Latest Cape and Bearded Vulture tracks

Dear All

Please find attached (click here) the movements of our Bearded Vultures; Jeremia, Pharaoh, InkosiYeentaka, Lehlwa, Mac, and Mollie and our Cape Vultures; Bennie and N207, for the past week.  The recently released Cape Vulture- N208 has been recaptured and is back in rehabilitation. Although a strong flier and healthy bird when released, he was not progressing well in the wild and is receiving the necessary care and treatment.

Kind regards

Sonja Krüger

http://www.projectvulture.org.za/

https://www.facebook.com/projectvulture
https://twitter.com/vultureproject

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Umbogavango Outing

Report by Elena Russell

Saturday 6th january 2018

The indemnity form had not been left at the office by security. Without it we were not going to gain access to Umbogavango, one of our favourite birding spots.

We were considering whether to toyi-toyi into the office and demand our rights but a few phone calls were made and all was sorted out amicably.

We had a very good crowd, old and new members and some visitors. We broke up into 3 groups, my thanks to Mike Roseblade and Adam Cruikshank for leading two of the groups.

Our bird count was eventually 103 not too shabby (click here to see the list) – some of the highlights: Common Buzzard, Malachite Kingfisher (adult and juvenile) Buff-spotted Flufftail, Natal Spurfowl, African Spoonbills, Purple-banded Sunbird, Mountain Wagtail, Black-throated Wattle-eye, Black Crake and lots more!

Thanks to Sandi du Preez for the attached bird list and thanks to John Bremner, Adam Cruickshank and Tyron Dall for some really great photos.

Cheers

Elena

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Latest Cape and Bearded Vulture tracks

Dear All

Please find attached (Click here) the movements of our Bearded Vultures; Jeremia, Pharaoh, InkosiYeentaka, Lehlwa, Mac, and Mollie and our Cape Vultures; Bennie and N207, for the past 10 days.  Please also find the movements of a recently released rehabilitated Cape Vulture- N208. This individual has stayed quite close to his release site so far and is being closely monitored.

Kind regards

Sonja Krüger

http://www.projectvulture.org.za/

https://www.facebook.com/projectvulture
https://twitter.com/vultureproject

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Sapphire Coast Bird Challenge

Hi All,

We are excited to have the Sapphire Coast Bird Challenge up and running.

The Sapphire Coast Bird Challenge is open to all residents and visitors to this part of the KwaZulu-Natal south coast. The aim of this challenge is to see who can see the most bird species in this region in 2018. The area stretches from the Mbokodweni river in the North, to the Mpambanyoni river in the South, about 9km inland, and 1.5km into the ocean.

Participating in this challenge will not only be lots of fun but will make a valuable contribution to conservation initiatives in the Sapphire Coast area.

A big thank you to Henk Nel and the BirdLasser team for making putting it together. What is really exciting is that everyone that participates between now and the end of March will go into a draw to win some amazing birding books compliments of Bargain Books SA.

Here is a link to the challenge:

https://www.birdlasser.com/challenges/sapphirecoast2018/overview

Please feel free to forward this email far and wide as possible. If anyone has any questions that can feel free to email me and I will answer them.

Thank You,

Adam Cruickshank

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Latest Cape and Bearded Vulture tracks

Dear All

Please find attached (click here)  the movements of our Bearded Vultures; Jeremia, Pharaoh, InkosiYeentaka, Lehlwa, Mac, and Mollie and our Cape Vultures; Bennie and N207, for the past week.

Another early email since New Year also falls on a Monday this/next year.

Wishing you all the best for 2018 – hopefully we can make a concerted effort towards addressing the threats to these magnificent birds in the coming year!!

Kind regards

Sonja Krüger

http://www.projectvulture.org.za/

https://www.facebook.com/projectvulture
https://twitter.com/vultureproject

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Latest Cape and Bearded Vulture tracks

Dear All

Please find attached (click here) the movements of our Bearded Vultures; Jeremia, Pharaoh, InkosiYeentaka, Lehlwa, Mac, and Mollie and our Cape Vultures; Bennie and N207, for the past week.

