Friday, 6 January 2017

Dagana (Mauritania)

Mohamed Vall and I travelled east of Rosso on the Boghe road on the afternoon of New Year's Eve. We turned right, off the main road, towards the Senegal River after 30 kilometres into the Jidr El Mouhguine district.

Just after the turn off was a large lily pond. We birded it and not surprisingly two African jacana were seen. It is not given the nick-name of lily-trotter for nothing.

African jacana 1

This was another addition to my country list.

African jacana 2

All around the pool was a mobile flock of Sudanese golden sparrow and a few laughing dove.

long-tailed cormorant

Almost hidden under the largest tree at the pool side was a young long-tailed cormorant.

We moved on towards the Senegal River itself but stopped off at the edge of the small town of Jidr El Mouhguine. At a small water course, we came across both little bee-eater and little green bee-eater. However the prize bird was a striated heron. This was my first in Mauritania.

We carried on closer to the Senegal River. The last settlement before the river is called Dagana locally which is the same name as the much larger town on the Senegalese side.

We didn't bird the riverside itself but just short of the village are two water inlets and the area around these was intensively birded.

We had only just parked up when an adult African fish eagle flew over.

African fish eagle

This village felt more like savanna Africa than anywhere else I have visited in Mauritania so far.

Warthogs were grazing on the far side of one of the inlets. A monkey was hiding in a tree. Two crocodiles were sunning themeselves before sliding into the water and finally a large snake was swimming.

warthogs at Dagana

A walk into a small woodland provided vinaceous dove. It's call is very distinctive and we realised we had heard it on a previous trip to the south without seeing and establishing the identity of the bird.

vinaceous dove

Apart from its call, it's dark eye and pink-grey head as opposed to fully grey head help separate it from African mourning dove.

little bee-eater

In more open land we saw a woodchat shrike and several little bee-eater. Unlike at Rosso views of this species were sustained. The odd yellow wagtail was in the same area.

tree pipit

Other western palearctic migrants included a couple of tree pipit.

After Dagana, we doubled back to the main Rosso-Boghe road and travelled on eastward.

yellow wagtail

Main road birding was not so fruitful. Birds of prey were the same as on previous trips that is mostly yellow-billed kite, marsh harrier and short-toed eagle.

Flooded burnt stumble fields had a concentration of birds but mostly were restricted to yellow wagtail, yellow-billed kite, wood sandpiper, cattle egret and a few ruff. Two collared pratincole were the most interesting.

spur-winged lapwing with a wood sandpiper

Our next stop was barely 12 kilometres further east of Dagana and was once again south of the main road on the Senegal River. This was arguably the best birding of the whole trip. I will blog about this next.

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