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 two weeks.

Kind regards

Sonja Krüger

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Outing to Pigeon Valley

Wednesday 14 June

Report bu Sandi du Preez

Six birders met outside the reservoir area on a a gloomy,cloudy morning. Crispin Hemson very kindly agreed to lead the outing, and as usual we really appreciated his extensive knowledge of the birds and plants in Pigeon Valley.

A Black Sparrowhawk flew in from across the road and we spotted some restless Purple-banded and Amethyst Sunbirds in a tree next to the road. I had seen them in the same tree the week before.

First we went to the reservoir. The target bird was the Fiscal Flycatcher as it is usually there in winter and Crispin had already reported seeing it. But it was nowhere to be seen. However, there were lots of very cheerful Dark-capped Bulbuls, Bronze Mannikins and an extremely vocal White-browed Scrub-Robin who just refused to show it’s hiding place in a tree!

Hadeda Ibis

Then we walked down to the entrance gate and did some extensive birding along many of the paths.

There was a little group of Grey Waxbills on the southern fence next to the reservoir – always a treat to see. We later also saw them near the entrance gate as we were leaving.

The spotted Ground Thrush was elusive but it was seen by 3 other birders who arrived late and did their own walk around the reserve.

On the central path we came across the feathers and remains of a Purple-crested Turaco, probably the Black Sparrowhawk’s tasty meal.  Of course we all helped ourselves to some of the beautiful feathers!

Unfortunate demise of a Purple-crested Turaco

The sun came out for a little while and we were able to see some Square-tailed Drongos, Bar-throated Apalis, a Dusky Flycatcher and Cape White-eyes. Southern Boubous called constantly in duet.

We took a walk on the top contour path which runs parallel to the centre track and here we got the bird of the day. While we were watching a very busy Kurrichane Thrush, eagle-eyed Tamsin spotted a small bird on the ground close by. She described it very well. I knew that a Barratt’s Warbler (an altitudinal migrant in winter) had been seen recently by Richard Boon so we checked the field guide. Yes – that is what it was!

Tamsin, it is always such a pleasure to have you on my outings!

Morning Glory

We got together with the late-comers to compile the bird list over coffee and sandwiches and managed to get a composite list of 46 species for the morning. Click here to see the list.

As we were leaving we  added a Brown-hooded kingfisher and Fork-tailed Drongo.

After we all left, John spent an hour at one of the bird baths and was rewarded with photos of an Olive Sunbird showing yellow pectoral tufts, Spotted Ground Thrush, Red-capped Robin-Chat and Thick-billed Weaver.

Thanks to John Bremner for the photos  and to Crispin for leading us.

Sandi du Preez

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Report by Paul and Sally Bartho

9 to 16 June 2017

Dave and Jenny Rix invited us to join them for a week at Sobhengu timeshare. Mike and Jane Roseblade and Cecil and Jenny Fenwick also came along.

Sobhengu is located at the tip of the Nibela peninsular in the Isimangaliso Wetland Park.

Map showing Sobhengu location

It is connected to the Nibela Lake Lodge by boardwalks and along a 4×4 track. Our Chalet had a commanding view over the lake and was set in pristine sand forest. It consisted of four en suite bedrooms, a huge lounge, kitchen, a large outdoor deck overlooking the lake and a boma braai area.

We were well looked after by the always smiling and helpful staff.

Nibela Lake Lodge and Sobhengu share a huge private area of pristine forest with numerous well signed walking trails in good condition.

Sobhengu Trail Map

Much of our time was spent walking the trails in the forest looking for bird parties. Often we heard special species without being able to find them – though we did get lucky with some. Green Malkoha, Scaly-throated Honeyguide, Gorgeous, Grey-headed and Orange-breasted Bushshrikes, Green and Pink-throated Twinspots, Narina Trogon, African Broadbill, Eastern Nicator, Fiery-necked Nightjar, Bearded and Brown Scrub-Robins, White-throated Robin-Chats, Black Sparrowhawk, African Wood-Owl all made their presences known – most unsighted. The Twinspots, Trogon, Nicator, the Robins and Sparrowhawk were the exceptions.

