Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Ghana - Winneba Lagoon to Kakum NP.

So this was it and after a relatively short night’s sleep we were up for a 5.30am breakfast before driving some two hours to Winneba Lagoon. Our first trip birds appeared along the drive, nothing special but still nice to get the trip list started and we saw the common Pied Crow, Piapiac, Western Grey Plantain-Eater, Yellow-billed Kites, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Black-winged Red Bishop and both Palm & Little Swifts. Upon arrival at the lagoon it was readily apparent that it was a very high tide and there were only a few small islands showing. However, a decent hour or so of scanning produced a few shorebirds such as Marsh, Common and Curlew Sandpipers, Little Stint, Whimbrel, Common Greenshank, Black-winged Stilt and Spur-winged Lapwing. Ron spotted a small group of Collared Pratincoles flying in to land on one of the islands. A few Western Reef Herons were dotted around the area and a Striated Heron flew by. A large tern flock held Common, Sandwich and a few Royal Terns and due to Richard’s diligent searching a dark-backed gull was seen. Although it was distant on the far side of the lagoon and despite the heat haze it appeared to be an adult winter Laughing Gull, a very rare visitor to West Africa.  The surrounding bushes were home to several Copper and Splendid Sunbirds and both species looked very nice when seen through the scope. Leaving here we headed to our lunch spot at Cape Coast, but first a quick comfort stop at a services gave us views of Yellow-mantled Widowbird, Senegal Coucal, Mosque Swallow, Tawny-flanked Prinia, Bronze Mannikin and another group of Piapiacs. So not a bad morning and a good, gently introduction to West African birds. Lunch was at a restaurant overlooking a fine sandy beach at Cape Coast and we had a nice meal with a cool, sea breeze before heading an hour to the Rainforest Lodge at Jukwa – our base for the next three nights to explore Kakum National Park.

Our birding in Ghana really took off this afternoon with a walk along a track through what is called locally as farmbush habitat. It’s basically secondary growth with a few taller trees left standing but it’s always productive and we picked up most of our species by standing in one nice spot with a view down into a valley. Several Superb Sunbirds got the ball rolling, and then we saw Western Olive, Blue-throated Brown and Collared Sunbird all around the same tree. A Speckled Tinkerbird then flew in, a Piping Hornbill was scoped in a tall tree and Lesser Striped Swallows and Fanti Saw-wings flew over. A pair of Black Bee-eaters looked sexy in the scope and were followed by Ussher’s and Lead-coloured flycatchers, African Harrier-Hawk, African Pied Hornbill, Splendid Starling and Black-and-white Flycatcher. I was particularly pleased to catch up with a long-standing bogeybird – African Cuckoo-Hawk, ok it’s an immature but whatever! 

African Cuckoo-Hawk

There was also Little Grey Greenbul, a fine Melancholy Woodpecker spotted by Gail, and a cracking Yellow-spotted Barbet. Then we walked further along seeing a fine Buff-throated Sunbird, Whistling Cisticola and a Pale Flycatcher. Paul then led us to an open area where we waited for nightfall before calling in an awesome Akun Eagle-Owl, which I phone-scoped & never expected such a decent result especially in the low light. 

Akun Eagle Owl

We ended the day with a Long-tailed Nightjar hovering in front of us before finding another one perched on the track as we walked back to the coach.

Long-tailed Nightjar

No comments:

Post a Comment