Friday 31 January 2014

Birding around Bahri Sewage Pools

I visited Bahri Sewage Pools again today with Marwa. We originally planned to do some mist-netting, but in the end we spent our time checking the many large pools and thick surrounding reedbeds. Last time at this site we had seen some coots at a distance, and assumed they were Eurasian Coots. On subsequent visits to Khartoum Sewage Pools (about 20 km to the south) we had discovered lots of Red-knobbed Coots, which were the first records for the country and which turned out to be breeders. We had then naturally assumed that the ones in Bahri were also this species. It was therefore a surprise today to find that there were six Eurasian Coots present. Clearly both are present in the region and we will need to monitor them regularly to find out if the two populations are residents and/or visitors.

Eurasian Coot, Bahri Sewage Pools 31st January 2014

We had a number of other interesting species, including many not commonly seen in the Khartoum area. Two White-tailed Lapwings were our first sightings in Sudan, while a Greater Flamingo was only my second around Khartoum, and a fly-over Black Stork was my third.

White-tailed Lapwing, Bahri Sewage Pools 31st January 2014

Black Stork, Bahri Sewage Pools 31st January 2014

Greater Flamingo, Bahri Sewage Pools 31st January 2014

There were good numbers of ducks around, with several hundred each of Northern Shoveler, Gargany, and White-faced Whistling Duck. However, it was a little surprising that there were no other species in amongst them. There were also a number of waders at the muddy edges to the main pools and lots of marsh terns. We also saw a couple of African Purple Swamphens and some Glossy Ibises.

Gargany, Bahri Sewage Pools 31st January 2014

Little Stint, Bahri Sewage Pools 31st January 2014

Marsh Sandpiper, Bahri Sewage Pools 31st January 2014

Wood Sandpiper, Bahri Sewage Pools 31st January 2014

Spur-winged Lapwing, Bahri Sewage Pools 31st January 2014

Thursday 30 January 2014

North Kordofan - by Hakim Abdi

There is very little information available about the birds of North Kordofan, so when I received a list of species seen by Hakim Abdi I was interested in posting his sightings. Hakim is a PhD student studying remote sensing of Net Primary Productivity in the Sahel. Although birds are not the primary focus of his work, he is interested in how diversity-related aspects of NPP sustain palearctic migrants. I was particularly interested in his sighting of such a large flock of Lesser Kestrels, plus the numbers of locusts. I look forward to seeing more of his research and hearing more about his bird sightings in this little-known area. I thank Hakim for permission to post his records. Tom Jenner

Lesser Kestrel, North Kordofan (Hakim Abdi)

Part of a large flock of 200 Lesser Kestrels, North Kordofan (Hakim Abdi)

Location: In a marshy area to the east of the road between Khartoum and Kosti on 17 January 2014
1 Squacco Heron 

Location: El Obeid on 22 January 2014
2 Long legged Buzzard
1 Black Kite

Location: Near Demokeya Village in North Kordofan on 23-26 January 2014
7 Masked Shrike
4 Woodchat Shrike
27 Isabelline Wheatear
200+ Lesser Kestrel
3 Hoopoe
2 Dark Chanting Goshawk
1 Marsh Harrier
5 Black-eared Wheatear
2 Little Bee-eater
3 Blue-naped Mousebird 
2 Abyssinian Roller 
1 Common (Steppe?) Buzzard
1 Black Kite
1 Aquila sp. (too far to ID)
1 Lanius excubitor sp. (a quick glimpse, no ID)
1 Sunbird sp.

I stopped counting these because there are so many here.
Namaqua Dove
African Collared Dove
African Silverbill
Common Bulbul

Man disturbing locusts, North Kordofan (Hakim Abdi)

Locusts, North Kordofan (Hakim Abdi)

Hakim Abdi

Saturday 25 January 2014

Red-knobbed Coots breeding at Khartoum Sewage pools

Back in November Marwa and I had the first confirmed records of Red-knobbed Coots in Sudan. We also saw them on subsequent visits and wondered whether they might be breeding birds as they were in full breeding plumage. Today I made a brief evening visit with Stephen, and we were lucky enough to find a pair with two young, thus proving their status as breeding birds in the country.

Red-knobbed Coot with chicks, Khartoum Sewage pools 24th January 2014

Viewing conditions were not ideal, but there were lots of ducks on one of the pools, with most seeming to be Gargany and Shoveler, though other species may well have been present.

Gargany, Khartoum Sewage pools 24th January 2014

Marsh Harrier, Khartoum Sewage pools 24th January 2014

Saturday 11 January 2014

Escape Resort at Jebel Aulia Lake

yesterday I visited the Escape Resort at Jebel Aulia Lake for the first time in three years. It was a visit with family and friends mainly to socialise and eat some amazing lamb, roasted whole on a spit by the resort owner Pantelis. I only made a short trip out to look at birds, but as always there were plenty of around as the vegetation is particularly good in this part of the lake - probably because it is fenced off and looked after. I have rarely seen many Little Weavers in Sudan, and when I have they have always been in ones and twos. Today there were several around, with one group of about ten birds.

Little Weaver, Jebel Aulia 10th January 2014

There were lots of lesser whitethroats around, though as always it was difficult to check through them for less common species. A Barred Warbler was a good sighting, especially as it is the first I have seen that has the barring. Another good bird was Grey Woodpecker.

Grey Woodpecker, Jebel Aulia 10th January 2014

Moulting Nile Valley Sunbird, Jebel Aulia 10th January 2014

There were quite a few Sand Martins around, plus lots of Yellow Wagtails, suggesting the migration may already be starting.

A late report of a brief visit to Khartoum Sewage works

I made a brief visit to Khartoum Sewage Works on December 16th, just before heading off to the UK for my winter break, hence the late write-up. Observations were difficult with the light mostly behind the birds making accurate counts quite difficult. The most interesting observation for me was a couple of Ferruginous Ducks, which is a species I have not previously seen in Sudan and classified as rare by Nikolaus. There were still 8 Southern Pochards present, plus there were some Hottentot Teals. As always there were many Common Moorhens, including some juveniles, plus some Crested Coots.

Ferruginous Duck with Southern Pochards, Khartoum Sewage Works 16th December 2013

Hottentot Teals, Khartoum Sewage Works 16th December 2013

Ruff, Khartoum Sewage Works 16th December 2013

Juvenile Common Moorhen with adults, Khartoum Sewage Works 16th December 2013

Crested Coot, Khartoum Sewage Works 16th December 2013