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

Advertisements
Posted in Home, Posts | Tagged | Leave a comment

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

 

Posted in Home, Posts | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Home, Posts, Reports | Tagged | 3 Comments

Shongweni Dam Outing

Report By Elena Russell

4 November 2017

David Swanepoel took some lovely photos. He is a very good birder (from the Cape) – one day he could take over Saturday outings!!! Also some great photos from John Bremner and Mike Stead.

I drove up in mist and had visions of Alverstone and the mist not lifting till nearly 8am but Shongweni was fine, a little overcast but the sun came out eventually and we got some good birding in.

We had a good turnout and broke up into two groups – thanks Oscar for leading the one group.

Both groups did a big circle around the office and the staff quarters.  Great views of a White-browed Scrub-Robin, Klaas’s Cuckoo, Black-bellied Starlings, Tawny-flanked Prinias, masses of Village Weavers and coming back over the road the Rufous-naped Lark called from a tree top.

Butterfly – John Bremner

 

Little Bee-eaters everywhere, Bar-throated Apalis and a superb view of a Black-crowned Tchagra.

Black-crowned Tchagra – David Swanepoel

But of course Oscar’s group had the Narina Trogon! We did hear the Trogon but it was not seen!!

We all then headed down to the view site over-looking the dam. The Trumpeter Hornbills are still nesting in the rock crevice and we had good views of the Mocking Cliff-chat. There was a White-breasted Cormorant on the dam but it was rather quite.

After a short break (no coffee break allowed by order of your leader!) we went and parked down by the bottom for a walk to the dam wall and surroundings.  But what do we have perched in a tangle of vines on a tree but a baby!! Dusky Flycatcher – you cannot move the group, we are transfixed – it was pretty cute. Ha! Ha!  Some great photos.

Down at the dam wall there were Thick-billed and Yellow Weavers making nests in the reeds, African Pied Wagtails, Speckled Pigeons, White-Breasted and Reed Cormorants but we were really having to work hard for our birds.

Overhead we had Barn, Lesser Striped and White-throated Swallows and Swifts: Black, White-rumped, Palm and Little.

Down to the river where the big pipe comes out and we picked up Mountain Wagtail, Common Sandpiper, African Black Duck, Collared Sunbird and a few more.

Mountain Wagtail – John Bremner

Looking up at the cliff face we had Red-winged Starlings, Common Buzzard, White-necked Raven, African Harrier Hawk, Lanner Falcon and of course in Summer there are always Yellow-billed Kites everywhere.

We then walked down to the “Big Steps”, the path was not too bad but rather overgrown around the steps and not much to see. We did see another Common aka Steppe Buzzard – the first one was mainly brown and the second was a very pale morph.

Common Buzzard – John Bremner

We then went down to the picnic site for tea and a more pleasant spot you could not find – Yellow-billed Ducks, Egyptian Geese, Green-backed Herons, White Breasted Cormorants and Darters sitting on some rocks. Then we heard the Fish Eagle and Black Cuckoo calling. The Brown-hooded Kingfisher called, Glossy Starlings, Black Flycatchers and lots more.

At tea our bird count was 101 and John and Oscar went off for another walk, through the forest and up to the contour road, and added a further 10 birds – great stuff but I had to go home and walk the dog! Click here to see the bird list.

Thanks to Sandi for the bird list and John Bremner, Mike Stead and David Swanepoel for the great photos.

Cheers

Elena Russell

Posted in Activities, Home, Posts, Reports | 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, Camo and Mollie and our Cape Vultures; Bennie and N207, for the past week.

Bennie has luckily started moving again.

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

Paarl Feedback

Report by John Fincham

We had a bright sunny day at Paarl for the monthly count this morning, and the birds put on an exceptional display.

Whiskered Terns were detected in <25% of 120 counts, up to 2004. They have not been detected in 150 counts since then. Today there were at least 8 in breeding plumage on pan B.

The Black-winged Stilts have got eggs, and a Glossy Ibis was spectacular. So were at least 8 Hottentot Teal on pan E2.

