Trip Report São Tomé, Principe, Tinhosas 12

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Trip Report São Tomé, Principe, Tinhosas 12
Trip Report São Tomé, Principe, Tinhosas
12th September 2014 - 4th October 2014
Bostrychia olivacea bocagei, mud on the bill, Monte Carmo, 14th September 2014 (c) Alain Jortay
By Alain Jortay, Waremme (Belgium) e-mail; alain.jortay at skynet.be
1
CONTENT
1
INTRODUCTION ............................................................................................................................................................... 3
2
ENDEMIC TAXA, TARGETS AND MISSED TAXA .................................................................................................... 4
2.1
2.2
3
Targets and endemic taxa.............................................................................................................4
Missed taxa ....................................................................................................................................5
AVAILABLE DOCUMENTATION .................................................................................................................................. 6
3.1
3.2
3.3
3.4
Trip reports ...................................................................................................................................6
Global documentation on São Tomé & Principe.......................................................................7
Scientific papers ............................................................................................................................7
Species accounts ............................................................................................................................7
3.4.1 Endangered birds, including Bostrychia olivacea bocagei ............................................................................................ 7
3.4.2 Lanius newtoni.............................................................................................................................................................. 8
3.4.3 Neospiza concolor......................................................................................................................................................... 9
3.4.4 Turdus xanthorhynchus................................................................................................................................................. 9
3.4.5 Amaurocichla bocagii ................................................................................................................................................... 9
3.4.6 Nectarinia olivacea ....................................................................................................................................................... 9
3.5
3.6
Calls and songs ..............................................................................................................................9
Bird guide books............................................................................................................................9
4
PHOTOGRAPHIC MATERIAL ..................................................................................................................................... 10
5
LOCATIONS ..................................................................................................................................................................... 11
6
FLIGHTS ........................................................................................................................................................................... 17
7
TRANSPORTATION ....................................................................................................................................................... 19
8
ACCOMMODATION ....................................................................................................................................................... 20
8.1
8.2
8.3
8.4
Jalé Ecolodge (Porto – Alegre 4 nights) ....................................................................................20
Roça São João (Los São João dos Angolares - 4 nights) ..........................................................21
Ponta do Sol ( Principe - 7 nights) .............................................................................................22
Casa R&A Restaurante Cabeleirero Gelateria (São Tomé City - 5 nights) .........................23
9
BUDGET ............................................................................................................................................................................ 24
10
HEALTH AND SAFETY .................................................................................................................................................. 24
11
VISA ................................................................................................................................................................................... 25
12
MONEY .............................................................................................................................................................................. 25
13
LANGUAGE ...................................................................................................................................................................... 25
14
CONTACTS ....................................................................................................................................................................... 25
15
ADVISE FOR FUTURE TRIPS ...................................................................................................................................... 26
16
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS .............................................................................................................................................. 27
17
DAILY LOG ...................................................................................................................................................................... 28
18
LIST OF BIRDS ................................................................................................................................................................ 50
19
LIST OF MAMMALS ...................................................................................................................................................... 64
2
1 Introduction
I birded the São Tomé and Principe islands from13th September 2014 to 4th October 2014. I enjoyed the
trip, the country, the sceneries and the birds seen. The first purpose of this report is to publish which birds
I saw during these 3 weeks. Additionally, since very few birders visit these islands, there are only a few
reports available on the subject. I have included details of the trip, such as locations and organization. I
hope that it will be useful for others birders planning birding trips to São Tomé and Principe, as it will
provide updated or new information. My intention is not to write a guide, and I tried to exclude any
repetition of elsewhere available information. You can complete your information with the documents
listed in part 3, “Available Documentation”.
My idea to visit the São Tomé and Principe islands was born a long time ago, after reading travel reports
and talking with birders coming back from the islands. But how and when to go? If you look the planning
of commercial organized trips, very few are targeting São Tomé e Principe exclusively, most of them are
linked to Gabon or are too much expensive, some are cancelled, and many fail to find species important
to me.
Among the species that can be seen in these islands, my top priority was the Bocage’s Ibis. Indeed, my
objective to see the complete family of Ibisses – Threskiornithidae. Consequently, I didn’t want to miss
the Bocage’s Ibis, as some birding trips do, even if this Ibis is not a species in some lists (Clements, that I
use…). Furthermore, I didn’t want to miss the Newton’s Fiscal either, with his strange habitat, nor the
Grosbeak, or the Principe Trush (OK, you got me, I don’t want to miss any species actually…). So, if you
don’t want to risk missing too many species, the only way to go is to plan a trip longer than the usual
ones. So, in 2014, I decided to stop waiting and just go. Timing was not ideal: I was not free until midSeptember, which meant I would be exposed to (still bigger) rains.
I finally made up my mind and decided to go on my own. I booked my flight, planning to spend 3 weeks
on the islands, including one week in Principe. I then began to search for the needed accommodations and
excursions. The following strategy was finalized:
-
First step would be the south-west, I would do some acclimatization in pleasant place and beach,
using the services from NGO MARAPA to go to Xufe-Xufe area;
-
As Roça São João was the only one local hotel not far from Monte Carmo responding to my
emails and organizing excursions, I used it as a base for a few days, going to Monte Carmo;
-
Back to São Tomé city, I would go to Lagoa Amelia for instance, or to the north savannahs;
-
Exploring Principe from Roça Ponta do Sol, as this place is one of the few in Principe able to
organize excursions;
-
Back to São Tomé city, 3 days just in case, to rest or to search missed species. If all my targets
have been reached, it is always possible to rest a few days on a beach, doing snorkeling…
Three weeks were not too much, as:
-
3
I was not able to organize directly from Belgium some camping in the Park, but without camping,
you lose hours every time to reach the Park and need more days to bird the more interesting parts;
it’s particularly an issue for the ridges habitat of the Newton’s Fiscal;
-
The heavy rains made some days fruitless, or painful; I had to rest 2 times after some forests
explorations, especially because I hurt my feet (full wet shoes during a whole day walking in
difficult paths…).
2 Endemic taxa, targets and missed taxa
2.1
Targets and endemic taxa
The main target of the trip was indeed São Tomé Olive Ibis, as I try to complete the Ibises Family. The
species is not split by Clements, but seems different enough to deserve a trip by itself. Others important
targets were São Tomé Fiscal Shrike first, São Tomé Grosbeak and Principe Thrush. Last but not least, as
many islands endemic species and taxa as possible (if not all, you can always dream …).
I follow the last version of Clements (2014) for the lists below..
São Tomé Endemic Species (17):
Maroon Pigeon
Forest Dove
São Tomé Green-Pigeon
São Tomé Scops-Owl
Newton's Fiscal
São Tomé Oriole
São Tomé Paradise-Flycatcher
São Tomé Prinia
Black-capped Speirops
São Tomé White-eye
São Tomé Thrush
Newton's Sunbird
São Tomé Sunbird
São Tomé Short-tail
São Tomé Grosbeak
Giant Weaver
São Tomé Weaver
Columba thomensis
Columba simplex
Treron sanctithomae
Otus hartlaubi
Lanius newtoni
Oriolus crassirostris
Terpsiphone atrochalybeia
Prinia molleri
Zosterops lugubris
Zosterops feae
Turdus olivaceofuscus
Anabathmis newtonii
Dreptes thomensis (= Giant Sunbird)
Amaurocichla bocagii
Neospiza concolor
Ploceus grandis
Ploceus sanctithomae
Principe Endemic Species (7):
Dohrn's Thrush-Babbler
Principe Speirops
Principe White-eye
Principe Thrush
Principe Glossy-Starling
Principe Sunbird
Principe Golden-Weaver
Sylvia dohrni
Zosterops leucophoeus
Zosterops ficedulinus
Turdus xanthorhynchus
Lamprotornis ornatus
Anabathmis hartlaubii
Ploceus princeps
São Tomé and Principe Endemic Species (2):
São Tomé Spinetail
Zoonavena thomensis
Principe Seedeater
Serinus rufobrunneus
Gulf of Guinea Endemic Species (1):
São Tomé Pigeon
Columba malherbii
São Tomé Endemic Subspecies (5):
Corythornis cristatus thomensis
4
Coturnix delegorguei histrionica
Serinus rufobrunneus thomensis
Tyto alba thomensis
Bostrychia olivacea bocagei (= Bocage’s Ibis)
Principe Endemic Subspecies (7):
Bostrychia olivacea rothschildi
Columba larvata principalis
Halcyon malimbica dryas
formerly São Tomé too
Dicrurus modestus modestus
Corythornis cristatus nais
Serinus rufobrunneus rufobrunneus
Serinus rufobrunneus fradei
Halcyon malimbica dryas still exists - possibly – on São Tomé (see Malimbus 36: 116-117).
Gulf of Guinea Endemic Subspecies (2):
Chrysococcyx cupreus insularum
Cyanomitra obscura obscura
Additionnal endemic – unknow taxa (1):
Principe Scops Owl Otus sp. (not described)
See Martim Melo and Martin Dallimer (2009): “Is there an undiscovered endemic scops owl Otus sp.
on Príncipe Island?”, Malimbus 31: 99-115. Downloadable from Malimbus website.
