Sunday, 12 July 2009

Best of the rest, Northern Cameroon Part 2

To describe Northern Cameroon as dusty would be an under statement! Never before has a camera been cleaned so many times ridding the sensor of dust particles and general grot. The long drive to the ranch was made worse by the main highway 'we're driving on it in the photo above' being uneven, dusty, busy, and the main road South to Yaounde! As we were travelling in convoy the rear vehicle got the lions share of the dust and certainly made for an uncomfortable journey despite the A/C working overtime.
Atmospheric it may be but imagine living here it you had a dust allergy?
Finally, the entrance to Narnia, Ngaoundaba Ranch a wonderful name and worthy of a high score on scrabble. Only 3 more km! Fortunately the track to the ranch was bird heaven and once on site at the famous Ng............... ranch Andy announced our presence to the avian gods in order that we would be treated well and ticking like Bustards!

The nights out from the ranch on the approach road were simply mega and we were treated to mind boggling views of a corking fully standarded up Male Standard winged Nightjar...........What a bird! In flight these were superb.
Standard winged less Nightjar!
The icing on the proverbial birding cake............BROWN CHESTED LAPWING. Having missed out on them before in Africa I was over the dust covered moon with delight at seeing a pair of these sought after waders after 3 days of trying and an entire afternoon devoted to finding a pair we found them not more than 200m from whee we parked the car for our nocturnal foray.........where were they hiding all that time?
White collared Starling , aka Ousel Starling another speciality of the area.
African Palm Swift, enabled me to test my avian flight shots skills..... better than nothing anyway!
Another Brucie bonus at night, Temminck's Courser, a one shot wonder that didn't like the camera flash
White-crested Helmet Shrike, common but mega
A cattle rancher wanders the dusty landscape, a Lapwing free zone
Bamenda Apalis, a really rare bird and a little corker that sang away at the tops of the trees and showed well through the scope.Endangered and very localised
Another top bird and a great bird of spotting by Bionic eyed Kennewell, Brown-rumped Bunting another highly sought after bird for the list and a well deserved find after many hours wandering around.

The camouflaged ranch vehicle enabling one to approach Giraffes closely for that ultimate views, shame there's no Giraffes around! Note the dust covered tyres and carefully painted bodywork. With Northern Cameroon drawing to a close we had a long train journey ahead of us to Yaounde and Southern Cameroon, complete with new habitats, a new family 'we hope' and some truly mythical highly endangered avian beauties.

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