Gambia Bird Watching – Beach & Sand Shore Birds
Multiple bird species and good birding can be found in the many different beach and sand shore habitats on Jinack Island in The Gambia. As well as bird watching, the geographical diversity and un-spoilt beauty of the Island provides special opportunities for the study and research of other wildlife, flora and fauna.
The sand shoreline between Barra and Buniada on the island of Jinack is backed by a clearly zoned dune system. A herbaceous dominated 27 zone extends inland for 10-15m where it is abruptly terminated by an evergreen shrub zone backed by a belt of taller trees.
Further inland from this belt, the ground dips slightly to a seasonally flooded strip. This varies in width and in the northern end of the island extends into a mosaic of shrub fringed, seasonally flooded pans. The clearly zoned dune system is comprised of the front dune, which is stabilized with Beach Morning Glory lpomea pes-caprae, Cyperus maritimus, Seaside Purslane Sesuvium portulacastrum and Cenchrus biflorus.
Behind this raised pioneer zone the same species occur in a more species-rich belt with a mean height of 75cm. Other species noted in this belt included Seaside Sword Bean Canavalia rosea, lpomoea stolonifera, Philozerus vermicularis, Merremia tridentate, Alternanthera maritime, Pergularia daemia, Star Thistle Centaurea perrottetii, Cholris sp., Leptadenia hastate and occasional Bell-floweded Mimosa Dicrostachys glomerata and Scaevola plumeri.
The evergreen shrub zone is comprised mainly of Confetti Tree Maytensus senegalensis and Scaevola plumeri. Other tree, shrub and climber species present in this zone include Tamarisk, Senegal Lilac Lonchcarpus sericeus, Gingerbread Plum Parinari macrophylla, Macrosphyra longistyla, Cassytha filimormis, Capparis tomentosa, Bell-flowered Mimosa, Dalbergia ecasaphyllum, Capparis tomentosa, Chinese Date Zizphus mauritiana, Bitter Leaf Vernonia colorata, Leptadenia hastate, Pergularia daemia, Burning Bush Combretum paniculatum, West Indian Alder Conocarpus erectus, Merremia aegyptia and Tetracera alniflora.
The rich herb-layer composes in the main River Bean Sesbania bispinosa, lpomoea heterotricha, Ruspolia hypocrateriformis, Glofy Lily Gloriosa superba, the locally common Fireball Lily Scadoxus multiflrus and African 28 Arrowoot Lily Tacca leontopetaloides, Asystasia gangetica, Amorphophallus aphyllus, Yellow Arum A. flavovirens, Star Thistle Tephrosia platycarpa and Rattle Box Crotalaria retusa.
The next zone consists mainly of Thirsty Thorn, Acacia seyal, and reaches a height of 7-8m. Baobaa trees Adansonia digitata occur singularly or in small copses throughout this coastal zone. The parasitic Cassytha filiformis forms dense mats over some of the Acacia-maytensus belt.
The seasonally flooded strip is dominated by tamarisk which reaches a height of around 4m and is interspersed with abundant Hibiscus, tiliaceus, Sporobulus spicatus, Rattle Box and River Bean.