Notice of the 70th BirdLife Port Natal AGM: Saturday 16th February 2019

Members of BirdLife Port Natal are advised that the 70th Annual General Meeting of the club will be held at Palmiet Nature Reserve, Westville on Saturday 16th February 2019 at 14h00.

This is the club’s 70th Anniversary year making it one of the oldest bird clubs in the country so we would really ask you to support this event and club activities during this year.  Download the Agenda here.

After the AGM business our Honorary President David Allan will be giving a presentation “Coming up for 20 years of counting the waterbirds in Durban Bay. What have we learnt and what are the key threats?”.   This will be followed by a braai – the club will provide the salads, rolls and fires but please bring your own meat or mains and your own drinks.

It you will be attending please RSVP to Lesley Frescura galefra@mweb.co.za/Nicky Forbes nicolette@mer.co.za for catering purposes.

If you are unable to attend please complete a Proxy form  and send back to us.

Please also consider joining the committee.  We would welcome new faces and ideas to take the club through the next decade.  We meet each month, mainly via Skype with one or two face to face meetings per year.  If you know someone who would like to join the committee please nominate them using the Nomination form.

BLPN 70th Anniversary.png

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Korongo Valley Weekend

 Report by Jane Morris

8th to 10th February 2019

Korongo nestles in the rolling Ixopo hills and is the ideal spot for a bit of relaxation.  Our group of 9 consisted of Jackie and Roland Suhr, Cheryl and John Bevan, Virginia Cameron, Heather Mills, Este Shearer and Mike and me.

This 39-hectare farm has two small dams, a grassland area and an area of indigenous bush.  To access these areas, one can amble wherever one wishes as there are no formal trails. This makes birding a little difficult if there are members of the group who have difficulty with walking.

The best position for birding was on the wall between the two dams which overlook a lovely area of tangled brush and where we saw most of our species. Some fruiting Grewia in front of the camping stands and the fruit trees in the garden were also productive.

We discovered on arrival that the Blues Swallows have not nested on the farm for several years now and other normally habituated sites in the Ixopo area were also without breeding birds.  The vlei which runs along the valley floor was also quite dry and so this limited wetland species.

Our bird list was a bit disappointing but considering the weather, steaming hot on Saturday and raining on Sunday, we didn’t fare too badly.

On the Saturday morning we headed to Xumeni State Forest just outside Donnybrook.

Just as we started to walk the 1.5 km through this enchanting mist belt forest we heard the call of Cape Parrot as they left to forage for the day.  Unfortunately we did not get a look at them. They would have been lifers for some in our group.

Birds were few and far between but the most common bird was Yellow-throated Woodland Warbler.  Thrushes and Robins were noticeable by their absence as we did not so much as hear a squeak let alone see one.

Total of birds seen over the weekend was 112 with 44 of those species being seen at Xumeni. Click here to view the list.

Jane Morris

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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, Lehlwa and Mollie and our Cape Vulture 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, Lehlwa and Mollie and our Cape Vulture 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, Lehlwa and Mollie and our Cape Vulture 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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The Cavern

Report by Sally and Paul Bartho

25 to 27 January 2019

The Cavern

As an engagement anniversary present to ourselves we went on a birding weekend at The Cavern with David and Sally Johnson.

The Cavern nestles against a forest habitat. It is located off the road to the Royal National Park, taking the first road right after passing the “Pizza Tower” and following it right to the end.

Accommodation was good with views over the grounds. Meals were sumptuous and food aplenty. The inner layout is a morass of TV rooms, lounges, dining areas, play rooms and bars scattered on three levels. Very charming.

The weather was not always in our favour, however we did manage to get in a reasonable amount of walks in and around the property and identified 88 different bird species. Click here to see our list. Note some of these birds were seen in the area but outside The Cavern property.

We left Howick on a chilly misty rainy morning expecting it to be the same on arrival. As fortune had it, we arrived in sunshine and spent an hour or so birding close to the main building. Most notably seeing several different Sunbirds feeding on the agapanthus flowers.

Lunch was a huge spread and you can be as indulgent as you like. We did try to be restrained – not easy.

After lunch we took a walk around the property on our own. The weather had changed and the clouds were becoming ominous. However we managed to get back before the rain/drizzle set in.

