I had been very successful in the Bakossi Mountains with the Mount Kupe Bushshrike (Telophorus kupeensis) – also known as Serle’s Bushshrike. After an unsuccessful first day on an expedition in these Afrotropic mountains, my indispensable guides and me encountered a total of 7 individuals of the Mount Kupe Bushshrike until the end of the second day; including 4 sightings and 3 only heard individuals elsewhere in the forest.
The Bakossi Mountains are part of the so-called Cameroon Mountain Arc in the western country of Cameroon. Here an Afrotropic mountain vegetation prevails. In addition to the Mount Kupe Bushshrike other endemic species like e.g. Mount Cameroon Francolin (Francolinus camerunensis) and Bannerman’s Turaco (Tauraco bannermani) contribute to the wealth in biodiversity.
Overall, I spent nearly 15 minutes at the site where a pair of the Mount Kupe Bushshrike displayed a mating ritual (as described in the blog). Initially I shot with the Canon EF 400mm 1: 2.8L IS II USM from a Gitzo tripod. The frequent relocation of the Mount Kupe Bushshrike along with the unexpectedly low-level location of the bird inside the forest let me switch to the Canon EF 200mm f / 2L IS USM on the Canon EOS 5DS R. Despite exposure times of 1/160 sec. – later also with 1/80 sec. – the excellent image stabilizer allowed shots from the hand. A total of 183 pictures were shot on the occasion, of which 26 pictures were reasonably acceptable and a few were good enough. The image of the Mount Kupe Bushshrike Continue reading Mount Kupé Bushshrike – some aspects on equipment & logistics
Having participated in a Rockjumper Trip to Cameroon with a 3-week itinerary in April 2017 I knew that Cameroon is likely the number 1 birding destination in Western Africa with a big potential of seeing more but in a 3-week itinerary in a group of 11 participants. A trip list in April of 537 (of which 393 photographed) species for 3 weeks and an increase of my global bird list by as many as 319 species to 4.449 species was not a bad result. But overall, photography, an intensive feeling for nature and sometimes silence on the birding spot came short. Ok, no wonder with the many participants plus 2 leaders, guides, porters etc..
Right at the end of the trip to Cameroon in April 2017, I had considered making a second trip – but different. This time it should be a real photography trip. As a ground agent I realized, that Jean-Pierre Somon (email@example.com) might be able to arrange the trip. I wanted to focus on 3 locations:
- Bakossi Mountains for the Mt. Kupe Bushshrike.
- Sanaga River for African Skimmer and Grey Pratincole
- Campo Ma’an NP for the Red-headed Picathartes or Grey-necked Rockfowl.
I opted for mainly camping in Campo-Ma’an-NP as well as in the Bakossi Mountains. For the birds of the Sanaga River I wanted definitely to take a boat in the early morning. Starting point: the Continue reading CAMEROON – a birding trip to south-western Cameroon
Ein frischer, sonniger Februarmorgen in den Bakossi Mountains. Nach einem erfolglosen ersten Tag auf Suche haben wir am Ende des 2. Tages dann insgesamt 7 Individuen des Halsbandwürgers (Telophorus kupeensis) „encountered“; davon 4 Sichtungen und 3 weitere Exemplare, die an anderer Stelle nur gehört wurden. Nach intensiver Suche am Morgen war endlich ein territoriales Paar des Halsbandwürgers (Telophorus kupeensis) – im englischen als Serle’s Bushshrike oder Mount Kupe Bushshrike bekannt – gefunden.
Die Vögel sind sogar recht niedrig im Waldinnern – schon fast im Unterholz –zu finden. Auf den (wenigen) Fotos, die in den Image-Datenbanken zu finden sind, wird dieser nur sehr lokal vorkommende Buschwürger nur im Kronendach im Gegenlicht wiedergegeben. Wir übersteigen Lianen und umgestürzte Baumstämme und stehen dann knapp unter der Oberkante eines Bergkamms. Etwas weiter unterhalb am Abhang treibt sich das Paar des Serle’s Bushshrike (Mount Kupe Bushshrike) in nicht mehr als 1 Meter Höhe im nicht zu dichten, aber moos- und flechtenbewachsenen Unterholz herum.
Zuvor war aber harte Arbeit zu erledigen. Die erste für den Halsbandwürger bekannte Stelle erweist sich als unergiebig. Wir laufen den immer enger werdenden Pfad weiter. Es ist nun 8:00 und sehr angenehm im Wald. Die Sonne bestrahlt schon die ersten Hänge. Am 2. Spot halten wir, um die Stimme des Halsbandwürgers abzuspielen und ihn vielleicht hervor zu locken. Dort hatte ihn der lokale Guide auf jeden Fall schon einige Male gesehen. Zuerst sehen wir aber wieder „nur“ einen Bergtrogon (Apaloderma vittatum), im dichten Blätterdach. Plötzlich: In weiter Ferne antwortet der Halsbandwürger mit seinen typischen rauchig-kratzigen Continue reading Mount Kupé Bushshrike – eine Erfolgsgeschichte
A fresh, sunny morning in the Bakossi Mountains. The initial stretches of the trail are even for a fairly distance, getting steeper and even insanely steep inside the core primary forest. The last patch we did inside primary forest before getting to one of the territorial spots of the Serle’s Bushshrike – better known as Mount Kupe Bushshrike (Telophorus kupeensis), we did not see especially many birds. It was a fairly quiet forest. Finally, we have found a territorial pair of Serle’s Bushshrike or Mount Kupe Bushshrike. The birds are even quite low to detect inside the forest – almost just above the undergrowth. We pass lianas and fallen tree trunks and then stand just below the top of a ridge. A little further down the slope, a couple of the Serle’s Bushshrike (Mount Kupe Bushshrike) cling to twigs and branches in a not too dense, but mossy and lichen-covered undergrowth. It is very similar to the habitat description “Primary forest with relatively open understorey, sometimes on steep hillsides; at 930-1550 m “, which is described in the Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Editions, Barcelona.
Obviously, the two birds have chosen a special place and perform something like a dance, which is only known to a few ornithologists and is very observable. Definitely a mating display; a reminiscence Continue reading The Mount Kupé Bushshrike in the Bakossi Mountains
Arriving from the Northern Extension of the Rockjumper Rainforest & Rockfowl 2017 – tour we were more than tired as we had arrived on a late flight from Garoua via Yaoundé. To postpone the breakfast to get some sleep was not advisable. The birds do not sleep during the day. And: the morning hours are the most productive. We had a very good breakfast and shortly later our Rainforest & Rockfowl started off with a visit to Mount Cameroon. We were delighted to have a beautiful morning, after heavy rain the previous night, and there was an excited buzz in the air for the anticipation of great birding which lay ahead. We were not to be disappointed and the forest was alive and active throughout the day but especially in the morning.
For 10 minutes we entered the vans to get the first kilometers uphill done before we saw the fields below Mount Cameroon in front of us. We then headed up the mountain on muddy – and in cases – some slippery trails. In comparison to other trails this route is not as steep and narrow. Fortunately the climate is more comfortable here than in the lowlands.
Right in the beginning we had several brown-headed beauties, which show well after a while. Behavior and my anticipation looked for Grey Apalis. But the chestnut-browns color of the head did not seem to fit the description of a grey-brown head. The „Field Guide to the Birds of Western Africa“ (Helm Field Guides) von Nik Borrow and Continue reading Mount Cameroon: a heaven for little birds