I am sending this mail early so that my computer can take a break on the 25th J.

Wishing you all a blessed Christmas and enjoyable festive season

Kind regards

Sonja Krüger

http://www.projectvulture.org.za/

https://www.facebook.com/projectvulture
https://twitter.com/vultureproject

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Latest Cape and Bearded Vulture tracks

Dear All

Please find attached (click here) the movements of our Bearded Vultures; Jeremia, Pharaoh, InkosiYeentaka, Lehlwa, Mac, and Mollie and our Cape Vultures; Bennie and a very adventurous N207, for the past week.

Kind regards

Sonja Krüger

http://www.projectvulture.org.za/

https://www.facebook.com/projectvulture
https://twitter.com/vultureproject

Posted in Home, Posts | Tagged | Leave a comment

Latest Cape and Bearded Vulture tracks

Dear All

Please find attached (click here) the movements of our Bearded Vultures; Jeremia, Pharaoh, InkosiYeentaka, Lehlwa, Mac, and Mollie and our Cape Vultures; Bennie and N207, for the past week.

Kind regards

Sonja Krüger

http://www.projectvulture.org.za/

https://www.facebook.com/projectvulture
https://twitter.com/vultureproject

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Springside Christmas Outing

Report By Elena Russell

2 December 2017

We had an excellent turnout for our Christmas outing to Springside. Could it be the famous toasted cheese and tomato sandwiches as prepared by our chefs, Marion and John. Most definitely, they and I mean the sarmies, get better and better each year! A big thank you to Marion and John for the catering – the sandwiches were delicious.

Also thanks to Mark and Cecily for their assistance.

Even Steve Woodall pitched up (much later) – he says he was looking for a butterfly, I think he had heard about the sarmies!!

We broke up into 3 groups and my thanks to David Swanepoel and Mike Roseblade for leading the other two groups. Springside has all sorts of different paths to meander up and down and although the weather was a bit dicey to begin with (spitting with rain) it improved during the morning and we had some jolly good birding.

Our total count at the end of the morning was 77 but as we gathered in the parking area there was the bird of the day – Broad-tailed Warbler.

The raptor count, due to the weather, was not too good, YBK’s and a single African Goshawk. Lots of Cuckoos were heard, Klaas’s, Diederik, Red-chested and some of us were lucky enough to see the Emerald. Sunbirds: Collared, Amethyst, Greater-doubled Collared, Olive and White-bellied.

The weaver count was very good. Holub’s Golden Weaver and a number of nests by the picnic site (vlei area) and further up by the stream. Some of the Thick-billed Weavers have made nests in the weeds on the hillside which looked a bit odd. Maybe they chose higher ground due to the heavy rains?  Also Village, Dark-backed and Spectacled.

Holub’s Golden Weaver – David Swanepoel

Here are some of the other birds, plants and dragonflies photographed:

Many thanks to Mike Stead (aka the photographer) and David Swanepoel for some great photos and of course Marion and John for their generosity and hard work!!

Here’s wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a great birding New Year.

Cheers

Elena

 

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Sand Forest Lodge Weekend Outing

Report by Cheryl Bevan

24 to 26 November 2017

For our last weekend outing for the year we went to Sand Forest Lodge in Hluhluwe . We had a great turn out – eleven in total.

A few of us stopped at St Lucia on Thursday on our way to see if we could find the Gull-billed Tern, Sooty Tern and the Eurasian Oystercatcher who have been hanging around for a while and lucky for us we all saw the two Terns.

Sooty Tern – John Bevan

On Friday after we had all set up camp we gathered for a braai catching up and planning for Saturday.

Starting off at six in the morning in very rainy miserable weather we set off through the forest expecting to see nothing. After walking for about an hour we had only heard and seen a few birds. Narina Trogans were calling but although we got close we did not manage to get a view of them.