Later that afternoon David gave us a talk on “The Birds of the Cavern”. A very informative talk not only showing us what we might expect to see but also about their prefered habitats and behaviour.

A walk was planned for 06h30 the following morning but the rain and drizzle put a stop to that. After breakfast David gave us another exceptional talk. This time on the “Galapagos Islands”. Absolutely fascinating and had us all wanting to visit. The way the islands were formed; the effects on the islands of the two currents meeting – depending on which was dominant; the flora and fauna and how it developed. Did you know that the common Daisy flower transformed itself into a very tall tree on one of the islands!

After the talk there was a sort of respite in the rain and Sally and I took a chance to wander around the grounds set in layers down the hillside passed the pool and paddocks to the stream and ponds at the bottom.

We did come across a butterfly which was interesting because of its “glass-like” wings.

Interesting Butterfly with a pair of see through wings.

Interesting Butterfly with a pair of see through wings.

After lunch David and Sally led us on a walk beyond the entrance. Another opportunity to see what we could find of interest.

One of the highlights on this walk was the Southern Double-collared Sunbird.

Southern Double-collared Sunbird also in the Agapanthus

In the late afternoon David gave us another interesting talk – this time on the”Sex life of Birds”. Fascinating to understand the different behaviours towards mating.

The last morning we had an early morning walk round the property with David and Sally. Before we even started a Chorister Robin-Chat came into the tree above us.

Chorister Robin-Chat

At one pond we came across a Half-collared Kingfisher and three Malachite Kingfishers including a juvenile. Also present were two pairs of Little Grebes (one pair with 5 chicks) sometimes fighting for territory. A Yellow-billed Duck with her brood kept appearing and disappearing behind a fallen tree on the opposite side. And a pair of Mountain Wagtails made a brief appearance.

Further on we saw a Brown-hooded Kingfisher and at another pond a pair of Giant Kingfishers flew past. A day for Kingfishers. Then on the way back we saw a Diderick Cuckoo being fed by a female Southern Masked Weaver.

Simply sitting in the shade of one of the trees in front of the hotel, many birds appeared.

After breakfast Sally and I went for a walk – intending to go into the forest but ending up in the grasslands close to Jackal Hill. In the end a very long walk following the track upwards from just after the school on the left as you head away from the Cavern.

At the start we had good views of Cape White-eyes, Groundscraper Thrushes and a male Cape Rock-Thrush posing on an overhead wire.

On the long walk up we saw a number of species we had not seen over the weekend. There were African Firefinch, a Common Buzzard and a male and female Malachite Sunbird.

On the way down we encountered a pair of Mountain Reedbucks on the opposite slope playfully running up and down. A nice sight to see.

We also encountered Drakensberg Prinia, Wailing and Lazy Cisticolas.

At the bottom the Cape Rock-Thrush family put on a show for us. Unfortunately the juvenile only made a fleeting appearance and I was unable to take its photo. A couple of other birds were also present.

Eventually it was time to leave and despite the very overcast weather we had a most enjoyable time.

On the way out we did come across a number of additional species – some of which I was able to photograph. Most prominent were the Amur Falcons and occasional Lesser Kestrels.

The highlight, however, were three Southern Ground-Hornbills.

We are so pleased we also took the opportunity to explore a little of the area outside The Cavern.

Water or Sky?

Cheers

Paul and Sally Bartho

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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, Lehlwa and Mollie and our Cape Vulture N207, for the past week.

There will be an interview with Fundile Ndlela on Vultures on uKhozi FM Radio this afternoon (Monday 21st) at 16h30 if you are interested to listen in.

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, Lehlwa and Mollie and our Cape Vulture N207, for the past week.

Please also find attached (click here) some recent research finding on the impacts of lead (most likely from feeding on carcasses shot with lead bullets) on this population, for your intrest.

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 Outing – 16 January 2019

PVNR_Jan19.jpg

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Umbogavango Nature Reserve Outing

Report by Adam Cruickshank

Saturday 5 January 2019

On Saturday the 5th January, once we had done the necessary security checks at the gate, 19 people had turned up for the first club outing of the year. The skies were sunny with not much wind to speak of, which promised a good mornings birding.

