Peregrine Bird Tours
Bird Tours
Peregrine Bird Tours

The Gambia Birdwatching Tour

The Gambia Birdwatching Tour
When: Sun 14 Oct - Wed 31 Oct 2018
Leaders: Chris Doughty and Yaya Barry
The Gambia Birdwatching Tour
Melbourne/Melbourne (18 Days) $8,750
Single Room Supplement $500
Ground Content (ex Accra) $6,650
In 1661 King Charles II of England commissioned a fort to be built at the mouth of the Gambia River, in present day Gambia. Adventurous Europeans soon followed, in the hope of amassing great personal fortunes, in their search for gold, ivory and slaves. We too will be searching for some of Africa's most prized possessions, but in the form of jewel-like kingfishers, dazzling bee-eaters and brightly coloured sunbirds. Gambia lies on the beautiful West African coast just north of the equator, and is situated on either side of the Gambia River, the nation's namesake, which flows westwards from the heat and dust of the dry interior, before emptying into the pounding surf of the Atlantic Ocean. It is a small, English-speaking enclave, almost completely surrounded by French-speaking Senegal. The hotels, swimming pools and cocktail bars of the coastal resorts, lie in stark contrast, to the simple village life, just a few kilometres inland. Gambia and Senegal share an exceptionally rich avifauna. Birds are abundant everywhere in Gambia and Senegal, and at this time of year, not only will we encounter a host of exciting West African residents, the local fauna is enriched by the presence of numerous winter visitors from Europe, who have to traverse the vast empty deserts of the Sahara, to winter in this tropical wonderland. We begin our West African adventure, with five days on the sunny Atlantic coast, visiting a wealth of great birding spots, all within easy reach of our comfortable hotel, with its inviting swimming pool and palm-fringed beach. Hooded Vulture, Wattled Lapwing, Northern Red-billed Hornbill, Bearded Barbet, Blue-bellied Roller, Piapiac and the superb Yellow-crowned Gonolek, are just a few of the abundance of birds, that await us. We then travel to the fabulous Saloum Delta, in Senegal, where we explore a huge area of mangroves, freshwater pools and savannah woodland. Here we will be concentrating on finding three localised, and rarely observed species of birds; the much sought-after White-crested Tiger-Heron, the secretive White-backed Night-Heron, and the attractive Four-banded Sandgrouse. Following our time in Senegal, we will travel 'up-river', staying in two different lodges, each located on the banks of the Gambia River. In this area we should be able to find one of the most handsome birds in Africa, the exquisitely-plumaged Egyptian Plover. We shall also enjoy a boat trip on the slowly flowing Gambia River, along with a couple of 'creek-crawls', travelling slowly through riparian mangroves by motorised pirogue, in search of African Finfoot and Pel's Fishing-Owl. Following the five nights 'up-river', we head back to the coast, where visits to Tujerengat and the wetlands at Kartong complete our stay. Kartong is one of Gambia's newest reserves, and provides us with the opportunity to search for Black Crowned Crane and Greater Painted-snipe.

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