We perservered entering the open grassland area and it paid off.  Seeing European Bee-eater, White-eared Barbet, Neergaard’s, Purple-banded and Scarlet-chested Sunbirds, Narina Trogon and more……………

Some other sightings of interest. A Baobab in the garden was flowering. An unknown caterpillar and a sunbird nest which we would like identified. It was thought by some as a Neergaard’s Sunbird nest. And a spotted-tailed Ant.

Spotted Thick-knees were nesting on the grass in front of the chalets.

Spotted Thick-knees – Paul Bartho

Here are some of the birds seen at Sand Forest Lodge.

After breakfast and tea time we set off to False Bay where we had great sightings of hundreds of Greater Flamingos and White-breasted Comorants as well as Whimbrel and other waders.

Common Whimbrel – Paul Bartho

We were excited to find a smallish dark wader which had us confused for a while until we realised it was still in breeding plumage. A Curlew Sandpiper [we always hope to find something rare] but this one was still in breeding plumage.

2 Curlew Sandpipers – Paul Bartho

After Lunch and a short rest we hit Muzi Pan – an hour away.

Black Heron on the other side of the pan, Ruff, a flock of Glossy Ibis, Burchell’s Coucal, Squacco Heron and other waders- Common and Curlew Sandpipers, Little Stint, Black-winged Stilts among them.

Sunday morning we birded on the property again picking up 102 birds for the weekend. This is Cheryl Bevan’s Bird List:

We all went home happy and tired.

Cheryl and John Bevan

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Latest Cape and Bearded Vulture tracks

Dear All

Please find attached (Click here) the movements of our Bearded Vultures; Jeremia, Pharaoh, InkosiYeentaka, Lehlwa, Mac, and Mollie and our Cape Vultures; Bennie and N207, for the past week.

Kind regards

Sonja Krüger

http://www.projectvulture.org.za/

https://www.facebook.com/projectvulture
https://twitter.com/vultureproject

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BirdLife Port Natal Fun Evening

The final indoor meeting of the year took place on 8 November 2017, in the form of a fun evening organised by Steve Davis. Eighteen members came along for the mystery competitions, which required no expert knowledge of birds at all!

Firstly, there was a word search competition, in which each person had to find the names of 40 birds hidden in a 15×15 block. The winners of this were Chris, Rowena and Adam.

Secondly came a Bird Jigsaw game. Each person was handed an envelope with 1/6 of a picture of a bird stapled in and 5 miscellaneous loose pieces. The race was then on to find among the other members the missing five pieces of your picture. Much hilarity ensued as well as some long faces, as some people by chance got relatively easy pictures (e.g. Violet-backed Starling) while others were more difficult (e.g. Eastern Nicator). In the end, the winners, Rowena, Jenny and Jane, helped the others to complete their pictures in the end.

Thirdly was Bird Scrabble. This was similar to Bird Jigsaw, except this time each envelope contained the name of a bird and five random pieces of bird names. Again, much chaos ensued as everyone rushed around trying to find the component parts of their bird name, without dropping the small pieces of card. It wasn’t as easy as some people thought, as a bird starting with “Black-” could have a first piece with “BLA”, “BLAC”,  “BLACK” or “BLACK-” and only when you found the next piece would you know which was correct. In the end, the winners were David, Adam and Rowena.

After all the merriment and the prizegiving, tea, coffee, mince pies and biscuits were enjoyed by all. To those who were unable to come, you missed a great deal of fun but it is certain to be repeated by popular request.IMG_3072IMG_3077IMG_3079IMG_3082IMG_3083IMG_3086IMG_3087IMG_3088

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Mkuze

Report by Paul and Sally Bartho

22 to 24 November 2017

Prior to going on the BLPN Weekend Outing to Sand Forest Lodge, Sally and I decided to spend a couple of nights camping at Mkuze.

The campsite has a lovely layout with two ablution blocks. It’s main issue is lack of maintenance and site management. The other issue is that they charge for 3 people minimum, making the cost for two people prohibitive unless they are offering discounts.

