Friday 17 January 2014

First afternoon in The Gambia

Firstly we would like to extend our grateful thanks once more to Wader Quest South Africa and Sue Oertli in particular who through her Gauteng Challenge has raised and sent another £75.00. The donors were Dewald Swanepoel and Dennis and Amanda Walden whom we had the pleasure of chatting to when we gave our talk in Johannesburg. This brings us to under a little under £380 to go, surely this is doable? Lets have a last big push folks, we're nearly there, while we are out here scraping a few last species together, please help us to scrape together the last few pounds we need, we depend on your generosity to be successful.

On arrival in The Gambia we were launched into action straight away when we arrived at our hotel when we were met by Modou Saidy who has volunteered his time and skills to help Wader Quest. After dumping our bags in our room we headed on foot to nearby Kotu Creek. Immediately in front of the hotel the creek opens up to the sea and here we saw several waders, the most important from our point of view being Spur-winged Lapwing our first new bird.
Spur-winged Lapwing Vanellus spinosus; Kotu, The Gambia.
We then walked around to Kotu bridge.
Kotu Bridge, The Gambia.
Here we immediately noticed another new bird, this time it was Senegal Thick-knee, in fact there were several of them lurking in the mangroves and many more Spur-winged Lapwings.
Senegal Thick-knee Burhinus senegalensis; Kotu Creek, The Gambia.
Collection of Spur-winged Lapwings with an African Wattled Lapwing Vanellus senegallus; lurking in the background, Kotu creek.
As Modou and I discussed plans for the week, Elis set about trying to get some photographs and as she did so, she came across yet another of our target birds, Black-headed Lapwing although they were very skittish and didn't allow close approach.
Black-headed Lapwing Vanellus tectus; Kotu Creek, The Gambia.
This was a very good start and meant that we could prepare for our trip up the river in a relaxed manner. The big target though is of course Egyptian Plover, but we heard they were not where we were planning to see them. The plan would have to change, we are nothing if not flexible, but would we be able to catch up with these birds? We sincerely hope so!

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