Because Accra is located right on Ghana’s coast, about five degrees north of the equator, the local temperature stays pretty well flat-lined in the mid to upper eighties. Most ten-day forecasts feature just a couple of degrees of variation from the nightly low to the daytime high; the monthly average high temperature never leaves the eighties and the monthly lows range all the way from 72 to 75 degrees. In all of recorded history, it has never been below 59 degrees here. Local expats claim that there really are no seasons; it is just a perennial Groundhog’s Day experience, with the same weather for weeks and months on end. Actually, we do have the annual Harmattan, where prevailing breezes drift south from the Sahara between December and February, bringing a dry, dusty haze across Western Africa coating every surface with brown.
Fortunately, that aberration is now behind us; the skies are blue, and when blended with periodic early morning showers coming in from the gulf, this whole area is a profuse explosion of dense vegetation in a vibrant portfolio of green hues. The birds that thrive in this climate seem to be competing to outdo each other with brilliant plumage displays that cover the full spectrum of the rainbow.
In the past couple of weeks, Michelle and I have been taking occasional early morning walks in the neighborhood. Between 5:30 and 6:30, just before and after sunrise, we have a wonderful diversity of birds, busily chattering to each other as they wing their way through the trees. It also helps that most of the crazy (aka Ghanaian) drivers are not on the roads yet, because sidewalks are clearly the exception, not the rule here and instead of shoulders along the roads, we have sudden open concrete trenches for waste water that you REALLY do not want to drive or fall into.
Following are some of our favorite “bird shots” we captured recently, either right in our neighborhood, or shots Michelle got walking around the grounds at the Area Office right after our arrival at about a quarter to eight each day.
This is my favorite shot of a punk Plantain Eater. This was a perfectly still morning, that is not the wind blowing the feathers on his head, he just likes the cool swept-back look.