More proofs of breeding at Technopole

Although the most numerous  and vocal of the waders, it was only this weekend that the first chicks of spur-winged lapwing confirmed breeding. Nests of this species are well hidden in the damp grassland

It is now eight days after the first rains in Dakar and nest building is active at Technopole for red-billed queleas, within low bushes and Phragmites and for black-headed weaver in Typha.

  

Among the gulls and terns, there is a small increase in lesser black-backed gulls. I have not previously bothered to check leg rings on this species, but as one was with the Audouin’s it was difficult to avoid. Thanks to its ringer, Roland-Jan Buijs, for quickly replying. The bird is a third calendar year (2010  birth), ringed in Holland and his first observation from Senegal, though birds have previously turned up in The Gambia. The species’ taxonomy is best left to experts. West African birds are stated to come from the more western graelllsii (Greenland to  France) and central/southern intermedius (southern Norway to Spain) populations, with more eastern breeders wintering in East Africa, a pattern followed by many species. Separation of birds in the field is not easy or often even possible and our bird is apparently from an intermediate graellsii/intermedius population.

Returning migrant waders are still very few and not necessarily separable from summering birds at this in-between time of year. Numbers of wood sandpipers are creeping up slowly with each visit this month and this does fit with observations of birds migrating through western Europe last week, speculated to be failed breeders after the Russian/eastern European floods. A single greenshank was new for July.

Thanks to Bram Piot for accompanying me and for his observations from Popenguine and Somone on the Petite Côte yesterday. The Somone tern roost include an adult roseate tern, always an unpredictable bird to find in Senegal, and several lesser crested terns.

Paul

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