Restircted Section Overall Winner 2017 Tony Fullford
Four-banded Sandgrouse at dusk, Jali Quarry waterhole, Kiang West, The Gambia, 18th Nov 2017.
Rode NT1a pair to Sound Devices MIXPRE3 Four-banded Sandgrouse are scattered in pairs across the bush during the day. After sunset they take to the air calling to one another, gathering in large flocks to visit waterholes. Several hundred birds visit the Jali Quarry pond nightly at this time of year for about 15-20minutes just as darkness falls. On this recording the last few birds are heard fly off, leaving the night to the insects and the observer asking, “Did that really happen?”
I chose their leaving since there are fewer birds (at their peak they produce a deafening “wall of sound”). Also, as they leave they can be heard making all three of their main calls: the loud trilling whistle, a soft bubbling sound made whilst on the ground and “plip-plip-plip-plip-plip” uttered as they fly off. I hope the recording captures something of the excitement of this extraordinary phenomenon.
Four-banded Sandgrouse at dusk, Jali Quarry waterhole, Kiang West, The Gambia