Sunday, 4 December 2016

Ghana Day 14: White Volta River - Tono Dam

Our destination this morning was the White Volta and its resident Egyptian Plovers, but first we had a few stops to make along the way. After negotiating the worst road of the entire tour, a back-breaking, pot-holed torturous ‘road’ we stopped in what proved to be surprisingly quiet bush country. Along the way we’d seen Greater Blue-eared Glossy Starling, a colony of White-billed Buffalo-Weavers, Yellow-billed Shrike, Rufous-crowned Roller, Yellow-billed Oxpeckers cavorting on their cattle and Northern Red-billed Hornbill

Yellow-billed Oxpecker

As I said, the bush country was quiet with just Viellot’s Barbet, Levaillant’s Cuckoo, and another Exclamatory Paradise-Whydah. So we moved on to the river, but a few Chestnut-bellied Starlings were seen and was one of the major target species from our time in the north of the country. And there was also West African Swallow, Village Indigobird and African Silverbill to admire as well. Walking down to the river A Lizard Buzzard posed nicely but by now everyone only had one bird on their mind. Sure enough on an exposed sandbank there were 4 magical Egyptian Plovers, resplendent in all of their glory! A species to rival the picathartes for its ‘wanted value’. 

Egyptian Plover
White-crowned Lapwing

Spur-winged Lapwing
We spent quite some time watching and photographing them and thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience, taking into account our close proximity to Burkina Faso and Tongo just a stone’s throw away. Oh and the pair of White-crowned Lapwings present on the same sandbank weren’t too bad either!  In all we counted 8 Egyptian Plovers in the area but eventually we had to drag ourselves away as it was a bone-shaking 2.5 hour drive back to the hotel. We also saw African Mourning Dove, Piapiac and Red-billed Firefinch this morning as well.


In the afternoon we birded the Tono Dam causeway area getting great views of a Quailfinch feeding on the ground, along with Gabar Goshawk, Speckle-fronted Weaver and a Spotted Thick-knee.

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