Sightings from Tanji and Brufut, The Gambia from Clive Barlow
Clive Barlow has kindly sent through summary sightings over the last four days from his local birding patch of Tanji Bird Reserve and Brufut, towards the western tip of the Gambian coast and about 160km SSE of Dakar. It will be fascinating to compare timing and sizes of bird movements between our two areas over the coming months. His observations have been made whilst in the field recording vocalisations of the eastern (Orientalis) sub-species of curlew, originating from west Siberia and further east and the main wintering sub-species of our region.
Along the beach first winter sanderling are, as near Dakar, now abundant with high hundreds at Tanji. Hundreds of lesser-black backed gulls have returned, including Spanish and Norwegian ringed birds and there are many ringed Sandwich terns. Kelp gulls numbered 9 adults and 2 1st winter on 23rd.
First dates for some returning migrants in this period are northern wheatear on 21st (feeding on maggots in crab holes on the beach), redstart on 22nd and common whitethroat on 23rd. Other notable sightings have been an immature lanner stooping at the tern roost (20th) and white wagtail in full song (21st). A huge green turtle Chelonia mydas washed up dead on 22nd.
Away from the beach notable sightings include a pair of pied-winged swallows in display and black-necked weavers active at nest (23rd) and at Brufut Woods rufous cisticola vocal (23rd) and the forest specialist grey-headed bristlebill (21st).