2.2
Missed taxa
Most targets were reached, but I missed one species:

Principe White-eye Zosterops ficedulinus
Because of the rains, I wat not able to reach the places where the species can still be seen in Principe (a
trek to Pico Papagaio was planned but cancelled).
I missed the 4 following taxa as well:




Bostrychia olivacea rothschildi: seems to be extinct (not found by Baillie in 1999 - see report in
3.1);
Principe Scops Owl Otus sp: camping expedition would probably have required like M.Melo and
M. Dallimer’s (2009); they did not saw it;
Chrysococcyx cupreus insularum: only heard, but I didn’t use recordings;
Serinus rufobrunneus fradei: exits only on Bone de Jókei Island, not far from the coast of Principe
Island, where I didn’t go.
Small island of Bone de Jókei (Jockey cup) 26th September 2014 (c) Alain Jortay
5
3 Available documentation
3.1
Trip reports
Since there are not so many birding reports for the São Tomé and Principe islands, I think I managed to
read all of them – all of the available ones, at least. Many of them were written by main birding
companies guides (Birding Africa, Birdquest, Tropical Birding, Rockjumper). If you don’t want to read
all of them, here is my short list:
6

Birder's Guide to São Tomé and Príncipe: 1991 by David SERGEANT (one of the very few
reports from independent birders, a pioneering work, very complete including an ornithological
history, but the country has changed since…);

GABON, São Tomé & Principe 9-29 November, 2003 by Nigel WHEATLEY, edited and
expanded by Jon HORNBUCKLE (information about the island);

One month in the Forest of Principe by Jonathan BAILLIE http://www.ggcg.st/jon_principe.htm ;

São Tomé and Principe Gulf of Guinea island endemics A Tropical Birding Set Departure Tour
23rd – 30th July 2010 by Christian BOIX (one of the few reports with all São Tomé endemic
species seen; includes a Monte Carmo 2 nights camping);

Gabon, São Tomé & Principe 4 – 26 July 2013 by N. BORROW (Birdquest) (one of the few
including sighting of Principe Trush);

Gabon, Sao Tome & Principe Trip Report 1st to 26th August 2014 David HODDINOT
(Rockjumper) (including sighting of Principe Trush and Principe White-Eye) (not available at the
time I was planning the trip).
3.2
Global documentation on São Tomé & Principe
I used 2 books to prepare the trip (though I didn’t take them with me to the islands):

São Tomé and Principe (Bradt Travel Guide) 2008 by Kathleen Becker

Gabon São Tomé et Principe, Petit Futé, 2014 (in french).
You can find useful information on the African Bird Club website :
http://www.africanbirdclub.org/countries/Sao-Tome-e-Principe/introduction
And in the following paper:
Endemism gone wild by Martim Melo & Peter Ryan AFRICA Birds and Birding April-May 2012:32-41.
http://www.fitzpatrick.uct.ac.za/africa_birds/ABB17%282%2932-41.pdf
3.3
Scientific papers
DALIMER M. & KING T. (2007): Habitat preferences of the forest birds on the island of Prıncipe, Gulf
of Guinea, Afr. J. Ecol., 46, 258–266.
OLMOS F. & TURSHAK L.G. (2010) Birds observations from São Tomé : Monte Carmo as a priority
conservation site Bull. ABC Vol. 17:23-25.
Simon Valle, Nuno Barros, & Ross M. Wanless (2014) Status and trends of the seabirds breeding at
Tinhosa Grande Island, São Tomé e Príncipe
http://www.birdlife.org/sites/default/files/attachments/Status_and_trends_of_the_seabirds_breeding_at_T
inhosa_Grande_Island_São_Tomé_e_Principe_BIformat_mar2014.pdf
3.4
Species accounts
3.4.1 Endangered birds, including Bostrychia olivacea bocagei
As many birds of São Tomé are currently (heavily for some of them) threatened, every birdwatcher or
photograph has to take into account the safety and the quietness of the birds, the habitats, for example, are
a priority to be respected by everyone, which I did my utmost best to do. As the country is poor, and the
habitats threatened, it seems that encouraging birdwatchers to come visit the country will contribute to the
birds conservation. It’s the reason why I want to communicate the precise locations of the birds in the
present report. For all species, others precise locations are still published in scientific papers available on
internet.
7
Obô National Park gate, 22th September 2014 (c) Alain Jortay
See the Birdlife site with very complete information species accounts about (CR) São Tomé Fiscal
Lanius newtoni, (CR) Dwarf Olive Ibis Bostrychia bocagei, (CR) São Tomé
Grosbeak Neospiza concolor, (CR) Principe Thrush Turdus xanthorhynchus…
In BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas and Species factsheets. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org
Other interesting documentation about the most threatened species (downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org.):
BirdLife International (2014): International Action Plan for conservation of Critically Endangered birds
on São Tomé 2014-2018 Dwarf Olive Ibis (Bostrychia bocagei) São Tomé Fiscal (Lanius newtoni), São
Tomé Grosbeak (Neospiza concolor).
Emergency action to halt threats to Critically Endangered birds of São Tomé Final Project Report to the
AAGE V. JENSEN Charity foundation Report Period: January to December 2012.
3.4.2 Lanius newtoni
SCHOLLAERT V. & WILLEM G. (2001) A new site for Newton's Fiscal Lanius newtoni Bull. ABC
Vol. 8:21-22.
8
3.4.3 Neospiza concolor
DALIMER M., KING T. & LEITAO P. (2003) New records of São Tomé Grosbeak Neospiza concolor
Bull. ABC Vol. 10:23-25.
3.4.4 Turdus xanthorhynchus
DALIMER M. & KING T. (2007): Low altitude sightings of the Gulf of Guinea Thrush Turdus
olivaceofuscus xanthorhynchus on Príncipe Island, Malimbus 30: 77-81. Downloadable from Malimbus
website. http://malimbus.free.fr/shortcut.htm
MELO M. & alii (2010), Multiple lines of evidence support the recognition of a very rare bird species:
The Principe Trush, Journ. Of Zoology (182):120-129
http://people.ds.cam.ac.uk/cns26/njc/Papers/Principe_thrush_species.pdf
3.4.5 Amaurocichla bocagii
ECCLES S.D. (1988): The Birds of São Tomé record of a visit, april 1997 with notes of the rediscovery
of Bocage’s Longbill, Malimbus 10: 207-217. Downloadable from Malimbus website.
http://malimbus.free.fr/shortcut.htm
DALIMER M., KING T. & ATKINSON R. (2003): A high altitude sighting of the São Tomé Short-tail
Amaurocichla bocagei, Malimbus 25: 101-103. Downloadable from Malimbus website.
http://malimbus.free.fr/shortcut.htm
3.4.6 Nectarinia olivacea
TYE A. & MACAULAY L.R. (1988): The races of Olive Sunbird Nectarinia olivacea on the Gulf of
Guinea Islands, Malimbus 14: 65-66. Downloadable from Malimbus website.
http://malimbus.free.fr/shortcut.htm
3.5
Calls and songs
You can obtain a near complete set of recordings for the São Tomé endemic species (but not the
Principe’s: Principe’s Trush, Principe White-Eye) by combining the 2 following sources:
-
XENO-Canto site http://www.xeno-canto.org/
Claude CHAPPUIS work (on CD’s) on West African birds. http://seofalauda.wix.com/seof#!lescd-audio/c4a
3.6
Bird guide books
To travel as light as possible (I have done some road birding with my back pack), I have decided to travel
with a colour photocopy of 3 plates (endemic birds) of my book:
-
Borrow, N. & Demey, R. 2004. Birds of western Africa. Christopher Helm, London.
It’s enough for identification purposes if you still have a background knowledge of African birds, herons,
waders, sea birds. But you lack the text (habitat, …). I have taken with me prints of some papers listed
higher.
I didn’t buy the 2 following books:
9
-
Christy, P. & Clarke, W. V. 1998. Guide des Oiseaux de São Tomé et Principe. ECOFAC, São
Tomé .
-
The Birds of São Tomé e Principe As Aves de São Tomé e Principe: A Photo Guide Um Guia
Fotografico (Paperback)(English / Portuguese)– 2009 By Fabio Olmos & A.P. Leventis
I had the opportunity to have a look at the second one in Principe, it can be a good buy to complete the
available information (species accounts) and to have a support to discuss birds with Portuguese speaking
people.
4 Photographic material
I don’t usually take pictures. I have taken with me a SONY Bridge (DSC HX 400V) with 50 X zoom.
Pictures token with this camera will illustrate the report.
View from São Joachim, Principe, 29th September 2014 (c) Alain Jortay
10
5 Locations
This very interesting map from Birdlife (2014) shows know territories for 3 critically endangered species:
all of them are at one (or nearly one) walking day from human activities, but the central part of National
Park (dark green) seems empty, partially unexplored. These rare endemic birds are now restricted to the
most inaccessible part of the island! Efforts of birdwatchers to see these birds will imply to reach
undisturbed parts of the primary forests. Reaching these parts require some efforts, and camping 1 or 2
night is the best option.
