The end of April at Technopole
The increasingly shallow western lake holds most of the birds this month. Although many waders have departed, there are still several hundred ringed plover and black-winged stilt, whilst some curlew sandpipers are now moving into the brick-red summer plumage. Around the deeper lakes and hidden under bushes, at least 270 Senegal thick-knee was a huge count of this mysterious species; apparently the second highest for West Africa after a count up-river in the Gambia and only the second site with a count exceeding the threshold 1% that defines international importance. I must say this statistic is improbable and the species’ sometimes secretive habits make it not very easy to count well and rapidly during the African Waterbird Census.
Two collared pratincoles, a commoner species in the north of the country, became species 179 for Technopole and nearby this Kittlitz’s plover, a species present here all months and in need of a search to see if it is breeding, was in its pleasant breeding plumage .
The lake’s islands have a few African and Eurasian spoonbill, including this ringed bird, for which we are awaiting information on its origins. The first photo shows how often the flags are not visible.
A mixed group of spoonbills
The gull and tern flock is now mainly composed of the resident slender-billed gull, turning into its breeding plumage and presumably soon to depart from Daker to the colonies to the north or south. Mixed in is still one of the Franklin’s gulls, a few second and third year Audouin’s gulls and a second year Mediterranean gull, photographed here for the record. Gull-billed terns are still the main tern species and a summer plumaged common tern, perhaps also one of the small number of Senegal breeding birds, was new.
Second year Mediterranean gull amongst slender-billed gulls
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The defunct, twin volcanoes of Mamelles, in Dakar’s Ouakam arrondissement, with Cape Verde Shearwaters and Bottle-nosed Dolphins. The rocky coast of Dakar, forming the Cap Vert Important Bird Area, is an outstanding site for seabirds (photo: P. Robinson). Technopole and its numerous waders, herons, gulls, terns and other waterbirds (including Greater Flamingos when conditions are right) is one of the best sites for birds in the greater Dakar region, So is Iles de la Madeleine, and further afield the Saloum Delta at Palmarin (photos: B. Piot)
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