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Day 3 (Sunday, 9th March)

 

Kakum Kakum Kakum

The canopy walkway at Kakum is reputed to be one ofthe better birding spots in this part of the country, due to the elevation reached on the walkway, being amongst, rather than above the higher branches. So the heartsink moment was as we reached the entrance from the road, having set off early to beat the crowds, yet saw a busload of tourists, probably fairly local, getting off a bus. Shouldn't they have been at church or something? Not all bad news though, since we were allowed entry straight away, and they had to wait around until 8.30 to spoil our morning! We marched straight past the busload, and up the multitude of steps. This is where Kalu felt he made up for the disappointment of the missing Rufous-sided Broadbill yesterday evening, by locating one while still in the half light. In addition, we picked up a White-tailed Alethe a little further up the steps, even though it was only seen briefly.

And then to the walkway, which is a seemingly precarious yet stable contraption spanning between five platforms bolted to the trees. There is also partial shade here from the higher trees, which made the temperatures bearable through our morning stay. Birding here is of the patient sort, since some time has to be put in to see a reasonable variety of species. Early morning particularly was slow going, with birds such as Little Grey Greenbul, Ussher's Flycatcher, and Sharpe's Apalis bridging the monitoring of the vegetation. We spent some time on the first platform, where the trees were a little more closed in, but still productive as time went by. Slender-billed Greenbul and Black-capped Apalis were early, and Pied Hornbills constantly over. In the distance, a Harrier Hawk perched for a short time. Cassin's Greenbuls were flighty but constant, and Blue Malkoha an expert in hiding within small copses of leaves. More obliging were Hairy-breasted Barbet and Grey-chinned Sunbird. One or two small groups of tourists had also managed to escape capture at the gate, but were generally quiet and passed through quickly.

The third platform was our second stop, and this gave more expansive views over the forest. One tree in particular hosted Golden Greenbul, Grey-headed Nigrita, and Grey-chinned Sunbird at different times. Below and just away from the platform, a Blue Cuckooshrike was seen a few times, and singing Spotted Greenbul was on a favoured perch for some time. A Honeyguide Greenbul flew under the platform towards this spot, with regular Yellow-mantled Weaver nearby. A rather boisterous busload passed through while here, but the attendent from the park who was with us did a good job of ushering them onward.

We moved on to the last platform, which looked over the same set of trees as first thing, but from a different angle. The morning was predictably getting much hotter, but the number and variety of the birds continued to meander upwards. Two Orioles, a Northern and a Black-winged, were not too far from us, and a Fernando Po Batis was busy but stayed reasonable time. Kalu pointed out a Fraser's Sunbird - thankfully - it just looked like another female sunbird to us. Black-capped Apalis was much easier and this time more obliging, with a second group of Sharpe's Apalis passing close by. The alarm clock for leaving was the unfeasable amount of tourists who piled on to the walkway at 11am, obviously satiated with praise and ready to fill our space with noise! However, as we exited the last platform, we stumbled on a huge scorpion ambling along the middle of the path. After we had gorged on the spectacle, the guide thankfully moved it into the undergrowth away from the noisy threat approaching, who no doubt would have shown it little mercy.

Before we boarded the car again to leave, a chance attempt at filling photos of Pied Crow led to a Chestnut-breasted Negrofinch nearby, which then led to much closer views of the stunning Black Bee-eater. This pair has apparently bred in a pile of builder's sand at the entrance to Kakum for the last four years. As we watched, an Olive-bellied Sunbird popped a bill out of a dense bush.

 

Scorpion Chestnut-breasted Nigrita Western Oriole
Scorpion on path just after walkway Chestnut-breasted Nigrita Western Oriole

Pied Crow

Sharpe's Apalis

Pied Crow

Sharpe's Apalis

The afternoon session was again back at Kakum. Thistime it was a lot more sedate, with birds trickling in, but also no tourists messing around. We started with a quick visit to the Black Bee-eaters, where the light was by now ideal for photography. The walk up the many steps to the entrance to the walkway was a lot hotter than first light, so finding a calling Cameroon Sombre Bulbul on the way up to stop and tease out was welcome. Blue Malkoha and Ussher's Flycatcher welcomed us back, but we decided to move down to the third canopy where there was also a better view over the forest. A pair of Honey Buzzards watched overhead, and a Harrier-hawk also passed by. Two Palmnut Vultures were spotted from here, one overhead, and one perched in the distance. The sharp eyes of Kalu and the park guide picked up two groups of Hornbills in the far distance, perched on large trees on the horizon - Black-casqued and Brown-cheeked. As the light began to fade, hundreds of Common Swifts appeared overhead, and were joined by a pair of hawking Blue-throated Rollers. Last spot here was the welcome addition of a small troupe of Mona Monkeys, still feeding on yellow pods as they passed by the end of the walkway.

To finish off the day, we turned off the road no more than half a mile short of the hotel to look for Nightjars, and lit up a Long-tailed Nightjar almost immediately. Searching the area on foot failed to find any more, but Kalu spotted a Plain Nightjar squatting on the track in the headlights as we were leaving.

Blue Malkoha Black Bee-eater Nest
Blue Malkoha Black Bee-eater Black Bee-eater nest hole at top of sand pile

Home

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Introduction

Day 1

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Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Species list

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