Strenuous hike for Mount Kupé Bushshrike

SchnäpperwürgerWe had a very good breakfast at 5:30. John-Pierre and his team were busy supplying us with a lot of food. We departed at 6:00 with our Rockjumper-guide along the Max’s Trail through farm bush with palms and banana trees up on Mt Kupé. The other option is the Shrike Trail which is a famous, but also very steep and narrow trail. Fortunately the climate is more comfortable here in the forests of the Eastern Moutain Arc than in the lowlands.

The initial stretches of the Max’s Trail is even, getting steeper in the open canopy forest and becomes insanely steep inside primary forest. The last patch we did inside primary forest, we did not see especially many birds. It was a fairly quiet forest. But he continued with our heads down our way up to the altitude where the Bushshrike can be found. Short stops along the way to catch our breath yielded a few nice birds such as Grey-throated Greenbul resp. Western Mountain Greenbul (Andropadus tephrolaemus) and 2 Yellow-billed Turacos (Tauraco macrorhynchus). A nice bird was a female of a African Shrike-flycatcher (Bias flammulatus or Megabyas flammulatus),

In contrast to a year later in the Bakossi Mountains, we did not even hear Mount Kupe Bushshrike (Chlorophoneus kupeensis) at an altitude of approx. 1.100 metres (asl), where the bird is supposed to live. Mount Kupe Bushshrike seems to be really shy and never showed up. At 3:00 pm we went down the trail again. We spotted a number of birds there, several iridescent Black Bee-eater (Merops gularis), Yellow-footed Flycatcher (Muscicapa sethsmithi), Bates’s Sunbird (Cinnyris batesi) and fabulous views of Woodhouse’s Antpecker (Parmoptila woodhousei woodhousei) for example. We walked back to the village over the local football patch observing some very brownish African Pipit (Anthus cinnamomeus).

Mount Kupé is probably the best known birding site in Cameroon as it holds the restricted and enigmatic Mt. Kupé Bushshrike and Monteiro’s Bushshrike. The forest can be reached on a daily base from Nyasoso. We spent most of the time birding Max’s Trail. The forest provide habitat as a fine pristine mountain rain forest with big trees and lot of epiphytes. We also birded the adjacent farmbush lower down of the mountain forest and saw a good number of species not found in the forest itself.

To cope with the growing demand for top shots of the rarer species of the Palearctic Bird-Lens is keen to enrich the range of pictures of birds you can find in the western palearctic.  Beside the image above you can find a nice selection of birds in the gallery or in the “Pictures Shop” very soon. Just give a message, if Bird-Lens could serve you with an image needed before the new pictures are online.

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