Kampanti is a fairy tale setting of palms trees fringing rice fields just off the main road and holds a wealth of species. A recent trip found African Harrier Hawk, Marsh Harrier, Lizard Buzzard, Gabar Goshawk, Palm-nut and Hooded Vulture, Booted Eagle, Yellow-billed Kite and the beautiful African Hawk Eagle, many of which came down to drink in the receding pools barely 50 metres away. To add to this spectacle, Spur-winged Plover, Squacco and Black-headed Heron, Cattle Egret, Black Crake, Sacred Ibis, Grey Hornbill, Speckled Pigeon, Pearl-spotted Wood Dove, Piapiac and a dazzling African Golden Oriole, the group were reluctant to move on! Kampanti is a good 2 hour trip, one way, and could be considered as a day trip – though most include it on route to Tendaba.

African Hawk Eagle
African Hawk Eagle

Further stops travelling east gives the chance of Blue-cheeked Bee-eater(on the road less than 10 metres away during that same particular trip), Wood Sandpiper, Hammerkop, Tree Pipit, Collared Pratincole, Ringed Plover, Greenshank and the most “brilliantly yellow” Yellow Wagtails (flavissima) you could imagine.

Long-tailed and Great Cormorant are often seen on the Gambia River and Little Swifts swoop spectacularly around bridges at crossings. Hirundines are well represented throughout the region with Wire-tailed, Red-rumped, Red-chested and Barn Swallow all possible. Didric Cuckoo is often seen during the summer.

Another “half-way” destination is the Kaur Wetlands on the north side where Egyptian Plover can be seen from October to December. It is also the wintering ground for thousands of Collared Pratincoles. This is a truly unforgettable sight. Add to this Marsh Sandpiper, Black-winged and Northern Red Bishop, Western Banded Snake Eagle, Dark Chanting Goshawk, Chestnut-backed Sparrow Lark, Exclamatory Paradise Whydah, Green Wood Hoopoe and Carmine Bee-eater you soon learn that the entire region is indeed a bird watchers paradise.

Black Crowned Crane is becoming less common these days but reliable local information sometimes leads to this enigmatic species. In addition Pink-backed Pelican, Grasshopper Buzzard and White-backed Vulture are just a few of the temptations for going off road to visit a vast dry, open and rarely visited “wild west” habitat. Indeed, some “secret” destinations are held back simply to give an added element of surprise along this interesting route.