Popenguine and Yene 26 oct
I last visited the Popenguine reserve early in the rains in August. Now, just after the rains, the paths are difficult to follow with the luxuriant growth of grasses and some species of tall, aromatic mint, all entangled in climbers. One you break through that, the thin soils of the rocky scree make walking easier. A few mottled spinetails were flying over the cliffs with the ubiquitous little swifts and a cinnamon-breasted rock bunting sang from the cliff top. More of these were on the rocky scree with many northern anteater chats. A paradise whydah was too briefly seen to identify. In theory this is the zone of Sahel paradise whydah, but I doubt many are really checked to determine the species. Vitelline masked weavers were still nest building and rufous scrub-robin and a pair of green-winged pytilias briefly seen. Returning Palearctic migrants were single redstart, common whitethroat and white wagtail.
We stopped briefly, on the way back to Dakar, at temporary, rain-fed lake at Yene. The water level is too high to provide much wader habitat. A few gulls in the centre of the lake included a second year Mediterranean gull. This is a species I am finding all along the coast from Dakar to Palmarin, invariably sub-adults, which may reflect a real increase. The lake otherwise had a feeding flock of c40 black terns, a few black-winged stilts and not much else.
Last week a female teal was rare find at Technopole, sitting on the flooded golf course. It is my second Technopole record. The water levels there also remain too high for either easy access or much other than assorted egrets, herons and cormorants on the lakes.
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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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