BONPO MARSH – PIRANG SHRIMP FARM - FARA BANTA TRACK
As the tour approaches its end we now struggle to see new species so we have to target specific areas to find them. Today we set off to the southeast to a small marsh area in the hope of finding Yellow-throated Longclaw. We walked through very boggy areas without success but we did find a Yellow-mantled Widowbird a very good bird for our tally. A Goliath Heron was another good find along with several other ‘nice to look at birds’ such as Northern Red-bishop, we also found two species of Cisticola, Zitting and Black-backed and a brightly coloured Yellow Wagtail. Our raptor-watchers enjoyed great views of Grey Kestrel and Long-crested Eagle.
As we were very close to Pirang Shrimp farm we decided to make a quick visit there. A while back you were able to walk around the huge pools there but now you are restricted to looking into the farm from a dirt track, nevertheless the pools were covered in birds and it was great birding.
A channel ran along one side of the track whilst a mangrove swamp was on the other. The channel held several species including a Green Sandpiper which some of the group hadn’t caught up with yet. The sky was full of swifts and swallows: Mosque, Red-chested and Wire-tailed Swallows with Palm and Little Swifts. Both the Malachite and the Pied Kingfisher were present.
It was the main pools that held masses of birds, there was gulls, terns, egrets, herons, pelicans and storks. Also many waders and a few ducks, two good sightings were African Spoonbill (we had only seen this species in flight up until now) and Eurasian Spoonbill a new bird for the trip.
|Masked (Vitelline) Weaver|
After our visit to Pirang we spent the rest of the day at the Fara Banta Bush Track. First we had our picnic lunch a the make-shift shelter then we spent almost 3 hours in the new bird hide erected close to a couple of purpose built watering troughs, just for the birds. It was amazing there, constant bird activity and over 20 species coming to drink. We particularly wanted to see Black-faced Firefinch but that little blighter (which had been seen already that morning) failed to turn up!
A Pygmy Kingfisher was delightful, it perched very close to the hide and made several dash-and-splash soiree’s into the drinking troughs.
Another nice bird to see was the Red-winged Pytilia we had had scant views of this bird at Tendaba but now we had them in full view and very close. The Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-Weaver also delighted the group, a superbly marked bird and called ‘Weaver’ because of the its nest building method.
At 4pm we decided to go in search of the elusive Firefinch but after an hours in the afternoon sunshine we failed to find one, we enjoyed the time though seeing many other species. We ended the day with only two new species, I said it was going to be tough!