Commonly seen and heard were the Rudd’s and Yellow-breasted Apalis, Caspian and Swift Terns, Grey Sunbird (regularly heard), Black-backed Puffback, Great White Pelicans, Crowned and Trumpeter Hornbills, Grey-hooded Gull, White-fronted Plovers, Crested Guineafowl, Drongos and Flycatchers.

The trails were not only through the forest but also along the water’s edge and at the furthermost point from our cottage there were fossils to be found close to the beach.

Later on, as the sun warmed things up, butterflies were everywhere. Perhaps someone will have a go at naming #2, #24 and #27 captured in photographs at the end?

And there were flowers to catch our attention too.

And the occasional forest magic.

Of course there were other beasties too which Jane had a habit of walking into. Fortunately her keen eyes did not let her down.

Mike and Jane took a diversion to have a not-so-quick game of chess while some of us watched soaking up the sun on a coolish morning.

Serious Birding – Mike vs Jane

Then of course there is the local wetland area about 15 kms from the Nibela Gate. Lucky, our guide took us there. Great flat wetland area and a must for any birders.

There were numerous waders to be seen in and around the water’s edge including Common and Curlew Sandpipers (unusual for the time of year) Pied Avocets, Kittlitz’s Plovers, Little Stints, Common Greenshank to name a few.

However our target was Longclaws – and we saw all three of them. The Rosy-throated being the most prominent and obliging. We had wonderful sightings of both males and females. And there were Pale-crowned Cisticolas calling and displaying too.

On the way to Sobhengu we took a short detour into Hluhluwe Game Reserve and had some good sightings of Rhinos, Buffaloes, Elephant and Lions as well as many birds. The most notable of which was the Black-crowned Tchagra – singing and on display.

This was not to be our only visit to Hluhluwe Game Park.

News came through on the Sunday from Trevor Hardaker that a Striped Crake had been seen at Thiyeni Hide. Sally and I decided to try our luck on the Monday and Cecil and Jenny Rix came with us.

Now I cannot remember when this hide was last open – probably a good 10 years ago or more so I was surprised to hear that it was open.

Anyway we head off nice and early. No traffic in the park until we turned off the tar onto the gravel. Disgruntlement in the car as the car in front was, it appeared to be dawdling and some in our party were getting anxious to get there. I was happy cruising along behind.

At the turnoff to the hide, the car in front makes the turn – aha they have come to see the bird too – as I suspected. The walkway to the hide is overgrown and part of the fencing looks as though an elephant has come through. Not only that but the entrance to the walkway is well hidden.

The other couple – (Adrian and Sue as we later learned) were well ahead of us by the time we got to the hide itself. The hide was in dismal shape with layer upon layer of bat pooh underfoot – thankfully less so on the benches.

We sit and wait. Then after five minutes the Striped Crake is seen by Adrian swimming across the water into the reeds on our left. We now know where to focus and eventually the Crake appears and gives us a good sighting before disappearing again. Several more times it appeared briefly and then remained in hiding for several hours until Nicky and Ticky Forbes arrived. We left and they later told us they had great close sightings after waiting patiently for some time.

A Slender Mongoose popped out in the same area as the Striped Crake so we hope he did not have the Crake for supper.

We later heard that the hide was meant to have been closed. If so we were fortunate to have been able to have such a good sighting of the Striped Crake.

Some of the characters at large in the chalet party.

In all we recorded 117 bird species in Sobhengu and the wetland area. Click here to see the list.

Full Moon over Lake St. Lucia





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Mziki – Malagasy Pond Heron

Report by Paul and Sally Bartho

21 June 2017

Our adventure started while we were at the Sobhengu timeshare on the Nibela Peninsular, Isimangoliso Wetland Park, KZN – very close to Phinda.

