Friday, 16 December 2016

Lake Jintu

Lake Jintu divides the town of Boghe in half but is mostly undisturbed by people. It is just two kilometres north of the Senegal River.

Mohamed Vall and I were there on Saturday morning.

Over 300 adult white-faced whistling duck were the most obvious and immediate birding presence. This species is well-known for the size of its flocks. I had seen a similar number at Parc de Tsarasaotra, Madagascar in the summer.

white-faced whistling duck

I was on the look out for any other ducks. Two were found and were close to each other.

knob-billed duck (left), white-faced whistling duck (centre)

One was easily identified as an adult male knob-billed duck. The second bird was much more problematic.

smaller duck on the left

It was much smaller than any other duck. However when it stretched it had the plumage of a very young white-faced whistling duck. Given its small size and lack of a black under-belly it must be a very young white-faced whistling duck indeed. I really don't understand why only one young juvenile should be with over 300 adults. I can't explain why it seemed to be associating with the knob-billed duck either.

juvenile white-faced whistling duck

White-faced whistling duck was the first of three additions to my country list at the lake. Another was pallid swift. One was sharing the sky above the lake with several little swift.

collared pratincole

Many collared pratincole winter on or near the Senegal River especially close to water. There were around 30 at Lake Jintu.

sixteen collared pratincole

I checked as many as possible for features such as black underwing, lack of white-trailing edge and little red on the bill. None of the birds were black-winged pratincole which is a rarity in Mauritania.

black-crowned night-heron

The third addition to my country list at Lake Jintu was black-crowned night-heron. A few of the trees close to the water held several of them.

black-headed lapwing

In the hinterland of scrub close to the lake both sub-alpine warbler and cricket longtail were observed.

Spur-winged lapwing was close to the water's edge but in between the scrub there were a few black-headed lapwing.


Dr Mohamed Vall and I also inspected a few much smaller pools closer to the river. These were nowhere near as productive as the lake. Typical birds were cattle egret and black-winged stilt. Though we got lucky when a hamerkop flew over.

cattle egret and black-winged stilt

I am particularly grateful to Mohamed for identifying Lake Jintu as a possible birding hotspot ahead of our trip through his academic network.

During Saturday afternoon we travelled on further south and east to Kaedi. The next blog recounts what we saw on that part of our trip.

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