BIRDING AT TOUBACOUTA AND SURROUNDINGS


Toubacouta is a small pleasant town located in the Delta du Saloum.It took my a long time to get there from Saint Louis.I spent one day to reach Touba,by a combination of sept-place and buses.Touba has one of the most impressive mosques i have seen in Western Africa.I spent a night there and next day i continue my trip to Toubacouta.

Once there, I found a simple guesthouse, just a few 100 meters away from Keur Saloum Hotel, a good place for birdwatching.The guesthouse lays near the shore of one of the multiple branches of the Saloum river.Around the guesthouse there is a cultivation area with some trees and grasslands that are very good for birding.

Next morning i started my birding near the guesthouse.Early morning Senegal Parrots were highly active flying.These birds were truly a delight to see although difficult to photograph due the poor lighting at 6 am and that they were moving fast.

Little Bee-eaters were quite abundant in this area,perched or flying in circles looking for small insects to hunt.

I spotted a group of red-cheeked cordon-blue feeding on seeds on the ground.This finch is one of the most beautiful finches i have seen in Western  Africa.

The Abyssinian roller is another colorful remarkable bird native of the Sahel area that i could have great views just a few meters from the guesthouse.See the picture on top of the post.

Western Red-billed Hornbill was a daily visitor that i could spot at different times of the day in this area.

Rose-ringed Parakeets,Scarlet-chested Sunbirds and Red-billed Firefinch were other colourful birds spotted in this area in the morning.

In front of Keur Saloum Hotel i spotted a grey woodpecker on the lower part of a trunk.Once inside the hotel, i could find a few green monkeys strolling near the rooms and under the trees near the veranda.

The following afternoon i went around the village and I found a bird guide named Carlos.We were chatting about birds for quite a long time and i felt quite impressed about his knowledge of the birds of this area.Finally we arranged the price for a birding day, including car and driver.It costed about 150 euros.I was a bit reluctant about the price but finally i accepted.

We met early morning, around 7:00 am.We drove along the Sandicoli road.It was a semi-arid area with some woodlands, grasslands and a few swamps.I wanted to maximise the amount of species seen, so i stuck to my binoculars most of the time.

However, we spent some time looking at a Pearl Spotted Owlet.We could approach close enough to photograph this beautiful owl that was staring at us with curiosity.

This diurnal little owl is a sub-Saharan species.It has a long tail and two characteristic eyespots on the nape.These “false eyes” are used to discourage predators and for surprise attacks, confusing its prey.

Lavander waxbill was another bird seen in this area in shrubs.This species is a common species native of Central Africa, from Senegal to Chad.

Other highlight species seen or heard during the day were giant kingfisher, blue-breasted kingfisher, blue-bellied roller, bearded barbet, greater honeyguide, fine-spotted woodpecker, wire-tailed swallow, white crowned and snowy crowned robin chat, tawny flanked prinia, grey-backed camaroptera, yellow crowned gonolek, piacpiac, white-billed buffalo weaver and red-billed quelia among others.

We came back about 3 o’clock. I spent late afternoon walking around the garden and the pier area that is in front of Keur Saloum Hotel.Senegal thick-knee was a lifer that i found walking among the mangroves, near the river.

It was a very satisfying day ! Although there is nothing comparable to find species by your own, the amount of species that i saw thanks to Carlos guidance was very impressive !!

If you would like to contact him this is his phone number: 775541645 and his email carlostoubacouta@yahoo.fr.

Next trip a visit to the “birds island” in search of the enigmatic black heron !! See you soon my friends !!!

 

 

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