Birthday in Gambia

Celebrating my “significant” birthday at Footsteps.

Birthday in Gambia | When my wife Sue, asked me whether I would like to have a party or go away for my 60th birthday, I replied without any hesitation, that I would like to spend it in The Gambia and more specifically at Footsteps Eco lodge. As things turned out I also had a fantastic party at our local pub before flying out to The Gambia for wildlife watching by day and protracted celebrations during the evenings.

Gambia activities | Birding Gambia
Crimson Sunbird

My Big Day

So, the big day arrived and we left Footsteps with local guides for a full and very productive day’s birding at a selection of the less well-known sites. Some difficult to find species such as White-spotted Flufftail and Brown-necked Parrots were spotted taking us to a total of 85 species of bird that day along with some interesting reptiles including a Skink and Monitor Lizards. Back at Footsteps, we got great views of Pygmy Kingfisher and Red-bellied Paradise Flycatcher as well as frequent glimpses of an African Goshawk.

See a list of birds Steve Keightley and myself compiled back in 2014 here

That evening we had a great party at Footsteps joined by the many friends that I have made in The Gambia on my previous nine trips. David had laid on a Cora player and who serenaded us whilst we enjoyed drinks on what turned out to be one of the hottest evenings of that season. We then enjoyed a veritable banquet organised by Sue, David and Footsteps talented chefs. The final course was my birthday cake; a delicious chocolate cake that became known as the chocolate puddle cake as it began melting before our eyes in the forty-plus degrees of heat that evening!

Kora music
The sounds of Gambia
birthday in Gambia
Ians carving

Some lovely memories

I really did not expect any more presents, but David presented me with a magnificent carving that “Six Fingers” had made of a Heron feeding its chick, made from one piece of wood. Heather had painted me a lovely picture in The Gambian style and Colin and Binta Cross donated a day’s guided birding at Kartong Bird Observatory, which on the day included a lot of beer!

Needless to say, the day after my birthday was spent chilling out around the lodge and nearby forests nursing a bit of a sore head.

I think of The Gambia as my second home and I can’t wait for November when we go back and stay at Footsteps again.

Ian Misselbrook

September 2017.

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