Birds on the move, Palmarin and Dakar
The above photo of a wrestler training on the beach at Palmarin at sunset is a token image to compensate for the fact I forgot to pack my camera on the latest trip to Palmarin. Most of our time was spent on observation of gulls on the mudflats. A group of a hundred or so avocets included one ring-coded bird that appears to be of Danish origin, though I await confirmation. Conservatively tens of thousands of red-billed queleas were streaming south along the coast in flocks big enough that the sound created by their wing beats alerted us as we stared down our telescopes. In the other direction, conservatively hundreds of barn swallows were moving low and north. Although we saw the occasional bird in January in the Senegal River delta this year, barn swallow is primarily a migrant in Senegal. Morel gives dates of August to October and February to May. For Djoudj, Rodwell notes spring migration from 26 January, with most birds moving north in March and April and a daily maximum of 300. On the limited evidence, the Palmarin movement is therefore quite large and early.
Back in Dakar, the prolonged N/NE winds that have been around Beaufort 5/6 for three weeks continue. I have not looked long at the sea, but the numbers of northern gannets has increased off Yoff, with hundreds, mostly second calendar year birds, visible, many fishing, in a single scan.
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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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