Sunday, 6 May 2012

Nimule road trip

Yesterday was a last chance to do some local birding before departing South Sudan for three weeks' leave.  I went along the Nimule road about 15 kms, partly to check if Palearctic migrants were still coming through.  Apart from a very distant flock of what were possibly Alpine Swifts, I saw no such species. 

The highlight, if you can call it that, was a new species for me, Pennant-winged Nightjar.  Unfortunately it was 'roadkill' so I cannot tick it.  From the photos, it seems to be an young male starting its moult into breeding plumage, though the spectacular elongated 9th primaries have not yet replaced the juvenile feathers. I suspect that the species is quite common and will look out for it when I return.

Pennant-winged Nightar, sadly deceased

Other species included a flock of three rather shy Sun Larks, a species I've seldom encountered here, and a rare sighting of two very mobile Green-backed Eremomelas, which I failed to photograph. 

Sun Lark

Then the rain came on, perhaps the heaviest yet this year, and I retreated to Juba.  In three weeks' time the weavers and bishops will no doubt be developing breeding plumage, whilst the already wet bushland will be becoming hard to walk through as the grass grows high and dense.