New SABAP2 website

From: Sanjo Rose

Sent: Wednesday, February 27, 2019 8:59 AM

Subject: [Sabap2-l] New SABAP2 website

Good morning everyone,

A few days ago a new website was launched for the SABAP2 project. Hopefully most of you have already seen it and fiddled about with it a bit?

We are excited about this new site and hope that you will all find it useful.

As with any evolving project that involves lots of participants we do rely on your feedback and therefore we encourage you to visit the site, check it out and please send us your comments. Michael Brooks (the site manager) has added a ‘Comment on the new site’ tab at the top of the page for you to be able to easily submit your thoughts. Please sign in first, after which the tab will be visible. Website link:

The website is different from the previous one, some features are renamed for example. A few key points:

  1. The website is more mobile friendly than the previous one 🙂
  2. To manually add cards navigate to the ‘Add Data’ tab (previously called ‘Add a Fieldsheet’)
  3. Coverage maps are found under ‘Coverage’ and now include some very useful province specific maps. These maps can take a while to load, please be patient it will get there eventually!
  4. When looking for the data on a particular pentad you need to double click on it (the balloon from the previous website has been removed).
  5. The last 10 sightings of a species is not yet active, this will be sorted soon.
  6. ORFs are also still a work in progress
  7. Your observer number is now called your ‘CS’ number on the log in page, but it is still exactly the same.

Please feel free to get in touch if you cannot find a specific function or need any other help and we’ll gladly assist.

Best wishes,

Sanjo Rose

Southern African Bird Atlas Project

FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology

University of Cape Town

P: 021 650 2421



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KZN Birds Newsletter

Read the latest newsletter from KZN Birdsby clicking here.

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Kenneth Stainbank Nature Reserve

Report by Jane Morris and Sandi du Preez

24 February 2019

Ten birders in total gathered for this new type activity, a group of 6 were sedentary and stayed close to their chairs and a group of 4 were the more active crowd and headed out on a 4 hour walk around the reserve.

Sedentary Group report:

We settled ourselves on the top level of the main parking area at Stainbank, with the sun behind us and a view of the vegetation slowly revealing itself as the sun caught the tops of the trees.

We had views of Purple Turaco flitting through the trees, barbets were vociferous, and we saw Black-collared, White-eared Barbets and a lovely little Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird entertained us by gleaning from the trees in front and above us.  A pair of Ashy Flycatchers also gave us a good view.

Some in the group managed to garner some energy and did the circuit around the disabled trail. It was a quiet reflective morning with zebra munching alongside us and was much enjoyed by the group that participated.

Our bird list can be seen by clicking here.

Walking group:

This group was kindly led by Sandi du Preez who has submitted the following.

Ros and I were joined for a walk through the reserve by Ben, a very experienced birder who has just relocated to the Highway area from Gauteng, and Zach, a teenager with an excellent knowledge of birds and butterflies and many aspects of nature.

The trees bordering the start of the grassland area gave us some good birding with White-eared Barbets, Southern Black Tits, Brown-hooded Kingfisher, Fork-tailed and Square-tailed Drongos amongst others. A Black-bellied Starling swooped down and snatched a dragonfly right in front of us – its breakfast sorted!

In the grassland were Yellow-throated Longclaws, Rattling and Zitting Cisticola, Bronze Mannikins and Fan-tailed Widowbirds. A Narina Trogon called in the distance.

Closer to the dam the delightful Little Bee-eaters were plentiful. There was nothing swimming on the dam but suddenly a Little Bittern flew up from the reeds and landed for us to get fairly good views. Definitely the star of the day and a lifer for Zach.

Scanning the water’s edge, we got a Black Crake, a juvenile Common Moorhen, and a Malachite Kingfisher.  Bronze and Red-backed Mannikins were active in the grasses and reeds as well. Then a solitary Egyptian Goose flew over and landed with a splash in the water. It seemed to also demand some of the attention that we were giving to the Little Bittern and repeatedly got out of the water and splashed back in again!

We took a walk to the Wilderness Leadership School buildings as I wanted to show the others the Wahlberg’s Epauletted Fruit bats that Zach and I had seen flying around the buildings the previous day.  The bats were not flying but we saw a whole bunch of them hanging from the rafters – quite spectacular!

