“Accosted and Stranded, Yet Happy: A Memorable Weekend in the Marble City”

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In March of 2021, the Nigeria Bird Atlas Project’s South West Atlas Team (N-SWAT) selected Igbeti, a stunning marble city in Oyo State, as their hub for birdwatching activities. The team included Mr Taiwo Adams and the narrator, both of whom live in Ibadan, and Shukurah Alabi from Abeokuta. They gathered at the Ojoo Park in Ibadan and embarked on their adventure in a Peugeot space wagon.

We faced a delay in reaching Igbeti due to the construction of the Oyo-Ogbomosho expressway. However, we finally reached our destination, which stunned us with its beautiful scenic views of rocks and nature.

 

Upon arrival at the hotel, the group opted to try out the nearby food options. However, they discovered that the surrounding area was largely dominated by the Fulani community and became concerned about the possibility of experiencing digestive problems during their upcoming bird survey. As a result, they decided to play it safe and settled for a meal of bread and fried eggs. During their meal, they had the opportunity to engage in a fascinating conversation with a multitasking Fulani man.

The bird atlas survey commenced early the next day, splitting the group into two teams to cover separate pentads. However, we encountered transportation difficulties en route to Agbona, a community situated in one of the pentads, and inadvertently trespassed into the Old Oyo National Park. This led to a tense confrontation with park rangers, but the sighting of a rare Brown Snake Eagle boosted our morale.

Upon arrival at the Sooro Ranger Barrack, the interactions between the group and the rangers improved when they discovered a connection through the narrator’s university department. Afterwards, they were directed to the Sooro community where they waited for transportation back to Igbeti. While there, they enjoyed birdwatching and recorded species such as the Malachite Kingfisher, Violet Turaco, and African Golden Oriole.

 

After returning to Igbeti, we shared their experiences with Mr Taiwo Adams and decided to further explore the city. We went on a hike around a nearby rock, spotting more birds and capturing moments on camera.

The next day, we set out to atlas new pentads before finally heading back to Ibadan, concluding our long weekend in the marble city. Despite the challenges we faced with transportation and the encounter with the park rangers, the team remained happy and fulfilled, cherishing the new bird species they recorded and the unforgettable adventures they experienced in Igbeti.

 

Narrator: Nathaniel Owolawi

Edited by Kazeh Nanchin.

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