The pans are deeper than usual because of increased flow due to alterations being made to the new concrete section. Some of the birds, including flamingos, have moved away because of this.

Photos are attached.

John E Fincham

Phones: 021-9194069 & 082 370 8499

Posted in Home, Posts | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Mkuze

Report by Paul and Sally Bartho

22 to 28 October 2017

On the spur of the moment Sally and I decided we needed a break and went to Mkuze  for 5 nights.

Loving Giraffes

As we arrived we noticed puddles on the road – it had obviously been raining – tho the reserve needs much more.

Renovations are being done on all the hides. They look quite smart but won’t be entirely finished until the loos are built in kwaMalibala, kuMahlahla and kuMasinga hides. Each hide now has an entrance into a fenced off open area before entering the tunnel to the hide. The first is a fenced off area with a concrete walkway to the tunnel entrance to the hide. Nice to be in the first area and being able to walk round and see what may be about outside.

kuMasinga and kwaMalibala hides were closed – however the office gave us permission to enter.

kuMasinga hide is as it always was – but now the area where the Pink-throated Twinspots usually are found is part of the fenced off area – which means one can explore in the bush without fear of bumping into an elephant or rhino.

We only saw a few Red-billed Oxpeckers as we drove arount the Reserve – where had they all gone? We soon found out at kuMasinga Hide. There they all seemed to be waiting for lunch. As the different animals arrived for a drink they all appeared to descend on their backs, legs, ears, noses, underneath with as many as 20 on one animal.

kwaMalibala hide has very little water – waiting for the rains but it always seems to have different birds which frequent it – Namaqua Doves come particularly to mind.

Namaqua Dove

kuMahlahla Hide had a bit of water and proved to be the best hide on this visit.  A Crowned Eagle (with a very full crop) came for water and kept the rest of the birds on their toes.

Crowned Eagle

An African Pygmy Kingfisher sat quietly in the tree right beside the right side of the hide for ages.

A young African Goshawk also came in for a bath and hung around for a while.

A Slender Mongoose had a playful time with a pair of Egyptian Geese – running up to the Geese and being chased back. It was hilarious to watch.

An old elephant with ragged ears, in musth, sauntered in and out for a drink disturbing the buck who were waiting to get a drink too. On his way out of the mud his back legs sank sharply and he was thrown off balance getting out somehow managing to stay upright.

Some of the other species seen at kuMahlahla Hide:

As my sister and her husband were using the trailer up in the Kruger, we stayed in one of the huts. At R240 each less 30% discount this was not much more than camping. We were in hut 4 – Mziki – and the Lesser Striped Swallows were in abundance tending their nests under the eaves.

Hut No 4 – Mziki

Our days were spent driving around the reserve atlassing as we went. We actually saw a pair of White-backed Vultures on a nest and another and another perched in a different location. Some were seen flying overhead but not many.

Nsumo Pan is full and although we saw quite a lot there including an African Openbill, we were hounded by strong winds and overcast weather which made it a little unpleasant in the hides.

At the picnic site on Nsumo Pan we bumped into Themba Mthembu. He used our scope and found African Pygmy Geese in the absolute distance. How he saw them we attributed to young eyes. It is the first time I have seen them in Mkuze.

On our first afternoon drive we came across a raptor which we are unsure as to its ID. We saw it at the end of the tar to the Loop road where there is an old Wahlberg’s Eagles’ nest. The unusual part of the bird is its pale crest/crown. We believe it is a Wahlberg’s Eagle but await your comments.

On the whole we saw a number of raptors – African Fish-Eagle, Brown Snake Eagle, Wahlberg’s Eagle, Bateleur, African Marsh Harrier, African Crowned Eagle, Martial Eagle and African Goshawk.

Wahlberg’s Eagle

One of the things we noticed was that much of the big game was not to be seen. Of the Big 5 we only saw elephants – a heard of 20 on the opposite side of Nsumo Pan and a male in musth at kuMahlahla Hide. Not one Rhino perhaps because most were taken to St Lucia/Isimangaliso for safe keeping and because of the draught.