We decided to split into two groups, with Elena Russell leading the one group and Tyron Dall leading the other group.

As an Amanzimtoti local it is always exciting when the club outing is at Umbogavango Nature Reserve. A time when we get to show off this great little birding location. This small reserve bordering Southgate Industrial park may have lost a little of its former glory, with bird numbers seeming to be lower since Galleria Mall has been built, but still makes for a good mornings birding.

Highlights from the day were a Diderick Cuckoo feeding its partner high on top of a dry tree which kept the group captivated for a time.

Diderick Cuckoos – Mick Jackson

As always in Umbogavango, the Thick-billed Weavers displayed up close in the reeds, showing off their impeccably crafted nests.

In terms of raptors, a Black Sparrowhawk did a fly over briefly and was seen by a few in the group. Yellow Billed Kites and Long Crested Eagles displayed proudly on the tops of trees. Grey Waxbills showed nicely on the morning which are always great birds to get to see. The often heard but not as often seen Dark-backed Weavers showed themselves clearly in the openings at the top of the forest thickets, singing proudly filling the forests with their songs.

Umbogavango is a great reserve for woodpeckers and both Golden-tailed Woodpecker and Olive Woodpecker were seen on the outing. 

Some people in Elena’s group got to see one of the birds of the day, an Icterine Warbler with it’s blue-grey legs and feet.

The group got together for a ‘chit chat’ and for morning tea and were treated to a fly over by a flock of Pink Pelicans which rounded off the day on a high. The day ended with a bird list of 87 birds. Click here to see the list.

Pink-backed Pelican – Mick Jackson

Adam Cruickshank.

 

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Latest latest Cape and Bearded Vulture tracks

Dear All

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

Lehlwa has started the year with some interesting movements!

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

Apologies for the late email, our server has been down with no-one in the office to fix it.

Please find attached (click here) the movements of our Bearded Vultures; Jeremia, Pharaoh, Lehlwa and Mollie and our Cape Vulture N207, for the past week. Still no data for Bennie. Unfortunately he was moving at the time the signal stopped, which makes it impossible to look for him.

I attach the last two images of Kentucky on the nest on 14th December. He did return to the nest for a few days after fledging but seems he is now “fully fledged”- hope he had a good start to the new year!

I wish you all the best for 2019- may our birds remain safe in the sky !

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, Lehlwa and Mollie and our Cape Vultures; Bennie and N207, for the past week. The map is looking rather empty now without Inkosi and we have no data for Bennie since the 14th, so hopefully his transmitter starts transmitting again soon. Our remaining Cape Vulture in the Eastern Cape seems to be the only active bird this week.

Unfortunately no images from our nest this week.

I have also included a report (click here) on the status of the Bearded Vulture in Southern Africa for 2017. This report is based on the nest monitoring that was done throughout the species range in 2017 and follows the provincial State of Biodiversity Report format.

I wish you a blessed and enjoyable Christmas

Kind regards

Sonja Krüger

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

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

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Outing to Paradise Valley

Wednesday 12 December

Report by Sandi du Preez.

Only 5 birders attended,  as I accidentally planned this outing on the same day as a Springside outing.

It was very hot and birds were scarce and not calling, probably due to the latish starting time and the fact that breeding season is over and there is no need to sing to attract a mate! Unfortunately Paradise Valley only opens at 7.30. It would be great to be able to begin the outing at 6.00 o’clock in summer.

I always make a point of stressing (boasting!) that Mountain Wagtails are a guaranteed sighting but I sometimes worry that one day they will let me down. However, they did not disappoint and we had several sightings of this beautiful bird along the river and in their usual spot at the waterfall.

On some sections of the path through the forest there were masses of Wahlberg’s Emperor moth caterpillars on the ground  and on the trees. I have included a picture of the moth to show what it looks like.

Just before walking under the bridge of the N3 we saw three Golden-tailed Woodpeckers on a tree. I have seen them on this same tree on several occasions before.

Golden-tailed Woodpecker – John Bremner

The waterfall was looking spectacular and from the deck overlooking it we witnessed what seemed to be a religious cleansing ceremony  in the river and under the waterfall.

