SA Rare Bird News - 17 February 2011

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Trevor Hardaker

Feb 17, 2011, 2:11:23 PM2/17/11
to SA Rare Bird News, Michael Wright, Penny Palmer


This is the Southern African Rare Bird News Report issued at 21h10 on Thursday, 17 February 2011. Information has been gleaned from various websites, email groups as well as from individual observers who have passed on their sightings. This report cannot be taken as being totally comprehensive as it is based only on information made available at the time of writing. All bird sightings reported here are reported in good faith based on information as provided by the observers. Any inaccuracies are totally unintentional and the writer cannot be held liable for these. For those who may have only joined the group recently and are interested in finding out what has been seen in the past, previous reports can be viewed at



Starting in the Western Cape, the most exciting news has been a record of a possible COMMON NODDY from the Gordon’s Bay area. The bird was seen about half a nautical mile offshore between the Gordon’s Bay Yacht Club and the mouth of the Steenbras River on the weekend, but subsequent searches at local tern roosts and out in False Bay have failed to relocate it again. Please keep your eyes peeled if you are in the area as this is a potential mega which will have a lot of people chasing it if it is found again.


The YELLOW WAGTAIL hanging around on the beach at the old crayfish factory at Soetwater continues to be the most popular bird in the province and has attracted a lot of attention during the week with a number of people connecting with it. It follows the same routine of feeding down at the kelp line on the beach just next to the slipway and then disappears into the dunes for some time before reappearing on the beach again.


Elsewhere in the province, it came as a bit of surprise to receive a report that the LONG-CRESTED EAGLE was still present at Helderberg College in Somerset West over the weekend. First reported from this site on 24 October 2010, it is now in its 4th month of residence there, so if you still haven’t made the effort to go and add this bird to your provincial list, you are still in with a chance! A little further east, a small group of GREEN WOOD-HOOPOES were reported from a private patch of forest adjacent to Harold Porter Botanical Gardens in Betty’s Bay on Sunday whilst a EUROPEAN ROLLER was reported along the N2 at the turn-off to Stillbaai on the weekend as well. On the Garden Route, a pair of LONG-CRESTED EAGLES were reported flying over suburban George on Tuesday whilst a female AMUR FALCON was noted just south of the town as well.


Over in the north-western part of the province, the Beaufort West area is still hosting a GREEN WOOD-HOOPOE as well as several AFRICAN PALM SWIFTS whilst, in the Murraysburg region, there have also been some regionally strange records received with a CAPE VULTURE reported on a farm just a little way south-west of the town and a YELLOW-CROWNED BISHOP, an extremely rare bird in the province, located on a farm about 30km west of the town.



Yellow Wagtail at Soetwater

© Jacques Malan

Yellow Wagtail at Soetwater

© Clive Prior



Yellow Wagtail at Soetwater

© Trevor Hardaker

Yellow Wagtail at Soetwater

© Matthew Law



Yellow Wagtail at Soetwater

© Otto Schmidt

Long-crested Eagle at Helderberg College

© Johan Slabbert



Moving into the Northern Cape, a flock of 9 AMUR FALCONS were reported from the Kalahri Oryx Game Reserve last Thursday, a lot further west than any prior record in the province during SABAP2.


In the Free State, the major excitement in recent days was the discovery of a winter plumaged RED (GREY) PHALAROPE at Alex Pan about 20km north-east of Harrismith. The bird has continued to show well throughout the week and looks fairly settled with the likelihood that it is going to draw a reasonable crowd over this weekend.



Red Phalarope at Alex Pan

© David Allan

Red Phalarope at Alex Pan

© Tobie Muller



Moving into Kwazulu Natal, at least one YELLOW WAGTAIL was still present at Muzi Pan late last week whilst, close by at Phinda Game Reserve, at least 2 different EURASIAN HONEY BUZZARDS have been showing well in recent days. At Southport on the south coast, there has also been a very out of range record received of a BRONZE-WINGED COURSER.



Yellow Wagtail at Muzi Pan

© Caroline Fox

Eurasian Honey Buzzard at Phinda Game Reserve

© Daryl Dell



In Gauteng, the GREY WAGTAIL at Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens is still proving popular and was showing well again earlier today. The bird seems to be a little erratic of late disappearing for long periods of time only to suddenly reappear again later, so your patience should eventually be rewarded.


The province has also produced a handful of EURASIAN HONEY BUZZARDS with a single bird reported from the Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve on Sunday and a further 2 individuals noted at Golden Harvest in Randburg earlier this morning.


In the North-west Province, the area around Sun City is still holding a few HARLEQUIN QUAILS whilst, earlier today, at least 4 EURASIAN GOLDEN ORIOLES as well as no fewer than 15 SOUTHERN CARMINE BEE-EATERS, both very unusual for this area according to locals, were also noted there.

Eurasian Honey Buzzard at Klipriviersberg NR

© Dylan Vasapolli



Grey Wagtail at Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens

© Gary Cusins

Grey Wagtail at Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens

© Errol de Beer



In Mpumalanga, the LESSER JACANA reported at a farm dam near Ermelo a little while ago was still present on the weekend.


And finally, in Limpopo Province, there seems to be a bit of an influx of THRUSH NIGHTINGALES into the area with 4 separate birds reported along the Mphongolo Loop (S56) in the Kruger National Park on the weekend and another bird noted near the airstrip at The Outpost in the north of the park also on the weekend whilst there was some surprise when 3 SHAFT-TAILED WHYDAHS (a male and 2 females) were reported at the Maswidzudzu-spruit west of Letaba in the park on Sunday.


Although not a rarity in the true sense of the word, but nevertheless still a rare form, a xanthochroic (where the red colour is replaced by yellow) WHITE-FRONTED BEE-EATER was also reported recently in the park between Pafuri picnic site and Crook’s Corner.



Thrush Nightingale along Mphongolo Loop

© Niall Perrins

White-throated Bee-eater near Pafuri

© Thomas Hohls



Don’t forget to send through your details to be included on the various listing clubs that are hosted at This website also has an extensive rarities gallery that has many additional photos of a number of rarities that are mentioned in these reports.



Thank you to all observers who have contributed their records. Please continue to send through any reports of odd birds as well as continued updates on the presence of rarities already previously reported, no matter how mundane you think they may be. Even if you think someone else has probably sent in a report, rather send the report yourself as well. The only way to improve this service and to make it as useful as possible to everyone is if it can be as comprehensive as possible.


Kind regards





Cape Town, South Africa




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Trevor Hardaker and John Graham

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