Birdwatching with The Catts

We all know how much cats love to go birdwatching. But today we’re going to look at some different Catts.

Steve and Alison have been coming to The Gambia and Footsteps since 2014 and have returned 7 times now. Steve has turned his love for nature and wildlife from a hobby into a photography business. It’s for this reason they visit us in February so as to not interfere with the work he does in Kenya with All About Kenya Photography.

Before taking a look at his work from Gambia let me tell you a quick story from Steve and Alison’s very first visit.

Birdwatching has its dangers
Not as innocent as they look !

Pigs that chase Catts?

We’ve had some fun times with Steve and Alison. The team at Footsteps love them both dearly. I think mainly because they are so very down to earth, what you see is what you get. Alison mainly stays at the lodge with staff chatting over daily events while Steve is out photographing wildlife.

It was during their first visit to us in 2014 that Steve was out on one of his many walks. He got a little lost as the landscape can be difficult to recognise. It looks mostly the same, miles and miles of trees and bush. He describes his encounter as being a bit worrying! After coming face to face with a prize pig from the nearby Christian village. This pig thought it was a guard dog I think because it chased Steve across a field where after running like  Linford Christie he took refuge atop a termite hill. Describing his adventure upon his return was just hysterical. We are so glad he lived to tell the tale and his passion for birdwatching and wildlife photography has led to their return year on year. We are just happy his brush with danger hasn’t put him off. Now, let’s see some of his work!

Abyssinian roller.

The Abyssinian roller or Senegal roller is a member of the roller family and breeds across tropical Africa in a belt south of the Sahara, known as the Sahel. 

At nearly the size of a jackdaw  it quite a BIG BIRD at approximately 30 cm long.

You will find them perching in the trees or on posts and overhead wires.

This is where they wait for the small rodents and large insects that they feed on. 

They will fly into a forest fire for fleeing rodents. Fearless birds, they will dive and roll at intruders and have been known to attack people too.

In direct flight, The Abyssinian roller is so beautiful. Its wings are bright blue and are a striking contrast to its brown back and its long tail. Its call is more of a screech and sound like Aaargh.

Abyssinian roller | Birdwatching with Steve Catt
Abyssinian roller.

White helmetshrike

White helmet shrike as the name suggests is part of the shrike family.

A medium-sized bird at approximately 25cm you will find them in groups, often noisy and in trees with thick foliage.

Sometimes called the White Crested helmet shrike because of the males crested forehead. the crest measures about 45mm and looks like a punk hairdo.

This species has a varied repertoire of calls which include clicks, bill-snapping, growling, dry rattles, chattering, whistling and even buzzing.

White helmetshrike | Birding with Steve Catt
White helmetshrike

Red-bellied Paradise flycatcher

The Red-bellied Paradise flycatcher also known as the Black-headed Paradise flycatcher, is a member of the monarch flycatchers.

The male bird is about 17 cm long and a tail with streamers almost twice the length of his body.

He has a black head and a chestnut orange body with black and white bars on his wings.

The Red-bellied Paradise flycatcher is a noisy bird with a shrill call that sounds like Zweet.

See some great birdwatching video footage of his very close relative ” The African paradise flycatcher” making its nest which was taken at Footsteps this year in June.

Red-bellied Paradise flycatcher
Red-bellied Paradise flycatcher

If you would like to see more of Steve’s work there is a brand new website coming very soon and to make sure you don’t miss it why not join his army of fans on Facebook.

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