Bund Road and Camalou Corner
The Bund Road is another well-known area of The Gambia, which runs along the south side of the country's capital Banjul. But before we visited this site we had to drive through the capital, stop at what seemed to be a random place, walk down an alley filled with wood-workers and out onto the south beach of the mouth of the River Gambia. Why did we do this? Our exact question. Standing on the beach we had the answer: the river mouth is good for wintering skuas (jaegers). We had very close views of two Arctic Skuas (Parasitic Jaeger) and three Pomarine Skuas plus literally hundreds of Black Terns, a lone Slender-billed Gull and Lesser Black-backed Gull and two Royal Terns. Everyone was impressed by the skuas and some even bought a tee-shirt from the local sellers that had come to see if there was a business opportunity.
So, to the Bund Road proper. One side borders a sea littered with old wrecked boats. It does have a tidal sandy beach which attracts waders and gulls and terns. The telegraph wires are known for Blue-cheeked Bee-eater (we had four) and there's some mangroves about too. The beach held a flock of 19 Little Stints and the usual gulls and terns. Visibility wasn't too good due to the position of the sun. The mangrove-sided stream held 50+ Pink-backed Pelicans and Long-tailed Cormorants.
A short drive on we parked by some houses and entered a narrow alley. Eighteen people with optics carefully walking down a narrow alley, over old bits of wood and trying to avoid slipping into the open sewer that ran down the alley! An interesting experience – no-one fell in! Why were we risking ourselves like this? This is the only path to a tidal area which might hold good birds. Once we had cleared the nearby rubbish dump we marched across the flats to where the tidal water was. We had seen Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters at Lamin Lodge but rather distantly. Here we had them flying overhead and sitting on nearby bushes – ace views of excellent birds. Also here we had White and Yellow Wagtails, 10 Pied Avocets, Common Redshank and Black-winged Stilts.
Last stop of the day was Camalou Corner, an area of mangroves and open water and a place where heron-type birds come to roost. We had four Squacco Herons, a juvenile Purple Heron, Grey Heron, two Black-crowned Night-herons and a lot of distant white egrets. A new bird was added to the list when a flock of nine Sacred Ibis flew in later followed by another six. Finally we had our first African Darter aiming for the other birds roosting in the distance.