Friday 14 April 2017

Aleg at dusk

Mohamed Vall and I had a long weekend's birding trip down to Guidimakha province. This the southermost part of the country and borders both Senegal and Mali. It has more rainfall and longer rainy season than anywhere else. Consquently it birds include species not found eslewhere in the country.

We started out at noon last Friday. Needless to say it is impossible to travel there in half a day. We elected to stay the night in Aleg. Indeed we arrived ahead of dusk and managed some birding at the lake before it got too dark.

Sunsetting over Lake Aleg (courtesy of Mohamed Vall)

A late arrival coupled with extra time needed to walk to the edge of the lake through muddy landscape meant we missed out on identifying so many birds. However we stumbled over many collared pratincole, yellow wagtail and spur-winged lapwing in the fields on our walk towards the water's edge.

Some of the birds going up

Indeed there were many hundreds of birds huddled round the remains of the lake which was only one twentieth the size of our last visit. It will only swell again with the next rainy season, probably from late July onwards.

glossy ibis

Of the larger birds there were probably between 100 and 200 each of cattle egret and glossy ibis.  There were certainly hundreds of assorted waders but most went unidentied.

sacred ibis with cattle egret

There was some good news though. Even though the gloom we could pick out a group of sacred ibis among the cattle egret. This was the first addition to my Mauritanian list of the weekend. Unfortunately we couldn't make out which type of spoonbill was present. This could have added another if they had been African.

We were reliant of identification of birds which chose to come close to our corner of the lake. These included several terns. Many were white-winged black tern and a few were gull-billed tern

whiskered tern (courtesy of Mohamed Vall)

More good news was that we could make out a few whiskered tern which were in breeding plumage.

This was a second welcome addition to the list.

collared pratincole

The next morning we left Aleg early and stopped first at Lake Jintu on the Senegal River near Boghe. The light and the birding were excellent. We could indentify all we saw and good pictures were taken. Three more additions were made to the list too. I will blog about that next.

Species identified at the Lake and near-by woodland
Northern Pintail  12
Little Egret  3
Cattle Egret  110    
Glossy Ibis  140
Sacred Ibis  14
Western Marsh Harrier  1
Black Kite (Yellow-billed)  1
Common Ringed Plover  35    
Little Stint  40
Wood Sandpiper  24
Collared Pratincole  40
Gull-billed Tern  12
White-winged Black Tern  55
Whiskered Tern  6
Laughing Dove  12
Namaqua Dove  8
Southern Grey Shrike  2
Woodchat Shrike  4
Brown-necked Raven  2
Black-crowned Sparrow-Lark  14
Sand Martin  5
Barn Swallow  40    
Red-rumped Swallow  1
Western Orphean Warbler  2
Black Scrub-Robin  4
Northern Wheatear  2
Long-tailed Glossy Starling  3
Western Yellow Wagtail  45
Red-billed Quelea  300

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