18-19 August Technopole (Dakar) and St Louis
The rains continue to fill the western lake at Technopole and reduce the area of shallow wader habitat. Of the inter-continental migrant species, only ruff and wood sandpiper were, just, in double figures. The gull roost has also declined in number with the departure of most of the slender-billed gulls, though an adult Franklin’s gull, second year Mediterranean gull and, now in its fourth week, one of the African skimmers remain. A new arrival and also a new species (number 185) for Technopole was a whiskered tern, feeding over the smaller eastern lake with black and gull-billed terns.
A brief trip from Dakar to St Louis resulted in the expected sightings of vultures at road kills in the middle 80km stretch of the N2 road between Mekhé and Louga. The questionable extrapolation from sample surveys that has raised the IUCN threat status of all of West Africa’s commoner vultures means the short drive provides reliable sightings of Senegal’s only three resident globally Endangered bird species; hooded, Ruepell’s and White-backed vultures. The latter two are pictured below with necks bloodied from a fresh caracass.
White-backed (front – left and centre) and Rueppell’s vultures
A few didiric cuckoos (female below), a rainy season migrant from south at this latitude, crossed our route.
The lovely seasonal, backish lakes of the Gandiol area, south of St Louis either side of the Guembeul reserve, have filled with water and a few waders since my last drive past them two weeks ago, when they still had mounds of salt scraped up and ready for export. I imagine there is a lag between their filling with water and invertebrates multiplying, hence waders becoming abundant, so they should be exciting for birds next month. For me the most interesting sighting was a road kill I have yet to see live in Senegal; this common genet just south of the Guembeul reserve.
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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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