People preparing for cleansing ceremony at the waterfall – Sandi du Preez

Surprisingly we only saw one raptor (Yellow-billed Kite), and no kingfishers, water birds (except for Egyptian goose), mannikins or prinias.

By tea-time our species count was 32.

After our picnic, John and I went for another walk and added Southern Boubou, Yellow-fronted Canary, Pied Crow, Black-headed Oriole, Red-capped Robin-chat, House Sparrow, Collared Sunbird, Amethyst Sunbird, Kurrichane Thrush,  Dark-backed Weaver and Spectacled Weaver.  So the total count was 43. Click here to see the list.

Kurrichane Thrush – John Bremner

Thanks to John Bremner for his photos.

Sandi du Preez

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Latest BirdLife KwaZulu Natal Newsletter

Click here to read the Latest BirdLife KwaZulu Natal Newsletter.

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Kruger Part 10 – Summary

Kruger Part 10 – Summary

11 November to 7 December 2018

Report by Sally and Paul Bartho

 

African Paradise-Flycatcher with a rather long tail

Yellow-billed Kite

African Jacana off balance

The intention of this summary is to:

  • show you in one chart our birdlist for the entire Kruger and which birds we identified when based in each camp area.
  • comment on the birds we thought we might see but didn’t.
  • make comments on our time in the Park.
  • show you photos of the birds we could not identify.
  • show you photos of what we considered “Special” birds.
  • show you photos of animals we took.
  • show you photos which we considered to be of reasonable quality.

Despite the dryness of the Park we still identified a wide variety of birds in all 230 different species. Click here to see the total list of birds we identified in our stay in the Kruger also showing a summary of the birds we saw in the area of each camp.

Having said that, we were surprised not to identify any of the following:

  • Bishops*
  • Buzzards
  • Coots*
  • Falcons
  • Grebes Little*
  • Kestrels
  • Longclaws
  • Mannikins
  • Martins
  • Moorhens*
  • Pigeons Speckled
  • Saw-wings Black
  • Teals*
  • Terns*
  • Tinkerbirds
  • Weavers Village
  • White-eyes

* We attributed these particular missing birds due to the dryness of the Park.

Some Comments and Observations:

  • Our favourite camps were Lower Sabie in the South, Balule in the middle, Tsendze and Punda Maria in the north. And Malelane in the south as a gateway for both entering and leaving the Park.
  • Yellow-billed Oxpeckers have thrived in the north and now it is unusual to see a Red-billed Oxpecker on Giraffe or Buffalo.
  • Yellow-billed Oxpeckers have extended their range and it is not unusual to find them lower down at Tsendze.
  • It is about time that Punda Maria management bought a washing machine for their laundry.
  • The Deck at Lower Sabie gave us many interesting sightings not only of birds but interacting animals too.
  • The swimming pool at Shingwedzi was a real life saver.
  • Crocodile Bridge area looked like a desert – trees all knocked down, barren and dusty sadly

Unidentified Birds:

Of the birds we photographed there were two which we could not identify. Perhaps you can?? And there is one snake for ID please.

Mystery Dove with gills on its neck. Probable Nourning Collared Dove juvenile.

Special Birds:

The following photos are of birds that we considered to be special – either because they are hard to find or they are not birds we regularly see where we live or they show something about the bird..

Some Animals

Leopard cub face off

Other birds we can’t forget:

And that’s it Folks. We hope you have enjoyed the series.

Paul and Sally Bartho

Baobab Flower

Waterhole Punda Maria

Sunset over Balule

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Kruger Part 9 – Lower Sabie

Kruger Part 9

Lower Sabie and Malelane

Report by Paul and Sally Bartho

4 to 7 December 2018

Our journey from Satara to Lower Sabie produced some exciting sightings.

Leaving early we headed to Tshokwane for breakfast. As we neared the picnic site we encountered quite a few cars watching lions sleeping. A quick squizz and we went through.

Within minutes, another bunch of cars watching a Leopard asleep in a tree. A little more time here to try and get a photo and then we were off leaving the mêlée behind.

Leopard trying to snooze off his dinner

Not much further along we noticed an animal slowly crossing the road. Our first impression was that it could be a mongoose of some sort. But it had a humped back. A quick look with our binoculars told us to get up there quickly. We arrived just as it was entering the scrub by the road.