Many birdwatchers are going to the same sites, mainly Lagoa Amelia and Monte Carmo. But other
possibilities exist. After some researches and some talks with A. ALBERTO, the table below present the
synthesis of my knowledge.
11
Newton' Sao Tome Bocage's Maroon
Fiscal
Grosbeak Ibis
Pigeon
From North to South
Lagoa Amelia
Bom Successo/Esperanza
Ana de Chaves river
Val di Formosa
Maria Fernandez
Monte Carmo
Xufe-Xufe
X present XXX best site
XXX
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
XXX
Giant
Sunbird
X
XXX
X
X
X
X
X
X
Sao Tome
Shortail
X
X
X
X
X
saw/heard by me
Lagoa Amelia, São Tomé
The best site for Giant Sunbird, one of the few sites for Maroon Pigeon. A very good complement to
Monte Carmo if you time is limited. I didn’t go there, because I had already seen all the target species. As
the place is a popular trekking way, you can find GPS coordinates of the track on trekking sites.
Bom Successo, São Tomé
Following A. ALBERTO, the Grosbeak is not restricted to primary forest and can be seen (sometimes !)
in plantations with big trees. I visited the Botanical Garden very briefly the 22th September.
Ana de Chaves river, São Tomé
As showed in our summary, this is the place where all species can (theoretically) be seen. I visited it on
22th September. It required long walks on very slippery and vertical slopes; difficult but very beautiful.
One night camping there can be rewarding. Following A. ALBERTO, the best site for Newton’s Fiscal.
We didn’t find any. I suppose it was too late in the season; call contacts censed by A. ALBERTO were
recorded in the month of June, at this period the birds were calling.
12
Antonio on the path of one of the many narrow ridges, 22th September 2014 (c) Alain Jortay
Val di Formosa, São Tomé
The (trekking) way between São João dos Angolares and Bombaim, requires one night camping to be
achieved. I did the first part the 18th September . I found the Giant Sunbird. Maroon Pigeon is not
unknow for local people from Roça São João but I didn’t find it.
Maria Fernandes, São Tomé
A summit of São Tomé (348 m), with very vertical slopes. I reached the base of the slopes on 19th
September. My guide Zeka was looking for the Newton’s Fiscal especially at the river, and the bamboos
around it. Without any success.
River at Maria Fernandez, 20th September 2014 (c) Alain Jortay
Rio Io Grande, São Tomé
Not far from São João dos Angolares, I didn’t tried the place.
Monte Carmo, São Tomé (N0 09 13.9 E6 33 48.6 = camp)
This place is often visited by the birdwatchers. I came there 2 times; on 14th September, one day journey,
and doing camping on 1st and 2nd October. Best site for the Ibis, probably 50% chance to see it on the way
to the camp in the morning, lesser on the way back or in the afternoon. Previously the Ibis was more
abundant, but the population has decreased over the last ten years. Should be good for all species too,
except the Pigeons. Short-tail is easy, singing at the camp place. I heard Grosbeak at the same place but I
didn’t saw it. Scops Owl is calling at night. We found Newton’s fiscal at a vertical slope after some
13
research, the second morning. Location of depart place (stop for cars or motorcycles) is N0 07 15.6 E6 36
44.3.
Xufe-Xufe, São Tomé (N0 09 31.1 E6 29 22.6 = camp) via São Miguel
This place is not so popular as Monte Carmo. The plantation in now abandoned, unlike Monte Carmo,
and you will reach the primary forest faster. But before that, you need to reach the place by boat. I visited
the site one time, on15th September, without camping. The place is worth to staying longer. I had there a
very good sighting of the Grosbeak, at the camp, and had a good view of a Scops Owl and a small party
of São Tomé White-Eye nearby. Ibis here seems here to be now absent or very rare.
Xufe-Xufe name is coming from train activity – the train way and path crossing a gully, 15th September
2014 (c) Alain Jortay
Moro Peixe Savannahs, São Tomé
The area of Guadalupe in the northern part of the island lies in the rain shadow of the mountainous
southwest. Habitat is fields and savannahs with acacia trees and small bushes. There are flocks of Bishops
and Widowbirds, and Harlequin Quail is not difficult. It’s easier than in the forest (by far…), and in half a
day you can see most of the species.
Jalé Beach
Jalé beach is a beach with some rocky parts; refuge for some herons or waders like the Whimbrel. You
can’t swim there. The next beach northward, Praia Vanha, is half an hour walk away. You can see
common endemics on the way.
14
Vanha Beach, 15th September 2014 (c) Alain Jortay
Malanza mangroves
Between Jalé Beach and Porto Alegre. Boat trip possible. I did’nt. See MARAPA NGO.
Punta Baleia
Location is N0 02 21.4 E6 32 58.5. On the road Porto Alegre / São João dos Angolares. Big trees harbour
São Tomé Green Pigeon.
Ponta do Sol, Principe
The place of the lodge (Roça). The path to Praia Iola (the beach just below) requires an half hour walk
inside the forest (common endemics). On the beach, Reef-Herons, Whimbrel, Malachite Kingfisher. I
found an interesting fruiting big tree close by.
Ribeira Fria, Principe
One of the walking entries to the National Park, east side. If you don’t walk, the only one solution is to
charter a boat, from Bom-Bom for instance (like Birdquest do). Good forest. I was there on 26th
September. Because of the rains, time was lacking to explore further South.
São Joachim Road, Principe
15
A good way inside the island, with many endemics, including the Drongo, if you can’t reach the primary
forest (in case of rain …). São Joachim location is N1 37 14.2 E7 22 37.3. I did it on 25th September.
Pico Mesa, Principe (via Maria Correia)
On the West coast. One of the most accessible places to see the Principe Trush. You need to walk for a
few hours and cross 2 rivers (one time with 1 meter water level, sometimes more in case of heavy rain…).
A part of the way is along the beach (Brown Booby, Terns, Herons…). Maria Correia location is N1 35
50.8 E7 21 14.8. I was there on 29th September.
Pico Mesa, 29th September 2014 (c) Alain Jortay
Tinhosas Islands
The Tinhosas Islands are a group of islands situated in the waters of São Tomé e Príncipe. They host
probably the most important seabird breeding colony in the Gulf of Guinea (Valle, Barros, & Wanless
2014) :
Brown Booby Sula leucogaster 1 500 (1997) 300 (2013)
Sooty Tern Sterna fuscata 110 908 (1997) 140 000 (2013)
Brown Noddy Anous stolidus 10 000 (1997) ? (2013)
Black Noddy Anous minutus 4 000 (1997) 3500 (2013)
16
In September numbers are lower than in February, nesting time (period of the census). A boat trip will
always give you a chance for another seabird, Petrel, Madeiran Storm Petrel or an Ascension Fregatebird
but none of the latter were seen. Visited on 28th September.
Arrival at Tinhosas islands, 28th September 2014 (c) Alain Jortay
6 Flights
São Tomé airport is connected to several airports in Africa, like Luanda (LAD), Praia (RAI), Malabo
(SSG),
Libreville (LBV), Lagos (LOS) and Douala (DLA)… but only one in Europa, Lisboa (LIS). Only TAP
and STP Airways companies are currently flying from Lisboa. The cheapest way from Brussels was to
combine a flight STP with a Iberia charter from Brussels (+- 600 EUR and 110 EUR respectively). All
STP flights were operated by the Euroatlantic company. You can easily book by Internet.
Flights to Principe were operated in 2014 by STP Airways, from São Tomé Airport. Fares were +- 160
EUR. A new airport was on building phase in September 2014. You can see aerial view of the
construction site on Google Earth (last aerial picture is dated March 2015). The new airport will be
bigger, to accept bigger planes, and to connect Principe directly to other countries. A good plan for big
hotels investors in Principe, for the tourism industry, not really for Principe lovers attached to the “lost
world” atmosphere of the island.
Boat from São Tomé city to Principe is not reliable for tourists.
17
Airplane and Principe airport, 30th September 2014 (c) Alain Jortay
18
7 Transportation
On Principe, there is hardly any public transportation. The best solution is to arrange a motorbike-taxi
journey with local people, as there are very few cars… At Ponta do Sol, Pololo and Yanou were able to
organize it.
On São Tomé Island, my choice was not to drive by my own but I know it’s possible to rent a car (and not
difficult). Rates should be from 30-50 EUR/day.
I used the following transport means:
-
From and to the airport, taxi; fares are from 80.000 dobra (3,3 EUR – if you bargain in the market,
going to the Airport) to max10 EUR (for fresh incomers, at the Airport).
-
From São Tomé city to Jalé Ecolodge – I was lucky enough that B. LOLOUM need to go to Jalé
Beach the same day – he dropped me for free;
-
From Jalé to Monte Carmo; by local motorbike-taxi, 2 motorbikes including the way back for 30
EUR;
-
From Jalé to São João dos Angolares - I began by foot, and after 15 km, was taken by a pickup
until my destination – locals often use this kind of friendly facility;
-
From São João dos Angolares to São Tomé City, chartered car, I obtained 2 prices 35, or 40 EUR,
I took the first;
-
From São Tomé City to Bom Successo; chartered car, 25 EUR including the way back;
-
From São Tomé City to Monte Carmo; chartered car, 50 EUR including the way back;
-
From São Tomé City to Guadalupe by local bus at the market: 25.000 dobras (1 EUR) each way
(regular departures, as soon as the bus is full).