Anyway we enjoyed our two night stay despite no water on the last morning.

Candy-striped Crinum Lilies

All the hides were open but there was little water  at the hides except those at Nsumo Pan and kuMasinga.

Anyone wishing to identify this tree? It’s fruit is the size of a Gooseberry and yellow/orange in colour.

KuMasinga was quiet both times we visited. However there was a pair of Egyptian Geese with 8 goslings wandering about near the water. What was interesting was to see all 8 goslings (at this stage no longer small chicks) snuggling together completely under mother goose. Not sure how she managed it.

Egyptian Goslings

Also seen at kuMasinga hide were:

Terrapins sunbathing

Nsumo Pan was overcast and windy, rain threatening. Despite that we had what we thought was an unusual sighting of 6 Comb Ducks on the opposite bank from one of the hides.

Also a Whiskered Tern was seen chasing a White-winged Tern for some reason.

As we left Nsumo Pan we heard a call – Woodland Kingfisher. We scoured for the source of the call without success then just as we started to turn away from the water we heard it again and I managed a photo from a distance.

Woodland Kingfisher

Driving around we came across a couple of juvenile raptors – an African Harrier Hawk and a Bateleur. Each was being bombed by angry birds. In the case of the Bateleur by a pair of Broad-billed Rollers.

The Crowned Eagle we saw on the previous visit made an appearance too.

Crowned Eagle

Here are some of the other species photographed while traversing the Game Reserve.

Little Bee-eaters

Over the past several visits to Mkuze we had not seen any of the big cats. My sister visited a few weeks earlier and said she had seen a Cheetah near a camera trap near the far end of the Beacon  Road. So as we passed by the camera we made an effort to see whether this cat frequented the spot. No luck. Then – having started car and driven about 200 metres there she was with 2 juveniles. Lovely sighting.

Cheetah with collar

Hope you enjoyed the read.

Paul and sally Bartho

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KwaXimba Conservancy Outing

KwaXimba Conservancy , Umgeni Valley

Sunday 12 November 2017

Report by Dave Rimmer

For the third year running numbers joining me on the BLPN outing to KwaXimba could be counted with less fingers on two hands.

I’m not sure whether it’s due to the early 06h00 start or a perception that it’s too remote a location to visit? Either way, by 6am the dawn chorus is already history and it’s really not that far nor remote – only half an hour from Pinetown!!

All the same, 9 birders joined me this year (thank you) and what a feast of birds we had.

There can’t be too many places on the outskirts of the city where one can view or hear a mix of bushveld birds (Long-billed Crombec, Blue Waxbill, Chinspot Batis, White-browed Scrub Robin and Violet-backed Starling), forest birds (Southern Boubou, Purple-crested Turaco and Tambourine Dove), and of course water birds (African Black Duck, Black Crake, Common Sandpiper, Hamerkop and Pygmy Geese) in the space of just a few hours.

Village Weaver (Photo credit – David Swanepoel)

The morning started off very misty which made for some interesting photo opportunities.

Morning mist scenery – Angels breathe (Dave Rimmer)

The mist soon lifted gradually giving way to the spectacular granite domes that surround the valley, and so too did it become hotter and hotter – hence the need for an early start.

Interesting geological rock formation (Dave Rimmer)

And it wasn’t just the birds that kept the group interested – there were some butterflies and dragonflies around, plus a large monitor lizard being watched closely by a goat (or was it the other way around?!) and a Roman spider or solifugid on the ground.

Roman spider or solifugid (Photo credit – David Swanepoel)

The first birds of the day were on the wing including African Palm Swifts, Lanner Falcon, Lesser Striped Swallows, Yellow-billed Kite, and Barn Swallows, along with some of the more common species usually encountered near human settlements such as Common Myna, Red-eyed Dove, Southern Fiscal, Red-winged Starling and Cape Sparrow. In the background, we had the chattering from the Village Weaver colony nesting in the trees behind the main building of the iSiThumba cultural centre.