Pangolin

At Tshokwane there was no monkey business with our breakfast this time!! Still a paucity of birds around – a few Starlings and one African Mourning Dove. However in the river bed we heard a Red-faced Cisticola. It was so loud it was unmissable. Eventually it came close and I got a snap.

Red-faced Cisticola

From Tshokwane we decided to head down towards Skukuza instead of taking the direct route to Lower Sabie. All of the dams were dry and the journey passed quietly except for a Sable sighting. About five in the bush beside us about 30 metres away.

Sable Antelope

Once we had crossed the Sabie River we drove towards Lower Sabie with the river alongside us all the way. As expected there was much going on in the river. Elephants and Buffalo all the way along – sometimes in their hundreds. Hippo out of the water and many birds to be seen.

Even a Grysbok made an appearance – something we have found hard to spot.

Grey Duiker

Birds too were in the air and in the trees. There were dozens of Vultures and Tawny Eagles were seen in a couple of trees from the main Skukuza bridge over the Sabie River. In another tree we saw three Hooded Vultures, one of which was a youngster.

As the river “roared” down the rapids we also had a few sightings of other birds in the bushes.

Sabie River rapids

Eventually we arrived and set up camp. By the time we were through the temperature had soared up into the 40s C. So after a lunch at Mugg and Bean we took the rest of the day off to enjoy a rest and the swimming pool.

At our site we found a couple of Grey Go-away-birds anting in the dust.

Grey Go-away-birds anting

The heat was draining our energy and having had such good experiences over the past month we decided to only stay 2 nights at Lower Sabie and then head to Malelane for one night and return home directly from there. In other words we cut our stay short by three days.

The following day we took a drive along the river to Skukuza and Lake Panic hide. A stop at Sunset Dam first to watch the Hippos and Crocodiles and see what birds were around. On the round concrete tank close to the road there were Giant and Malachite Kingfishers as well as Green-backed Herons.

Then there was a Red-billed Oxpecker using a Hippo’s eye to perch on while it had a drink.

A Yellow-billed Stork was showing off its finery.

Yellow-billed Stork

And not to be outdone a Black-crowned Night-Heron was seen in the territory of the Green-backed Herons.

Immediately after Sunset Dam the lions were seen feasting on a Buffalo. Some exhausted from eating were seen taking a rest nearby.

On one of the many loops we came across a gathering of White Storks much to our surprise.

White Storks

At the Skukuza camp we had a quick look at the river – seeing very little of interest – and hurried to get out of the bedlam.

Lake Panic Hide had had some rain and there was a lot more water in it compared to when we visited a month earlier. There were even elephant cavorting and getting stuck in the mud. Trying to get out of the mud involved kneeling down to push itself out. Eventually it succeeded and actually pushed too hard resulting in it falling over onto its back.

A number of birds arrived and some were photographed. The star of the show in our minds was the Woodland Kingfisher.

At the deck of Mugg and Bean we had a sundowner and watched the activity in the river below us. There were some excessively large Crocodiles making a meal of a Hippo. And Lions on the opposite bank in full flow chasing Wildebeest without much joy – giving up and resting under the shade of the large trees.

Of course the pair of Western Barn Owls were still to be seen in the rafters. We spent some time at the reception entrance bird bath hoping to see the Olive-tree Warbler which Jane had told us about. No luck. However it was good to watch all the activity and inter-action between the different birds. Also it was a pleasure to listen to the call of the White-browed Robin Chat.

From the M&B deck we noticed a Black Heron doing its thing in fishing mode.

Black Heron in fishing mode

Then there was this beauty. which really confused me the first time I had ever seen one.

In the Lower Sabie area we identified 131 different bird species. Click here to see the list.

We spent most of our last morning getting to Malelane. Once there our goal was to try and find the Egyptian Vulture which Jane and Mike had seen along the S25 a few days earlier. No luck. So we returned via Berg-en-dal. The dam had water in it unlike our first visit four weeks earlier. Sally noticed some Ducks flying around and we went to investigate. They had landed beside the water. I think we counted thirteen Knob-billed Ducks. Several males were showing off their colourful finery. Notice the yellow feathers near their vent.

And in the short time we were in Malelane there were 46 birds identified. Click here to see the Malelane list.

