The return of the Dakar Skimmer
Dakar has had two nights of rain now. In the favoured part of the main lagoon north of the Sonatel building, the first black-winged stilt chick was seen. Most of the bird interest however required a walk back to the entrance and right, through the fields of market gardening (with little bee-eaters nesting in a diminutive sand quarry) to see birds on the same main lagoon, but near to the main road.
Birds were still a bit distant for photos, but included this adult African skimmer (below the man working, on the long spit of land). The two skimmers last year arrived on 26 July and stayed for a month or so. It must be likely that this is one of the same birds, as ever leaving one wondering where the birds have been. The very little information for Senegal suggests birds have nested (still nest?) from April on the Senegal River. The observations at Technopole are therefore likely post-breeding dispersal within Senegal or from further afield.
Two of last week’s four Franklin’s gulls, in the same area near the road, were a bit closer and identifiable as both adults, due to the broad white margin to the back of the wings, visible here to the left of the black tips to the wings. The bird on the left is in full breeding plumage and looked pink-flushed over the white body, which is not evident in the photo. The bird on the right is already in winter plumage. Therefore at least three adults (accounting for two in breeding plumage last week) are in the area, plus one or two of undetermined age, but no immatures of this year.
Black-tailed godwits are the only Palearctic wader species in double figures. This is an odd time of year when the more orange adults (e.g. front right in the photo) could be early returning failed breeders or birds that have summered, whilst the majority of duller birds are presumably 2012 birds that have summered, but I need to check the options with an expert. Behind the godwits are immature Eurasian spoonbills and a few African spoonbills. On the northern deep water lake the Latvian ringed immature osprey (red plastic ring on the right leg) continues its residence and continues to elude close enough views to record the ring code with my modest camera.
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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 (photos: B. Piot)
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