Tuesday 1 February 2011

Wintering birds at Fenti

Having seen many migrants on my previous two trips to Fenti, I was interested in finding out what hangs around for the winter. There were fewer birds present and many species had clearly just been passing through, but it was evident that many species had stayed for the winter. On my last trip I had spent a lot of time studying the Yellow Wagtails. There were far fewer on Saturday, but still around 30 birds. The commonest subspecies was M. f. feldegg. Most of the thunbergi had left, but I still saw a couple; there were also a few beema and lutea still around. More evident on this visit were the White Wagtails, some of which were already moulting into breeding plumage. There are also many along the banks of the Nile at the moment.

White Wagtail, Fenti 29th Jan 2011

African Mourning Dove - a common resident species, Fenti 29th Jan 2011

Unusual behaviour was being shown by a Common sandpiper. I have seen them at Fenti before, where they usually hang around where you expect them, which is the edge of the pools. Sandpipers will often move short distances away from water and I have seen them on the fairways. What was unusual here was this bird was feeding in the undergrowth on the edge of the fairways, moving through the leaf litter like a typical forest species. I have not seen such behaviour from a sandpiper before.

Common Sandpiper, Fenti 29th Jan 2011

Bird of the day was probably the first bird I saw when I arrived. Sitting on the top of the pavilion was a Blue Rock Thrush, which was a good bird to see.

Blue Rock Thrush, Fenti 29th Jan 2011

There are many species wintering at Fenti, but the big attraction will always be the migrants. Seeing a Whiskered Tern in breeding plumage last week and then the White Wagtails this week makes me think that the start of the spring cannot be far away. I think there will be a lot of interesting birds passing through here again soon.


  1. Tom,

    Where is Fenti? Is it north of Khartoum? I hadn't realised blue rock thrush could be found south of the Sahara


  2. Hi Rob
    Fenti is just to the south of Khartoum. Nikolaus shows a number of records in his Distribution Atlas that range to 11 degrees south. This is bush and grassland rather than desert, but he shows no records from the south of the country. As such, you would not really refer to them as proper sub-Saharan records. I saw one other Blue Rock Thrush during the migration at Tuti Island.


  3. Can anyone help in confirming which coucal it is that I have seen several times at Fenti?

    1. They are almost certainly White-browed Coucals, which are common birds in the area, though shy and not easy to see. Senegal Coucals are also supposed to be found around Khartoum, but I have yet to come across one.