Ghana, West Africa

16 to 24 November 2013 with Naturetrek and Ashanti African Tours

All photographs copyright Paul Gale Bird Photography :

Ghana is on the southern coast of west Africa and has a range of different habitats which support a diverse bird life including both endemics and migrants. With six species of bee-eater and eight hornbills together with barbets and sunbirds, this trip was full of new birds for me. The ornithological highlight was watching the Yellow-headed Picathates coming in to roost. This involved an exciting one hour's walk along a narrow path through dense, undisturbed rainforest. The picathartes nest on a small rock face on the top of a forested peak. I was delighted to get the opportunity to video one of the birds as it sat on a branch preening. This trip was in November, and during the day we experienced little or no rain, except for a massive downpour on the way back to Accra on the very last day. Of great interest to me was to see some of our European breeding birds at their wintering sites in Ghana. These included Wood Warbler in the forest canopy, Whinchat and European Bee-eater on the savanah shrubs with Barn Swallow and Common Swift overhead. We also saw an Osprey, Purple Heron and several waders including Greenshank and Grey Plover which breed in Europe. While many of the forest birds are difficult to locate without the excellent skills of our guides, William and Andrew, the diversity and abundance of butterflies is obvious. Some settle for a brief moment allowing photographic opportunity but many of the larger butterflies do not land, flying past at great speed. Against the wooded background, flight photography of butterflies is virtually impossible as picking the butterfly up in the camera as it darts around and then focussing on it cannot be achieved simultaneously. Although I was primarily focusing on birds, I managed to get many butterfly photographs simply because they landed in front of me. On the way back to Accra there were thousands of Straw-coloured Fruit Bats in flight probably due to very heavy rain. As a rule, I don't photograph people, but I wish I had some pictures of the locals. They dress so smartly and look so elegant in their colourful clothes. Also they manage to balance many goods including fruits and drinks in baskets on their heads. This requires good posture. From Cape Coast, several Caspian Terns flew past during lunch.

Birds of Ghana

Buy this painting to raise money to support conservation of the Yellow-headed Picathartes in Ghana Butterflies of Ghana
Mammals of Ghana Reptiles and Amphibians in Ghana Habitats in Ghana

The Moon is right overhead in Ghana at midnight, reflecting its latitude near to the Equator. These photos were taken early morning.

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