Herd of Elephants

Herd of Elephants

On one of the days we decided to head down to St Lucia to try our luck to see the Gull-billed and Sooty Terns as well as the Eurasian Oystercatcher. The Mkhuze gate only opened at 06h00 so we were unable to get to St Lucia before 07h45.

Perhaps that is why we lucked out except for the Sooty Tern. We spent over four hours on the beach and estuary. Unfortunately we had to get back to Mkuze before the gate closed at 18h00 so were were unable to check the birds coming in for the evening roost.

The mouth of the estuary has changed drastically. It now encompasses a huge lagoon. The hillside opposite the Ski Boat Club has gone – some 60 million tons of sand have been moved and the Umfolozi River is flowing into the lake at a pace – especially with all the rains further up-river. Here are some photos of what the estuary looks like now after the sand removal – in particular the hill opposite the ski boat club that has been removed.

From the car park looking to the entrance of the river into the estuary showing the remains of the hillock.

Looking up the estuary with the remains of the hillock on the left oposite

And the beach beyond the boardwalk has also seen some changes – all the Casuarina trees have gone as well as the beach loo and shower building.

As usual the estuary was full of interesting birds: a pair of Saddle-billed Storks at the mouth of the Umfolozi coming into the lagoon/estuary. Goliath Herons, Pink-backed Pelicans, Yellow-billed Storks, Western Osprey, Avocets, Bar-tailed Godwits, African Spoonbills to name a few. All easily seen.

Seen in the estuary – a rather upside down dead Basking Shark.

Demise of a Basking Shark in the St Lucia estuary

On Friday when we left Mkuze we headed back to St Lucia to try our luck again – ever hopeful of finding the Eurasian Oystercatcher as we had received a report to tell us it had been seen that morning. We arrived in the rain – more like heavy gusty squalls. Very unpleasant to wander around in.

Time was spent at the start of the boardwalk with the scope on the estuary – close enough to the car to retreat into, as each squall arrived. In the end we drove round to the St Lucia beaches and manage to get a quick look up and down the shore line – nothing.

As the rain got harder and the winds stronger, we returned to the chalet we were booked into in the hope that the weather in the morning would be kind to us. It was.

First we search the estuary mouth and coast line. Then we walked down the beach almost to Mapelane. Back again to the estuary to check the Terns again, getting mud stuck to our shoes so that we felt a few inches taller. No Oystercatchers, Gull-billed or Sooty Terns. Mid day we gave up and headed home as the rains persisted.

That is birding. Anyway we did have a bird count of 152 species in Mkuze  – click here to see our list. St Lucia birds were plentiful but we did not make a list as we were focused on finding the specials – however this is one of our favourite birding areas.

We usually stay in Sugarloaf campsite close to the boardwalk. Birding in the camp is excellent, then you have the waterbirds in the estuary, sea birds, the Gwalagwala trail, Eastern and Western Shores of Isimangaliso are next door and if you have time and the energy then the Umfolozi/Hluhluwe NR is an hour away.

Perhaps we shall venture there again soon to try our luck.

Paul and Sally Bartho.

 

 

 

Posted in Home, Posts, Reports | Tagged , | 7 Comments

Latest Cape and Beared 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.

Bennie has been stationery for a few days so we will investigate that.

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, Camo and Mollie and our Cape Vultures; Bennie and N207, for the past week.

The rehabilitated Cape Vulture seems to be exploring his area quite a bit since his release.

I was lucky enough to see Jeremia over the weekend, flying along the ridges near Witsieshoek Mountain Lodge!

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

Bisley Valley Outing

Report by Sandi du Preez and Elena Russell

22 October 2017

We had asked Ian Gordon from BirdLife KZN Midlands to join us on the outing as he is very familiar with the reserve and his birding skills are legendary! This proved to be an excellent decision.

Not the best of starts to our day. Firstly, it was jolly cold and the Bisley gate was padlocked. Ian tried calling various numbers to no avail and when some of the stable hands turned up for work (adjoining the nature reserve is a riding establishment) we got quite excited as we presumed somebody would come down to unlock the gate. No such luck, it was after 7am before we got in. We understand the gate is supposed to be unlocked at 5am but the man either overslept or who knows!! Ian said he would look into getting better access as Dave Rimmer has an outing there in February.