We received Trevor Hardaker’s report that a Malagasy Pond Heron had been seen at Mziki in Phinda. We followed Trevor’s reports each day hoping that arrangements would be made with Mziki to see the bird before we headed home.

It was only when we got home to Howick that arrangements were made for keen birders to gain access to see the bird.

Sally and I decided to go. We made a booking for the Wednesday afternoon game drive. Then we called several friends to see if they wanted to join us to make up the numbers. We got one taker. So I put out a message on SABirdnet and on the BirdLife Port Natal Facebook page. The phone never stopped ringing and within minutes we had a full vehicle – 7 people in all. Janice and Mike Isom, Nicky and Tiki Forbes, Cecil Fenwick and ourselves.

Yesterday we drove all the way back to Hluhluwe, booked into the Fever Tree Lodge where we planned to spend the night. And then on to Phinda, reaching their gate well early. To get to Mziki was a further 12 kilometres driving through Phinda’s game reserve and slowly enjoying the nature sightings along the way including a White Rhino and baby.

In seems that our party all had the same idea and we all arrived at the Mziki gate at more or less the same time – and hour and a half before the game drive.

Our game drive vehicle was ready for us at 14h00 – Brendon and Johan our guides. We set off for the wetland area where the bird had been seen regularly. We were told that they had had a 100% hit rate so far. I think we were all worried by that statement.

First area – no luck. Round the other side – no luck. To the other end of the wetland – no luck. Process repeated and another area visited – still no luck.

Thought we had a chance in one small pond where there were many African Spoonbills and a couple of Yellow-billed Storks fishing. – no luck.

African Spoonbills and Yellow-billed Storks


Green-backed Heron

Despair starting to set in as night drew closer. So one more complete cycle and back to the start – still nothing and now it was time to head back. One final look, and as we start to leave Sally spots the bird right next to us. We all get a brief glimpse. Unfortunately it spots us and flies across to the other side in some deep reeds.

What a lovely sighting of the bird in flight.

Anyway, we drive round to where it went into the reeds and we vaguely spot it at the edge – well camouflaged by reeds of course.

Again it spots us and flies across to the side where we had just come from, changes its mind and lands on a stump in the water.

Great views but poor light for photography, however we manage some shots. It flies to another dead tree kicking off, in no uncertain terms, a Cattle Egret which was roosting and settles there.

Malagasy Pond Heron

It is a bit further away and we suspect that is where it wants to roost so we left it alone and headed back to the cars in the now gloomy light.

At the cars we enjoyed a few drinks and snacks laid on by the Brendon and Johan.

Elated Mziki Team

We were all elated and the guides relieved.

Sally was the most popular person amongst us. Well done Sally.



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

Kind regards

Sonja Krüger

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Palmiet Saturday 3rd June 2017

Report by Elena Russell

Last year’s outing to Palmiet was cancelled due to heavy rain which made the river crossing impossible. Another year, another attempt.

We had a good turnout mostly members and a couple of visitors. We had two options; cross the river in search of the grasslands or take the path alongside the river, both options were not without their hazards. Mike Roseblade took a group alongside the river and the other group crossed the river.

This year the crossing looked OK but some of the stepping stones were under water and a few people turned back and joined Mike’s group but we had John, Oscar and Calvin to assist us over the worst bits. Oscar was up to his knees in icy water and John was busy taking photos!

The path up through the kloof is very rugged but we had some good birds, Purple Crested Turaco;  Collared, Amethyst, Grey, Olive and White-bellied Sunbirds; Cape Batis; Cape White-eye: Sombre and Yellow-bellied Greenbuls; Dark-capped Bulbul; Terrestrial Brownbul; Fork-tailed and Square-tailed Drongos and eventually reached a small patch of grassland.

