Gambian Trip Report February 2019 by Lynn Sampson and Gabi Brierley

We were fortunate enough to go on three trips with Lamin K Njie in February 2019 and they all surpassed our expectations, we saw many more species than we expected to. Lamin is an excellent guide and has a huge knowledge of birds and the best sites to go to to find them, places we would never have found by ourselves.

Trip 1

Our first trip was to Abuko Nature Reserve. It was incredible there, we saw lots of new species including an Osprey, Palm Nut Vulture, high up Green and Violet Turacos, Squacco Heron, Red Colobus monkeys, Senegal Parrots, Swallow tailed bee eaters, Manakins, Lavendar Waxbills, Snowy Crowned Robin Chat, Black Crake, African Thrush, Pied Hornbill, Sacred Ibis, and even a brief view of baboons. We spent time at the lake at the hide, it it very beautiful and attracts lots of wildlife

Trip 2

Our second trip was to see owls and we went to several locations for this – Faraba, Bontu/Pirang Forest and Farasutu Forest. We saw five types of owl, 8 of them in total including a beautiful baby Verreaux’s Eagle Owl. The species we saw were Greyish Eagle owl, Verreauxs Eagle Owl, Pearl Spotted Owlet, African Wood Owl and a Northern White Faced Owl,

A great highlight of the trip was finding an African Pygmy Kingfisher (the bird I most wanted to see) in one of the forests, it stayed with us for 10 minutes allowing us to take many photos. We also saw our first Standard Winged Nightjar.

Another great part of this trip was when we went to an area where several water containers have been placed for the birds, we finally got great views of a Green Turaco there. There was a huge variety of smaller birds there too with
various weavers, honeyguides, bishops, waxbills, cordon bleus, fire finches, and sunbirds (including our first view of a Green Headed Sunbird). This was one of the highlights of my whole holiday.

Trip 3

Our third trip was to Kartong in the hope of seeing Carmine Bee Eaters which we had heard were there and of course Lamin found one for us amongst the many Blue Cheeked, it was stunning . On the way there we did various stops to search for other species. Lamin clearly knew lots of great areas to go to. We saw lots of different species including a Striped Kingfisher, Singing Cysticolas, plus other warblers, lots of sunbirds, both Bearded and Vieilliot Barbets, Yellow Crowned Gonoleks, Rose Ringed Parakeets, Rufus Crested Roller, as well as lots of Abyssinian and Blue Bellied. It was a great day!

I highly recommend Lamin and will definitely book more trips with him on my return to The Gambia.