I know that there are regular public transports available from Porto Alegre for the way back from Jalé to
the Capital or São João dos Angolares but I didn’t use it.
19
Local transportation to Tinhosas islands, 28th September 2014 (c) Alain Jortay
8 Accommodation
I used different sources to find accommodations:



the 2 tourist books (see 3.2 Global documentation) ;
some hotels sites on internet (for instance sites like: booking.com, SãoTomé.st,
SãoToméislands.com, São-Tomé.st, Associaçao CAUE – Amigos de São Tomé e Principe,
SãoToméprincipe.st, SãoToméhotels.st).
some tourist users sites on internet (routard.com – in French, tripadvisory.com…).
As usual, most information is related to more rated and expensive hotels. Only these big hotels are able to
accommodate groups (more than 2 or 3 rooms). One of the good reason to go by his own. A “Roça” is in
Portuguese language a plantation house.
I finally used:
8.1
Jalé Ecolodge (Porto – Alegre 4 nights)
I strongly recommend it. http://en.ecolodgeJalé.com/ First of all, you help a local NGO !
Jalé Ecolodge is situated at the edge of mangrove habitat (Malalanza), close to the beach, you can see the
Western Reef Heron from your window. In 2013, Jalé Ecolodge had its structure rehabilitated and
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extended. The old Bungalows, built with coconut trunks, have be replaced by to new units built according
to the principles and techniques of bio-construction. They currently have a generator which they turn on
for a couple of hours in the evenings. The rate for a single occupation in a bungalow at Jalé is 40€
(including breakfast). Meals at the restaurant range from 10 to 12€. Food is excellent and the cook is very
helpful.
The small restaurant house, close to the bungalows, Jalé Beach, 16th September 2014 (c) Alain Jortay
Following the season, whale-watching departures are organized by the NGO MARAPA, Malanza
mangroves visit by boat are possible and sea-turtles are sometimes coming to nest close to your room.
Boat departures to Xufe-Xufe can be organized by the NGO and depart from here. NGO MARAPA has a
boat in Porto Alegre that can take up to 4 people to Xufe xufe, Quija, São Miguel.
The lodge is not close from Monte Carmo, but not farther than the others sleeping accommodations.
8.2
Roça São João (Los São João dos Angolares - 4 nights)
Roça São João, Turismo ecológico e cultural.- São João dos Angolares, Dto. Caué, Ilha de São Tomé
The charming old house has got a big shady terrace with hammocks, spacious rooms with big beds and a
great restaurant, which serves some of the best food on the island. It’s run by Carlos Silva, a well-know
tv-chef in portuguese speaking countries and his wife. The price of a single room is € 28.00 per night with
breakfast included. Meals on half board are 17.00 € and € 22.00 full board. Meals are 15 EUR (lunch) or
12 (dinner).
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Fabulous place from an architectural or gastronomic point of view. For a birdwatcher, some interesting
species, but they all can be easily seen elsewhere. It’s not always easy to obtain an early (6 AM)
breakfast. Maroon Pigeon is possible top of the big trees and well know from the local guide, but I didn’t
see it. I saw Giant sunbird and (daily) Green Pigeon. Barn Owl is present at night. A good place for
exploring Maria Fernandes slopes, or to begin the Val di Formosa trek. Or to explore the Rio Io Grande.
Roça São João, 19th September 2014 (c) Alain Jortay
8.3
Ponta do Sol ( Principe - 7 nights)
Roça Ponta do Sol - Casa do João.- Ponta do Sol, Ilha do Príncipe - web:
http://www.SãoTomé.st/hotels.php?intHotelID=25
Location of the is N1 38 58.9 E7 22 47.7
There were 3 rooms in total, with 1 common bathroom. The rooms are simple but comfortable. This being
Principe, electricity is not available all the time. There is no running water, so you shower with rainwater.
There is a great view on a bay. There is one beach within walking distance (fairly steep, hiking boots are
recommended, especially in the rainy season). The food was great, especially for dinner. Speaking
Portuguese or French.
Unfortunately, the tourism activity of Ponta do Sol has stopped now (I was unusually invited as a guest) .
Except Bom-Bom and his top prices, the only one mid-price accommodation, with a minimum of English
speaking, answering to e-mails or SMS and able to contact guides or organize something should be now
Roça Abade, but I didn’t experienced it.
22
Roça Ponta do Sol, 24th September 2014 (c) Alain Jortay
8.4
Casa R&A Restaurante Cabeleirero Gelateria (São Tomé City - 5 nights)
A small hotel in the centrum of São Tomé City, close to the market and Afriland Bank. Thanks to JeanPierre for the good address. Very good location close to the market et one supermarket. One clean room.
The small restaurant provide good dinner food for prices from 115.000 to 265.000 dobras (4 to 10 Euros).
Location is N0 20 18.2 E6 43 39.8.
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9 Budget
See the part Transportation for the detail of transportation costs, and the part Accommodation for the
detail of hotel and meals costs.
Mobile Phone Card costs 80.000 dobra and includes a 50.000 credit. It is easy to obtain one (if you speak
Portuguese, thanks to Bastien) in central office of STP Telecom in São Tomé city. Recharges (50.000,
100.000, …) are available everywhere in the islands (look after blue advertising).
Guide fees vary from 20 to 50 EUR/day, depending on the guide, the place, and your bargaining skills (of
if you are introduced by a friend, thanks to Jean-Pierre).
10 Health and Safety
Malaria was once extremely common on the islands, but an eradication program with the help of the
Taiwanese government has effectively stamped out malaria in populated areas. However, visitors should
continue taking usual precautions against mosquito bites such as the use of insect repellants and bed
netting.
Black cobras are present on São Tomé, but I didn’t saw any.
The population is very kind. They are not waiting for tourists. Furthermore, cars and motorbikes stopped
on the road to offer to take me to my destination.
Thefts at Moro Peixe beach are very frequent. Everything can disappear within a few seconds if you turn
your head, even if the beach is totally empty. I experienced it with my flippers.
24
11 Visa
As there is an Embassy in Brussels, Belgian residents can directly ask the visa at the Embassy, without
needing post mail.
Tourist visa (30 days – one entry) is cheap (20 EUR). You need a passport (6 months validity as usual),
one photo, a copy of the flights ticket, and to fill in a form with some details (phone number…).
Cholera and yellow fever document is not mandatory for European citizens living in Europe.
12 Money
The exchange rate is fixed with the euro at 1€=24.500 dobra. You can have this rate in the bank branches.
On a central place, a kind of black market occurs. Local people will propose a fixed rate at 1€=25.000
dobras. Just for information.
Euros are used as a virtual second currency since the local currency exchange rate is bound to the Euro.
You can easily pay with small notes in EUR (10 or 20). Just ask beforehand.
I had change a small amount in dobra (initially 50 EUR, but I received dobra later as change) and have
paid my bigger expenses (hotels, excursions, …) in EUR.
13 Language
English is virtually non-existent in this country. So, basically, it is essential to know either Portuguese,
Forro or maybe French in order to get along.
14 Contacts
A few São Tomé e-mail addresses only are really working. You will receive answers from BOM-BOM
resort in Principe, MARAPA ONG in São Tomé City, Micondo or São João Posada. If you don’t
receive any answer to your e-mails, try to send a SMS. All STP numbers beginning with 99 are mobile
phones. You will obtain more answers.
Resources people:
Bastien LOLOUM +239 9917009
You can reach him via email at MARAPA Ong Marapa [email protected] or (if available) going to
the office in São Tomé City. This French guy is working for MARAPA NGO, promoting ecotourism in
São Tomé and Principe. He can book Jalé Ecolodge rooms or organize journeys and trip boats from the
lodge. He speaks French, Portuguese and English. He knows very well the ecotourism world of the
islands and can probably advise you in this domain, including accommodation or (birding) guides.
Antonio ALBERTO +239 9938315 “Guia turistico” [email protected]
Antonio (Toni) Alberto can act as birding guide as he really knows the birds and the places. He published:
Maia, H. A.; Alberto, A. C. 2009. The occurrence of São Tomé Short-tail Amaurocichla bocagei and
Newton's Fiscal Lanius newtoni. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 129(4): 213-216. He has
participated in several ornithological expeditions with Ricardo Lima, Fabio Olmos, Martim Mello and
Mariana Carvalho. He also has background in flora interpretation, having worked several years at the
Botanical garden of Bom Sucesso, collecting plants for the curator. He gets around in French and also a
25
bit of English. He can organize camping in Monte Carmo area, including local transportation. I have
searched birds with him (see the daily log). He is reliable and kind; but as many guides, is too optimistic
about the chances to find birds.
Sílvia TRINDADE was the key people answering to my mails of Roça São João .
Roça S. João <[email protected]>
ZEKA is a local guide working at the Roça São João . He knows very well the forests around the Roça
and some birds; but he is speaking only Portuguese. You will contact him via the Roça staff.
