Tuesday 20 December 2011

An evening visit to Tuti with Yousif and Patti

Today I made a brief evening visit to Tuti with Yousif (a birder visiting from Canada) and his fiancé Patti. The main aim of the trip was to show them where to go on Tuti Island and how to find the Sunt Forest, as I will be out of the country for most of their time here. Time was short as we didn't get to Tuti until nearly 5pm, but we still managed to see a few good birds. Last visit I had seen some Black-headed lapwings and we twice saw some today, though it wasn't clear if they were two different groups. There were lots of Chiffchaffs around and some large groups of weavers that were difficult to identify as none were in breeding plumage. We managed to find a few new species for Yousif, such as a group of Crimson-rumped Waxbills, plus a Gabar Goshawk showed well just as the light was fading.

Crimson-rumped Waxbill, Tuti Island 20th December 2011

Gabar Goshawk, Tuti Island 20th December 2011

By the time we reached the Sunt Forest it was too late to see any birds, but hopefully Yousif and Patti will be able to return and see plenty at a later date.

Saturday 17 December 2011

Tuti Island and the Sunt Forest with Terry

Terry and I visited Tuti Island yesterday, followed by a brief visit to the Sunt Forest. A group of three Black-headed Lapwings was a nice find and the first that Terry has seen here.

Black-headed Lapwing, Tuti 16th December 2011

As we arrived on Tuti we saw an unidentified Accipiter that seemed to be mobbing a Common Kestrel; surprisingly, this was the first I've seen on the island. We saw a few other Accipiters elsewhere on the island, including a couple chasing each other. One, at least, was an adult Eurasian Sparrowhawk. A Lanner Falcon was also hunting near the northern end of the island. There was a small tree near the northern end of the island containing a flock of about 10 Yellow Wagtails, plus there were a few others feeding in the field nearby. Neither of us recall seeing a flock of Yellow Wagtails in a tree like this, and we wondered if perhaps the number of small raptors around today might have been making them wary. A few Sudan Golden Sparrows were in the tree with them

Yellow Wagtails in tree, Tuti 16th December 2011

Sudan Golden Sparrow, Tuti 16th December 2011

There was little of note at the Sunt Forest that had not been present last visit, though we only stopped briefly and spent little time in the actual forest. The pools that had been good for waterbirds on the last few visits have now nearly dried up, so waterbirds are mainly located on the banks of the White Nile.There were no flamingoes present this time. At least one of the Whiskered Terns was already in summer plumage.

Friday 2 December 2011

The Sunt Forest

I visited the Sunt Forest again today with Stephen and Terry and there were some interesting new sightings. One pleasant surprise was a flock of 125 Greater Flamingoes. The map in Nikolaus shows that it has been recorded here, but shows few other inland locations marked so I had assumed that it would be quite rare away from the Red Sea. There were a number of spoonbills with them that were too far to identify, but there was one Eurasian and one African Spoonbill closer to confirm that both were present. Nikolaus describes the Eurasian Coot as uncommon and shows scattered locations throughout Sudan, including Khartoum. Somehow the bird seemed different to the ones I have seen elsewhere, with much less white on the forehead, but it was clearly not any other species (the black point in front of the eye distinguishing it from Red-knobbed Coot).

Greater Flamingoes, Sunt Forest 2nd December 2011

African Spoonbill, Sunt Forest 2nd December 2011

Eurasian Coot, Sunt Forest 2nd December 2011

There were not large numbers of waders present, but a reasonable selection of different species.  Common Redshank and Terek Sandpiper are both supposed to be common on the coast but rare to uncommon inland. Spotted Redshank are also supposedly uncommon, yet all three were present today.

Common Redshank, Sunt Forest 2nd December 2011

Terek Sandpiper, Sunt Forest 2nd December 2011

Black-tailed Godwit, Sunt Forest 2nd December 2011

Curlew Sandpiper, Sunt Forest 2nd December 2011

These Egyptian Geese were my first sightings in Sudan. There were also a couple of Eurasian Wigeons which were also my first sightings here. Otherwise, there were just a few Northern Shovelers present.

Egyptian Geese, Sunt Forest 2nd December 2011

We spent a bit of time in the forest, but there were few birds present other than Lesser Whitethroats, Eastern Olivaceous Warblers, Common Bulbuls, White-headed Babblers and a single Masked Shrike. Most interesting was a large group of Grivet Monkeys.

Grivet Monkey, Sunt Forest 2nd December 2011