Here we picked up Bronze and Red-back Mannikins; Dusky Flycatcher and Crowned Hornbills flew over. Also Tawny-flanked Prinia; Black Flycatcher; Golden-Tailed Woodpecker; Black-backed Puffback (trash bird of the day); African Firefinch and onwards and upwards because we knew there was bigger and better grassland further up.

African Black Flycatcher

Then the “great big rock” in the middle of the path put an end to our endeavours so we turned back but we were still picking up some nice birds: Bar-throated Apalis; Southern Boubou; Black Cuckooshrike; Red-capped Robin Chat; White-browed Scrub Robin; Black-headed Oriole; Black-Collared and White-eared Barbets and lots more including the Mountain Wagtail.

Back at the picnic site Mike’s group had the Best Bird of the Day, the Half-collared Kingfisher and although we hunted up and down the river after tea we had no luck.

Our bird count was 53 at tea and then we picked up Brown-backed Honeybird to make a total of 54.

Palmiet is not the easiest nature reserve to bird but Lesley says there is a top gate which leads directly to the grassland and hopefully she will investigate how to gain access to this part of the reserve.

Thanks to Mike for leading the one group and thanks to Sheryl (Half-collared Kingfisher) and John for the great photos.



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Birding Big Day 2017

Hi All

Birding Big Day this year will take place on Saturday 25 November. We have a new logo for Birding Big Day and have published all the relevant info about how to participate online! We also created the FB Event Page. The links are:

Information about the event:

Registration form:

Facebook Event Page: – please ask your members to join the event online. We will publish regular updates here nearer to the time.

Please advertise widely in your club and add to your programmes.

We would also like to raise lots of funding this year for the conservation work we do at BirdLife South Africa, so please consider ways your club can assist.


Ernst Retief

Regional Conservation Manager: Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Free State

Physical Address : 17 Hume Road, Dunkeld West

Postal Address : Private Bag X5000, Parklands, 2121

Tel: +27 (0)11 789 1122 / 0860 BIRDER

Fax: +27 (0)11 789 5188

Cell: +27 (0) 82 325 6608


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Plastic pollution: You’ve got to see this!

Hi Lesley,

Picture the scene – crashing waves, beautiful windswept clifftops, the air full of the cries of thousands of nesting seabirds – and pieces of plastic waste scattered all around.

The Greenpeace ship Beluga II is travelling around Scotland on a scientific expedition, to document and expose the threat of plastic pollution on our most iconic wildlife and most remote and biodiverse areas in the UK. And what we’ve seen so far is shocking.

Watch & share this video

On our journey around this beautiful coastline, the crew have seen plastic floating in the sea, washed up on beaches and even in the beaks of seabirds.

As well as the obvious risks of entanglement, seabirds and other marine life can mistake plastic pieces for food, filling their stomachs until there’s no longer room for the real sustenance they need to survive.

And that’s just the plastic that’s big enough for us to see. The crew on board the Beluga II have been carrying out scientific sampling for microplastics in the water. These tiny bits of plastic can enter the sea as microbeads or are pieces of plastic that have broken down over the years.

Last week, we sailed through Gunna Sound where the crew spotted huge basking sharks. These giant but gentle creatures feed by filtering tiny particles out of huge amounts of water – putting them at risk of eating microplastics.

Spread the word about ocean plastic pollution.

Watch & share this video

The beautiful beaches of these remote islands should be spotless. But whilst plastic continues to flow into our oceans (at a rate of a truck-load every minute), it will continue to find its way to even the most secluded spots.

Our End Ocean Plastics voyage continues for another 3 weeks – next, we’ll be heading to the Shiant Isles, home to a huge seabird colony, where the crew will continue to sample their feeding waters for plastic, and document plastic pollution they find (as well as hopefully spotting lots of puffins!)

