of the trip where we had no definite plans. It proved not to be a birding day but this being The Gambia I did manage a few interesting sightings.

A walk along the beach from Kotu to Fajara and then back through Fajara village yielded Broad-billed Roller, Abyssinian Roller, Striated Heron and Osprey but best of all was a splendid adult Shikra perched on wires in Fajara village and allowing close approach. Rather different from my previous experiences with the species in Kuwait!

Speckled Pigeon

I negotiated a solo walk out in the afternoon and wandered the short distance to Koto Ponds which are basically sewage ponds containing various amounts of ‘liquid’! By far the best birds here were 2 surprise Red-necked Falcons whizzing about and showing several times. Good views of a Black Crake followed before I settled into photographing the very approachable birds on the ‘mud’. Hooded Vultures, Yellow-billed Kites, Black-winged Stilts, Spur-winged Plovers, Cattle Egrets and Sacred Ibis’s were numerous and joined by a single Glossy Ibis plus Common, Wood and Green Sandpipers. In the pondside bushes I also managed to get shots of Beautiful Sunbird and Long-tailed Glossy Starling. A brief stop at Kotu Bridge on my way back and the usual species were present, Senegal Thicknees, Wattled Plovers, Spur-winged Plovers and Red-chested Swallows but also a perched Lizard Buzzard and Long-tailed Cormorant.
Beautiful Sunbird

Black-winged Stilt

Glossy Ibis

Hooded Vulture

Hooded Vulture
Long-tailed Glossy Starling


Pied Crow

Sacred Ibis

To round the day off we had a family walk to the Badala Park Hotel grounds where I scored with Black Heron and then along the Casino Cycle Track as dusk approached. 3 African Jacacas, 2 Senegal Coucals, c15 White-billed Buffalo Weavers and a solitary Greenshank were the highlights.
African Jacana

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