Saturday, 4 August 2012

Nimule road

Birding proved quite a challenge this morning, with many birds being heard rather than seen. I went with Andrew and Lesley a short distance along the Nimule road, from where we turned off right, ending up by the Kit river, about 5 kms east of where it reaches the White Nile.

One highlight was the concentration of Black-winged Red Bishops, with many of the males now in full breeding plumage. There were far fewer Northern Red Bishops, much the commoner species north of Juba in wetter areas, and only one Black Bishop. Other good birds included Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Black-bellied Bustard, Levaillant's Cuckoo, Fawn-breasted Waxbill, Vitelline Masked Weaver, African Moustached Warbler, Tropical Boubou (heard only), Lesser Blue-eared Starling, Cardinal Quelea (only my second record for the Juba area), and Swallow-tailed Bee-eater. Cisticolas were very vocal and conspicuous: Rattling, Singing, Red-pate, Croaking, Foxy and Siffling.  The last-named is clearly quite common - now that I have got to know the song.

Remarkably, there were two more male White-winged Widowbirds - a new species for South Sudan I found last week about 15 kms away from today's sites.  There must be a reasonable chance that they are breeding.

Black-winged Red Bishops

Black-winged Red Bishops

Black-bellied Bustard

Flappet Lark

Levaillant's Cuckoo

Cardinal Quelea, male in breeding plumage

Cardinal Quelea, male in breeding plumage

Below, for comparison, is a photo of the very similar male Red-headed Quelea.  Note that the red does not come so far down onto the breast.  This species also has more extensive red on the back of the head.

Male Red-headed Quelea

There was another excellent mammal sighting today, with several small groups of monkeys.  Andrew identified these as Red Patas Monkeys.

Red Patas Monkeys

We saw very few birds of prey: one Bateleur and two Dark Chanting-Goshawks.  The usual Hooded Vultures were circling over Juba and there was a pair of Common Kestrels near Acacia Village.

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