Watch & share this video

With thanks for all you do,

Alice, Aakash and the Oceans team


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Muntinzini Weekend away. 26-28 May 2017

Report by Cheryl Bevan

Iris and Geoff Sear, David and Tanya Swanepoel and John and I arrived at Twin Streams on Friday afternoon and the first bird we saw was the Narina Trogon. What a start to our weekend.

Narina Trogon

We gathered together at the beautiful lapa and communal kitchen for a delicious braai.

We were woken up on Sunday morning to the call of a Wood Owl. John took his torch and went searching for the Wood Owl but wasn’t able to see it.  We did however hear four Wood Owls taking to each other which was a huge treat.

We went looking for the ellusive resident African Finfoot to no avail.

As we were strolling along we were amazed to see the Trogon out in the open for about 15 minutes. What a sighting. There were about 3 calling each other the whole time we were out there.

As we walked down the road we were treated to the Africa Olive Pigeon, African Green Pigeon, Little Sparrow Hawk, Golden Tailed Woodpecker to name a few.

White-eared Barbet

With hungry tummies we headed back for breakfast. Afterwards we set off to the Raffia Palm Monument. A lot of the Palms had fruited and was chopped down. And due to this, the forest was very sparse and we hardly saw any birds.

We did see a Palm-nut Vulture on the gravel road heading back to Twin Streams.

At lunch time Cecil and Jenny Fenwick joined us for the weekend and we headed off to Umlalazi Nature Reserve looking for the Mangrove Kingfisher. The Reserve has changed a lot and the birding was spartan.

Sunday morning we went looking for the African Finfoot again with no luck. So we strolled in the opposite direction and had a lovely walk before breakfast.

Afterwards we headed back to Umlalazi Nature Reserve where we walked through the mangrove forest boardwalk.  There was a lot of water so we were unable to get to the spot where the Africa Finfoot is usually spotted.

We headed back at lunchtime, packed up and ended our weekend at the Fat Cat restaurant before heading home after a very enjoyable weekend.

In all 47 different species were identified. To see our list click here and here and here.

Cheryl Bevan

Narina Trogon

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

Kind regards

Sonja Krüger

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Umhlanga Lagoon 17th May 2017

Report by Sandi du Preez

It was a great relief to be blessed with a beautiful sunny day after 5 days of rain. Thirteen birders attended the outing.

The early arrivals saw the Black-throated Wattle-eye in a tree near the entrance, but try as we may, it was not to be seen again.

We birded from the first board-walk and here we had lovely views of Rufous-winged Cisticola, Little bee-eater, a “huddle” of Bronze Mannikins, Brown-throated Weaver and Dark-capped Yellow Warbler and Hamerkop.

A huddle of Bronze Mannikins

The Dark-capped Yellow Warbler was a lifer for some.

Rufous-winged Cisticola

A pair of Giant Kingfishers gave us a wonderful fly-past back and forth several times.

Birders on the Beach

Then onto the beach to look for the White-fronted Plovers, but no luck – good views of some very jaunty Tawny-flanked Prinias though.

Tawny-flanked Prinia

White-breasted Cormorant

A White-browed Scrub-robin was calling from exactly the same spot as last year’s October outing but remained hidden.

Black-bellied Starling

A very vocal Square-tailed Drongo had us confused at first but then we got to see it clearly. We heard a Fish-eagle calling several times and it took quite a while for us to find it. Of course there were the usual comments about the “Real Sound of Africa”!

Then we headed off to the forest area. Birding was rather quiet, but Calvin heard and saw a Chorister Robin-chat, but it disappeared before anyone else got a glimpse of it. We did, however see a very co-operative Red-capped Robin-Chat hopping happily along the path.

Red-capped Robin-Chat

We went over the other boardwalk to a section of beach that was just too steep to reach by most of us pensioners – this would not have been a problem some years ago! However, Stuart, our Dusi and Comrades  participant, was not at all daunted and he was rewarded with a good sighting of a White-fronted Plover.

