Saturday, 3 December 2016

Ghana Day 12: Mole NP

Headed to the old airstrip, one of the more famous birding sites around this vast area. In fact we spent quite some time here as the light got better and we enjoyed some nice scope views of Senegal Parrot, a singing African Moustached Warbler eventually showed well in the tall grass, a cracking male Pygmy Sunbird appeared and a Black-crowned Tchagra was seen in song flight. 

Pygmy Sunbird

Then a trio of Bearded Barbets flew into a bare tree and we thoroughly enjoyed the scope views of these charismatic birds and we finished here with a gang of noisy Brown Babblers

Then we walked out onto the dirt road and found Fine-spotted Woodpecker, Black-billed Wood-Dove and Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird before hopping onto the coach and driving a little way. We hadn’t got far when a pair of Black Scimitarbills were seen, prompting a hasty exit for more nice views. Then we birded around the bridge at the bottom of the road where an Oriole Warbler and Yellow-breasted Apalis appeared in the same field of view, and a gang of vociferous Green Wood-Hoopoes came in to check us out. Then we walked into the forest and had a mad few minutes with Spotted Creeper, a pair of Yellow-bellied Hyliota, a pair of White-shouldered Black Tits and Senegal Batis all came in to the owlet call. We walked up to a nearby creek, seeing a Wahlberg’s Eagle along the way, and also had African Paradise Flycatcher, African Blue Flycatcher, Brown-throated Wattle-eye and a very bold Levaillant’s Cuckoo before heading back to the lodge for a rest.

With just a Bateleur seen over lunch we headed back into the National Park at 3.15pm and hadn’t really gone far before a superb White-breasted Cuckooshrike was spotted from the coach. After a bit of a wait we walked up the hillside and had close views of a pair as they tried to hide in a large tree. What a great bird!  There was also a Martial Eagle overhead. Moving on and a White-fronted Black-Chat was next up, a much-wanted lifer for yours truly. 

White-fronted Black Chat

Along the sandy track we were driving along there was Double-spurred Francolin, Stone Partridge and a few Four-banded Sandgrouse, with Swallow-tailed Bee-eater also new. Our local guides checked a few open areas for the elusive Forbes’s Plover without luck, but we did see Lesser Blue-eared Glossy Starling and a pair of Abyssinian Ground Hornbills. Upon reaching the same area as yesterday afternoon we were all amazed to find 5 Forbes’s Plovers right out in the very same area we had traipsed around yesterday. 

Forbes's Plovers

What a bird and one we’d almost given up on seeing. We were definitely on a roll and tried our luck with White-throated Francolin. After a tense game where the bird just kept calling just out of sight and as we walked closer it retreated further away, but eventually we had 2 views of it crossing the sandy track in front of us. 

Standard-winged Nightjar

Then with the sun setting it was night-bird time and what a result as we found 2 Standard-winged Nightjars, 13 Long-tailed Nightjars and 4 Greyish Eagle-Owls during our drive back through Mole National Park. Wow!

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