Tuesday 12 April 2011

Tuti with Mark and Stephen

On Saturday I was back at Tuti Island, accompanied by Mark Boyd and Stephen Blight. Stephen has just arrived in Sudan from South Africa and is still getting settled while he prepares for his family to join him. Mark gave me the good news that he will also be staying with us for another year. We just had a short morning visit, but enough to get a feel for what was about. There was some noticeable movement along the river of gulls and terns, and a flock of 81 Glossy Ibis heading north was good to see.

A flock of migrating Glossy Ibis, Tuti 9th April 2011

There was still quite a small passage of hirundines, including mainly Sand Martins and House Martins (my first on Tuti), but none of the Red-rumped Swallows from my previous visit. Also missing were the large numbers of Asian Palm Swifts that had been present last time. I have occasionally seen the odd Rufous Scrub-Robin on Tuti, but today there were 4 individuals and they were much more showy than usual. Other migrant passerines were present in much smaller numbers than on my last visit.

Rufous Scrub-Robin, Tuti 9th April 2011

Sunday 3 April 2011

Wanted: "Better Woodland", mine-free

On 27 March and 3 April I went out looking for "better woodland", a phrase used by Nikolaus in his Sudan bird atlas. Wood-cutting for charcoal and firewood has seriously affected the bushland that is easily accessible from Juba and I'd not located many of the bird species associated with more wooded areas. On 27 March, I went 50 kms along the Nimule road, south from Juba. I eventually found an area with more woodland - in a mine-field!

Nearby, in a slightly more degraded area, there were nevertheless some new species, including Tropical Boubou. A female Northern Puffback was quite confiding, and there was a single African Moustached Warbler.

Tropical Boubou

Northern Puffback

African Moustached Warbler

Today, I located an area about 12 kms north of Juba that, whilst clearly being harvested for wood, still contained some small areas with larger trees. Almost immediately, I found a small group of Yellow-billed Shrikes, as well as Northern Brownbuls and a stunning white morph African Paradise-flycatcher. There were also White-crested Helmet-shrikes and White-billed Buffalo-Weavers, both of which I'd only seen once before around Juba. Other new species included Black-bellied Bustard, Red-shouldered Cuckoo-shrike and Red-fronted Barbet.

Yellow-billed Shrike

Northern Brownbul

White-crested Helmet-shrike

African Paradise-flycatcher

En route back to town, a White-headed Vulture flew by at close range; and a flock of Knob-billed Ducks were resting in a flooded pit.

White-headed Vulture

Knob-billed Ducks