SA Rare Bird News Report - 07 November 2016

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Trevor Hardaker

Nov 7, 2016, 1:00:28 PM11/7/16
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This is the Southern African Rare Bird News Report issued at 20h00 on Monday, 07 November 2016. 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



The interesting records are now starting to come through thick and fast...


Starting in the Western Cape, several pelagic trips went out on the weekend into the waters south-west of Cape Point and, between them, collected at least 2 WANDERING ALBATROSSES and a SOUTHERN ROYAL ALBATROSS. The popular RED-NECKED PHALAROPE at Kliphoek Salt Pans in Velddrif was still present on Saturday, the COMMON REDSHANK at Geelbek in the West Coast National Park was also still around on Saturday and the SQUACCO HERON at Dolphin Beach pans was also seen briefly on Saturday afternoon on the eastern side of the R27 in the Rietvlei section of Table Bay Nature Reserve before it flew off in a southerly direction heading further into Rietvlei. A single COMMON SHELDUCK also continues to reside at Groot Constantia as well, but is almost certainly an escapee, rather than a genuine vagrant (just included here for information to all subscribers in case you go there and think you are the first to find it).


Further east in the province, an immature COMMON CUCKOO flew into a window and unfortunately died on Saturday at Witsand at the mouth of the Breede River while 2 JACOBIN CUCKOOS were also located on Saturday along the gravel road to Hartenbos Game Lodge.



Wandering Albatross on pelagic trip

© John Graham

Wandering Albatross on pelagic trip

© Cliff Dorse



Red-necked Phalarope at Velddrif

© Linda du Plessis

Red-necked Phalarope at Velddrif

© Eben Geldenhuys



Common Shelduck at Groot Constantia

© Nick Podmore

Jacobin Cuckoo near Hartenbos Game Lodge

© Michael de Nysschen



Common Cuckoo in Witsand

© Ann Wright



Up in the Northern Cape, a slightly delayed record has come from the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park on 26 October where a COMMON MYNA was seen at Auchterlonie picnic site - this species really seems to be starting to spread quite rapidly westwards at the moment.


Over in the Eastern Cape, there were some interesting records coming out of Mountain Zebra National Park on the weekend including a CHESTNUT-BACKED SPARROW-LARK, a pair of TEMMINCK'S COURSERS and a KNYSNA WOODPECKER, all seemingly out of range in the area.


Moving up the coast into Kwazulu Natal, the GREEN SANDPIPER was still at Darvill Bird Sanctuary in Pietermaritzburg until at least Friday while the LESSER JACANA on Pond 4 at the same site was also still in place yesterday. Elsewhere, Eshlazi Dam in Eshowe still held the RUFOUS-BELLIED HERON, LESSER JACANA and several AFRICAN PYGMY GEESE on Saturday while a TEMMINCK'S COURSER was reported on Saturday north-east of Ladysmith at -28.376, 29.998 and the long-staying SOOTY TERN was, once again, present at the St Lucia estuary on Saturday as well with the added attraction of a EURASIAN OYSTERCATCHER found at the same site late this afternoon. Also still attracting local attention, the WHITE-BROWED SPARROW WEAVER remained in place about 10km south-west of Tugela Ferry at -28.813,30.371 on Saturday and a GREAT SPOTTED CUCKOO was located on the same day near Weenen Game Reserve at -28.924, 29.938.



Lesser Jacana at Darvill Bird Sanctuary

© Pam Kleiman

Eurasian Oystercatcher at St Lucia estuary

© Michael Mandy



African Pygmy Geese at Eshlazi Dam

© Bill Kruse

Rufous-bellied Heron at Eshlazi Dam

© Bill Kruse



Across into Gauteng where the GREEN SANDPIPER remained in the area around Vlei bridge at Rietvlei Nature Reserve throughout the weekend and was still present there earlier today while the reserve's other attraction, the AFRICAN FINFOOT, was present again at Otter bridge on Friday.



Green Sandpiper at Rietvlei Nature Reserve

© Pieter Verster

African Finfoot at Rietvlei Nature Reserve

© Deon Hoon



Green Sandpiper at Rietvlei Nature Reserve

© Mark Tittley



Over in Mpumalanga, a GREEN SANDPIPER was reported on Friday just east of Skukuza in the Kruger National Park along the Sabie River at -24.966, 31.682 and, also on Friday, a female RED-FOOTED FALCON was located near Verlorenkloof along the R36 to Lydenberg. Also of local interest earlier today, a single BAR-TAILED GODWIT was reported from Grootdraai Dam near Standerton at the Meyerville Angling Club.


Up in Limpopo Province, both AFRICAN SKIMMERS were still hanging around Albasini Dam until at least Friday while the GREEN SANDPIPER at Punda Maria waterhole in the Kruger National Park was also still in place on Friday afternoon as well. The same day also saw confirmation that both CASPIAN PLOVERS were also still present at Mooiplaas waterhole in the Kruger National Park as well while a TREE PIPIT was located yesterday at Walkers River Camp in the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve.



Caspian Plover at Mooiplaas waterhole

© Helmo van der Schyff

Tree Pipit ayt Walkers River Camp

© Roy McGrath



Red-footed Falcon near Verlorenkloof

© Pieter Verster



Across in Mozambique, there was some local excitement on Saturday morning when the orientalis race of BLACK SAW-WING, previously treated as a separate species called EASTERN SAW-WING, was seen in Maputo while an immature LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL (of the nominate race) was seen in central Maputo yesterday afternoon opposite the Saghres Restaurant.


In Zimbabwe, there was major excitement on Thursday when a NORTHERN WHEATEAR was located in the Westood Vlei area of Matetsi Game Reserve roughly halfway between Victoria Falls and the Botswana border while another immature LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was located yesterday at Kazangula.


Across in Botswana, a single RUDDY TURNSTONE was located on Friday around the entrance to Kasai Channel along the Chobe River, still an unusual species to be recorded in the country.


And finally, in Namibia, the FRANKLIN'S GULL was still at Mile 4 Salt Works just north of Swakopmund on Saturday whilst another individual was located about 1km south of Henties Bay on Friday afternoon. Another great record was a female COLLARED FLYCATCHER located behind the farmhouse at the old campsite at Namibgrens on Saturday morning while the TREE PIPIT also remained reliable on the lawns in front of the restaurant at Waterberg Plateau Park until at least Saturday and the YELLOW-THROATED LEAFLOVES were, once again, present in the gardens of Caprivi Houseboat Safari Lodge in Katima Mulilo yesterday.



Northern Wheatear in Matetsi Game Reserve

© Daryl Dell

Lesser Black-backed Gull at Kazangula

© Jon Lucas



Ruddy Turnstone along the Chobe River

© James Wilson

Tree Pipit at Waterberg Plateau Park

© Jaap le Grange



Franklin’s Gull at Mile 4 Salt Works

© Dayne Braine

Franklin’s Gull near Hentie’s Bay

© Neels Dreyer



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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