Saturday 15 April 2017

Return to Jintu

Mohamed Vall and I arrived at Lake Jintu in perfect light just before 8am last Saturday morning.

It didn't take us long to find some very good birds. Up in one of the large trees were two black-crowned night heron and many doves. However sharing the tree with them was a young gabar goshawk.

gabar goshawk turns head to face us

While preening, the distinctive white rump could be seen from time to time.

gabar goshawk showing white rump

The bird was not fazed by us at all.

gabar goshawk resting

The last time I saw this bird was in south west Saudi Arabia where it is locally common around another lake.

This bird was sighted in the far south west corner of the lake. We walked round the lake anti-clockwise starting there. However, this little corner proved an excellent start. 

While looking round from the place we could see the gabar goshawk, Mohamed Vall noticed three three black birds on a wire. They proved to be piapiac.

two piapiac

The bird with the red bill is the juvenile.

juvenile piapiac

This member of the crow family will come into urban areas and Lake Jintu is within one.

Turning back round again towards the lake and hardly needing to take a foot forward, we spotted a Seebohm's wheatear. Not much is known about the wintering quarters of this sub-species of northern wheatear. I suspect many winter here. This is my second sighting in country. The other was in the Nouakchott area.

Seebohm's wheatear 1

This bird was quite tame for a wheatear and gave good views.

Seebohm's wheatear 2

We finally moved on from the south west corner and started to realise the lake was about half the size it was on our visit in December. Nevertheless it still held substantail water and will obviously not dry up before the next rainy season starts.

Last time we saw hundreds of white-faced whistling duck. Though reduced in number this time there were still dozens around. Their numbers varied by the minute as there was a constant flow in and out, presumably moving to and from the near-by Senegal River.

white-faced whistling duck

There were a scattering of waders as we moved round including black-winged godwit as well as common ringed plover and Kittlitz's plover.

little egret

The little egret look fine in their breeding plumage.

We took the fortuitious decision to walk along a strip of land in the middle of the lake which is almost an island. It's small bushes surrounded by water looked a little bit different in terms of habitat.

white-rumped seed-eater

In the first row of bushes and on near-by ground were plenty of white-rumped seed-eater and Sudanese golden sparrow.

Vinaceous dove

Further in, we came across a Vinaceous dove. This dove has a strong affinity to water and is essentially a savannah bird. Very little of Mauritania appears as savannah so we took this as good omen. 

We soon spotted another savannah bird. This time, it was a lifer.

Brubru 1

It was a brubru. It is a bird which I read likes the canopy of savannah woodland. Well, there is no canopy on this set of medium sized but thick bushes. In other words not only did we see this bird for the first time, we also saw it with better views than is usual simply because it had nowhere higher to go.

Brubru 2

This was the third addition to my country list at Jintu and my second lifer.

After the finishing the spit of land, we doubled back and continued round the lake anti-clockwise. The north west corner had some interest just before we finished the circuit.

lesser black backed gull

Lesser black-backed gull rarely comes this far inland but we had two. I suppose there could be on passage.These two are heading to Britain or near-by as they are graellsii sub-species.

Abyssinian roller

We had one last look at the south east coner again where we had parked the car. A neat Abyssinian roller was posing for us.

We would like to have stayed longer but Selibaby was still 350 kilometres way and we had to reach there by nightfall. It had been excellent start to the day and there was more to come.

Species seen at Jintu
White-faced Whistling-Duck  60
Hamerkop  1
Grey Heron  4
Little Egret  3
Squacco Heron  2
Black-crowned Night-Heron  3
Gabar Goshawk  1
Black-winged Stilt  7
Kittlitz's Plover  4
Kentish Plover  2
Common Ringed Plover  12
Little Ringed Plover  1
Black-tailed Godwit  5
Ruff  4
Dunlin  3
Little Stint  12
Common Greenshank  5
Lesser Black-backed Gull (graellsii)  2
Speckled Pigeon  2
African Mourning Dove  4
Vinaceous Dove  1
Laughing Dove  8
Namaqua Dove  5
Little Bee-eater  4
Abyssinian Roller  2
Brubru  1
Southern Grey Shrike  1
Woodchat Shrike  4
Piapiac  3
Crested Lark  2
Barn Swallow  8   
Willow Warbler  2
Common Chiffchaff  1
Black Scrub-Robin  2
Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin  1
Northern Wheatear  1
Chestnut-bellied Starling  9
Greater Blue-eared Starling  5
Western Yellow Wagtail  22
White-rumped Seedeater  14
House Sparrow  15
Sudan Golden Sparrow  30
Red-billed Quelea  40

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