Technopole – lingering vagrants & more rings

It’s been a while since my last update from Technopole, which I was fortunate to visit quite regularly these past few weeks, taking advantage of not travelling much at the moment (something that will end soon, having trips to DRC, Cote d’Ivoire, Cameroon, and Morocco lined up for the next two months).

Technopole_Panorama_March2017

So, what’s about at Technopole? Water levels continue to drop, rendering the main lake more and more attractive for a range of species. The panorama above attempts to give a bit of a feel of the area for our readers (click image to enlarge). Lots of gulls and a good range of waders are the key features at the moment, the following being some of the highlights:

  • Garganey: a single male on 25/2. Besides a few White-faced Whistling Ducks, there are hardly any ducks around these days.
  • African Swamphen: this is a fairly common resident here, but a very discrete one… so seeing an adult carry plant material for its nest, on 3/3, was a good breeding record.
  • Avocet: one on 25/2 and 3/3. Fairly scarce visitor to Technopole.
  • Kittlitz’s Plover: two birds on 12/3 were new for the season: my previous record here dates back to early August 2016, before the rains. It seems that this is mostly a dry season visitor to Technopole, possibly an irregular breeder when conditions are right (including last year, when a very young bird was seen in June though no adults were observed in previous months).
  • Yellow-legged Gull: an adult on 3/3 and at least two (adult and 3rd winter) on 12/3. Last winter only one bird was seen here.
YellowleggedGull_Technopole_IMG_0480

Yellow-legged Gull / Goéland leucophée

  • Common Gull: the same bird as on 12 February – Senegal’s fifth – was seen again on 3/3, when I showed visiting birder Bruce Mast around. The very worn plumage makes it straightforward to identify this as the same individual, which may hang out around the harbour or the Hann bay when not at Technopole (addendum 5/4:/17 Jean-François Blanc saw what was most likely the same bird on 24/3, meaning it will have been around for at least six weeks).
CommonGull_Technopole_20170303_IMG_8966_edited

Common Gull / Goéland cendré

  • Mediterranean Gull: two on 25/2 (1st and 2nd winter), and Miguel Lecoq reported two first winters on 4/3 meaning that so far at least three birds are around.
  • Little Tern: an adult on 3/3, shortly resting with the other terns and gulls (and at one point sitting next to a Caspian Tern, nicely illustrating the huge size difference between the two species). The (near-) absence of black on the tip of the bill indicates that this is the local guineae subspecies. Not a frequent visitor to Technopole – my only other record was last year I only saw two on 28 August. They seem to be more regular at Ngor in September, though still far from common.
LittleTern_Technopole_20170303_IMG_8954

Little Tern / Sterne naine ssp. guineae

  • Whiskered Tern: an adult in breeding plumage was present on 3/3, bringing the total number of tern species seen that day to six.
GreyPlover_Technopole_20170303_IMG_8956

Whiskered Tern / Guifette moustac (and seven other species!)

  • Barn Swallow: one passing through on 12/3
  • Copper Sunbird: a pair on 12/3 was my first record in a long time here. They were on the edge of the gardens in the NE corner. So far I’d only seen a single male on 17 and 24/4, presumably the same bird – more frequent visits to the vegetable garden areas would likely result in more observations as this must be a resident in the area.
  • Zebra Waxbill: surprisingly, what is probably the same group as on 28/1 was seen again on 3/3 in exactly the same spot, near the small baobab past the golf club house. This time we counted at least 16 birds and I even managed to get a few decent record shots.
ZebraWaxbill_Technopole_20170303_IMG_8994

Zebra Waxbill / Bengali zebré males

ZebraWaxbill_Technopole_20170303_IMG_8990

Zebra Waxbill / Bengali zebré female type

On the ring-reading front, new birds were added to the list on each visit, with 11 birds “read” on 12/3 alone: one French Spoonbill (+ another, probably Dutch, that flew off before I could make out the ring combination), two new Norwegian Lesser Black-backed Gulls, three Audouin’s Gulls, four Slender-billed Gulls, and the now usual Gull-billed Tern “U83” all from Spain. Except for the Spoonbill, all rings were read in the flock of gulls and terns that’s visible on the panorama shown at the top of this post. My recent post on ring recoveries from Technopole was updated with this new information.

AudouinsGull_Technopole_20170312_IMG_0486

Two of the ringed birds of the day: Audouin’s Gull “BYPB” and Slender-billed Gull “R78”. Note the subadult Yellow-legged Gull on the left (scratching; head not visible)

More to follow shortly I hope – am going back to Technopole tomorrow morning. For today I have some more seawatching to do, with spring migration slowly picking up it seems, and good numbers of skuas (mostly Pomarines but also several Arctic Skuas and even an a-seasonal Long-tailed Skua last week), Northern Gannets and Cape Verde Shearwaters feeding off Ngor.

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