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Day 1 (Friday, 7th March)

 

Sakuma large lagoon

Sakuma small lagoon

Kalu had positioned us in the Crowne Plaza Hotel for the first night - please don't confuse this with the well known upper price hotel chain in the UK, they seem to have merely pinched the name and not the ethos. However, as usual with birding hotels, it was definitely adequate, including the toast and egg breakfast and mood lighting in the room, ie barely one candlepower in the light bulbs. Yet the location meant that we were only 5 minutes drive from our first Ghanaian birding delights, the lagoons at Sakuma. We drove the short way along predictably uneven tracks, heightening expectation with early goodies such as Purple Glossy Starling, Long-tailed Glossy Starling, and Green Woodhoopoe. The car disgorged us at what was apparently once the chosen entertainment location for the area, but seemed a little run down by now. But it started us off with our birding, picking up Splendid Glossy Starling amongst the abundant Pied Crows and Cattle Egrets.

The location is more than this obviously, with the central focus being on the large lagoon. This had a lot more water in than usual following the 5 hours of heavy rain the day before. This seemed to reduce the potential for wandering the shores due to the higher water line. The edge of the lagoon is bounded in the parking side by a few acres of loose bushland, some more semi savannah, a second much smaller lagoon, and open slightly marshy ground. We went through the bushes for a short way first, unearthing a fairly static Jacobin Cuckoo amongst others. Opening on to the lagoon, following some very close Senegal Thick-knees, was an assault by the very vocal Lapwings - Spur-winged, African Wattled, and single Senegal. They were constantly threatening the ever present Pied Crows and Yellow-billed Kites. The open marshy area adjacent to the lagoon was constantly entertaining, both on the ground with Plain-backed Pipits and Yellow-throated Longclaws, and the bushes alongside, where a pair of displaying Malachite Kingfishers and 4 Mosque Swallows stole the show. An interesting observation also here was that some birds had only just changed into breeding plumage, such as Pin-tailed Wydah and Village Weaver, with a half effort from a Northern Red Bishop.

We finally satiated our thirst with some cold water from the kiosk, and then headed to the smaller lagoon. This wasn't quite as lively, with a Senegal Coucal vying for our attention in the open, although the only competition was from overflying Grey Hornbill and the ever present Yellow-billed Shrikes. Although only 10.30 by the time we wound up here, we set off to break free from the suffocation of Accra, or at least its suburbs, and it seemed to take half of the time of the westward bound journey to lose the crowds.

Black-winged Stilt Cardinal Woodpecker Copper Sunbird
Black-winged Stilt Cardinal Woodpecker Copper Sunbird
Double-toothed Barbet Green Woodhoopoe Jacobin Cuckoo
Double-toothed Barbet Green Woodhoopoe Jacobin Cuckoo
Long-tailed Glossy Starling Plain-backed PIpit Purple Glossy Starling
Long-tailed Glossy Starling Plain-backed Pipit Purple Glossy Starling
Senegal Coucal Senegal Thick-knee Spur-winged Lapwing
Senegal Coucal Senegal Thick-knee Spur-winged Lapwing
Wattled Lapwing Yellow-billed Shrike Longclaw
African Wattled Lapwing Yellow-billed Shrike Yellow-throated Longclaw

 

After a light lunch just short of Winneba, we then headed to two locations in the area. The afternoon session here was at a slower pace bird wise than the morning. First stop was Winneba Lagoon. Kalu explained again that the heavy rainfall had vastly decreased the muddy finges, which may have explained the lack of any numbers of waders and terns. The lagoon is directly adjacent to the ocean, with a fishing vilage attached. This resulted in small numbers of boys and young men casting their nets, but they didn't disturb the few birds to any great degree. A few Pied and single Malachite Kingfisher provided some entertainment, with a few Western Reef Herons trying to throw their weight around, but we didn't stay too long before leaving for Winneba Plains.

Winneba Lagoon

Winneba Plains

Winneba Lagoon

Winneba Plains

Winneba Plains came as a bit of a surprise, withthe location consisting of a long and quite busy dirt track bisecting some open grassland with scattered trees. Apparently, this is best when some burning of the vegetation has been carried out, but we weren't here at that time. In addition, there was some ongoing work in the location for possible Black-bellied Bustard. Thus, the first hour or so was trudging, with only Gabar Goshawk and Black-shouldered Kite to show for our troubles. Then the temperature seemed to drop, welcoming in the late afternoon, and birds suddenly started to enter the scene. These included small groups of Yellow-fronted Canaries, Double-toothed Barbet, and a group of Yellow-crowned Gonoleks. We even had the treat of a couple of Cisticolas, with breeding Croaking, and my delight at actually correctly identifying Singing Cisticola - without the aid of the field guide! The dedication was rewarded with the last bird before leaving for our onward journey being a displaying Black-bellied Bustard, which apparently had not been seen by Kalu this year.

Pied Kingfisher Western Reef Heron Yellow-billed Kite
Pied Kingfisher Western Reef Heron Yellow-billed Kite
Black-winged Kite Gabar Goshawk Black-bellied Bustard
Black-winged Kite Gabar Goshawk Black-bellied Bustard

Home

Paintings gallery

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Introduction

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Species list

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