Two bird species, new to Gambia

This is a video of a European robin.

From Foroyaa newspaper (Serrekunda, Gambia):

Gambia: Two New Species of Birds Spotted

1 April 2008

Lamin Jobaate

A team of bird Experts from the West African Bird Study Association (WABSA), have confirmed the presence of two new species in the Gambia at Atlantic Hotel bird garden. They are Mr Lamin Jobaate, the Executive Director, Mr Solomon Jallow, the president and Mr Sering D Bojang of WABSA.

On the 14 of February 2008, a Grayish Eagle owl (Bubo cinerascens), made its third appearance in the hotel garden, 4 days later i.e. the 18th of February an unusual species was also sighted in silhouette. Mr Jobaate alerted some of the bird photographers in the hotel, to keep an eye on an unusual species in the garden. On the 24th of February, Mr Chris Bowman, made a first picture of the bird and it happened to be a European Robin (Erithacus rubecula). Mr Jobaate then called Mr Jallow and Mr Bojang to come and see the wonderful discovery in the Atlantic Hotel bird garden. On the 25th of February, they both were present in the garden and luckily for them the two species were seen and were confirmed.

We look at the behaviour of the Robin to check whether it appeared that it was caged and brought to The Gambia, but according to our own observation the bird may not have been caged, as it behave very elusive, not approachable. Although these might not be a sufficient justification, because according to some of the guests in the hotel from UK, Robins are territorial and normally visit gardens and get closer to search for worms when people are digging their gardens, and at times they can even stand on their working tools in the garden. …

First recorded in The Gambia, nearest place of records is Mauritania.

A team of volunteer ringers have just returned from their third trip to Kartong Bird Observatory, The Gambia, in an attempt to gain more knowledge on our European passerines and gain more information on African birds: here.

Addressing climate change and exchange of experiences at key sites for migratory birds and people in Mauritania: here.


6 thoughts on “Two bird species, new to Gambia

  1. Administrator on November 24, 2008 at 5:26 pm said:

    Gambia: Chimpanzees Bring Solar Power to Three More Schools and a Clinic in CRR

    The Daily Observer (Banjul)

    24 November 2008
    Posted to the web 24 November 2008

    Strange but true. Thanks to the chimpanzees of the Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Association (CRA) the Kudang and Sinchugundu Lower Basic Schools in CRR were both recently equipped with solar powered lighting and the facility to power laptop computers and printers.

    And again thanks to the chimps, the CRA’s clinic in Sambel Kunda also has solar power for lighting and refrigeration for storing medicines. One of the most remote schools in CRR, Sambel Kunda Lower Basic, was equipped with solar power last year and now has access to the internet. The chimps of the CRA, on the islands of the River Gambia National Park, really were responsible for powering up these three schools.

    True enough, the chimps were not there working with screw drivers and hammers wiring up the control panels to the batteries – but they would have been very useful in helping to secure the solar panels to the roof! It is the very fact that the chimps are there on the islands that is behind the development leading to the electrification of the schools.

    The late Dr Stella Brewer Marsden OBE was responsible for setting up the CRA chimp project almost 40 years ago and was, until her untimely death in January this year, responsible for its funding, management and ensuring its continued success. It is now Africa’s longest running chimp rehab project and, with more than 80 chimps, perhaps the third or fourth largest.

    It is certainly the most successful to date. Dr Stella was always focused on the long term welfare and protection of the CRA chimps and their RGNP home. However she was one of the first to become aware that sustainable wildlife conservation in poor, rural communities would only work in a development framework that really benefited the local community.

    She called it her holistic approach to conservation; it is an approach that is now recognised and implemented internationally. Dr Stella became involved with the Sambel Kunda Lower Basic School at a time when there were only two teachers and a roll of around 90 children and when closure loomed.

    There are now 14 teachers and around 430 children on the roll with more than 250 children currently sponsored through the CRA’s school sponsorship scheme. There are 80 children in the nursery classes for which CRA provides all the teachers.

    After completing Grade 6 at Sambel Kunda school children move to various secondary schools in CRR and many continue to be sponsored by the CRA. Sambel Kunda school now has six new classrooms and a headmaster’s office thanks to Future in Our Hands (a Swedish NGO) succumbing to Dr Stella’s lobbying.

    There is also a small library which was both built and stocked with a wide range of books by the second Gambia-Glasgow University Expedition. Glasgow University Expedition has partnered CRA for three years undertaking a variety of social and scientific programmes in the areas near the national park.

    The school has solar power which lights one large class room, the headmaster’s office and also powers a laptop computer and a printer. Providing and installing this solar power was the work of undergraduates and post-grads from Strathclyde University, Glasgow, Scotland.

