Le Technopole again, and some tern plumages

The big wrestling match yesterday evening lasted for 30 seconds and today’s rain was a not very much longer. The temperature  continues to creep up and is now 32.5 as I type this at 17:45. I spent another scant hour this morning, in what is becoming a regular slot of 8-8.40, at le Technopole. The  first sales of “wase”, the lakes’ commercial fish, had just been completed and loaded into the boots of local taxis.  It was immediately evident that there were a lot more herons and egrets than over the last few weeks, with at least 200 great white egret and 100 squacco heron, as well as a few more pink-backed pelicans and white-faced whistling ducks than recently.

My efforts, and the collection of very heavily cropped photos, for which apologies, but the serious photographer is  out of Dakar, were again on the main shallow lagoon just north of the Sonatel offices, where most of the waders and terns have been recently. One of the Franklin’s gulls was present and the mix was much as yesterday, so I shall limit the rest of this post to commentary on images of new species.

Two Kittlitz’s plover, the  one on the left with some of the facial pattern of a breeding adult remaining, the bird on the right in non-breeding plumage with the buff eye stripe.

Marsh sandpiper

Black-tailed godwits, black-winged stilts and greenshank.

Gull-billed tern, still in breeding plumage

Two more Audouin’s gulls, both first summer moving into second winter,  with no red in the bill and no brown on the back. The bird on the left is ringed. There has now been a  minimum of four different birds in the last two visits (3 first summer 1 second summer) and as far as I am  aware (having now spoken to Clive Barlow), the first records for Senegal and the Gambia and hence West Africa, during the months of the rains (June-August). Is this really true? I have yet to check the status in Morocco.

Smaller tern plumages are difficult anyway and complicated by the fact that the summer plumages of sub-adult age classes, that remain on their tropical wintering grounds, are not well known and covered in the European field guides. Here is….well what? It is July, so adults should be in summer plumage and there were two red-billed adult common terns (a breeder in small numbers in Senegal) amongst the more numerous summering first summer common terns (below).  So a dark billed bird with a full black hood should be a roseate, ignoring the leg colour, which could be an artifact of the bad photo. But is the bill big enough? And would a complete black hood be expected?

The same bird (left) next to a first summer common tern with the prominent black carpal patch looks more clearly bigger billed here and shorter winged, which fits roseate.

 Five species; from left the roseate tern, audouin’s gull, common tern, a Caspian tern and a winter plumage gull-billed tern.

Paul

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