Popenguine 11 August
A Sunday morning visit to Popenguine, now a brisk 45 minutes from central Dakar with the newly opened toll road, enabled a unplanned hour and a half in the reserve. I had no idea what to expect in the rainy season and it proved rewarding both for the species seen and the fact that many were in song and display flight, though I have no photos of birds. Black-crowned tchagra performed their looped flight and lovely, lazy descending song everywhere. Both less frequent and less musical were a few yellow-billed shrikes and northern anteater chats. The latter, in typical habitat of exposed laterite, were together with a couple of cinnamon-breasted rock bunting. One male paradise whydah with full tail, too briefly seen to identify to species, flew over. The pause to watch the rock buntings produced calling rock partridge and sightings of both levaillant and diederick cuckoos. These are typical rainy season arrivals, but rarer in the same vein were two white-rumped swifts that flew along the cliffs. I initially, lazily assumed they were just little swifts, ubiquitous and currently breeding in central Dakar, but the then the pointed, forked tail was visible as they approached. There are only ten or so records for Senegal, one previously from Popenguine but I suspect it is overlooked as it is “locally and seasonally frequent in all divisions..” in the Gambia, as a wet season visitor with all recent records during July-November.
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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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