Gabon Birding( are you interested ?)

Subject: Gabon Birding( are you interested ?)
From: "Rodney Cassidy" <>
Date: Wed, 07 Jun 2000 20:19:20 SAST
This is a report I Have just posted on our local bird net here in South Africa and might Interest some aus birders

Having just returned from a trip to Gabon I would just
like to report on a little known area in the south of
the country.The coast of Gabon is characterized by a
Maze huge lagoons and rivers, access is limited to
flying in and boat travel and accommodations are very
In the 5 days I had there I had little time for
extensive birding however still managed to tally over
100 species of bird, 15 species of mammal and 3
species of crocodile.
I visited an area Called Iguela in the south of the
I flew in to a place called Ombue and was met at the
airport by a  fisherman friend who has a camp at
A two hour drive on an old landrover through forest
and savanna mosaic found us at his camp on the
shores of a huge lagoon.Birds seen on route Included
White-throated Blue-swallow, Hundreds of Grey-rumped
Swallows with hardly any grey on the rump. African
Crakes, and  Black-rumped Button-quails.
Day 2:walked in the forest and savannah in the early
morning and saw several species including Thousands of
African-grey Parrots, Yellow-billed Turaco, Great-blue
Turaco, Blue-headed Coucal, Carmalite Sunbird,
Red-Rumped Tinker-bird
Departed up the lagoon by boat with 2 guides at around
10 AM we travelled for about 90 minutes up the lagoon
at speed, as I wanted to get into the river systems.
The lagoons are suprisingly poor for birds and very
little was seen on this leg.
Then we headed up this really interesting river.the
first 20 or so KMs was mixed palm forest and papyrus
swamp.We had great views of Sititunga and forest
buffalo along this stretch.the next forty or so KMs
the vegetation develops into great swamp and drier
forests on the banks.we had great veiws of elephant
here with one animal crossing this river right in
front of the boat with just its trunk sticking out of
the water.We also saw Manatee here.
Birds on the river included Shining-blue kingfisher,
Cassins Grey-flycatcher Swamp-palm Bulbul,Lesser
Gallinule,Pink-backed Pelican, and Black Casqued
We set camp about 40KM up this river.
The next 3 days were spent do a recce for some up
comming trips. A lot of time was spent just hiking
some very overgrown trails and following the small
rivers by pirogue as far as we could.
On one trail I walked through great rain forest for
about 8 Kms, heard chimpanzees and found gorilla
tracks, good birding including;blue breasted and
chocolate backed kingfisher, white crested and white
thighed hornbills,spotted honeyguide,congo serpant
eagle,black headed and rosy bee-eaters, blue headed
wood dove, and a number of greenbulls.
In the evenings I went out by pirogue with a spot
light looking for nocturnal animals, Gavial, African
Dwarf Crocodile and Nile Crocodiles were seen in
numbers, as well as roosts of Hornbills and African
Grey Parrots,mammals like Sititunga and Elephant,
but overall the night trips were dissapointing as i
believe the rivers were far to high and would be more
productive in the hight of the dry season.
On the last day I hiked a trail though rain forest for
6KMs to the beach.I had a  Landrover there to meet us
with ice cold beer(Its a tough life)
this reletively unknown birding region is really worth
more exploration and I will be returning to it soon
and will keep you  informed

Rod Cassidy

Birding and Eco-tours in the Afrotropics.

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