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Day 2 (Friday, 19th February)

     Tono Dam


Tono Dam Tono Dam Tono Dam

This morning’s trek over potholedand bumpy roads (only part of the way to be fair) for an hour or so was to Tono Dam. The visualisation was of exactly that – an expanse of water and some bush birding around the water’s edges. The reality was entirely different, since although the water was briefly scanned fruitlessly, the main plan here is to work the bush area down the bank from the reservoir walls. The bush and semi savannah here is very inviting, since the vegetation isn’t too dense, leading to more accessible views of the birds. The counter to this is the temperature, starting very comfortably at around 20°C early on, but hitting the 30°C mark remarkably quickly, which takes it out on you after 4 hours. The reward is a constant supply of birds on tap.

As usual, there are specialities here that can be found. I was a bit blasé about finding a couple of Chestnut-bellied Starlings until Kalu mentioned that they were THE bird to see in the area. I was also impressed by the overall appearance of Speckle-fronted Weavers, which certainly are one of those birds better seen in real life than in the book, when again we were informed these were a target bird for here. However, we also got our own back on Kalu for “specialities”. We picked out a Green Bee-eater which shortly flew off, and discovered he hadn’t seen one before (it doesn’t actually appear in the Ghana field guide). A little bit of searching relocated the bird (two as it turned out), and images were taken for the relevant birding authorities here. Many more “expected” birds were turned up throughout the 4 hour walk. Initially, we were bombarded with numerous mixed finch type flocks, which mainly consisted of non breeding plumaged Pin-tailed Wydahs, Red-cheeked Cordon-Bleu, and Vitelline Masked Weaver. Sorting through did pick out Black-rumped Waxbill, and, not associated with the flocks, Black-backed Cisticola (& probable Dorst’s), Senegal Batis and Green-backed Cameroptera. The Hornbill seen most here is Red-billed, with the regular sound of calling Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird (the Viellot’s Barbets seen were silent). Plenty of Sunbirds were around, although restricted to the trio of Scarlet-chested, Pygmy & Beautiful. Towards the end of the walk, Kalu managed to lure in a Red-winged Warbler.

Black-billed Wood Dove Chestnut-bellied Starling Green Bee-eater
Black-billed Wood Dove Chestnut-bellied Starling Green Bee-eater
Long-tailed Starling Western Grey Plantain Eater Pygmy Sunbird
Long-tailed Starling Western Grey Plantain-eater Pygmy Sunbird
Red-billed Hornbill Yellow-billed Kite Vitelline Masked Weaver
Red-billed Hornbill Yellow-billed Kite Vitelline Masked Weaver

After a welcome lunchtime/earlyafternoon siesta, where some of our lives had been sapped by the hot morning excursion, we landed back again at the dam area in the much more pleasant late afternoon balm. This time we covered the bush a bit further along from that in the morning, completing a small semi circle in two hours. This first passed a very small pool, inhabited by a few Cattle Egrets, Senegal Thick-knees, and a single African Jacana. We then skirted the edge of one of the concrete run off ditches full of water from the reservoir, and completed by tramping through some small farmer’s fields bounded by trees.

Apart from the small finch flocks which again abounded, first interest was of the Cisticola variety. What seemed like an easy Zitting confounded a little by the light colour on the tail, but was that very species. After fun with Scarlet-chested Sunbirds, a pair of Little Bee-eaters, and a handful of Black-rumped Waxbills, a group of 6 or so Singing Cisticolas were having a real party with themselves in a small clearing. A pair of Viellot’s Barbets and a Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird ushered us closer to the main track. After spotting a couple of Bearded Barbets flying over here and into the trees, African Thrushes joined in a  commotion, the culprit being a Greyish Eagle Owl, which unfortunately only showed as a shape flying from us. The closing event of the evening was provided by African Paradise Flycatcher. The first of two was a standard dark male, which spent some time circling us in the open area of a small holding. A notch up in the fading light was a stunning long tailed white male, which repeated the antics of its darker brethren by constantly flying around a second clearing. This bird was a bit more accommodating by often perching in less concealed branches. Appropriately, a Yellow-winged Bat was located hanging from a branch as the last light departed the scene.

Bruce's Green Pigeon Yellow-crowned Gonolek Little Bee-eater
Bruce's Green Pigeon Yellow-browned Gonolek Little Bee-eater
Red-chested Sunbird Red-winged Warbler
Red-chested Swallow Red-winged Warbler
Scarlet-chested Sunbird Singing Cisticola Senegal Thick-knee
Scarlet-chested Sunbird Singing Cisticola Senegal Thick-knee

Home

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