Despite the heat and dryness we thoroughly enjoyed our time in the Kruger. Hopefully the next time we go the Park will have had pleanty of rain to fill up all the dams.

We hope you have enjoyed these reports.

By request we shall make one final report summarising our highlights. Kruger Part 10 – Summary.

Sally and Paul Bartho

 

 

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Kruger Part 8 – Satara

Kruger Part 8

Satara

Report by Paul and Sally Bartho

1 to 4 December 2018

Campsite Satara by the fence

Satara and the surrounds were very dry. None of the dams had any water. Only the N’wanetsi Dam had a little water in it. In which the Buffalo lay side by side with the Crocodiles.

The camp was empty. We had a choice of sites so elected to try one by the fence for a change. Choice spot under a shady tree we thought. Unfortunately it was also the choice spot for the birds to roost resulting in a lot of cleaning of the canvas when we decamped.

Definitely the best birding was in the camp and we did spend one of our mornings doing just that.

There was the Woodland Kingfisher in glorious vibrant colour.

Woodland Kingfisher

Squabbling Red-billed Buffalo-Weavers.

And many others.

Knobbly roots of a fever tree in the grounds by the reception.

Crocodile Roots

Driving around the area we came across some a giraffe with its new born, the odd Kudu, a Scrub Hare and a spotted Hyena relaxing on the road with its back feet neatly tucked in.

Some other birds seen:

Common Scmitarbill

At one of the pumped waterholes just north of the camp there were dozens of Vultures – perhaps waiting for bath time. Mostly White-backed.

A drive down to the Muzandzeni picnic site for breakfast one morning proved to be a potentially scary experience. On arrival two cars drove out as we drove in to the empty picnic site. We chose a shady table and enjoyed our breakfast. Then as we were about to leave an army truck with soldiers drove in. Quite casually they asked Sally if she was aware of the lions under a tree not 100 metres away!! Hmmm no!

The lions

As we watched so the Impala approached the lions cautiously to keep a beady eye on them and their potential movements. As I said, we had enjoyed our breakfast but we could easily have been theirs.

We had planned to be here for five nights. The heat and dryness of the area led to our change of mind. Three nights was enough. We changed our itinerary to go to Lower Sabie for two nights, two nights at Skukuza and finally 2 nights at Malelane before heading home.

On our last day there we over-lapped with some other friends from Durban – Mike and Jane Roseblade. We had an evening braai together and a good chinwag. As we returned to our campsite the heavens started to brighten – lightening everywhere around us yet no thunder. Eventually the much wanted rain came. Enough to cool things down but not nearly enough to quench the parched soil.

In the morning we left early and headed for Lower Sabie.

Next Installment – Kruger Part Part 9 – Lower Sabie to follow.

Paul and Sally Bartho

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

Inkosi’s bones were tested for lead to see if she showed signs of long-term exposure to lead (from eating meat shot with lead bullets). The results show only background exposure unlike some of our other birds that had much higher lead levels. For your interest, I have attached (Click here) an article on lead levels in this population which will be published within the next week or so. Additional samples were sent for testing this week to confirm cause of death.

Some great photos of our nestling this week who seems to have fledged successfully thus making it a fledgling! It has been back to the nest regularly and is still being fed on the nest. Photo 1 shows our bird resting after his first day of flight.

I have also included a link to an article on the project for your interest:

https://news.mongabay.com/2018/12/satellite-trackers-help-fight-vultures-extinction-in-southern-africa

Kind regards

Sonja Krüger

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

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

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Kruger Part 7 Tsendze Rustic Camp

Kruger Part 7

Tsendze Rustic Camp

Report by Paul and Sally Bartho

28 November to 1 December 2018

Campsite No 23

We arrived at Tsendze after checking in at Mopani. A bit of a shlep especially if you are coming from the south as it is about eight kms north of the camp. The camp is well treed and great for birding. It is right next to the Mooiplaas picnic site and you can walk through if you ask permission (saves driving the three kms all the way round). The picnic site is also well treed and right next to the Tsendze river so birding is excellent there too.

Campsite showing the position and level ground

The one thing we loved was the early morning dawn chorus. We (mainly Sally) identified numerous different birds calling before getting out of bed.