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Day 2 (Saturday, 8th March)

 

Sushen Sushen Sushen
Initial open track though forest edge More enclosed forest Forest clearing

I suppose it had to happen sooner or later - Africa strikes again! We were due to have breakfast at 5am, with the intention of leaving at 5.30. Dutifully British and there on time, it was some time after that when Kalu turned up and informed us that the breakfast staff had indeed been up since 4am to prepare the meal, but someone had left the previous evening with the keys and locked them in reception (the staff, not the keys!). So we left over half an hour later than expected, and headed for this site, which was somewhat closer to allow for the lost time. And what a choice, the woodland and forest birding along here was exceptional. The location is only 2km short of Kakum, and consists of a dirt track which runs through initially open areas with scattered trees, passing sparse habitation on the way, culminating in a path through the thicker rainforest. There was a constant but not overbearing traffic of people, in singles rather than crowds, and none were at all intrusive. The car dropped us off on the track next to one of the clearings, and we could have stayed in this spot for much longer than we did. Birds were constantly flying in or appearing in the vegetation, with overflying Pied Hornbills to add. A Red-bellied Paradise Flycatcher kept returning to the overgrown vegetation in front of us, with singing Yellow-browed Camaroptera and perched Black and White Mannikin next to it. Violet-backed Starlings were regular, and a Tambourine Dove flew in.

The walk seemed to get better as we progressed, with new species constantly appearing and often lingering. Pride of place was likely reserved for Black Bee-eaters, one of the most wanted in the list. They may not have been exceptionally close, but were stunning nevertheless. Not outdone, White-throated and Rosy Bee-eaters were always around, almost always airborne and noisy. Sunbirds provided the most common family, and also challenge, since they are a difficult clan anyway, and Ghana has variety in riches. Included in the roster here were Splendid, Green, Olive, Collared, and Blue-throated Brown. They often shared trees with Speckled Barbets, Golden Greenbuls, and Fanti Saw-wings. Two Kingfishers were on their own. Woodland was easy, but we couldn't agree on a Dwarf/Pygmy Kingfisher at the time, since the presence or absence of a dark crown cap was debatable.

The birding became predictably more difficult as we entered the forest, with taller trees hemming us in and reducing bird density. We walked some way to a clearing, notching up Yellow-bearded Greenbul, Grey-headed Negrofinch, and my pride and joy, a Little Grey Greenbul - noted more for the fact that I managed to identify a small greenbul in the canopy than the excitement of its demeanour! The skill of Kalu at identifying birds on call must be mentioned here. He not only recognises them, but sometimes can bring them in with recorded calls, but doesn't overuse this as some have been seen to. The clearing was particularly productive, with a large bare tree in the centre the focal point for birds. We spent some time here, and even came back for more, notching up Blue-throated Roller, Red-headed Malimbe, Usscher's Flycatcher, and overflying Emerald Cuckoo. Vying for attention were the swarms of White-throated Bee-eaters and Fanti Saw-wings overhead, which the roller joined for a snack on the flying insects.

The walk back turned up even more birds, with seemingly more action than on the way in, despite the increasing temperatures. A second Yellow-bearded Greenbul accompanied a Crested Malimbe, and Western Oriole added to the Black-winged Oriole of earlier in the morning. A small party of Rufous-crowned Flycatchers passed through, with more Golden Greenbuls in the canopy.

Black and white Mannikin Fanti Saw-wing Golden Greenbul
Black and White Mannikin Fanti Saw-wing Golden Greenbul

Violet backed Starling

Violet backed Starling

Violet-backed Starling (male)

Violet-backed Starling (female)

Klaas's Cuckoo Olive Sunbird Red-headed Malimbe
Klaas's Cuckoo Olive Sunbird Red-headed Malimbe (and Velvet-mantled Drongo)

Whistling Cisticola

Yellow-browed Cameroptera

Whistling Cisticola

Yellow-browed Cameroptera

Speckled Barbet Superb Sunbird Tambourine Dove
Speckled Sunbird Superb Sunbird Tambourine Dove

 

Hans Cottage Botel

Hans Cottage Botel

Hans Cottage Botel

Lily pond behind reception

Since we had a few hours to spare over earlyafternoon, we decided to see what the hotel grounds had to offer. They are not too extensive, with the focal point being a large lagoon with imported crocodiles for the tourists. Within the lagoon is a very small island, which hosts a colony of Cattle Egrets. It is also host to a vibrant colony of Weavers, as does the ever so enticing "crocodile petting" area next to the restaurant. The inhabitants of these are Village and Orange Weavers, with a small colony of Viellot's Black Weavers over a large lily pond. An African Jacana had shown itself just before lunch here, and was joined after by a pair of Woodland Kingfishers.

African Pied Wagtail Great Egret African Jacana
African Pied Wagtail Great Egret African Jacana

Woodland Kingfisher

Village Weaver

Woodland Kingfisher

Village Weaver

Orange Weaver Reed Cormorant Viellot's Black Weaver
Orange Weaver Reed Cormorant Viellot's Black Weaver

 

Jawari

Jaeari

Open land of Jawari

The clouds before the storm

For the afternoon shift, we spent a few hours alongthis track. It is situated only few hundred metres after the turnoff to Sushen, following a sign for the "Stingless Bee Centre". We thankfully continued past this for a mile or so, being dropped off in an open area, to then walk back the way we had driven. Good numbers of White-throated Bee-eaters were immediately obvious overhead, as were a quartet of pied Hornbills. It wasn' t long before we picked up a pair of large raptors gliding in the distance, but luckily one was seen landing nearby. It took a little while to sort the branch obstructed views into Cuckoo Hawk, especially when the crest wasn't visible. Shortly after, a Black and White Flycatcher female was picked up following Kalu hearing a male call. A separate pair were seen later. Kalu then had the disappointment of not being able to call out a Rufous-sided Broadbill. We spent some time in the forest, just metres from the track, without success. As the light began to show signs of fading, we added Simple Greenbull and Pale Flycatcher to the list, before managing to pick out a Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird. This was the last of the days birds, but not the last of the "excitement". Within what seemed only minutes, the clear skies turned threatening, and the driver was called for. When we were safely in the car, he drove hastily along the poor track, but we were stopped by a fallen tree barring our exit. This had happened during our visit, but fortunately it wasn't too big an obstacle, with part thanks to the scooter rider behind whose machete helped immeasurably. The rain was by now torrential.

B&W Shrike Flycatcher Pale Flycatcher Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird
Black-and-white Shrike Flycatcher (female) Pale Flycatcher Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird

Home

Paintings gallery

Video clips

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Contact

Site map

Links

Content

Introduction

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Species list

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