Jean-Claude GODTBIL +239 9925105 is the Belgian owner of Ponta do Sol, and his team includes
YANOU + 239 9938131 (motorbike driver, birding guide…) and POLOLO (car driver, cook, …) +239
9921422. Ponta do Sol is closed now, and it is not clear if they will continue with their touristic activities
from 2015 on. These guys are very kind, reliable and helpful people. As birding guide, YANOU knows
the birds, with the exception of Principe White-Eye that he never saw. He proposed to me that if I come
back to Principe, he can organize a camping trek to find it. He knows places where the Trush was present
a few years ago, but all the places were not more reliable now anymore. He have guided me on Principe,
including Tinhosas. He speaks only Portuguese and (very good) French. I strongly recommend him. In
case of non availability, you can probably ask Jean-Pierre GODTBILL if he knows another guide. Others
guides on Principe are Bikegila, who has been accompanying Martim Mello for some years looking for
the Thrush, and Monona. I do not have their current contacts. It should be possible to get it easily once
there. Bom Bom hotel can probably recommend other guides.
RUIS is the owner of Casa R&A. He gives me an excellent service. +239 9915543 mobile local +239
2225954
15 Advise for future trips
13 days is my minimal recommendation to have time to find all endemics.
For those attempting to find all the endemic species I would recommend the following too:
DAY 1 Arrival at the airport, going to Jalé Beach
DAY 2 early departure to Monte Carmo, climbing to the camp, Ibis & Short-tail on the way, install the
camp, searching for Grosbeak & Fiscal around the camp
DAY 3 searching for Grosbeak & Fiscal around the camp (if successful early, going back to Jalé Beach)
DAY 4 searching for Grosbeak & Fiscal around the camp early morning if needed, going back to Jalé at
midday.
DAY 5 Rest on the beach or Xufe-Xufe journey
DAY 6 Morning going back to São Tomé City, a few stops on the way for Green Pigeon and Giant
Weaver on the way; savannah of the north in the afternoon
DAY 7 Lagoa Amelia for the last missing endemics (Green Pigeon, Maroon Pigeon, Giant Sunbird)
DAY 8 Flight to Principe, installation, common endemics around the lodge
26
DAY 9-11 Or two times one day journey, one to Pico Papagaio, one to Pico Mesa, or a camping trek to a
favourable place where the 2 species are present (to be defined, 1 or 2 nights);
DAY 12 Tinhosas Islands excursion (if weather allows)
DAY 13 Flight back to São Tomé, flight back to home
One or more days can be allowed just in case (like me…).
16 Acknowledgements
Thanks to everyone that have contributed to the trip, especially to the “team” of previous Roça Ponta do
Sol; Jean-Claude, Yanou, Pololo; to my daughter Coraline for some English language corrections.
27
17 Daily log
12 September 2014 In flight
Depart from Brussels (BRU) with the flight IB5154 Iberia (VUELING) at 17:45, arrive Lisbon (LIS) at
19:30. Arrival on time. Dinner at the airport. Just before the check-in, some passengers tried to obtain my
ticket number. I’m the only one with one (light) baggage only, and they want to register a part of their
luggage on my ticket and so they can pay less additional fares. We are still in Europe, but Africa is
coming closer…
13 September 2014 Arrival, Jalé Beach
Depart from Lisbon (LIS) with STP Airways 8F 507 planned 01:15 AM – take off with more than 1 hour
delay. Arrive São Tomé Airport (TMS) planned 06:35 AM, real time 08:30 AM. Taxi to the city. Meet
B. LOLOUM at the MARAPA office. Some talks about the life on the islands, and I complete my
bookings. To the phone company central office to buy a SIM card. Travel to Jalé Ecolodge with B.
LOLOUM. Meet local people there, brief visit including the sea turtle enclosing – there is a fresh sea
turtle track on the beach. Installation. Lunch at 12:00 AM. Explore the mangrove hedge, fields around
and follow the track to Vanha Beach in the afternoon. First endemics. On the way back, I meet Antonio
ALBERTO. Dinner at the restaurant, planning the excursion to Xufe-Xufe. Antonio propose to go the
next day to Monte Carmo. Planning changed.
14 September 2014 Monte Carmo
Departure at Praia Jalé at 6:00 AM, with motorbike-taxi, to Porto Alegre. Brief stop in Porto Alegre at the
cook house to take the picnic. In the garden, my first São Tomé Prinia. Continue to palm oil plantations.
Beginning of the walk at 7:30 AM, raining. We arrive at an abandoned Roça at 8:45 AM (Casa Roça
Carmo). We climb and reach the primary forest. First sightings of endemics like São Tomé Trush and
São Tomé Oriole. Wonderful views of one of the 3 Ibises foraging along the path, and that we flushed.
Camp is reached at 10:45 AM. Lunch. A São Tomé Short-tail is displaying at the camp. After some
exploration until 1:00 PM, it’s time to go back, in the rain. We reach the river and the motorbikes at 3:30
PM. And go back to Jalé Beach. Dinner.
28
From plantations to the camp, Monte Carmo, 14h September, (c) Google Earth
15 September 2014 Xufe-Xufe
Boat trip day to Xufe-Xufe. 5:30 AM breakfast. Jalé beach is a shore break and it was not possible to land
the boat there directly. The boat picked me up at 6:15 AM at the next beach northward, Praia Vanha, 1
km north from Jalé where the water is shallower and calmer. Going to the north by boat until the São
Miguel area to land at 7h AM. Reaching the primary forest at 9:15AM and the camp at 10:20 AM;
exploring until 1 PM . We have to come back at the beach not later than 3 PM. Coming back to São
Miguel beach and then to Vanha and Jalé beaches. Dinner.
29
The Xufe-Xufe journey, 15h September, (c) Google Earth
30
On the boat to Xufe-Xufe, 15h September, (c) Alain Jortay
16 September 2014 Vanha beach (rest)
After 2 days in the forest, I decide to do a break and to rest. I go to Praia Vanha at 8:45 AM and spend
there the rest of the day. Swimming and a little snorkelling.
17 September 2014 Journey to São João dos Angolares
I leave today Jalé. Departure time 7:15 AM. Some endemic birds are still missing and some can be seen
from the roadside (São Tomé Green Pigeon, Giant weaver, …). I decide to reach São João dos Angolares
by foot, with some birdwatching on the way. I underestimate the distance (30 km), especially as my
backpack is more than 15 kilos. But I succeed – not to reach São João dos Angolares by foot – but to see
São Tomé Green Pigeon and Giant Weaver. Finally, after 15 km, a car stops spontaneously at 11:50 AM
and offers to drop me at São João dos Angolares. Driving 11:50-12:15. Arrive at the Roça, installation,
lunch at 1:45 PM. Exploring the vicinity of the Roça the rest of the afternoon.
18 September 2014 Vale Como & São João dos Angolares
Breakfast at 7 AM, 7:20 AM departure to the north. Arrive at Vale Como at 8:50 and continue until 10
AM. I’m washed by the rains. I come back to the Roça (12 AM). Lunch. Afternoon partially rest, washing
my muddy clothes, and a brief visit of São João dos Angolares to buy extra credit for my SIM card.
31
Exploring first part of Val Di Formosa, 18h September, (c) Google Earth
19 September 2014 Maria Martinez
First wake-up is a Barn Owl at 4 AM, but I can’t see it. Second one is 5:30 AM, breakfast 6 AM. I meet
Zeka, my guide for the day. A little bus drop us until Roça Allianza, where our exploration is beginning.
We reached the Maria Martinez slopes, and a river with bamboos. My guide Zeka was looking for the
Newton’s Fiscal especially at the river, and the bamboos around it. Without any success. Finally going
back to the Roça at 4 PM.
32
To Maria Martinez, loop, south part in bus, 19th September, (c) Google Earth
20 September 2014 Maria Martinez
The previous day, I have booked an early breakfast for 6 AM; finally I have been served at 7:40. I do the
same journey as yesterday, without guide, using my GPS. No new bird. Coming back at the lodge at 4
PM.
21 September 2014 Journey back to São Tomé City
Morning is spend at the first part of Val di Formosa. A beautiful sighting of Giant Sunbird. Back to the
lodge, lunch. Last morning at Roça São João, I go north. After the lunch a car chartered by Antonio drop
me to São Tomé City. Looking for a car from São João dos Angolares to São Tomé City, I obtain 2 car
prices 35 or 40 EUR. I will take the first, proposed by Antonio, but later he was trying to obtain a 50 EUR
organization fee on top– I didn’t accept. Talks about tomorrow program. Installation in my room. Dinner
at the hotel.
22 September 2014 Ana de Chaves river
5:30 AM departure by car to Bom Successo Botanical garden where we arrive at 6:10 AM. We reach the
Park limits at 8:40 AM, and after 3 hours, the Pico Carvalho (1566 m) (9:10 AM). We continue on the top
33
of some very narrow and vertical muddy slopes, in the mist, or in the rains. Lunch close to the Rio. We
flushed an Ibis. But no Fiscal heard or seen. Coming back at 0:50 PM. We arrive at Bom Successo at
6:50 PM. Back to São Tomé City and my room at 8h00. This journey was terrific, what a relief and
vegetation ! And a very long day. I had no problem with the 15 km one way, nor the same distance back.
