Lac Tanma & Technopole
I was lucky to go out birding twice this weekend, first to Technopole on Saturday together with Dieme, and today to Lac Tanma followed by another quick stop at Technopole, with Geoffroy (BirdLife International). Here’s a brief overview of the main sightings from both excursions.
Technopole produced no less than 67 species in just a couple of hours; keeping in mind that we only covered the pool behind the golf club house and part of the main lake, and that windy conditions meant reduced activity among passerines, one can easily imagine that the total number of species present was at least 80 or so. Out of these, no less than 3 species were new for me at this site, and we managed to read rings from 5 birds.
- Black-headed Heron: first sighting here for both of us, though I assume that the species does show up every now and then. This one was an immature bird, possibly on a short stop here. The usual other heron species were of course also present: Great, Intermediate and Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Western Reef Heron, Grey Heron, Squacco Heron, Green-backed Heron, Black Heron.
- With receding water levels, feeding conditions are starting to be more suitable for the smaller wader species, including Common Ringed Plover, Little Stint (+60 on both visits), Sanderling (a single bird together with the stints), Ruff, etc. Today there were also two Black-tailed Godwits, but none yesterday: the majority of West African overwintering birds is most certainly already in Europe by now.
- Yellow-legged Gull: what I believe to be this species was photographed among the numerous Lesser Black-backed (+100) and Audouin’s Gulls (ca. 30). It would seem to fit the Mediterranean subspecies michahellis better than atlantis. Comments welcome! Another first for me here, of what is obviously not a regular species in Dakar.
- Mediterranean Gull: four birds yesterday, and just as many today though including at least two new birds, bringing the total to a minimum of six (one of which was an adult already in full breeding plumage). This species is obviously an increasingly regular winter visitor here with annual records since 2012 at least; prior to 1998 apparently only about 11 records were known from Senegal.
- Rings: two Spanish Audouin’s Gulls, a Spanish and a Senegalese Slender-billed Gull, and a Dutch Black-headed Gull. The latter was ringed as an adult male in July 2015 in Arnhem NL (“ENY5”) and was already seen here by us two weeks ago. It’s the southernmost recovery from Frank Majoor’s long-running ringing scheme and as such a pretty interesting sighting. The previous record from one of Frank’s birds was from the Canary Islands.
- Finally, a fine Short-toed Lark near the club house was a nice surprise, as this is a rare wanderer here in Dakar. There’s a record from Pointe des Almadies from January 1993 (Sauvage & Rodwell 1998), and I believe Paul has seen one once at Technopole in recent years, while a Swedish team photographed one here back in 2004.
The expanse of the shallow Lac Tanma is now much reduced compared to our previous visit about a month ago, leaving extensive mudflats that are good for waders, but conditions are no longer suitable for ducks as there is no more submerged vegetation. As a result, far fewer species were recorded on this visit but as always there were some great birds to be found.
- Waders were the main feature of today’s visit: 6 or 7 Grey Plovers, at least 25 Kentish Plovers (incl. many males in breeding plumage), 50+ Kittlitz’s Plover, a few Common Ringed Plover, a lone Black-winged Stilt, 8-10 confiding Collared Pratincoles, 100+ Little Stints, and a Green Sandpiper.
- The only other waterbirds around were two Great White Pelicans and singles of Great Egret, Grey Heron, Gull-billed Tern, and Slender-billed Gull.
- A Temminck’s Courser flying over high up in the sky while calling was probably a displaying bird, and a first for me in the Greater Dakar area. Also around were three Black-headed Lapwings in the baobab forest.
- Other migrants included Hoopoe (seen too briefly to determine ssp.), Iberian Yellow Wagtails, several Subalpine Warblers, a probable Eurasian Reed Warbler, a few Woodchat Shrikes, a Common or Lesser Kestrel, and a single Osprey roosting on a mudflat (compared to more than 25 on our previous visit!).
- Yellow-bellied Eremomela was seen again, this time at least two birds feeding in bushes on the edge of the baobab forest (area shown in picture below); this is now the third time in a row that the species is recorded here. Also present was a singing Northern Crombec. Quite a few Palm Swifts were feeding over the plain, with one Mosque Swallow joining them for a while.