Yellow-billed Kite with frog legs on the menu for breakfast (Photo credit – David Swanepoel)

Cheryl and Jeffery walk in the woods – splendid scenery (Photo credit – Steve Davis)

The trees seemed to be dripping with Diederik Cuckoo’s as they seemed to be everywhere – closely monitored by the ever-watchful weavers. Klaas’s Cuckoo could be heard calling and surprisingly no one heard the summer call of the normally ubiquitous Red-chested Cuckoo.

Kingfishers were aplenty with a total five species observed – Giant, African Pygmy, Malachite, Pied, and Brown-hooded Kingfishers.

We meandered along the river edge and watched a group of paddlers participating in a 50km two-day canoeing event and during which picking up on various water birds, some of which they kindly flushed for us.

Paddlers on the Umgeni River (Dave Rimmer)

Birds seen included African Jacana, Yellow-billed Ducks, a few Three-banded Plovers, Little Bee-eaters, Crested Barbet, Water Thick-knee, Brimstone Canary, White-bellied Sunbird, Orange-breasted Bushshrike, and a Cardinal Woodpecker.

Our bird of the day without doubt was a pair of African Pygmy Geese darting past us down the river – so quick there was just enough time to shout out an alert and point them out to those behind me. Sadly, no photo opportunity!

The final tally for the day was an impressive 98 species either seen or heard, with all records submitted to the SABAP2 database (one Full Protocol and one Ad hoc card) – viva atlassing! To see the list then click here.

Many thanks to Sandi du Preez, Ros Conrad, Steve Davis, Cay Hickson, Penny de Vries, Cheryl King, Mark Liptrot and David and Tania Swanepoel for venturing out for the day, as well as sharing with us some of your photos included herewith and of course to our host for the morning Jeffery Buthelezi who assists with various tours organized through Durban Green Corridor (DGC).

Yours in birding,

Dave Rimmer

 

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Latest Cape and Bearded Vulture tracks

Dear All

Please find attached (Click here) the movements of our Bearded Vultures; Jeremia, Pharaoh, InkosiYeentaka, Lehlwa, Mac, and Mollie and our Cape Vultures; Bennie and N207, for the past week.

This breeding season we have found the nesting sites of InkosiYeentaka and Lehlwa. These individuals were fitted with transmitters as first year birds in 2009, and we are very lucky to have been able to follow them for such a long time. Both territories are new sites for our records. Many thanks to the efforts of Mpiti Letsie, Spurgeon Flemington and Tash Avni.

Mac on the other hand is frequenting a known territory, which requires further investigation.

Kind regards

Sonja Krüger

http://www.projectvulture.org.za/

https://www.facebook.com/projectvulture
https://twitter.com/vultureproject

 

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Drak Gardens

Report by Sally and Paul Bartho

17 to 19 November 2017

The decision to go to the Drak Gardens was made the day before we left. I had never been there and Sally always wanted to go back. We chose a great weekend to go. It had just snowed – and the mountains were well capped. The weather was beautiful, sunny and clear for our whole stay – icy cold when windy and at night but T-shirt weather during the day.

The campsite is just before entering the Drak Gardens boom gate. It was wonderfully grassy and green with loads of shade if you wanted it. The ablutions were very good with really hot water.

There is another campsite in the Park itself – Hermit’s Campsite – near the Garden Castle Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park office – but it is not electrified. It’s advantage is that it is right at the start of all the walks in the park.

Our intention was to walk in the Berg and bird along the way. Birding was quiet but what we did see and hear was different from the usual birds we normally see. Some of the specials included Bokmakierie, Buff-streaked Chats, Cape Rock-Thrushes, Malachite Sunbirds, Yellow Bishops and Ground Woodpeckers. Sally kept her ears open for any chance of hearing Rockjumpers to no avail and we did not see nor hear any Gurney’s Sugarbirds. Our bird list can be seen by clicking here – some 50 species.