Nor with the difference in height level, total 1200 meters up and 1200 meters down. But the ground was
very slippery, even with a stick, I was washed by the rains and my shoes were full of water. At the end of
the day, I was very happy from this experience, but my bloody feet not so much. Hopefully the next day
will be a travel day with a more relaxing pace.
Hiking the ridges, 22h September, (c) Google Earth
34
Inside the forest, 22h September, (c) Alain Jortay
23 September 2014 Principe
Leave the hotel at 6:10 AM, walking to the market where I book a taxi to the airport, arriving at 7:10 AM.
The airport gates will be open at 8 AM. Flight from São Tomé Airport (TMS) to Principe Airport (PCP),
8F 211, planned departure 09:00 AM, planned arrival 09:35 AM. On time. Meet the Ponta do Sol team at
the airport, Pololo and Janou, and 2 other tourists from France, Yannick and Géraldine MARION. Arrive
at Ponta do Sol and installation 10:45 AM. Lunch. In the afternoon, I slowly go to the Praia Iola; usually
half an hour walk, more with my blessed foots. Salt water was welcome for my feet, as were welcome the
first Principe endemics, Principe Golden Weaver, Dohrn's Thrush-Babbler, Principe Sunbird, Principe
Glossy-Starling.
35
On flight, reaching Principe, 23h September, (c) Alain Jortay
24 September 2014 Roça Ponta do Sol
Because the previous rains, a trek to Pico Papagaio was not possible today. We needed one day of dry
weather after the rains to obtain dry paths. I decide to explore the vicinity of the lodge. I went into the
forest after breakfast. As my feet didn’t have fully recovered yet, I departed and walked slowly. I found
Principe Speirops and Olive Sunbird, and a big fruiting tree with 40 Green pigeons. I came back for
lunch. Rain in the afternoon.
36
On the path to the beach, Ponta do Sol, 24th September 2014 (c) Alain Jortay
25 September 2014 São Joachim Road, Principe
Yanou guided me walking through some parts of the forest the whole day. I had good views of Bluebreasted Kingfisher, Principe Seedeater. I ate a small portion of a local fruit, the “Mangongo”. From
10:40 AM to 0:10 PM our walk was interrupted with heavy rains. We found a shelter in São Joachim
village and wait there. Coming back at the room at 3 PM.
37
From Ponta do Sol to São Joachim –loop , 25h September, (c) Google Earth
26 September 2014 Ribeira Fria
First try to find the Principe Trush. Yanou knows different places. On the West coast he tried a few years
ago with a German birder and photograph but without any success. We tried to see it today at the other
place, on the East coast, where he finally saw the Trush with the German guy. We used his motorbike to
reach Ribeira Fria. First of all, taking a picture from the coast scenery and stop a few minutes after at
9:15. We continue to the Park by foot. We reached the formal Trush territories. At N1 34 28.3 E7 25 16.7
we come back. It was raining the whole day.
38
From Ponta do Sol by motor bicycle to Ribeira Fria, continuing by foot, 26h September, (c) Google Earth
39
Lizards at Ribeira Fria, Principe, 26th September 2014 (c) Alain Jortay
27 September 2014 Plaia Iola (rest)
The program for the next 2 days is now planned and booked, and unfortunately Pico Papagaio was no
more an option. For today I decided to rest because the rains of yesterday were not good for my feet. I
stayed from 10 AM to 3:40 PM at Plaia Iola, where I swam, did a little snorkelling, and observed
Malachite Kingfisher, Principe Speirops and Reef Herons.
40
Praia Iola (a sunny afternoon) 27th September 2014 (c) Alain Jortay
28 September 2014 Tinhosas Islands
Today is the journey day to Tinhosas Islands. Wake-up is 4:40 AM, I’m ready at 5:10 AM, meeting
Yanou. We wait for the fisher, and fresh news about the weather. It is possible to go. Down to the Praia
Iola at 5:40 AM. We depart from the beach at 6:30 AM, going south in the small boat. In a small pirogue,
the sea seems rougher than planned. But it’s not only my imagination. The small boat sails slowly
through the waves, against the main stream. We were washed many times. One time we were pushed by a
lateral wave. Only wet. Once arrived in Tinhosas, we found an harbour. Plentiful of seabirds, terns by
thousands, beautiful views of the 2 species of Noodys (Black is a new one for me), Brown Boobys,… We
enjoyed the scenery, and then eat our lunch. The fishern tried to catch some fish. It’s a part of the charter
arrangement. We leave with regrets this fantastic place. The journey back was easy (same direction as the
main stream !), with only one stop in a lost beach to buy some palm wine.
41
Tinhosas journey, 28h September, (c) Google Earth
42
Back to Principe, on the boat, 28th September 2014 (c) Alain Jortay
29 September 2014 Pico Mesa
Second attempt to see the Principe Trush, with the help of a guy who has worked with Bikegila. Yanou
and me were going by motorbike to São Joachim where we meet him. Next step is to reach the coast
through the forest. After crossing 2 rivers, with broken bridges, one of them one meter depth, we reached
Maria Coreia; at this place the old Portuguese road ends. Climbing slowly the slopes of Pico Mesa. I
heard a typical trush call, very pitched. The guide confirms it’s Principe Trush and we don’t have to wait
a long time before the Trush will be in full view in the open on a big branch. It’s now time to come back
and we arrive at São Joachim at 3 PM, continuing to the Roça with the Yanou’s motorbike.
43
From São Joachim to Pico Mesa, 29h September, (c) Google Earth
44
On the way to Pico Mesa, 29th September 2014 (c) Alain Jortay
30 September 2014 Back to São Tomé and Moro Peixe
Departure from Principe. I’m glad to have seen such a beautiful island, with relaxing pace and people
that are now more friends than business/tourist relations. Flight 8F 212 from Principe Is. Airport (PCP) to
São Tomé Airport (TMS), departure 10:20 AM, arrival 10:55 AM. On time. I take a taxi, push my
backpack in my room, and look for a bus in the market (N0 20 18.5 E6 43 44.0). Once in Guadalupe, I
begin the 2 km road way to Moro Peixe. A few moments after a motorbike stops and drop me to Moro
Peixe. Exploration of the savannahs is easy and I found 2 small parties of Harlequin Quail. The way back
to Guadalupe is a little longer, as no motorbikes are never stopping in this direction. Coming back to the
hotel, I meet Antonio and arrange our next (tomorrow) departure to Monte Carmo.
45
Walking from Guadalupe and exploring Moro Peixe, 30h September, (c) Google Earth
1 October 2014 Monte Carmo
I leave my room at 5 AM, we leave the city with the car and we arrive at 7:15 AM at the departure point.
We reached the plantation house at 9 AM. No Ibis seen on the way. We reached the camp place and
install the 2 tents. Lunch. I heard the Grosbeak but can’t see it. The afternoon is used to walk at different
places, on the ridge, and look for the Newton’s Fiscal. Without any success. It’s time to come back to the
camp, but Antonio can’t find the way more. He decides to try and find the way alone and said he would
come back but was not successful. Night was coming, camp was only 1,2 km away, but the rough terrain
didn’t permit to go further outside the correct path. Finally Antonio didn’t come back before the next
morning. I had to stay there the whole night, without any equipment or dry clothes. I was still wet. The
night was not too bad, as I have cut a lot of fen’s leaves with my key, building a dry and warm bed.
Raining the whole night, but I was protected. Scops Owl was in voice during the night.
46
Climbing Monte Carmo, to the camp, 1th October, (c) Google Earth
47
Palm oil plantations, Monte Carmo, 1st October 2014 (c) Alain Jortay
2 October 2014 Monte Carmo – last but not least - the Fiscal
Antonio is coming back at first light, he was not far, unable to find a way to come back. On the way back
to the camp, we found a Newton’s Fiscal on the way at 7:30 AM. . Well done ! The bird was well seen, in
full view for a few minutes. Antonio comments that indeed we were sleeping in the forest, but we found
the Fiscal in return. I can partially agree with that; but what if the birdwatcher was not enough fit or
unworried? As I was sleeping with wet feet, feet problems came back. I decided to go back as soon as
possible to the city. We arrived at the car at 11:30 AM and at São Tomé city at 0:45 PM. I bought some
food and drinks in supermarket, and rested. Dinner at the hotel.
3 October 2014 Moro Peixe
All São Tomé target birds had been found, free day. I decided to go at Moro Peixe again, for the sun, to
rest, and for the curative salt water for my feet. Swimming, snorkelling. Parrot fish and thousands of
small blacks urchins. Thefts are known to be regular here, but the beach was empty. I meant to pay
attention, but not enough for my flippers, drying a few meters away. They disappeared. I found traces of
crawling in the bushes just behind me. For the rest, the day was very good but eventless, with the same
birds as a few days before.
4 October 2014 Back to Belgium
Ruis was kind enough to propose me to drive at the airport. I left São Tomé City at 5 AM, to the airport.
