On February 5 David took off for the 17-hour collection of flights to Ghana for an eleven day trip. This was not the beginning of a new Jeepney Project (maybe later!), yet another trip that David chose in his constant efforts to see the coolest birds in the world. In this case, his goal was the Picathartes. On the Picathartes, David says:
One of the most fantastical and rare birds in the world: the yellow-headed Picathartes. Is this bird digital, rubber, a 4th dimensional cartoon on Elm Street?
This is a creature that the surrealists and situationists are sorry they never dreamed up. …the wonderous masterpiece of inventive biological assemblage: the Picathartes!
David sent us text messages during the trip. A digital diary, here are his notes and photos from the field.
February 7, 4:46am -
Early bird gets the worm in Ghana- 4:30am yesterday went birding for 2 hours and saw blue-bellied roller, bearded barbet, gray hornbill, splendid sunbird, and gree callitrax monkies. And Peter, three large cold excellent Star beers.
February 8, 3:33pm -
Smokey Sahara dusty skies in hot Ghana jungles. Yesterday we saw Huge herd of Kob and giant Olive Baboon slacking time away in a tree in Shai Hills. Also, incredible Violet Turaco’s.
And radical fashion meisters – White Hemet-Shrikes.
Today we went on the famed Kakum canopy walkway 120′ over the jungle.
February 8, 5:11pm-
Just took some nice clips of park naturalist Eric doing his spiel about the trees.
Just saw spot nosed monkey.
February 10, 10:51pm -
Yesterday we had another warm excellent jungle day. A couple highlights were the incredible black bee-eater (google this) and the elegant and striking rosy bee-eater. Later, we went down to Cape Coast to tour the famous monument to inhumanity: the Cape Coast Castle. More later on this but it has a similar impact as going to the National Holocaust Museum in DC.
Today was an epic day of thrills starting at 4:30 am and returning to our hotel at 9:30 pm. Green Turaco and White-spotted Flufftail ruled the day. We ended with a African Wood owl and then Star beer.
February 12, 3:27pm -
Ankasa National Park yesterday and today. Great Blue Turaco, Dwarf Crocodile, giant bamboo cathedral/ forest, fresh forest elephant scat covered with many colorful butter flies. Heard crowned eagle fly over us, and great Ghanian guides.
Forgot to mention moody Sahara dust storm skies/air.
Insane street market life/scenes. Ladies have fantastic colorful dress/textile clothing and carry everything on top of heads including ginormous basket of muti-colored brasiers.
February 13, 10:14pm -
Astonishing day at the Picathartes cave nest site. Four of these star trek-ish birds gave us a show for 30 minutes. I got photos and video clip. George got some great photos. Completely wondrous!!
BTW- no bugs But a coupla freaky hotels and then there was the hospital stop we had to do!
Did I mention that our guides are the best? James and his brother Isaac, and Kawawa are terrific.
See more great images of David’s trip.