Monday 17 December 2012

Birdwatching near Al Dabaseen Bridge - By Julie Dewilde

On the 30th of November, I went back to the al Dabbaseen bridge, a place I found very interesting when I visited it in may. I went there in the late afternoon. The Nile was a bit higher than last time : the herbaceous islands where i could obsevre ibises, egrets, ducks, were still under water, but yet there were a nice bird activity in the area, especially for waterbirds with a lot of waders, ducks and terns. Some species were the same than in may, and new ones were observed.

There were still a lot of ethiopian swallows and palm swifts flyng above the bridge.

All around the bridge (north and south) I could observe great egrets, a group of grey herons, one black-headed heron, some european spoonbills, black-winged stilt and little egrets and severals groups of black-tailed godwits.

About 100 little stint were counted in the area, and a lot of kittlitz and kentish plovers, lying and resting on the ground : their plumage was incredibly cryptic and we had to walk on them, so they moved, to notice them.

Cryptic plovers

Several common sandpipers, marsh sandpipers, common greenshanks, common ringed plovers, egyptian plovers and ruffs were also observed.
Of special interest for me were one terek sandpiper and a group of  7 pied avocets , both of them were my first ones in khartoum, although I was not here during all the wintertime last year.

Terek Sandpiper

Avocets and other waders

Regarding the terns, there were a few whiskered terns and white-winged tern, some caspian terns as well and a lot of gull-billed terns (more than 200 counted)

As for the ducks, a lot of northern shovellers, some eurasion wigeon and some northern pintail. A lot of ducks could be observed in the middle of the Nile but too far to be identified without a telescope.



I could also observe a couple of great cormorants flying which surprised me as I was more expecting white-breasted cormorants.

Great Cormorants

List of birds observed :

-       spur-winged lapwing : 30
-       great egrets : 2
-       grey herons : 43
-       black-headed heron : 1
-       european spoonbills : 4
-       black-winged stilt : 20
-       little egret : 5
-       black-tailed godwit : 50
-       little stint : 100
-       terek sandpiper : 1
-       common ringed plover : 2
-       kittlitz plover : 50
-       kentish plovers : 15
-       common sand piper : 3
-       marsh sandpipers : 3
-       common greenshank : 20
-       egyptian plovers : 6
-       pied avocet : 7
-       ruffs : 3
-       gull-billed terns : 200
-       whiskered terns : 1
-       white-winged terns : 2
-       caspian terns : 5
-       great cormorants : 2
-       eurasian wigeon : 14
-       northern pintail : 5
-       northern shoveller : 70

The day after, I went back to the same place at the same period of the day, with a group of french ornithologists : Jean-Yves, Pierre, Olivier and Clemence equipped with telescopes.
Besides the species above, we could observe a lanner falcon, common teals, and ospreys.
On the Nile, through the telescope, we could observe a large gull which really looked like a caspian gull, unfortunately too far to be identified  100% and too far to get a picture.
In the telescope again, in the middle of the nile, we could observe a few dark diving ducks identified as ferruginous ducks.

In my opinion, this place looks really interesting to visit on a regular way. It is at this same place, last year, I could observe my first hottentot teals.

Aba Island - By Julie Dewilde

Late report about trip in Aba Island

On the 15th of November, I went with Laurent, to Aba Island north of Kosti, for camping and some birdwatching.
We decided to camp at the north end of the island : GPS : 13°22.677’ N ; 32°36.011’E.
On the Nile side of the road, it was a swampy herbaceous area, where birds were hiding, and on the other side, cultivated areas with some flooded fields. The road was protected by a small embankment.

View of the site

On the way to the north of the island, I observed a collared pratincole flying, a great egret, some squacco herons, a lot of sand martins, and some ethiopian swallows, some cattle egrets and only one abyssinian roller.

While birding in the north, in the early morning, I could observe several (about ten) white-winged terns, a few long-tailed cormorants, some purple herons, one black-headed heron and a lot of squacco herons and of course the usual spur-winged lapwings. Of special interest for water birds were a couple of long-toed lapwings that I have only seen before last january around kosti area as well. I could unfortunately only get thus blurry photo

Long-toed lapwings

There were also big colony of barn swallows chasing insects above the herbaceous swamps, and colony of northern masked weavers together with red bishops.

There were some yellow wagtails and white wagtails and a lot of shrikes : southern grey shrikes, isabelline shrikes and woodchat shrikes, probably also some lesser grey shrikes which may have been confused with southern grey shrikes from far. Some bee-eaters obsered as well : blue-cheeked and little green bee-eaters.

Woodchat Shrike

As for birds of prey, I observed several marsh harriers above the swamps and one black shouldered kite

Black-shouldered Kite

List of birds observed in the north of aba island :
-       white winged terns : ≈ 10
-       long-tailed cormorants : 5
-       great egret :1
-       purple heron : 6
-       black-headed heron : 1
-       cattle egret : 5
-       squacco herons : ≈ 30
-       spur-winged lapwing : 5
-       long-toed lapwing : 2
-       pied kingfisher : 5
-       yellow wagtail : 5
-       white wagtails : 2
-       southern grey shrike : 5
-       woodchat shrikes : 4
-       isabelline shrikes : 6
-       northern masked weaver : ≈ 30
-       red bishop : 5
-       blue-naped mousebird : 4
-       white-browed coucal : 1
-       little green bee-eater : 1
-       blue-vheeked bee-eater : 2
-       marsh harrier : 5
-       black-shouldered kite : 1
-       ethiopian swallows, barn swallows, sand martins, mourning doves, namaqa dove, laughing dove, zitting cisticolas

On the way back to khartoum, we stopped to observe a maya very rich in waterbirds. Unfortunately, they were very far and it was impossible without a telescope to be able to observe all of them.
But among them, we could see : 6 grey herons, a group of about 80 european spoonbills , among them 5 african spoonbills, 15 spur-winged lapwings, 10 sacred ibises, about 30 glossy ibises, 1 great egret, 3 curlews, 5 common grenshanks, 10 common sandpipers, a lot of little stint (more then 100) kentish plovers, and kittlitz plovers, a few caspian plovers, 6 black-winged stilt, a group of more than 200 ruffs, 2 wood sandpipers, 4 marsh sandpipers, about 60 gull-biled terns, 1 ospreys and some barn swallows.
Much more were too far to be identified
This maya was really interesting and i was a bit frustrated not to have a telescope. It worth a stop.