The birding in this area was quite impressive as we encountered some bird parties with Southern Black Tits, Collared Sunbirds, Cape Batis, Bar-throated and Yellow-breasted Apalis, Black-backed Puffback, Cape White-eyes etc. A gorgeous Green-backed Camaroptera entertained us by hopping on the branches out in the open in sunlight, showing off its lovely green back!

Walking back along the main road past the top picnic area we thought we saw a Lemon Dove but disappointingly it turned out to be a Red-eyed Dove behaving very much like a Lemon Dove.

After tea I took a drive to the bottom picnic site to show Zach the area and to see if there was anything interesting. On the road back towards the gate we spotted a little group of Grey Waxbills – a nice ending to a really super outing.

The cumulative count for both groups was 72 birds.  See bird list by clicking here.

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Latest Cape and Bearded Vulture tracks

Dear All

This weeks starts off with a final location for Lehlwa, a bird we have been following since he was a yearling in 2009. I noticed that he had stopped moving in the Sani Pass area. A couple of searches were immediately conducted by locally based colleagues, that fortunately revealed no dead bird on site. A final search, with the assistance of two receivers, was successful in locating the transmitter in the long grass on a steep slope. The transmitter and harness (with which it is attached to the bird) were intact and in surprisingly good condition still, so we assume the bird managed to wriggle out of the harness. Fortunately we managed to find where Lehlwa is breeding last year, so will be able to confirm how he is doing during the upcoming breeding season. Many thanks to the team that assisted with the search- your quick response is greatly appreciated.

Please find attached (Click here) the movements of our Bearded Vultures; Jeremia, Pharaoh, Lehlwa (final location) and Mollie and our Cape Vulture N207, for the past week. Our Cape Vulture is still moving quite extensively.

Kind regards

Sonja Krüger

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Mkuze and St. Lucia

Report by Paul and Sally Bartho

7 to 13 February 2019

It was time to get away – you could say the lure of the bush was calling. This time a short trip – 4 nights in Mkuze and a couple in St. Lucia.

Rain and overcast conditions followed us and remained intermittently at both venues.

Mkuze was lush- the vegetation was green and grown up. There were no bare patches to be seen unlike the last time we visited in July 2018. The Fig Forest was flooded from rains upstream and consequently Nsumo Pan was as full as we had ever seen. Despite that only two inland hides had water (KuMasinga and Malibali) and all of the other scattered pans and wallows were dry.

Nsumo Pan was one of the first places we visited. We stopped at the first hide heading towards the Nsumo Pan Picnic site. As we approached we noticed what looked like two ducks in the shadows under the hide. However they were something entirely different and most unexpected.

With the water level so high there were no waders about at Nsumo Pan.

However there were a number of waterbirds about at Nsumo hides and at the Picnic site.

As expected, Kumasinga hide was busy. Many animals as well as birds close-by – making for reasonable photographic opportunities considering the sunless skies. A number of birds appeared with confusing ID issues which made it all the more interesting trying to get to their correct ID. One bird in particular – a Sunbird – was an interesting example of this.

Perplexing Sunbird

What we saw immediately was a Sunbird with a distinct bib and yellow Mylar stripes either side of the bib. A quick look at the Roberts App suggested a Plain-backed Sunbird – and its plain back also seemed to confirm that.

Sunbird with a plain back

It was feeding what we considered to be a fledgling so we considered it to be an adult bird despite its yellow gape.

However a Plain-backed Sunbird would be a rare sighting in Mkuze so it did not feel quite right. We checked the Roberts App for pictures of Sunbirds and nothing had the bib except for the Plain-backed Sunbird. The new Roberts Field Guide eventually gave us the correct ID by showing a picture of a juvenile male Marico Sunbird. It shows that sometimes initial impressions can be so wrong.

The antics of birds and animals were a pleasure to watch. Burchell’s Coucals chasing each other, Little Bee-eaters and Swallows coming in for a drink or a bath, Red-billed Oxpeckers having a communal bath spraying drops of water over each other, Giraffes drinking, a Slender Mongoose casing the joint and many birds just coming to the water’s edge for a drink. One oddity were the Red-billed Oxpeckers. There were at least 20 present all the time. They never left with the animals but hung around for their next feed. We tried to work out if the animals not only came for a drink but also for a clean up. Or was it that the Oxpeckers hung around because they knew they were on to a good thing. Perhaps both options.