Map of walks: We wanted to head for Pillar Cave but started heading towards the Three Pools.

On our first morning we got lost trying to find where we wanted to go. A riverside walk. However we headed in the wrong direction towards the Three Pools – a steep climb. Very quickly we realised our mistake and trundled back down and followed the river until we found a path which we correctly assumed was the Mlambonia river walk.

On and on we climbed thinking that at some stage we would get near the river – but although that was the river walk it was some way higher than the river itself with steep slopes down towards it.

We got as far as the first river crossing after about 2 hours and decided not to go any further. The crossing looked quite interesting and mildly challenging but we had had enough and took a break there watching other parties of Germans trying to cross – ever hopeful of a photo of someone losing their footing.

River Crossing – almost in.

One group thought they new best and decided to take an alternative route but we did not stay to see their probable outcome – floating down the river.

We headed back.

View back to where we started

The Watsonias were out in full everywhere.

Before we left the next day we took a drive around the area and went back to the start of the walk we did the day before to explore an area by the river. Here we saw virtually all the specials we had seen the day before as well as about 6 Horus Swifts flying overhead and occasionally darting into one or other of the holes in the river bank.

This was a most enjoyable few days with fantastic weather.

Paul and Sally

 

 

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Latest Cape and Bearded Vulture tracks

Dear All

Apologies for this email being sent late today, but I spent the day looking for Camo in Golden Gate Highlands National Park. After a number of days spent looking by the SANParks Field Rangers, we finally found a transmitter today. Luckily no dead bird, so we hope Camo is still well and just discarded his transmitter. Thank you to Dhiraj Nariandas and Tuba Sikhosana and their team for assisting with the search.

Please find attached (Click here) the movements of our Bearded Vultures; Jeremia, Pharaoh, InkosiYeentaka, Lehlwa, Mac, and Mollie and our Cape Vultures; Bennie and N207, for the past week.

Kind regards

Sonja Krüger

http://www.projectvulture.org.za/

https://www.facebook.com/projectvulture
https://twitter.com/vultureproject

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Latest Cape and Bearded Vulture Tracks

Dear All

Please find attached (Click here) the movements of our Bearded Vultures; Jeremia, Pharaoh, InkosiYeentaka, Lehlwa, Mac, Camo and Mollie and our Cape Vultures; Bennie and N207, for the past week.  The recently released is exploring quite a large area.

Camo was never an very active bird but has not moved for a few days, so we will investigate this.

Kind regards

Sonja Krüger

http://www.projectvulture.org.za/

https://www.facebook.com/projectvulture
https://twitter.com/vultureproject

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Rockjumper Family Birding Weekend

Rockjumper Birding Adventures is organising a birding weekend in February at Champagne Sports.  BirdLife South Africa will benefit from some of the proceeds of the registration fee, and clubs have been encouraged to publicise this great weekend.

Please see attached documents, (Click here for itinerary) or go to:  http://www.rockjumperbirding.com/family-weekend-getaway-with-champagne-sports-birdlife-and-zeiss

 

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St Lucia revisited.

Report by Paul and Sally Bartho

4 to 7 November 2017.

Buffalo

On the spur of the moment Sally and I decided to revisit St Lucia – ever hopefully of finding the specials we missed 2 weeks previously. The specials being the Eurasian Oystercatcher and the Gull-billed Tern.

We stayed at Sugarloaf campsite – taking advantage of the discount available. We do enjoy this campsite as the birdlife within is amazing. It is also very handy being right beside the boardwalk to the beach. Birds are always about the campsite – we had a pair  of Brown-Scrub Robins and a Red-capped Robin-Chat entertain us this time.

Natal Robin

Arriving early we set up camp quickly and went for a stroll along the beach and also next to the estuary. It did not take us long to realise that there were no Oystercatchers about. Terns were present on the mud flats but mostly Swift Terns with the occasional Little and Caspian Terns among the Pied Avocets and Grey-headed Gulls.

