Ghana, Day 5, 28 November 2023 - Ankasa NP

We awoke at the Ankasa Lodge which is right in the thick of the action in the national park. To prove the point we had a shout just after breakfast for a singing Yellow-throated Cuckoo that had us running (and some quickly pulling trousers up!) to the entrance gate for some great views. Around the lodge grounds during the day we also recorded Reichenbach's Sunbird, Olive-bellied Sunbird, 5 Black Bee-eaters and a male Pin-tailed Whydah

The majority of the day was spent exploring the main track up through the rainforest in our (not so) trusty landrover. On the way up first thing we scored with both Tambourine Dove and Blue-headed Wood Dove together with a pale Honey Buzzard perched at close range by the track. The main site visited was 2 forest ponds close to each other at the far end of the track. The brding here was superb and a little easier than the thick forest. The first small pond held a fantastic selection of normally difficult to see kingfishers - White-bellied Kingfisher, 3 Shining Blue Kingfishers, African Pygmy Kingfisher, Chocolate-backed Kingfisher and Blue-bellied Kingfisher. Not bad for a pond no more than 30 meters across! Also there were some nesting Blue-billed Malimbes and 4 basking Dwarf Crocodiles. At the other larger but more grown-up pond Red-fronted Antpecker was the star bird with views also of Black Dwarf Hornbill, Dusky Blue Flycatcher and Crested Malimbe.

Along the track at various points on both the morning and afternoon sessions we had Square-tailed Saw-wing, Red-billed Dwarf Hornbill, Brown-cheeked Hornbill, Red-rumped Tinkerbird, Shining Drongo, Sabine's Puffback, African Forest Flycatcher, Tiny Sunbird and Johanna's Sunbird amongst the more regular stuff. Sadly the evening session was cut short by torrential rain which made birding impossible. Even the drive back along the rapidly deteriorating track involved our driver having to clear 2 trees that had fallen across the track! Nevertheless a couple of nice mammals were seen on the way back - Demidoff's Galago and Hammer Bat.

With a chunk of our time (and 2 out of 3 evenings) at Ankasa gone we were now getting worried about our chances of seeing a certain rail as well as owls. Clearly explaining this to Foster had him making alternative plans for the morning. More of that in the next instalment...



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