More records from Diembering, Casamance
Early March we went back to Diembering (or Djembering, Diembereng, Djembereng…), six months after our first visit back in October. We once again stayed at the excellent Akine Dyioni Lodge nested in the dunes between the village and the ocean, just a stone’s throw from the beach.
Among the ca. 140 species that were seen during our stay, some of the highlights included Buff-spotted Woodpecker at the Ecoparc, Yellow-throated Longclaw in the fields to the NE of the village, Oriole Warbler in the lodge gardens though far more discrete than back in October when they were regularly seen and heard, and last but not least the unusual Capuchin Babbler in the Ecoparc (links will take you to my recordings on xeno-canto, all from Diembering). Our visit to the Ecoparc was much appreciated by the entire family, expertly guided by Jean-Michel. If you ever make it to the Cap Skirring area, make sure to visit the forest, and why not try their delicious thiebou diene or even stay the night there to fully take advantage of the forest life! Find out how one visionary community member achieved this rare conservation success story here.
Two species that I’d suspected last time but heard only too briefly were now confirmed: Green Crombec, Yellow-breasted Apalis – plus other forest “specials” already seen or heard last time, such as Ahanta Francolin, Pied Hornbill, Little Greenbul, Grey-headed Bristlebill, Green Hylia and Red-bellied Paradise Flycatcher.
During a very pleasant bike tour in the Cap Skirring and Kabrousse area, two raptor species that are apparently scarce in Casamance were seen: a male Pallid Harrier seemingly migrating north along the coast, and a small group of Lesser Kestrels feeding high up in the sky, possibly also on the move. Other raptors of interest include Palm-nut Vulture, Beaudouin’s Snake-Eagle (carrying a small snake, barely visible on the picture below), Lizard Buzzard, and Red-necked Falcon.
Most birds were far less conspicuous, and singing less frequently, compared to our previous visit which was towards the end of the breeding season for many species. Short-winged Cisticola is one of these, which was only heard once this time, just like Yellow-throated Leaflove.
This female or young Northern Puffback was one of several seen in the area.
Palearctic migrants included Red-throated and Tawny Pipit and of course Yellow Wagtails (iberiae mostly), Common Redstart, Common Whitethroats and several other warbler species: a single Subalpine, a couple of Bonelli’s, lots of Willow, a few Western Olivaceous and at least one Eurasian Reed Warbler. European Bee-eaters were seen daily in small numbers.
All four local roller species were around, and unlike in October there were now lots of White-throated Bee-eaters; also a pair of Giant Kingfishers near the lodge.
Lavender Waxbill was a long-awaited addition to my Senegal list. Also lots of Black-rumped Waxbills (one flock was made up of more than a hundred birds!) and perhaps more surprisingly Quailfinch (up to about a dozen in the dry rice paddies) and a few Cut-throats.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning here that a pretty interesting – and ambitious – atlas project is under way for Casamance, by the French association Apalis: find out more on the Oiseaux-Casamance website. Below are a couple of screenshots of the the maps that are now available online, which should soon incorporate my records from Diembering and elsewhere in the region. The first map shows overall coverage with number of species per atlas square, whereas the second is an example of a species’ distribution and breeding status, in this case Palm-nut Vulture. If you have any data from Casamance, please make sure to contribute! There are still lots of gaps and even in fairly well covered areas such as Cap Skirring (red square on the coast, near the Guinea-Bissau border) there’s a good chance that you will have seen additional species.
Maybe one day we’ll have an online atlas for all of Senegal… I’ll keep you posted 🙂