Trip report: The Gambia (Nov 2017) by Tropical Birding

Guided by Alan Davies and Iain Campbell.

We arrived in the capital of The Gambia, Banjul, early evening just as the light was fading. Our flight in from the UK was delayed so no time for any real birding on this first day of our “Chilled Birding Tour”. Our local guide Tijan and our ground crew met us at the airport. We piled into Tijan’s well used minibus as Little Swifts and Yellow-billed Kites flew above us.

A short drive took us to our lovely small boutique hotel complete with pool and lovely private gardens, we were going to enjoy staying here. Having settled in we all met up for a pre-dinner drink in the warmth of an African evening. The food was delicious, and we chatted excitedly about the birds that lay ahead on this nine-day trip to The Gambia, the first time in West Africa for all our guests.

At first light we were exploring the gardens of the hotel and enjoying the warmth after leaving the chilly UK behind. Both Red-eyed and Laughing Doves were easy to see and a flash of colour announced the arrival of our first Beautiful Sunbird, this tiny gem certainly lived up to its name! A bird flew in landing in a fig tree and again our jaws dropped, a Yellow-crowned Gonolek what a beauty! Shocking red below, black above with a daffodil yellow crown, we were loving Gambian birds already. The colourful species kept coming with White-crowned Robin-chat closely followed by an equally stunning Snowy-crowned Robin-chat both really gorgeous birds. We had to force ourselves to the breakfast table to enjoy a lovely selection of fruit and cooked food. But the birding didn’t stop as a pair of Red-necked Falcons tore through the garden hunting as a tag-team chasing an African Palm Swift around the swimming pool, breath-taking stuff! (read more by clicking the link below)

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