Now for the good news!! It was a great days birding, and by tea time the day had warmed up beautifully. Diderick and Red-chested Cuckoos everywhere – positively trash birds!

Ian took us on a trail we had not been on before. Lots of discussion over a pipit that kept disappearing amongst the grass tussocks – turned out to be an African Pipit – it eventually flew up to a post and we saw the white outer tail feathers!! Nearby we had a lovely Long-tailed Widowbird.

We all love bushveld birding and target birds for the day were Acacia Pied Barbet, Common Scimitarbill and Brubru. Unfortunately, we only heard the Barbet and the Scimitarbill but we had fantastic sightings of several Brubru.

Other creatures spotted

Other typical bushveld birds seen or heard were Black-crowned and Brown-crowned Tchagra, Chinspot Batis, Golden-breasted Bunting, Black Cuckoo.

Some great raptors – African Fish, Long-crested and Wahlberg’s Eagles; African Harrier-Hawk and Yellow-billed Kite.

Special surprises were Common (Kurrichane) Buttonquail and Common Quail!

Other species of interest were Crested Barbet, Olive and Orange-breasted Bush-shrike, Cape Canary, Familiar Chat, Croaking, Rattling and Zitting Cisticola, Black Cuckooshrike, Fiscal, Spotted and Paradise Flycatcher, Cape Grassbird, Greater and Lesser Honeyguide, African Hoopoe, Yellow-throated Longclaw, Red-billed Quelea, Streaky-headed Seedeater, Violet-backed Starling, Green Wood-Hoopoe, Red-throated Wryneck.

After tea some of the group left, it was very hot!! But the rest of us went down to the hide, nice and cool, and watched the Red Bishops, Village and Yellow Weavers busy building nests. Moorhens and Red-knobbed Coots plus a Snow goose or should it be snow duck (domestic duck) to keep us amused. Afterwards we went off looking for the Acacia Pied Barbet but had no luck.

The total species count was 101. Click here to see the list. This would never have been achieved without Ian – so a BIG THANK YOU to him!

Then on to Darvill, as when near PMB, Darvill has to be checked out and we couldn’t return to Durban too soon as we did not want to be caught up in the tail end of the Amashovashova.

Comb Duck had been reported there recently and, luckily for us, it was still there! African Snipe was also seen. At least 55 species were recorded.

What a wonderful day, with Lifers for some and year list birds for others. Fantastic to see species that we don’t get in the eThekwini area. We look forward to going back to Bisley in February.

 Thanks to Sheryl Halstead for some great photos.

Sandi and Elena

Posted in Activities, Home, Posts, Reports | Tagged | Leave a comment

Paradise Valley Outing

Report by Lesley Frescura

Wednesday 18 October

The morning dawned with the promise of a beautiful day, and at 07.30 five intrepid birders – John, Sandi, Rani, Ros and Lesley met in the car park and made their way into the NR and over the bridge.

The bridge is in dire need of repair with side pieces missing.

We then proceeded along the path by the river which was running strongly after the recent rains. The strelitzia nicotiana is in bloom, and there were many birds along the way enjoying the nectar.

We spotted 2 White-eared Barbet babies recently out of the nest, and staying close to the tree which provided excellent hiding places.

There was evidence of some washaways on the river bank, and quite a few fallen logs and tree branches. As we made our way further down the path, we noted the alien invasive vegetation including balloon vine, triffids and lantana.

The birds flitted amongst the trees full of song and searching for food – be it bugs under the bark, insects in flight or fruit ripening on the trees.

We made our way to the wooden bridge over the river and once again remarked on the broken sides, which may or may not have been caused by the storm of the week before. However we felt that signs should be put up warning parents that children should not be on the bridges unaccompanied.

