Saturday, 16 November 2013

2 Birding rarities, 5 days in Punda Maria and a Hedgehog!

Broad-billed Roller (Mahonie Loop)
It was quite a busy month or two with the arrival of summer, and what better way to start of the new season with 2 birding rarities, within 30min of our home!  After quite a lot of hours of searching (and dipping twice), we were able to find the White-breasted  Cuckooshrike (Groenkloof), one morning before work, and the Green Sandpiper (Rietvlei Nature Reserve)!
White-breasted Cuckooshrike (Groenkloof)

Green Sandpiper (Rietvlei Nature Reserve)

We also enjoyed a trip to Punda Maria, main target - a displaying Pennant-winged Nightjar... And we were not disappointed! We watched a male displaying for about 10min around our vehicle! Unfortunately no photo...they are so fast and the light obviously not good...but spectacular nonetheless!

Mosque Swallow (Mahonie Loop)

Tropical Boubou (Pafuri)

A definite focus area for our trip was the area around Pafuri.  We spent a morning's birding with the legendary Frank Mabasa, an absolute treat.  We had excellent sightings of Broad-billed Roller, Crowned Eagle, African Goshawk,  Lizard Buzzard, African Harrier Hawk, Crested Guineafowl, Tropical Boubou, Bohms Spinetail, Black-throated Wattle-Eye, Western Yellow Wagtail, Green-capped Eremomela, Meve's Starling, Bearded Scrub-Robin, Retz's Helmet-Shrike, and White-crowned Lapwing to name a few highlights.

Yellow-billed Oxpecker

Greater Painted-Snipe (Mahonie Loop)
Grey-headed Kingfisher (Mahonie Loop)

Bearded Scrub-Robin (Pafuri)

The area around Punda Maria - especially Mahonie Loop, as well as the camp itself also proved very productive with sightings of White-browed Robin-Chat, Eastern Nicator, Mosque Swallow, Broad-billed Roller, Grey-headed Kingfisher,  Yellow-billed Oxpecker and Monotonous Lark where Mopanes are more prevalent.  The highlight of Mahonie loop was the discovery of 2 Greater Painted-Snipes, which entertained us for more than an hour!

Black-Throated Wattle-eye (Pafuri)

African Black Swift (Pafuri)

African Goshawk (Pafuri)

Bohms Spinetail (Pafuri)

Eastern Nicator (Punda Maria)

Southern White-faced Owl

The area around Klopperfontein is famous for sightings of Dickinson's Kestrel. We searched for hours, scanning every tree, stopping for anything slightly suspicious - but without luck... Luckily an Eurasian Hobby surprised us as a consilation prize...  

Long-billed Crombec (Babalala)

Chinspot Batis (Babalala)

Eurasian Hobby

The north of Kruger is definitely not famous for wildlife, except the diminutive Sharpe's Grysbok, but we were able to have a quick leopard sighting close to Crook's Corner, and two lion sightings close to Klopperfontein.  Buffalo were everywhere, as well as Elephant. 
Lion close to Klopperfontein

Buffalo at Klopperfontein

The Northern parts of Kruger Nat Park are a gem, yes - cats are not around every corner...but if you find something special, be rest-assured, you will not form part of a traffic jam like in the South.
 After our Punda Maria trip, Pretoria delivered again, with an excellent sighting of a Southern African Hedgehog! (Thanks to Niel Cillie).

We are approaching December fast, and that means a very exciting trip to Northern Namibia with some legendary birders including Francois du Plessis, Estienne Schuring, Niel and Burger Cillie, and Justin Nicolau!  Hopefully we will be able to share some photos of Angolan Cave Chat, Grey Kestrel and Cinderella Waxbill when back in RSA!


Anton & Renate

1 comment:

  1. Baie BAIE nice julle!! Ek LOVE dit om hierdie reports te lees!! Weereens STUNNING fotos!! Baie baie geluk met die sightings en lifers!! :D