Back through the forest and beautiful views of Ashy Flycatcher, Dusky Flycatcher, Black-backed Puffback, Terrestrial Brownbuls, Green-backed Camaroptera, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbirds.

During the outing we had four species of sunbirds (Amethyst, Collared, Grey and Olive).

As we went for our coffee break, John went off with his camera to see what more he could photograph. He was lucky to see a Sandwich Tern and a Swift Tern. While we were having our picnic, a strange bird flew overhead – a drone!!

Altogether we saw or heard 55 species. Click here to view our list.


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LatestCape 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.

Kind regards

Sonja Krüger

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Mannikin Meander

Report by Jane and Mike Roseblade

Sunday 21st May dawned calm and clear, typical balmy May weather, as 9 of us gathered at the Westville Civic Centre in the hopes of nailing all three Mannikins – Bronze, Red-backed and Magpie in one day.

We set off across Woodside Park and with the morning sun on the fruiting trees the birds were active and we had superb viewing of Olive and Grey Sunbirds. Then a juvenile Olive Bushshrike crept through the tangled vegetation and a Brimstone Canary sat atop the exotic pine watching us pass by.

An African Goshawk darted out of the canopy and across the road affording most of the party a view of his rump as he disappeared. We spent some time in the park but only one Bronze Mannikin was spotted.

We crossed Link Road and headed into the forest area and on to the grassland where the mannikins are normally found. Here we were entertained by a number of Bronze, one Red-backed seen only by myself and no Magpie!!

This is not to say that there were no birds to be seen as we had good views of Streaky-headed Seedeater, Purple-crested Turaco and a late Violet-backed Starling amongst the usual species.

We had our morning tea before heading down to the scout bowl, also known as the “Dog Park” and here David (for whom this was a lifer) ticked the Magpie Mannikin, only one and no one else saw the bird!

An interesting bird here is the Common Moorhen, the park is frequented by numerous dogs and they are often encouraged by their owners to hunt in the area around the ponds. We were amazed that a relatively shy species like a Common Moorhen would take up residence here but they have been present now for well over a month.

Jenny joined us here so now our party was a round ten and we now headed for Jubilee Park in an attempt to find a more obliging Magpie and Red-backed Mannikin that would stay around to be viewed.

Jubilee did not disappoint on the Magpie Mannikin and good views were afforded the whole party.

Magpie Mannikin

The Red-backed Mannikin remained elusive and for this we had to go back to our home where the Red-backed obligingly came in to the feeder as we sat enjoying a lunch time braai.

With mission achieved and a total bird count of 67 species (not bad for the middle of Westville in Autumn), everyone could relax and enjoy the afternoon.

Jane and Mike Roseblade

There was no photographer on our outing so the photo of Magpie Mannikin was taken from my kitchen window!!

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

Bennie has extended his movements even further this week and is now exploring the southern Free State. The Cape Vulture breeding season has started, therefore one would expect Bennie to be closer to home.

Kind regards

Sonja Krüger

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Timm and I were at Mkuze at the end of last month for a few days and were very happy to see some lovely birds.

The Striped Kingfisher was very obliging, sitting on a tree very close to the road  – as was the Tawny Eagle.

The juvenile African Fish-Eagle flew over us before resting on the dead tree in the pan.  Unfortunately the Pelicans were very far away so no pics.

African Fish-Eagle

I’ve included a couple that aren’t birds but may be interesting for some.


Kind regards

Pam Zarnack

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Sherwood Farm

From a visit this last weekend to Sherwood Farm in the Karkloof area, a Crowned Eagle.

Crowned Eagle

Crispin Hemson

082 926 5333

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BirdLife South Africa AGM

Dear colleagues

You can view the proceedings of the recent AGM which was held on the MSC Sinfonia at: (note that there are several videos)

We are very grateful to John Bowey for videoing the AGM, editing the videos, and uploading the videos onto BirdLife South Africa’s YouTube channel.

Please share the link with bird club members.



