Salemata is a small town located in the interior of Senegal,in the core of Bassari country.It was my base to visit some of the interesting tribes that populate this area:bassari,fula and bedik.The end of April and beginning of May is the time when many tribal celebrations take place.I was eager to experience a bedik celebration in Etiolo,a small village close to Salemata.
Salemata is not a place that you might think as a birding destination, but i spent some afternoons exploring the birds on the nearby of the town.I stayed in a simple guesthouse that lays in a small hill that surprisingly was prolific with some interesting forest birds that were active late afternoon.
This habitat was a mix of arid woodland with shrubs.Double-spurred francolins were skulking on the ground near the bushes.I spotted also black scimitarbills near or on the lumps of some trunks.Bruce’s green pigeon was another lifer that i could spot on a branch.Another nice addition was a yellow-billed shrike perched in a tree.I could also get excellent views of the iridescent colours of bronze-tailed and long tailed glossy starling, birds that were quite tolerant to human presence.
Some of the common birds that i already saw in previous occasions were laughing doves, western grey plantain eater,Senegal coucal and western red-billed hornbill among others.
But the bird that made me feel in awe was the stunning violet turaco.This family of birds is one of my favourites in Africa, with some of the most beautiful species.They feed mainly on fruits and live in evergreen forests and in open woodland.
Violet turacos are unmistikable: violet bluish body, thick red bill, white ear-coverts, and yellow frontal.They are fruit eaters although they also eat seeds, figs and insects.
When flying, the bird display its crimson primary and secondary outer feathers.See picture above.
This was the first time i spotted one of them and i was thrilled.However i had the chance to spot them twice in two other locations in Gambia.
This was my last stop before entering Gambia.I was pretty exhausted of the long trip.April can be particularly very hot in the Sahel.I had to drink more than 4 bottles of water daily to regain my strength.
If you decided to come here don’t forget to visit Bassari and Bedik tribes specially at this time of the year.The mask performance is absolutely a must to see in a place off the beaten track !!
Next stop, Georgetown, Gambia with more adventures and pictures of the amazing African wildlife ! See you soon my friends !!