Wednesday, 4 January 2017

New site but no new birds

I have not posted for two weeks because of work commitments rather than the festive season that most westerners worldworld have had.

I have a few blogs to catch up with concerning a trip down south over the New Year weekend but first here is one from Nouakchott from Christmas Eve.

These days birding around the city must include a visit to the large freshwater lake in the north of the citty. It is in Sukok district.

One reason to go there is to look for any new duck arrivals. The bad news on Christmas Eve was that though numbers were again up there were no additional species.

In these blog I have tried to show pictures from there of species not shown in the previous blog from the area.

African swamphen is one such species.

African swamphen

Little grebe is another although the two black-necked grebe were also still there.

little grebe

Many of the male ducks were moving out of their eclipse plumage into breeding plumage. This was most apparent with the northern pintail.

northern pintail

Indeed northern pintail was the species of duck with the biggest increase in numbers since the last visit.

female northern pintail

Wigeon numbers maintained a high of six.


Wood sandpiper is the most numerous wader. The one spotted redshank was still there.

wood sandpiper

Over the weeks, an occasional western reef heron has turned up. This was the first time a dark morph bird was seen.

western reef heron

Part way through my visit to the lake, I met up with Dr. Mohamed Vall. Together we next went south out of the city.

There is a right turn just past the gendarmarie check-point that leads to a coastal fishing village. We investigated this for the first time.

Waders were mostly sanderling, red knot and grey plover

Kentish plover 1

However the best wader was Kentish plover which is surprisingly uncommon compared with what I was used to in the Gulf.

Kentish Plover 2

After this, we made it to another new site. This was one was the side of the water company which supplies tap water to Nouakchott. Friends of Mohamed Vall had told him that there was a water body at the back of the works.

The water was a lake and had attracted a good cross section of birds. Indeed I suspect it is going to be very interesting during the spring passage.

We were hampered by poor visibility caused by a sandstorm coming off the Sahara.

Nevertheless, we could see flocks of both Sudanese golden sparrow and of house sparrow.

Sudanese golden sparrow

There were waders including a common snipe and at least two little ringed plover.

little ringed plover

Three male black-crowned sparrow-lark came down to drink while we were there.

black-crowned sparrow-lark

Late on one green sandpiper was seen although wood sandpiper and little stint were more numerous.

little stint

This site will be regularly visited from now on.

wood sandpiper

A week later, over the New Year weekend, Mohamed Vall and I made a two night trip to Rosso on the Senegal River. It was highly successful. I added 14 birds to my country list including three lifers. A series of blogs on this trip will be published next.

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