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SENEGAL

Monday 4th February - Wednesday 20th February 2019

Nik Borrow

Golden Nightjar (Nik Borrow)

Golden Nightjar (Nik Borrow)

Our third Senegal only tour (earlier tours combining with either The Gambia or Cape Verde) continued the run of success of previous tours and firmly establishes the country as a premier West African birding destination for those wishing to see some very special Sahelian endemics. Senegal is less than six hours away from Brussels or Paris by plane and a popular destination with Europeans trying to escape the miserable winter weather in search of sun, sea and sand. For the birdwatcher Senegal holds an impressive number of specialties, most of which are relatively easy to see in this comfortable and trouble-free country. The two most-wanted birds for our group were probably the truly enigmatic Quail-plover and the beautiful Golden Nightjar both of which surrendered to our quest and allowed amazing close up views. The tiny Quail-plover rose up from under our feet and fortunately found some nearby vegetation to shelter in and consequently froze allowing prolonged views. For the Golden Nightjar we headed up to the northern border of the country with Mauritania where our first views were of at least four birds at night in the torch beam. We were happy with these looks but a bird found at a daytime roost added a wholly different and unforgettable dimension to our experience! Also, in the far north we hunted out the exquisite little Cricket Warbler as well as Little Grey Woodpecker and Sennar Penduline Tit. Horus Swifts (a recently discovered new bird for the country) were seen at a small colony and a visit to the Djoudj National Park with its numerous waterfowl and flamingos astounded whilst a boat trip into the heart of the impressive Great White Pelican breeding colony was a memorable olfactory experience. We also enjoyed great views of the unassuming River Prinia and the rather more impressive Arabian Bustard whilst near Saint-Louis we found the smaller Savile’s Bustard and marvelled at the number of Allen’s Gallinules. In the south-east of the country we found the Mali Firefinch fairly easily and also added our own first to the Senegalese bird list in the form of a Willcocks’s Honeyguide! A fine supporting cast included Sun Lark, Dorst’s Cisticola and Yellow Penduline Tit. A stay at Wassadou along the Gambie River on the edge of Niokolo Koba National Park allowed for fine views of the sublime Egyptian Plover as well as Adamawa Turtle Dove, the bizarre Oriole Warbler and plenty of African Finfoot although for most of us the fully-plumaged male Standard-winged Nightjar stole the show! Finally, we visited the incredible Scissor-tailed Kite roost on Kousmar Island near Kaolack followed by a stay in the Saloum Delta where a superb White-crested Tiger Heron was ultimately the icing on the cake. Other notable or restricted range species seen included; Stone Partridge, Double-spurred Francolin, White-backed Night Heron, ‘Mauritanian’ Grey Heron, Beaudouin’s Snake Eagle, Grasshopper Buzzard, Audouin’s Gull, Four-banded Sandgrouse, Bruce’s Green Pigeon, Violet Turaco, Blue-bellied Roller, Western Red-billed Hornbill, Vieillot’s and Bearded Barbets, Fine-spotted Woodpecker, Fox Kestrel, Yellow-crowned Gonolek, West African Swallow, Iberian Chiffchaff, Rufous Cisticola, Fulvous Babbler, Chestnut-bellied Starling, White-crowned Robin-Chat, Seebohm’s Wheatear, Pygmy Sunbird, Sudan Golden Sparrow, Heuglin’s Masked Weaver, Red-winged Pytilia, Black-bellied and Black-faced Firefinches, Lavender Waxbill, Sahel Paradise Whydah, White-rumped Seedeater and Gosling’s Bunting.

Scissor-tailed Kite (Nik Borrow)

Scissor-tailed Kite (Nik Borrow)