Gambia Bird Watching – Beach & Sand Shore Birds
Jinack Island in The Gambia offers a diverse range of habitats for birdwatching, particularly along its beautiful beach and sand shore areas. The island’s geographical diversity and unspoiled beauty also provide opportunities for studying and researching other wildlife, flora, and fauna.
Sand Shoreline Bird Habitats
The sand shoreline between Barra and Buniada on Jinack Island features a well-defined dune system. A zone dominated by herbaceous vegetation extends inland for 10-15 meters, transitioning into an evergreen shrub zone backed by taller trees.
Moving further inland, there is a slightly lower, seasonally flooded strip. In the northern part of the island, this strip expands into a mosaic of shrub-fringed, seasonally flooded pans. The dune system consists of a stabilized front dune with vegetation such as Beach Morning Glory (Ipomoea pes-caprae), Cyperus maritimus, Seaside Purslane (Sesuvium portulacastrum), and Cenchrus biflorus.
Behind the front dune, there is a more species-rich belt with a mean height of 75cm, featuring species like Seaside Sword Bean (Canavalia rosea), Ipomoea stolonifera, Philozerus vermicularis, Merremia tridentate, Alternanthera maritime, Pergularia daemia, Star Thistle (Centaurea perrottetii), Cholris sp., Leptadenia hastate, and occasional Bell-flowered Mimosa (Dicrostachys glomerata) and Scaevola plumeri.
The evergreen shrub zone consists mainly of Confetti Tree (Maytenus senegalensis) and Scaevola plumeri. Other tree, shrub, and climber species found in this zone include Tamarisk, Senegal Lilac (Lonchocarpus sericeus), Gingerbread Plum (Parinari macrophylla), Macrosphyra longistyla, Cassytha filiformis, Capparis tomentosa, Bell-flowered Mimosa, Dalbergia ecasaphyllum, Capparis tomentosa, Chinese Date (Ziziphus mauritiana), Bitter Leaf (Vernonia colorata), Leptadenia hastate, Pergularia daemia, Burning Bush (Combretum paniculatum), West Indian Alder (Conocarpus erectus), Merremia aegyptia, and Tetracera alniflora.
Beach & Sand Shore Birds
The rich herb-layer along the beach and sand shore areas includes River Bean (Sesbania bispinosa), Ipomoea heterotricha, Ruspolia hypocrateriformis, Glory Lily (Gloriosa superba), Fireball Lily (Scadoxus multiflorus), African Arrowroot Lily (Tacca leontopetaloides), Asystasia gangetica, Amorphophallus aphyllus, Yellow Arum (A. flavovirens), Star Thistle (Tephrosia platycarpa), and Rattle Box (Crotalaria retusa).
The next zone is mainly dominated by Thirsty Thorn (Acacia seyal) trees, reaching a height of 7-8 meters. Baobab trees (Adansonia digitata) are scattered throughout this coastal zone. The parasitic Cassytha filiformis forms dense mats over some of the Acacia-Maytenus belt.
The seasonally flooded strip is dominated by Tamarisk, which reaches a height of around 4 meters, and is interspersed with abundant Hibiscus, Tiliaceus, Sporobulus spicatus, Rattle Box, and River Bean.
Gambia Bird Watching Holidays, Trips & Tours
To learn more about the birding and birdwatching opportunities available throughout the year, follow the provided link for a brief outline of the options.