Flight STP Airways 8F 508 from São Tomé Airport (TMS), departure time 8:05 AM to Lisbon (LIS),
48
arrival 3:25 PM. On time. Dinner at the airport. Next flight is IB5155 Iberia ( VUELING AIRLINES)
from Lisbon (LIS), departure time 8:10 PM to Brussels (BRU), arrival 11:50 PM. On time. End of the
trip.
49
18 List of birds
Harlequin Quail
Coturnix delegorguei
30 September, Moro Peixe, 5+3
3 October, Moro Peixe, 5+2+1
I saw 2 or 3 small parties, east of the beach and along the road (N0 24 25.8 E6 39 11.2, N0 23 54.1 E6 38
34.3, N0 24 39.0 E6 39 06.6).
Coturnix delegorguei histrionicus Road to Guadalupe, 30th September 2014 (c) Alain Jortay
White-tailed Tropicbird
Phaethon lepturus
18 to 21 September, 1 of 2 seen daily at Roça São do João
28 September, 3 south-west corner of the Principe island, above the forests, 6 on Tinhosa Pequena
30 September, Moro Peixe, 2
3 October, Moro Peixe, 2
Brown Booby
Sula leucogaster
28 September, 3 hunting, south-west corner of the Principe island; > 10 on Tinhosas
29 September, beach at Maria Correia, 1 catching a fish
50
Sula leucogaster Tinhosas islands, 28th September 2014 (c) Alain Jortay
Long-tailed Cormorant
Phalacrocorax africanus
14 September, Monte Carmo 1+1
15 September, São Miguel, 1+1
Great Egret / Intermediate Egret
Very bad views only.
14 September, Monte Carmo, 1 in flight
17 September, Monte Carmo, 1 in flight
30 September, Moro Peixe, 1 in flight
Ardea alba / Mesophoyx intermedia
Little Egret
Egretta garzetta
17 September, Malanza, 1
30 September, Moro Peixe, 1
Western Reef-Heron
Egretta gularis
13 to 17 September, 1-2 seen daily at Jalé Beach
17 September, Malanza, 1
25 September, São Joachim, 1 in flight
27 September, Praia d’Iola (rock), 4 black morphs, 2 white
28 September, Praia d’Iola (rock), 2 black morphs, 1 white
28 September, beach at Maria Correia, 2 black morphs
1 & 2 October, a few from the road (São Tomé city to Monte Carmo)
3 October, Moro Peixe, 2
51
Egretta gularis Praia Jalé, 16th September 2014 (c) Alain Jortay
Cattle Egret
Bubulcus ibis
13 to 18 September, 4-6 seen daily at Jalé Beach / Malanza
23 September, Principe Airport, 6
25 September, São Joachim, 4
26 September, Santo Antonio, 2
29 September, São Joachim, 6
30 September, Principe Airport, 12
30 September, Moro Peixe, 20
3 October, Moro Peixe, 10
4 October, São Tomé Airport, 12
Striated Heron
29 September, Maria Correia, 1
Butorides striatus
Olive Ibis
Bostrychia olivacea
3 birds were flushed at Monte Carmo (N0 09 09.1 E6 34 03.2) (14 September). One bird was perched
quietly for a time and has been photographed. No bird seen on the way back.
At Ana de Chaves one bird in flight the 22 September (N0 15 34.3 E6 34 33.9).
On the second ascension of Monte Carmo only a bird in flight, bad view (N0 08 54.6 E6 34 34.4) the 1st
October. No bird seen on the way back the 2nd October..
52
Bostrychia olivacea bocagei, 14th September 2014 (c) Alain Jortay
Black Kite
Milvus migrans
13 to 23 September, 30 September to 4 October, seen daily on São Tom Island, 2 to 10 different birds or
more (travelling days) by day.
23 to 30 September, seen daily on Principe Island, 2 to 10 different birds by day, often by pair, soaring
along the coast and above the sea .
Eurasian Moorhen
Gallinula chloropus
26 September, Ribeira Fria, 1 in a marsh along the path, shy
Whimbrel
Numenius phaeopus
13, 15-17 September, Praia Jalé, 1
23 September, Praia d’Iola (rock), 4
27 September, Praia d’Iola (rock), 1
28 September, along the western coast, 11
29 September, Praia d’Iola (rock), 4
30 September, Moro Peixe, 1
3 October, Moro Peixe, 1
Ruddy Turnstone
Arenaria interpres
28 September, Tinhosas islands, 6
Brown Noddy
Anous stolidus
28 September, Tinhosas islands, a few hunderds
53
Anous stolidus Tinhosas islands, 28th September 2014 (c) Alain Jortay
Black Noddy
Anous minutes
28 September, Tinhosas islands, thousands
54
Anous minutes Tinhosas islands, 28th September 2014 (c) Alain Jortay
Sooty Tern Onychoprion fuscatus
28 September, Tinhosas islands, thousands
55
Onychoprion fuscatus Tinhosas islands, 28th September 2014 (c) Alain Jortay
Bridled Tern Onychoprion anaethetus
28 September, Tinhosas islands, 20
Sandwich Tern
Thalasseus sandvicensis
28 September, along the western coast, 2
29 September, Maria Correia, 1
Rock Pigeon
Columba livia
20 to 21 September, a few at Roça São João
30 September, Moro Peixe, 2
3 October, Moro Peixe, 2
Maroon Pigeon
Columba thomensis
The only one sighting of Pombo (local name) is one bird on a big branch, not far but in the mist, at Ana
de Chaves (N0 15 54.4 E6 34 16.0) the 22 September 2015.
São Tomé Pigeon Columba malherbii
Seen daily in São Tomé island from 13 to 21 September, and 1 to 2 October, a few birds or many,
depending on the time spend in the forest.
On Principe, only 1 bird flushed, 28 September, Ponta do Sol.
Forest Dove Columba simplex
56
Seen daily in São Tomé island from 13 to 22 September, and 1 to 2 October, a few birds or many more,
depending on the time spend in the forest.
Lemon Dove
Columba larvata
23 to 30 September, common everywhere in forests of Principe
Laughing Dove
Streptopelia senegalensis
13 to 17 September, seen daily at Jalé Beach, Porto Alegre
21 to 22September, on the way to São Tomé City
1 & 2 October, from the road (São Tomé city to Monte Carmo)
30 September and 3 October, Moro Peixe
São Tomé Green-Pigeon
Treron sanctithomae
Firsts seen from the road at Punta Baleia (N0 02 21.4 E6 32 58.5)
1 to 5 daily at São João from 19 to 22 September (N0 08 52.5 E6 38 19.8).
African Green-Pigeon
Treron calvus
25 September, Ponta do Sol, 40 on a fruiting tree
26 September, Ponta do Sol, 4
29 September, São Joachim, 1 in flight
African Emerald Cuckoo
Chrysoccocyx cupreus
20 September, Roça São do João , 1 heard
24 September, Ponta do Sol, 1 heard
25 September, Ponta do Sol, 1 heard
2 October, Monte Carmo, 1 heard
Barn Owl
Tyto alba
19 September and 20 September, Roça São João , heard during the night at the Roça (4h A.M.).
22 September, Bom Successo (N0 17 12.4 E6 36 04.1), early morning, one on the ground in the fields,
flushed and perched a moment
São Tomé Scops-Owl
Otus hartlaubi
2 birds at Xufe-Xufe near the camp the 15 September, one was well seen (N0 09 32.6 E6 29 13.6).
A few heard near Bom Successo the 22 September in the evening.
A few heard at Monte Carmo near the camp during the night the 1 and 2 October.
São Tomé Spinetail
Zoonavena thomensis
Small parties seen from 14 to 17 September at Jalé Beach, São Miguel and Monte Carmo, and from 19
September to 21 September at the Roça São João, and 1 to 2 October at Monte Carmo.
25 September, Ponta do Sol, 6
26 September, Ponta do Sol, 10
Little Swift
Apus affinis
Seen small parties daily in São Tomé island from 13 to 23 September, and from 30 September to 3
October.
23 to 30 September, seen daily on Principe
African Palm-Swift
Cypsiurus parvus
Seen small parties daily in São Tomé island from 13 to 23 September, and from 30 September to 3
October
23 to 30 September, seen daily on Principe
Malachite Kingfisher
57
Corythornis cristatus
1 of 2 seen daily at Vanaha beach from 14 to 17 September
20 September, Roça São João, 1
23 September, São Tomé airport, 1
23 September, Praia d’Iola, 1
25 September, São Joachim road, 15
26 September, Ribeira Fria, 6
27 September, Praia d’Iola, 3
28 September, Praia d’Iola, 1
29 September, São Joachim, Maria Correia & Pico Mesa, 4
Blue-breasted Kingfisher
Halcyon malimbica
25 September, São Joachim road, 6
26 September, Ribeira Fria, 2
27 September, Praia d’Iola path, 1
28 September, Praia d’Iola path, 1
29 September, São Joachim, Maria Correia & Pico Mesa, 4
Halcyon malimbica dryas, Maria Coreia, 29th September 2014 (c) Alain Jortay
Red-headed Lovebird
16 September, Jalé Beach, 2
30 September, Moro Peixe, 2+1
3 October, Moro Peixe, 2
Gray Parrot
58
Agapornis pullarius
Psittacus erithacus
23 to 30 September, seen daily on Principe, especially in flight end of afternoon at Ponta do Sol
Newton's Fiscal
Lanius newtoni
After many attempts, one bird at Monte Carmo, 2 October.