We then made our way to the furthest spot on the river and John spotted an Eagle flying over a nest. We took the upper path on our return and ended the morning enjoying our tea at the riverside where there are again many birds to watch, ID and enjoy. The Mountain Wagtails were there to show Rani.

Thanks to Sandi for the bird list. Click here to see the list.

Best regards

Lesley Frescura

Posted in Activities, Home, Posts, Reports | 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, Camo and Mollie and our Cape Vulture; Bennie for the past week. You will notice that we have a new Cape Vulture on the map- N207- a sub-adult bird that was rehabilitated by Ben Hoffman (Raptor Rescue) and released in the southern Drakensberg by Ben and Chris Kelly (Wildlife Act). This bird was fitted with the transmitter that was recovered from Kloutjie.

The necropsy report revealed that Kloutjie died of trauma – the type that would be expected from being shot at. X-Rays revealed a cracked skull and broken humerus. He was not poisoned and lead levels in the bone were low. We will need to schedule some awareness activities within the region to address human persecution.

You may also notice that I have updated the birds’ ages. All our Bearded Vultures are now adults, with the youngest being those caught as one year old birds in 2012.

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

Alverstone Outing

Saturday 7 October 2017

Report by Elena Russell

It was an amazing morning. The mist did not lift till nearly 8 o’clock so the birding was spasmodic.

Misty Morning – Decklan Jordaan

We would hear a Dark-capped Bulbul and then a dark shape would fly past!! Dave Rimmer came up with “misty moisty morning when cloudy was the weather” (Steeleye Span).

Maybe not the best alliteration but then nobody came up with anything better. It kept us amused whilst we did a head-count, just in case we lost someone in the thick mist. Twenty one birders braved the weather and our bird count was 78.  We also raised R420 for the Alverstone conservancy.

Once the mist started to lift the birding improved tremendously and in fact the sun came out and it was a great morning.

We walked the grassland path down to the bottom dam where the Holb’s Golden Weavers are in residence. Knysna (heard) and Purple Crested Turacos seen, masses of Cape Robin-Chats, Cape Canary and lots more – thanks to Sandi who did the bird list which is attached. Click here to see the list.

Dave Rimmer who keeps the so called “official reserve list” added a further 9 species to the list which now stands at 118 for the reserve  (Click here to see their list). The following were added to the reserve list: –

Cape Canary

African Pygmy Kingfisher

Brown-backed Honeybird

African Goshawk

Natal Spurfowl

African Pipit

House Sparrow

Red-throated Wryneck

Green Wood-hoopoe

Our bird of the morning was the Olive Bushshrike, some really great views and of course we had to have an orchid – Disa Woodii.

Crinum were flowering on the hillside and spiders on webs in the misty moist wet grass – the Saturday Chat Show does tend to look at everything.

Spider in the dew -Decklan Jordaan

We found a reed frog (presume it is a reed frog as it was on a reed).

We made our way back up the forest path and once on the top walking back to the picnic site we picked up African and Plain-backed Pipit.

Thanks to the photographers, Dave, Hennie, Decklan and Tony for the great photos.

Elena Russell

Posted in Activities, Home, Posts, Reports | Tagged | Leave a comment

BirdLife Trogons Newsletter

Click here to read the latest BirdLife Trogons Newsletter.

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, Camo and Mollie and our Cape Vulture; Bennie 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, Camo and Mollie and our Cape Vulture; Bennie 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, Camo and Mollie and our Cape Vulture; Bennie for the past week.

I am still awaiting the autopsy report from Kloutjie and will share the cause of his death as soon as I have it. Although it looked like poison was cause of death, he had no food in his crop/stomach and tested negative for poison.

The Rhino Peak Challenge was a successful event on the 22 September 2017 with over R300 000 raised for Rhino and Bearded Vulture conservation. Well done to all the participants and those that pledged their support! Lets hope that these threatened species will still be part of our natural heritage when future generations celebrate Heritage Day.

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, Camo and Mollie and our Cape Vulture; Bennie for the past week.

Unfortunately no movements for Kloutjie from now on. We found him dead on a farm in the north-eastern Free State last week (see photo). Thanks to David Weaver and Ben Hoffman for their assistance.

