Tiny grains of sand whirl up. The wind on the southern coast of Sri Lanka is very decent again. There is sand and salt in the air. The combination of wind, sand drifts and blazing sun does not allow many visitors to enjoy the beautiful beach just 100 meters from the hotel in the dunes. First, we walk past a few smooth rocks to the south, between limestone boulders, half standing in the sea. Some limicoles can be seen. A narrow, gray bird crouched next to a rock in the sand catches the eye. With its pale, sandy gray overall appearance and it black rump, the bird can hardly be distinguished from its background of stones, rocks and sand. Only the black beak with a hint of red at the base and the white eye ring are noticeable from a closer distance.
It is a single Little Pratincole or Small Pratincole (Glareola lactea). The Pratincole is really beautiful to see and can also be photographed at eye level. I crouch in the sand to photograph the bird at the same level. The Small Pratincole has chosen a place on dry land but not far from the wet beach. What the bird does in the hot wasteland is not clear. There is also a Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos). Some Greater Sand-Plover (Charadrius leschenaultii) can be seen on a dune as well. At first I had seen at least 5 Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres) on one of the rocks, which are occasionally wetted by breakwaters. For such a barren coastal landscape, there is a surprising number of birds. In the end, the Little Pratincole flies up, but only to sit down again after a few meters. This time it is standing on a rounded rock. I continue to walk north. Only a Greater Sand-Plover can be seen here.
Breeding is reported from India and Sri Lanka. But the bird is locally migratory, depending on water levels of rivers, but present in many Continue reading Small Pratincole at Yala NP beach/ Sri Lankas
Winzige Sandkörner wirbeln hoch. An der Südküste Sri Lankas windet es schon wieder sehr anständig. Sand und Salz liegt in der Luft. Die Kombination aus Wind, Sandverwehungen und praller Sonne läßt nicht viele Besucher den schönen Strand nur 100 Meter vom Hotel in den Dünen entfernt, genießen. Zuerst geht es an ein paar glattgeschliffenen Felsen vorbei nach Süden, Zwischen dicken Felsblöcken, halb im Meer stehend, sind einige Limikolen zu sehen. Direkt ins Auge fällt ein schmaler, grauer geduckt neben einem Felsen im Sand stehender Vogel auf. Der Vogel ist mit seinem blassen, sandigen Grau und dem schwarzen Hinterteil nur wenig von seinem Hintergrund aus Steinen, Felsen und Sand zu unterscheiden. Einzig der schwarze Schnabel mit dem Anflug von Rot an der Basis und der weiße Augenring fallen aus näherer Distanz auf.
Es ist eine einzelne Sandbrachschwalbe (Glareola lactea), die wirklich wunderschön zu sehen und auch auf gleicher Höhe zu fotografieren ist. Um sie auf gleicher Höhe zu fotografieren hocke ich mich in den Sand. Sie hat sich einen Platz auf dem Trockenen ausgesucht. Was sie in der heißen Ödnis macht, ist nicht klar. Daneben steht auch ein Flußuferläufer (Actitis hypoleucos). Auf einer Kante sind einige Wüstenregenpfeifer (Charadrius leschenaultii) zu sehen. Zuerst hatte ich mindestens 5 Steinwälzer (Arenaria interpres) auf einem der Felsen, die von Zeit zu Zeit von Wellenbrechern benetzt werden, gesehen. Für so eine – auf den ersten Blick – karge Küstenlandschaft sind das doch erstaunlich viele Vögel. Schließlich fliegt die Sandbrachschwalbe auf, doch nach wenigen Metern nimmt sie Platz – diesmal auf einem rundrückigen Felsen. Ich laufe noch weiter nach Continue reading Sandbrachschwalbe im Süden Sri Lankas
The sun was already up and shining. The mighty Sanaga River laid in beautiful light in front of us. A small wooden boat was hired for this morning to pick us up at a sand pit at the shore of the river for a morning trip on the water. When we arrived, nobody was there. But some more minutes later we saw two guys heavily paddling a small canoe down river. We embarked the canoe only minutes later and started the trip. Large sandbanks in the middle of the river were our first stop. Eventually we made our way down the river to some more matured sandbank, which has become well vegetated islands. The banks of these islands were quite steep and the water in front so deep that the driver of the canoe could not fix the boat with his long wooden stick. Maneuvering the boat with the paddles against the currents, I saw a typical weaver nest hanging less than half a meter above water level on reed. I tried to tape the Orange Weaver (Ploceus aurantius) with its call. Only a fraction of time, a small yellow bird with an orange wash on the head and breast appeared: the male of the Orange Weaver. What a bird!
The Orange Weaver was one of the highlights on a Rockjumper trip in April 2017. But at that time we saw 3 birds on our final birding Continue reading Orange Weaver near nest on Sanaga River
The black eyestripe which curves down behind the eye, the light chestnut nape, and the white supercilium features a small beauty: the Grey Pratincole (Glareola cinerea). Add a light grey for the upperparts and a white rump with a black tail you are ready with the ID.
The excursion to the Sanaga River in the South Province, Cameroon was the target of my last birding part during a trip in February. We departed from the nice Hostelerie de la Sangha in Edea. At least close to Douala it is easiest here to pick up Grey Pratincole and the African Skimmer (Rynchops flavirostris). Additionally, Preuss’s Swallow (Hirundo preussi) and some waders were present as well. Coming from Douala we just passed the center of Edea and just after the second large bridge over the river take the first tarmac road left which goes to Dizangue. Soon it becomes a dirt road and after about 10 km from the turnoff the road comes close to the river.
The large sandbanks in the middle of the river were our first stop. We found the African Skimmers and the Grey Pratincoles immediately. Senegal Thick-knee (Burhinus senegalensis), Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia), Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos), Little Stint (Calidris minuta), several Kentish (Snowy) Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus) were present in low numbers as Continue reading Grey Pratincole at Sanaga River/ Cameroon
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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