But there was one bird which appeared unexpectedly.

Dwarf Bittern

Yes, a Dwarf Bittern up high in a tree. Wonderful sighting.

Of course there were camp birds. We were greeted by a pair of singing Striped Kingfishers. As the sun set, the Little Swifts serenaded us. However because of the weather the camp was quiet.

It was on the Loop road where we saw the most raptors and an unexpected one at that as well as bushveld species.

Our last morning was spent at Malibali hide. And surprisingly the activity was as interesting as that at the Kumasinga hide. Now that there is water all sorts of creatures appear out of the woodwork.

Over a three hour period we saw three different elephants coming in for a drink and a splashing.

Elephant – drink’s time

The last sadly with a vicious snare wound (which the camp conservation team were aware of). The elephant had to be darted to remove the snare and to be given treatment. You can see from the photos how bad it looked. Fortunately it appears that the medicine is doing its work. It can walk normally and put weight on that leg. What was interesting was the elephant, having arrived with the would very visible, left with it fully coated in mud by the elephant to act as protection for the wound.

Snared Elephant swollen foot

Here are some of the other species photographed at the waterhole.

Then there was a full breakfast to be seen.

Western Cattle Egret enjoying a big breakfast

Our bird list for Mkuze can be seen later as it has been combined with our viewings at St. Lucia.

Our next destination was St. Lucia. The main purpose at St. Lucia was to enjoy the waterbirds seen at the mouth of the estuary and to try and find one or two of the special birds seen there earlier this year – Gull-billed Tern, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Lesser Frigatebird or the vagrant Noddy on the off chance.

St. Lucia weather was even more overcast and rainy than Mkuze. We took our chances when the heavens were not crying to walk the beach and explore the estuary. We managed to get out twice. On both visits we came across a small Tern roost in the estuary. Despite  the numbers it was good to see the variety there – Little and Swift in numbers with Common, Lesser-Crested and Sandwich Terns among them. Even a Caspian appeared. However amongst the Terns and Gulls there was no sign of the Gull-billed Tern.

Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters were feeding over the sand dunes. Not a sight we expected to see.

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater

No sign of the Noddy – not a surprise as we know how fleetingly it was seen in the first place. And the Lesser Frigatebird did not make an appearance either. Fortunately we had seen it there on a previous visit.

Black Oystercatchers were seen on the beach water’s edge in the distance. Whenever we got close they moved on. Grey Plovers and Whimbrels were also present. On one occasion we saw a distant Black Oystercatcher with another smaller wader – we assumed either a Grey Plover or Whimbrel. Because it was so distant we did not pursue it and visited the Tern roost instead. After some time we left the roost and headed back to the beach to see if by chance we would have any luck spotting the Eurasian Oystercatcher.

The beach came into view and there was the Black Oystercatcher we had seen earlier. And with it the other smaller bird. Once we had our binoculars on it we realised it was the Eurasian Oystercatcher. As close as we came so they moved away. I managed to get a photo or two but it was a nightmare photographing into the sun.

Black and European Oystercatchers showing their size difference

Hooray – a lifer for me.


On our last – yes, rainy afternoon – we ventured into Eastern Shores – more for something to do than sitting around the camp in the intermittent rain. As expected both animals and birds were scarce but we persevered. Eventually we got to the Lake Bhangazi turnoff having explored most of the other loops on the way.

European Bee-eater

This drive is a 17 km drive back to the main road. Initially it passes through dune forest and onto a raised road between Lake Bhangazi and a wetland. This part of the road is also well forested and narrow. Coming round a corner I said to Sally “Look ahead”. She was scouring for the bird she thought I had seen. Only it wasn’t a bird but a magnificent creature lying alongside the road.


Well worth the drive and a good way to end our trip. Our bird list for both Mkuze and St. lucia can be seen by clicking here. 135 species identified in Mkuze and 77 in St. Lucia.

Hope you have enjoyed the read.

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. Our Cape Vulture has moved quite extensively this past week compared to the Bearded Vultures.

Kind regards

Sonja Krüger

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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

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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

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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

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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?


Paul and Sally Bartho

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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 Forbes 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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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

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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

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Birdlife Port Natal Outing – 16 January 2019


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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

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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

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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

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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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