Mark D. Anderson

Chief Executive Officer

Isdell House, 17 Hume Road (cnr Hume Road/Jan Smuts Drive), Dunkeld West 2196, Gauteng

Private Bag X5000, Parklands 2121, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa

Tel: +27 (0)11 789 1122

Fax: +27 (0)11 789 5188

Cell: +27 (0) 82 788 0961


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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, Kloutjie, Camo and Mollie and our Cape Vulture; Bennie for the past week. Despite the cold, rain and snow the birds still seems to be active this past weekend. Bennie extended his movements into southern Lesotho this week and Camo is exploring KwaZulu-Natal.

Kind regards

Sonja Krüger

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Interview with Mark Anderson

Dear colleagues

I was interviewed today on Cliff Central about birds, birding, BirdLife South Africa and Flock at Sea. The podcast is at



Mark D. Anderson

Chief Executive Officer

BirdLife South Africa

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Shongweni Outing Sat 6th May

Short report on Saturday’s outing to Shongweni.

Elena Russell

We had lovely weather, a bit cool to start but soon warmed up nicely.

A good turnout, there were some faces that we have not seen on a Saturday outing for a very long time!

Our bird count at tea was 78 and then Sandi phoned to say that they had picked up African Fish Eagle – 79 – not too shabby for a winter’s morning birding at Shongweni.

On the walk past the office and on past the soccer field and round by the road, we had Rufous-naped Lark, Neddicky, Little Bee-eater, Orange-breasted Bushshrike, Chinspot Batis, Common Fiscal, Yellow-fronted and Brimstone Canaries, Rattling Cisticola, Grey Cuckooshrike (so it must be winter) Red-eyed, Emerald Spotted and Tambourine Doves, Yellow-throated Longclaw, Dark-capped Yellow Warbler.  Masses of African Black Swifts, Black Sparowhawk, Lanner Falcon, White-necked Raven plus lots more.

What did fly past us here was a Cape Crow which I am sure I have not seen at Shongweni before?

We carried on down the road and up a dirt track and picked up the Cape Batis, Bar-throated Apalis, Crested and Black-collared Barbets, Black-headed Oriole, Black-backed Puffback, Red-capped Robin-Chat, White-browed Scrub-Robin, Black-bellied, Glossy and Red-winged Starlings, Village, Thick-billed and Spectacled Weavers.

Our sunbird count was very poor, only Amethyst and Collared.

Then down to the view site over-looking the dam. We were all amazed at how low the dam was but nothing much on the mud banks. A few Egyptian Geese, Yellow-billed Ducks, a pair of African Black Ducks flew by.  On the dam wall were Reed and White-breasted Cormorants, Speckled Pigeon and not much more except apart from the Mocking Cliff-Chat.

Mocking Cliff-Chat

Cape Rock Thrush (Female)

So down to the bottom and we walked up to the dam wall and here we found a sluice gate open and water gushing out. The Saturday Chat Show went into overdrive. “what could be happening”. Stewart who belongs to the Canoe Club was most concerned – very soon there would be no water to paddle on!!

Dave Rimmer came to our rescue and phoned the Chief Engineer (?) at Umgeni Water. There had been a spill of some contaminant, we were not told whether it was up or down stream but that it had to be flushed out. The little stream where we usually get Mountain Wagtails was a raging torrent so not much doing there.

We walked on down to the Giant Steps. Trumpeter Hornbills, Terrestrial Brownbul, Sombre Greenbuls, Giant Kingfisher, later on Brown-hooded and Pied Kingfishers.  Yellow-rumped Tinker-birds called, Purple Crested Turaco, etc, etc.

Kite Spider

From there we headed to the picnic site for tea.  There were Cardinal and Golden-tailed Woodpeckers, Fork-tailed Drongos and Black Flycatchers in the trees which kept us amused.

Finally home to walk the dog!

Thanks to Dave Rimmer for the great photos.



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