Later on I went back without success. Bumped into several other birders on the search as I was heading back to the camp – suggested to them to sit and wait and perhaps get lucky – as Sally and I had done 2 weeks earlier with the Sooty Tern.

Later on Sally and I put up the scope at the start of the boardwalk – scouring the sides of the estuary. As we did so, one of the people I had chatted to earlier said he had taken my advice and waited with the Terns on the mud flats when out of nowhere the Gull-billed Tern appeared and he had a great photo of it too. Perhaps I should have taken my own advice!!! They had seen it at about 17h00.

The next morning we got up early – ever hopeful and headed for the same mud flat. On first inspection there were very few Terns there and a number more further away with someone watching with their camera handy.

Off we went and could not decide which set of Terns to check out first. So as we passed the first set we decided to check out the close ones first. It was 06h00.

Sally peruses with the scope and almost immediately spots the Gull-billed Tern – alone with about five or six Swift Terns.

Gull-billed and Swift Tern

Masses of other small waders were feeding nearby – Curlew Sandpipers, White-fronted and Kittlitz’s Plovers, Common Ringed Plovers, Sanderlings, the occasional Ruddy Turnstone, Marsh Sandpiper, Pied Avocets etc.

We crept down to get a closer look but far enough away to make sure we did not upset the birds and send them scattering. The mud flat was between two sets of reeds – those on our left were at least 2 metres tall – I say this because later we noticed a Hippo walking our path and into the reeds where it disappeared completely. As it was there was a not so small Crocodile basking on the shore close to where we were watching the Terns. Scary thoughts, more vigilance and alertness is required. Try not to be remembered as a Dead Birder.

Crocodile

While watching, all the birds took to the air for no apparent reason except that a Grey Heron had just landed amongst them. Of course all the Terns went too. We kept our eyes on the Gull-billed Tern and it looked as though it was on its way up the coast but it turned and came back – landing from where it left. We ended up spending 45 minutes with the bird  until it flew off heading inland.

While we were there, we had kept a look out for other birders to call them over but no-one showed – shame. As we walked away about 6 Collared Pratincoles appeared on the mud flats – they must have been there all the time – shows how fixated we were.

Collared Pratincole in flight

Now for the Eurasian Oystercatcher – such a good looking bird.

However it was not till our last afternoon that we spotted any – three, but all African Black Oystercatchers – no Eurasian.

On Saturday we walked almost 14 kms up and down the beach and over 16 kms on Sunday according to my FitBit!! Hard work on soft sand and sore leg muscles later.

Monday was overcast, wet and windy so we headed into Eastern Shores instead after a cursory look at the mudflats with the scope – virtually nothing around.

Changes have been taking place in the park and at long last the the broken bridge on the road beside Lake Bhangazi has been repaired. The bird hide at Mafazana Pan has a new entrance. There was water in the iMboma Pan and numerous hippos and a pair of visiting Rhinos. as well as birds.

A new entrance to Eastern Shores is being built where the old one was and it causes chaos when more than 6 cars are waiting to get in – up to a three quarters of an hour wait. We got lucky on our third day of attempting as we were not prepared to hang around. We chose a Monday morning at 07h00.

Birds were calling it seemed all day long – including Narina Trogons, Green Malkoha and Nicator.

On the way back along the Red Dunes loop we stopped for a cuppa at the Lookout point. While enjoying our tea a Black-chested Snake-Eagle glided about us and was soon being bombed by a bird we could not identify. Initially we thought it to be a Buzzard but its tail is all wrong. What is it?

Animals were plentiful – Nyala, Zebra, Wildebeest, Giraffe, Eland, Buffalo, Reedbuck, the occasional Warthog and Duikers, few Impala and a lone Tsetsebe.

The last night the drizzle arrived and we had a wet pack up in the morning – fortunately most of the pack up was done the previous evening.

Our highlight on this visit was the Gull-billed Tern.

Gull-billed Tern

Paul and Sally Bartho

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