Monday, 27 February 2012

Mealy Redpoll, RW, 13 Feb

One present briefly on the garden feeders and photo taken through the bathroom window.

Gambia and Senegal, Jan 2012

A few weeks spent watching ospreys and other wildlife in Senegal and The Gambia. We did a similar itinerary to last winter except we went further inland (Gambia) this time. This produced a lot more birds especially raptors but fewer osprey sightings. The only real disaster was losing a 90% full 16GB memory card with photo's from the first 10 days. It is either on a small island in the Sine Saloum Delta or in an area of Senegal where we searched for a satellite tagged Scottish Osprey. A special thanks goes to JJ our guide and Alagi our driver for giving us an exceptional service once again. Looking forward to next winter already.
All pictures taken with a Canon 7D + 400mm f5.6 or crudely digi-scoped through a battered old Kowa TSN-823. Click on the image for a bigger but not always better picture.
Malachite Kingfisher. Taken from a moving boat.

Yellow-crowned Gonolek

Beautiful Sunbird

Pygmy Sunbird

Osprey - juvenile male

Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu (female) and Black-rumped Waxbill

Senegal Batis - male. A pair of these stunning birds suddenly appeared while i was trying to locate a Nightingale. They were gone quicker than they had appeared. 


Bedtime companion - a large and extremely flat spider which lived above the bed but which occasionally came down to pillow height. 

German Osprey, male 3GM

He came up from the water holding two fish. He was trying to put both feet on to just one of the fish but obviously couldn't. Eventually, he managed to dislodge and drop one of the fish and grasp the other more firmly. First time i have seen an Osprey catch two fish at the same time but it must happen quite regularly when they dive into a large shoal. 

Sanderlings, Grey-headed Gulls and LBBG'S

Blue-spotted Wood Dove

African Darter

Not a rare bird but one that probably doesn't get looked at that much, especially once it's ticked off. We watched this one trying to dig crabs out of their burrows with it's very long legs and thighs. It would often start by putting it's head and neck deep inside the burrows before sticking it's feet in. It would then sometimes get really excited, flapping it's wings, jumping in the air and ruffling up. An everyday bird but a really special encounter. 

Leg and thigh completely down burrow

Sunrise in the Sine Saloum Delta

Sunset over the Sine Saloum

Juvenile Osprey

Slender-billed Gull waiting to steal food from an Ospreys bill. Such behaviour could be misinterpreted, with the observer thinking that the Osprey is feeding the gull or wader. Sometimes, if the Osprey pauses with a piece of fish, the snatch from a gull or wader can be very gentle with no aggression shown by the Osprey. At other times the Osprey will strike out at the begging bird.  

Passing fisherman. Some Ospreys will allow a very close approach especially in places where they see the daily comings and goings of local fisherman. This ignorance or tolerance no doubt seals the fate of some individuals. 

Fisherman sleeping on their boat behind a sandbar after a nights fishing as White Pelicans look on.

Three Ospreys on a sandbar

African Fish Eagle

Pink-backed Pelican. Very agile birds considering their size.