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Citizen Science and the Environment: A recount of the Jos Bird Club September 2020 Outing by Janet Faden

This month's location for birdwatching was the popular Sherre Hills in Jos North, we took the Eto Baba route leading to the Dam. The weather was great and the scenery breathtaking only if you keep your eyes on the mountains. Sad to see how one of the iconic tourist locations in Plateau State is fast becoming an eyesore, the place was littered with plastic bottles, nylon bags, empty cans, rags and so much more.

The route was quite busy with hikers, mountain climbers, joggers, morning walkers, etc, not ideal for birdwatching in my opinion. There was even a party going on with loud music in the middle of the forest by 8:00 am in the morning! (na wah, maybe I am too old to relate to this)

Thankfully the birds are still there adding aesthetic to the remarkable Sherre hills and streams. We saw lots of birds, personally I recorded 24 species, even though the total count at the end of the outing for the entire group was over 60 species.

The turn out for this month was good with 6 first-timers. Between 19 of us we came up with 6 birds of the day namely; 

- Common Bulbul

- Black-winged Bishop

-Vitelline-masked weaver

-Yellow-crowned Gonolek

-Snowy-crowned Robin-Chat

-Red-billed Firefinch

-African Blue Flycatcher

After deliberating, the African Blue Flycatcher (Elminia longicauda) was finally agreed upon to be the bird of the day.

The African blue flycatcher is a dainty, pale, bright blue flycatcher with a short crest and long, graduated tail. The entire upperparts and tail are bright blue, shading between blue and cyan, with black lores and black flight feathers, edged with blue, the underparts are greyish blue fading to whitish on the belly. The bill and legs are black. 

The song of the African blue flycatcher is a series of slow, rather random, and tuneless sibilant notes strung together in no particular order. Its natural habitats are moist lowland forests, mangrove forests, gallery forest, montane forests, gardens, wooded farmland, and moist savanna. _In short eh, e dey everywhere._ 

To round up the trip, Josiah Ibrahim an ornithologist working as a team member on the 'Birds of Africa' App, gave a short presentation. It was interactive as our questions on the App were answered shedding more light on it. Among the things we learned during his presentation were; Do you know that Nigeria has the highest number of bird species in Africa with 918 species? __As we plenty reach na so our birds follow plenty_ - Nigeria 👉🏾 giant of (birds) Africa wink

You can download the app on the google store to learn about birds at your convenience. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mountainhops.africa 

 

The situation in Nigeria is overbearing, being out in nature is therapeutic,  it will clear your head to think better as we struggle to make ends meet. _You cannot come and kill ya self,_ please join a Bird Club near you and enjoy this priceless experience for free. 

Article sent in by Janet Faden and edited by Kazeh Nanchin