Thursday 26 January 2017

Ghana Day 3, Journey to Kakum NP

Took a leisurely journey west today stopping at Winneba Plains, Cape Coast Lagoons, arrived at Han Cottage Botel and then did some night birding around Brimsu Reservoir.

From top down: White-throated Bee-eater, Yellow-billed Kite, African Hobby, Lesser Black-winged Lapwing, Long-tailed Cormorant, Plain-backed Pipit, African Pygmy Goose and Long-tailed Nightjar.

Ghana Day 2 Shai Hills

Spent this morning in the Shai Hills and on the way back to Afia Beach we popped into Sakumono Lagoon again. Here's a few picture highlights:

Olive Baboon - a good population in Shai Hills Reserve
Female Kob, Shai Hills
Mauretanian Tomb Bat- a colony at Shai Hills. Also passed a colony of Straw-coloured Fruit Bats in Accra.
Pied Kingfisher at Sakumono
Grey Hornbill
Piping Hornbill- an ususual find at Shai Hills
Grey-backed Camaroptera
Viellot's Barbet
Yellow-throated Longclaw
African Monarch

Large garnet minerals in most of the rocks at Shai Hills. The geology is composed of garnet gneiss- a distinctive wavy pattern rock.

Team 2017

Tuesday 24 January 2017

Ghana Day 1 Sakumono Lagoon and Afia Beach

First day on another trip to Ghana (2013 trip report HERE). Targeting some new areas this time and concentrating in the forests in the south and west. Today Jaff and I were waiting for the other trip members so had a look round Sakumono Lagoon and did some seawatching off Afia Beach. 
E-bird list for Sakumono HERE. Additionally had Royal Terns, Pomarine Skuas (2+) and Arctic Skuas (10+) off Afia Beach. 

 Wattled Lapwing
 Spur-winged Lapwing and Greenshank 
 Double-toothed Barbet 
 Yellow-crowned Gonolek 
 Collared Pratincole 
 Cattle Egrets 
 Talapia and Banku. Good to be back on the local food. So far had Red-red and fried Plantain and Ocra stew with banku. Will try and get some Fufu tomorrow. 
 Afia Beach Hotel- our digs for next couple of days 
Afia Beach- complete with feral pig. 

Sunday 22 January 2017

The Night the Moon Fell on my Council Estate

 I was late for my community meeting, wasn't too fussed because it's usually boring.
But tonight was not quite the same, I looked up in the sky because I thought I felt rain.
But the moon was out and at an alarming rate was falling to earth towards my council estate.

And the moon fell onto my council estate, took off the roof made of sustainable slate off the community centre only built last year,
with money from the Olympics and the Mayor but that was history now it all came crashing down onto the heads of the Zumba crowd
and the Jelly Bellies they all fled over the bodies of the Zumba dead
and the community forum in the room next door, they hit the deck when they heard the noise and the antagonistic mean old man he blamed the mess on the council man,
and neighbourhood watch got onto their feet, hands on their hips with rolled up sleeves they said
'This is what we've been watching for, the end of the world or another war' but their voices were drowned out by the Pentecosts, singing the Old Rugged Cross
and the Yoga Teacher was shocked and stunned because the moon just missed her while she was chanting UM,
and the Pilate girls were very sad because the moon had killed the only man in their class, he wore tights but that didn't mean he didn't have a right to life

And the ambulance arrived, they beat the police to the line and the firemen next arrived followed by the media guys
and the news said that night, that change had come to all our lives and this had happened where I live where nothing happens and noone gives a second thought but on this night we were the stars and moon that shine in the papers the next day, basking in our time of fame

And in the memory of the Zumba dead, we laid flowers and we built a shed, for the local biodiversity group who later won the Sutton in Bloom and nothing in my life would be the same if it wasn't for the night the moon crashed onto my social housing estate

(The Pentecosts take it away) On a hill far away stood the old rugged cross, where my saviour did die so my sins could be washed away
Zumba dead, Zumba dead, Zumba dead, Zumba dead, Zumba dead.


A very nice day out today at Rainham with Sue and Tomos.



 Cetti's Warbler
The Thames 

Thursday 19 January 2017

A few bits from last few days

Interesting looking Herring Gull with quite a few features recalling American Herring Gull 

Presumably something from Iceland? Maybe a few AMHG genes in there? Maybe a LBB with a pale inner primary window? Hybrid Herring x LBB perhaps? 
An interesting looking Herring Gull with a few Thayer's Gull like features 

Presumably a Herring Gull with maybe some white-winger genes in there? Too pale on the upper parts for Argie. The p9 is a pretty nice 'Thayeri' pattern. 
An interesting Black-headed Gull 
A Black Swan and a White Swan 

 A first-winter Caspian Gull 
 Last Friday Dave, Christian, Magnus and myself set up a new ringing area on 100 acre 

The chimneys are going on. Met up with the site ecologist last week- basically sounds like Viridor are kicking the can down the road with the wet grassland which we suspected they would do despite their promises and events in the summer which we suspected we were being taken for a ride with. We did everything to keep things friendly and amicable. The campaign needs to step up now as we've only got two years or less before 100 acre and south east corner dry out leaving us with no wetland habitat for the breeding Lapwings. Basically its all out war now until they meet the s106 conditions, back to Plan A:  PLAN A