Friday 27 August 2010

The local sparrow

(hidden) river valley near Banda safari park, Senegal

After all the excitement of Warang, we headed back towards Dakar. The light was failing but we found a little time to walk down a river valley next to a big tourist attraction called Banda safari park. The first thing I noticed was that the monkeys had escaped again and they were on our side of the electric fence. However Moussa said they were harmless. I wasn't so sure.

Anyway we were attracted to a well-hidden river valley by seeing two pied kingfisher flying off. We has just seen a woodland kingfisher on a wire but seeing pied kingfisher normally means water is close.

I liked this valley. It was a new habitat for me. There were plenty of birds and plenty of weaver nests. I saw village weaver, black-headed weaver and little weaver. Indeed I chased two little weaver round a bush for some time trying to get a photo. They weren't shy or else they would have deserted the tree. They just didn't want their photo taking.

There was also another northern red bishop but it  failed my quality control - it was moulting and looked a real mess so I wouldn't photograph it.
I had seen striated heron at Warang but this was a more normal habitat for them. This one seems to have speared a fish to eat for supper.

striated heron, near Banda, Senegal

However the prize sighting from this short stop over were a flock of grey headed sparrow. They were almost falling over themselves trying to all hang off the same branch. This was my first sighting of the local sparrow. Yet another "lifer".

flock of grey headed sparrow

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