Kloutjie

Kloutjie was fitted with a transmitter in 2012 as a one year old and would have started breeding in the next couple of years. To lose a “nearly” adult bird is a great loss to the population.

On a more positive note, the Rhino Peak Challenge will once again be taking place on World Rhino Day (22 September). This Challenge raises funds for the Rhino and Bearded Vulture and in 2016 raised over R150 000 for the Bearded Vulture Breeding Programme. A big thank you to those that contributed last year; with the assistance of these funds we were able to collect four (second) eggs from the wild this year and successfully hatch three chicks at the African Birds of Prey Sanctuary. For more information please see http://www.rhinopeakchallenge.co.za/participants/?yearopt=2017. If you would like to pledge your support, scroll down to Influential People, Sonja Krüger.

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, Kloutjie, Camo and Mollie and our Cape Vulture; Bennie for the past week.

It looks like Kloutjie has stopped moving for a few days so we will investigate this and update you next week – hopefully he has just dropped his transmitter

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

Tanglewood Farm NR

Report by Elena Russell

Saturday 2nd September 2017

Let’s not keep the best for last, on  Saturday we had two rarities!!

Firstly the Ayre’s Hawk Eagle up on the grasslands being harassed by a Yellow billed Kite – we have a lovely shot of  ‘The Photographer’ aka Mike Stead taking brilliant photos of the Ayre’s, please note one has to be lying on a grassy hillside for the best results.

Mike Stead on How to photogragh an Ayers’s Hawk Eagle

Ayre’s Hawk Eagle

I will admit we called Booted Eagle as it had recently been seen at Tanglewood and then there were the ‘landing lights’. I asked the expert, David Allan, who put me right and in the new Roberts I understand ‘landing lights’ are mentioned for the Ayres.

The second rarity is a flower!!! A ground orchid, Eulophia Clavicornis, and in Joan Walker’s book on wild flowers of Natal she mentions that it is rare for Tanglewood and found in the grassland.

Eulophia Clavicornis – a ground orchid

It was rather a chilly morning but with lots of bird song, Red-capped Robin-Chats, Olive Thrush, Dark-capped Bulbul, Sombre Greenbul, Fork-tailed and Square-tailed Drongos, masses of Black-bellied Starlings and the juvenile Crowned Eagle called incessantly to be fed.

As the morning warmed up more and more birds were seen, our total count was 73. Click here to see our list.

We took the Waterfall Trail in the hopes of seeing the Knysna Turaco and were not disappointed but it was rather a hard slog and there were rumblings of discontent from some of the troops.

On the path down we came across a pair of Blue-mantled Crested Flycatchers – a nice one for the list.

We then drove up to the Boat House for a walk over the grasslands. The Fish Eagle has taken up residence on the Boat House veranda

and sat in the trees waiting patiently for us to leave.

African Fish-Eagle

There are Yellow Weavers nesting on the spit by the road, Holub’s Golden Weavers and Cape Weavers were busy at their nests by the veranda and made for a very pleasant spot to have our picnic tea.

But first our walk through the grasslands. Cape Grassbird, Croaking Cisticola, Yellow-throated Longclaw, Amethyst, Olive and Greater Double-collared Sunbirds

Olive Sunbird

and the Ayre’s Hawk Eagle!

Ayre’s Hawk Eagle

 

The profusely flowering trees by the Boat House are Dombeya rotundifolia – very pretty.

The photo of the strange nest in a tree is (we think) a Processionary Moth?

Perhaps a Processionary Moth’s nest

Whilst having our picnic at the Boat House we watched a Yellow-billed Kite picking up sticks and taking them back to a big tree across from the 2nd dam.

Yellow-billed Kite

Later on the pair were seen copulating on top of a pylon – not exactly the bridal suite at the Ritz but the pylon does come with a superb view.

We had a good outing and my thanks to Mike Stead, Penny de Vries and Sandi du Preez for the great photos.

Cheers

Elena

Posted in Activities, Home, Posts, Reports | Tagged | Leave a comment