Monday 23 December 2013

GHANA - The North

The great thing about visiting the northern part of Ghana is that it makes a great break from forest birding and there are some great birds to be found in this drier savanah region. Mole NP (pronounced Moll-ay) is a great base to be. The park was set aside as a wildlife refuge in 1958 and in 1971 the small human population of the area was relocated and the associated land was designated a national park. The park has not seen major development as a tourist location since its original designation and it is a great birding area. The only hotel in the park is perched high on a rocky escarpment, overlooking a small wetland where Elephants and other mammals such as Kob, Waterbuck and the beautiful Bushbuck as well as plenty of birds regularly visit. Therefore, birding starts literally right outside your hotel room and when it gets seriously hot in the middle of the day, you can even relax in the swimming pool as Bateleurs and other raptors glide overhead! Night birding is also great with Standard-winged Nightjar, Greyish Eagle Owl and White-faced Owls and Genet can often be found.

Greyish Eagle Owl - One of many sightings during our time in Mole NP

White-crested Helmetshrike - Stunning birds!

Forbes's Plover - A tricky species to find in Africa and much rarer than the similar and more widely distributed Three-banded Plover

Abyssinian Roller - very common around Mole NP

African Cuckoo - note the large yellow base to lower mandible compared to "our" Cuckoo

Standard-winged Nightjar - this male was a surprise find during the day near Tono Dam

Hammerkop - a species so synonymous with Sub-Saharan Africa

Bateleur - one of the most distinctive of all Africa's birds of prey

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