The Leconi Hotel, our base for the area.
How we got around.
The whole town was in decay. Once a prosperous place
but frequent incursions by armed groups
made investment unwise.
Flew from Libreville to Franceville on 15th August & drove to Leconi, our base for the next four nights. The hotel left a lot to be desired but apparently was the only one in town!
We are in Central Africa & in savanna! Amazing!
Looking deeper into the national park.
A real mosaic of different habitats.
This extreme south-east corner of Gabon is a finger of savanna which just touches this area. It also has extensive miombo type woodland & extensive grasslands, which are unique in this part of the world.
Glen & David, enjoying the ride!
Shrub-like miombo woodland dotted the landscape.
Rarely seen, never mind photographed!
Malbrandt's (Rufous naped )Lark.
Birding in a patch of gallery forest.
A rarely photographed species.
Why Keith, why?
We drove out every day exploring a variety of habitats in the Bateke Plateau, part of the forthcoming national park. However access into this remote area is not yet possible & we just nibbled around the edges. Birding was quite superb & a whole host of rare & exciting species were added:
Finch’s Francolin; White bellied Bustard; Black rumped Buttonquail; Olive Long-tailed Cuckoo; Fiery-necked, Swamp & Long-tailed Nightjars; Black-headed & Black Bee-eaters; Black-backed Barbet; Angolan & Western Black-headed Batis; Bocage’s Bush shrike; Souza’s Shrike; White-winged Black Tit; Rufous naped Lark of the Malbrandt’s type (formerly a separate species); Black collared Bulbul; Red capped Crombec; Salvardori’s Eremomela; Violet backed Hyliota; Sooty & Congo Moor Chats; Black chinned Weaver & Black throated Canary.
We also explored an area of lowland forest about an hour from Leconi. This proved to be a superb birding area, revealing some fantastic species:
Common in this forest.
Displaying over the road.
It is not often that you see
Thick-billed Cuckoo like this!
Fraser's Forest Flycatcher.
Congo Serpent Eagle; Red necked Buzzard; Afep Pigeon; Blue-headed Wood Dove; Yellow throated Cuckoo; Red billed Dwarf Hornbill; Grey throated, Bristle Nosed, Naked faced, Yellow spotted & Hairy-breasted Barbets; Speckled, Red rumped, Yellow-throated & Yellow rumped Tinkerbirds; Gabon & Elliot’s Woodpeckers; Fiery-breasted Bushshrike; Red eyed Puffback; Lowland Sooty Boubou; Blue Cuckooshrike; Western Nicator; Red throated Cliff Swallow; Fraser’s Forest Flycatcher; Sooty Flycatcher; Cassin’s Malimbe; Pale fronted Negrita; Black bellied Seedcracker & Long-legged Pipit.
By now my main camera was not working & a big thank you to Keith Wiggers; Glen Valentine & David Hoddinott for letting me post their great photos to fill in the blanks. A huge thank you guys!