Before that, exploring many good habitats at N0 15 45.6 E6 34 10.3, N0 15 44.1 E6 34 09.4, N0 15 49.1
E6 34 08.2, N0 09 27.6 E6 33 06.4.
Bad picture but good bird, Lanius newtoni, Monte Carmo, 2nd October 2014 (c) Alain Jortay
São Tomé Oriole
Oriolus crassirostris
14 September, Monte Carmo, 1 seen, a few heard
18 to 22 September heard daily and a few seen at Roça São João and Maria Martinez
Velvet-mantled Drongo
Dicrurus modestus
Uncommon, 2 pairs seen:
26 September, Ribeira Fria ( N1 35 40.2 E7 25 17.9)
29 September, São Joachim road (N1 37 27.3 E7 23 29.4)
São Tomé Paradise-Flycatcher
Terpsiphone atrochalybeia
Common bird, seen daily in forest or forest hedge south of São Tomé island, Jalé Beach, Xufe-Xufe,
Monte Carmo, Roça São João (this place > 20 birds/day), from 14 to 22 September and 1 to 2 October.
2 birds too at Moro Peixe, 30 September.
59
São Tomé Prinia
Prinia molleri
Seen daily south of São Tomé island, Porto Alegre, Monte Carmo, Roça São João (this place > 20
birds/day), from 14 to 22 September and 1 to 2 October.
More common in the north of the island, Moro Peixe, 30 September and 3 October (> 20 seen daily).
At the airport (other side of the road), 23 September.
Dohrn's Thrush-Babbler
Sylvia dohrni
23 to 30 September, common in the forests of Principe
Black-capped Speirops
Zosterops lugubris
Common bird, seen daily in forest or forest hedge south of São Tomé island, Jalé Beach (2-4), XufeXufe (> 20 seen daily), Monte Carmo (2-10), Roça São João (> 20 birds/day), from 14 to 22 September
and 1 to 2 October.
1 bird too at Moro Peixe, 30 September.
Principe Speirops
Zosterops leucophoeus
24 September, Ponta do Sol, 4
25 September, São Joachim road, 4
27 September, Praia d’Iola, 5
29 September, PicoMesa, 2
30 September, Ponta do Sol, 2
São Tomé White-eye
Zosterops feae
Small parties seen at Xufe-Xufe (N0 09 32.6 E6 29 13.6), 15 September (12), Roça São João , 17
September (2) and 20 September (5), and Ana de Chaves, 22 September (3).
São Tomé Thrush
Turdus olivaceofuscus
Common bird, seen daily, in forest only, south of São Tomé island, not in the north, Xufe-Xufe, Monte
Carmo, Roça São João (> 20 birds/day), Ana Chavez, from 14 to 22 September and 1 to 2 October.
Principe Thrush
Turdus xanthorhynchus
Not seen at places were the bird was present a few years ago (N1 35 35.5 E7 25 17.7, N1 34 43.8 E7 25
35.4).
Good habitat at Pico Mesa (N1 35 37.1 E7 21 21.2), 1 seen the 29 September ( N1 35 05.1 E7 21 23.7).
60
Turdus xanthorhynchus Pico Mesa, 29th September 2014 (c) Alain Jortay
Splendid Glossy-Starling
Lamprotornis splendidus
25 September, São Joachim road, 4 (may be overlooked the other days).
Principe Glossy-Starling
23 to 30 September, common on Principe.
Lamprotornis ornatus
Chestnut-winged Starling
Onychognathus fulgidus
3 at Jalé beach 13 September, 15 and 16 September, 2-4 birds seen at Monte Carmo, 14 September and 1
and 2 October, 8-10 at Roça São João 20-21 September, 20 on the way between Porto Alegre and São
João dos Angolares, 17 September.
Principe Sunbird
Anabathmis hartlaubii
23 to 30 September, seen daily on Principe
Newton's Sunbird
Anabathmis newtonii
Seen daily in forest or forest hedge south of São Tomé island, Jalé Beach, Xufe-Xufe, Monte Carmo (412 birds/day), Roça São João (very common), from 14 to 22 September and 1 to 2 October.
3 birds too at Moro Peixe, 30 September.
2 birds too at Moro Peixe, 3 October.
São Tomé Sunbird
Dreptes thomensis
One bird well seen at Roça São João, eating in flowers, 21 September (N0 09 26.1 E6 37 45.8)
22 September, Ana de Chaves, a minimum of 6 heard
61
1 October, Monte Carmo, 3 heard, 1 seen
2 October, Monte Carmo, 3 heard
Western Olive Sunbird
24 September, Ponta do Sol, 1 seen
Cyanomitra obscura
São Tomé Short-tail
Amaurocichla bocagii
1 seen at Monte Carmo 14 September (N0 09 13.9 E6 33 48.7), 2 seen at Monte Carmo, 1 October (N0 08
50.0 E6 34 37.4 & N0 10 01.5 E6 33 02.2), 1 seen at Xufe-Xufe 15 September (N0 09 27.5 E6 29 18.4).
Yellow-fronted Canary
2 birds at Roça São João, 19 September.
2 birds too at Moro Peixe, 30 September.
Serinus mozambicus
Principe Seedeater
Serinus rufobrunneus
Seen daily from 13 to 22 September in forest or forest hedge south of São Tomé island, Jalé Beach (4),
Xufe-Xufe (6), Ana de Chaves (2), Roça São João (2-12 daily), and 1 October Monte Carmo (4).
25 September, São Joachim road, 4
São Tomé Grosbeak
Neospiza concolor
2 birds seen, one perched on a low branch during a few minutes, 15 September, Xufe-Xufe camp (N0 09
31.1 E6 29 22.6)
1 October, Monte Carmo, 2 heard
Principe Golden-Weaver
23 to 30 September, common on Principe
Ploceus princeps
Southern Masked-Weaver
2 birds at Bom Successo, 22 September.
2 birds at Moro Peixe, 30 September.
10 birds at Moro Peixe, 3 October.
Ploceus velatus
Village Weaver
Ploceus cucullatus
3 birds at Moro Peixe, 30 September.
Giant Weaver
Ploceus grandis
17 September, a few from the roadbirding journey on the way from Jalé Beach to Casa São João (N0 02
21.2 E6 32 58.5, N0 04 09.1 E6 33 08.6, south exit from Monte Mario village), total 8 birds
2 birds at Roça São João , 20 September, 2 birds.
2 October, Monte Carmo, 2 birds
São Tomé Weaver
Ploceus sanctithomae
Common bird, heard many times and seen daily in forest or forest hedge south of São Tomé island, Jalé
Beach, Xufe-Xufe, Monte Carmo, Roça São João , Ana Chavez, from 13 to 22 September and 1 to 2
October.
Red-headed Quelea
Quelea erythrops
> 10 birds at Moro Peixe, 30 September.
> 10 birds at Moro Peixe, 3 October.
Black-winged Bishop
5 birds at Moro Peixe, 30 September.
62
Euplectes hordeaceus
Golden-backed Bishop
2 birds at Moro Peixe, 30 September.
4 birds at Moro Peixe, 3 October.
Euplectes aureus
White-winged Widowbird
Euplectes albonotatus
2 at Moro Peixe, 30 September.
> 100 along the road at Moro Peixe, 3 October.
Chestnut-breasted Nigrita
Nigrita bicolor
26 September, Ribeira Fria, 1 (N1 35 03.9 E7 25 27.9).
29 September, Maria Correia & PicoMesa, common
Common Waxbill
Estrilda astrild
13 to 17 September, common on south of São Tomé Island (behalve in Roça São João – a few 21 & 22
September), in north too, 30 September and 2-4 October
23 to 30 September, common on Principe
Bronze Mannikin
Spermestes cucullatus
17 September, a few from the roadbirding journey on the way from Jalé Beach to Casa São João
A few at Moro Peixe, 30 September.
A few at Moro Peixe, 3 October.
Southern Cordonbleu
Uraeginthus angolensis
> 10 birds at Moro Peixe, 30 September.
> 10 birds at Moro Peixe, 3 October.
Pin-tailed Whydah
Vidua macroura
1 bird too at Moro Peixe, 30 September.
63
19 List of mammals
Mona Monkey
Cercopithecus mona
Seen in the forests of the south-west of São Tomé , especially in Xufe-Xufe and Roça São João area.
Straw-coloured Fruit Bat
Eidolon helvum
Small numbers seen on Principe, every evening at Roça Ponta do Sol..
Mauritian Tomb Bat
Taphozous mauritianus
A few of this ‘white-winged’ bat, at evening in São Tomé island
Leaf-nosed Bat
Hipposideros ruber:
Seen daily in forest, and daytime, Xufe-Xufe, Monte Carmo and Roça São João.
Hipposideros ruber A leaf-nosed Bat stops flying and perched, Vale Como, 19th September 2014 (c) Alain
Jortay
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