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Day 7 (Wednesday, 24th February)

     Opuro Forest


Opuro Opuro

Good news this morning Ė the vanproblem had been fixed and it stood waiting outside ready to take us to more birding destinations. They could have given it a bit of a wash and valet while repairing though. We had arranged the night before to have breakfast at 6am (GMT) but it wasnít a great surprise when we began to tuck into the delightful omelette and bread at 6.40 (Ghana Maybe Time). The chef had to be called from his bed to get here even at that time. We headed further South for an hour to get to the forest, and turned down a track where we started birding the surrounding forest straight away. This site is notable for Capuchinís Babbler, but fires recently had destroyed a lot of the low vegetation they like to forage in, so seeing them was pretty nigh impossible. No problem for other good birds though, with a Red-shouldered Cuckoo-shrike being the first bird we picked up. Then we had probably the bird of the morning, with a pair of Red-billed Helmet Shrikes, perching (not too closely unfortunately) then making short hops to nearby branches. As we walked the dusty track, it was obvious that there had been good snake activity earlier, with at least half a dozen distinctive tracks of different sizes and patterns across. We did try the likely area for the Babblers, but as suspected, it was bare from the fire, so nowhere for them to hide. This was a good spot though, kicked off by a couple of Guinea Turacos flying up to trees also containing African Green Pigeons. A Little Green Woodpecker was most obliging, sitting out on a bare branch for some time, with a Black-winged Oriole and African Pied Hornbill as backdrop. A pair of Black-and-white Flycatchers flew over, with a much closer yet briefer Red-billed Helmet Shrike nearby. Another great find was a Pangolin, unerringly nosing around the high thin branches of one of the taller trees, although it was mainly in the cover of the leaves. We slowly made our way along the track checking each side for signs of life, which became quieter as the morning progressed. Notable birds during this time were a stunning Western Nicator out in the open briefly, and Fraserís Forest Flycatcher singing from the tangle. A very strange bird was White-crested Hornbill. Stunning and distinctive in flight, one flew across the track a couple of times before clinging to the dense foliage and out of sight each time it landed.

     Picathartes site


Nest site Nests Bench

Following some excellent lunch inKumasi (spiced chicken, fried plantain and beans for those asking), we eventually managed to crawl our way out of what is a sprawl of a town, with attendant traffic and general mayhem. We had visited the Yellow-headed Picathartes site (White-necked Rockfowl, the official name, doesnít seem to give credence to this enigmatic and rather strange bird) during our last trip here, and had barely half reasonable views of them, so a return just had to be made. As before, we were required to have a guide from the village to accompany us for the princely sum of £5 per person. With another group here already, our guide ran ahead to find which of the two locations they were at. This turned out to be the more guaranteed one, but the other offered much closer and less obscured views of the birds when they make an appearance. So we took a punt and aimed for the less guaranteed group of rocks, hoping for a chance of better images. The standard time for the birds to come in to the nesting site is around 5.30pm. We arrived there before 5, with the trek of around 35 minutes to here seeming shorter than we remembered. 5.30 came and went, and 10 minutes later the guide decided the birds had probably gone to the more popular rocks, so we trudged at some pace to get there. This isnít easy considering it is further than the first, hot, humid, and has some climbing involved. The former group was just leaving when we arrived, with the welcome, if not unexpected, news that the birds were there. They were indeed, and we spent another 20 minutes or so watching them on the rocks, entering the scene and even one perched just behind us until it was almost dark and time to go. The long walk back to the village (and air conditioned van) and shirts wet with sweat was made a whole lot easier by the thoughts of what we had just seen.

Picathartes Picathartes

Home

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Introduction

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Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7 Day 8

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