The spring seabird spectacle off Dakar seems to have truly ended for this year. My last two visits to Ile de Ngor, today (6 June) and last weekend (1 June) produced, of non-breeding birds for West Africa, only a few pomarine skuas, Sandwich and black terns, sub-adult common terns sufficiently numerous to be likely of European origin and one sooty shearwater. A few Cape Verde shearwaters and fewer Cory’s shearwaters, the latter perhaps Canary Isles birds, still forage offshore. This photo, showing the three shearwater species, and the one below of rafting Cape Verde shearwaters, are from mid-May off Ngor, courtesy of Sharad Shridhar.
A new species for me for Senegal today, unfortunately with no photo, was an immature brown booby that flew very close past the cliffs at Ngor. The brief, intensive seawatching weeks in October documented on the Senegal Seawatching web site have recorded between none and three birds annually and undocumented records suggest occasional individuals in the vicinity of Iles de la Madeleine off Dakar most years, so this seems to be a scarce annual visitor. The nearest breeding colonies are some 600km to the west (Cape Verde) and 400km to the south-east (Alcatraz, off Guinea).
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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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