    And thanks to Gamtel setting up an Airspan phone system in the village internet access is available from the headmaster’s office. All this in one of Gambia’s remotest schools.

    As Mr Musa Darboe, Head Master, Sambel Kunda School puts it:

    “The installation of this solar has a great impact not only on the children but the community at large. With the introduction of light the teachers conduct night classes for the children and the teachers who are undergoing training. It also helps to solve the problem of buying candles for children to study at night.

    They did not only put light but provided an inverter to provide electricity for a computer, printer, video and television for educational purposes. With the installation of this equipment children in these schools really know the importance of technology.

    They were just hearing about solar but now they see it physically. These installations by Strathclyde are so important because it is one of the ways to improve education in the Gambia, especially in the local communities where there is no electricity. The importance of their work cannot be underestimated.”

    Strathclyde University learnt of the CRA and its development work through Fintry School, also from near Glasgow. Fintry School had taken a serious interest in the Sambel school following a BBC Scotland documentary made about the Gambia Horse and Donkey Association’s (GHAD) work.

    GHAD was set up by Dr Stella and her sister, Heather Armstrong. It helps farmers and their equines increase their productivity and so improve farmer incomes whilst at the same time giving the animals a better quality and longer working life. A win win situation for farmers and their animals.

    Mr Darboe also has this to say about the involvement of the Gambia Horse & Donkey Association (GHAD) in the schools of the area: “GHAD visit Cluster 4 schools of Bantantu, Mamud Fana, Njie Kunda, Sotokoi, Kudang, Sinchugundo and Sambel Kunda where you have the HQ in the village.

    The purpose of the visits is to teach the school children how to care for the family animals particularly the donkeys. It is known that these animals do not last long in the Gambia. With the help of the GHAD set up by the late Dr Stella & her sister, Heather, the animals in Niamina East can work harder and last much longer and because of the teaching and the help with medicines. In 2007 they treated over 6,000 horses and donkeys.”

    The ripple effect of connected developments, although on a micro-scale, can be seen in the above story. From Dr Stella Brewer Marsden’s long standing core concern for the CRA chimps and their national park home, which spread to the local school children and then on to their farming families to BBC Scotland – from there to Fintry Primary School and their involvement with teacher training; then Glasgow University via their world renowned school of veterinary medicine and then out to Strathclyde University and their installation of solar power. Who knows how far and to where the ripples might eventually reach?


  2. Administrator on March 23, 2009 at 10:32 pm said:

    Gambia: Protect Our Forest

    23 March 2009

    Timber trade is increasingly becoming a lucrative venture.

    Each time one walks along the streets, one is bound to see one or two trucks carrying timber heading towards various destinations. It is no crime to venture into a trade that is legal, but it is important for those involved in such a business to overlook profit and consider the repercussions of deforestation on the society.

    Forests have a huge impact on the environment. The trees help in balancing the oxygen-carbon dioxide concentration by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen.

    Forests contribute in regulating temperature, they regulate the distribution of rainfall. Trees impede the velocity of run-off on the soil surface, thwarting soil erosion and landslides, thereby reducing possibilities of flooding. The leaves that fall on the forest ground act as nutrient sources that increase soil fertility.

    The forests also offer shelter against adverse environmental conditions and for diverse forms of wildlife. Moreover, forests are significant not just ecologically but also economically. Firewood, commercial timber, gums, raisins, medicine, and other products for industrial use are obtained from the forest.

    Those who are in the trade must recognize these facts in their struggle to maximize the business. Indiscriminate felling of trees and conversion of forest-lands into agricultural fields, industrialisation, mining, and overgrazing by domestic animals are all contributing factors to the loss of this exhaustible natural resource, as they lead to loss of biodiversity. Many species of plants and animals are already extinct. Others are also fading away, due to the loss of habitat. There is also the loss of essential medicinal herbs. Other major impacts include soil erosion, flooding, and desertification.

    Furthermore and very importantly, the degradation of the forest results to the decrease in the amount of rainfall we receive. Rainfall is the only way of replenishing our natural water resources, and trees determine the rainfall in a particular region. If they no longer exist, drought sets in, bringing with it its own set of problems. In fact, we should pay greater attention to this reality as our country is agriculture-dependent and lies in the Sahel region.

    The department of state responsible for Forestry should put in place stringent measures to monitor those it licenses to venture into the log trade to ensure that they operate on the basis of good practice. The forest is a principal determiner of our lives. We must therefore never construct its destruction.

    Read comments. Write your own.

    Copyright © 2009 The Daily Observer.


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