SA Rare Bird News Report - 14 November 2011

Skip to first unread message

Trevor Hardaker

Nov 14, 2011, 1:59:35 PM11/14/11
to SA Rare Bird News, Andrew Rae


This is the Southern African Rare Bird News Report issued at 21h00 on Monday, 14 November 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



These are the kinds of reports that I really enjoy putting together – good meaty ones…!


Starting in the Western Cape, the undoubted highlight on the weekend was a pelagic trip out of Simon’s Town on Saturday that turned up a KERGUELEN PETREL. This is an incredibly rare bird in the subregion and, apart from a glut of records in the mid ‘80’s, things have been rather sparse when it comes to this species with only a handful of records in the last 2 decades! It is still a species that many of the top listers in Southern Africa are very much looking for, so let’s hope it might get seen again…


Elsewhere in the province, a SOOTY TERN was present in the tern roost on Dassen Island last week, so it may be worthwhile checking out coastal roosts along the west coast in the hope of bumping into it again. The EURASIAN OYSTERCATCHER at Seeberg in the West Coast National Park continues to infuriate twitchers and, although it never put a show in at all on Saturday, it was once again present on Sunday afternoon and enjoyed by those that had gathered there. The GROUNDSCRAPER THRUSH at Bredasdorp continues to attract lots of local attention and showed well throughout the weekend to the numbers of provincial twitchers that made their way through there. Also of interest, at least two TAMBOURINE DOVES continue their stay at Paarl Bird Sanctuary in the area between the first dam and the Berg River whilst the GOLIATH HERON still lingers at Rondevlei Nature Reserve as well.



Groundscraper Thrush in Bredasdorp

© Margaret Hardaker

Groundscraper Thrush in Bredasdorp

© Trevor Hardaker



Groundscraper Thrush in Bredasdorp

© Graham Searll

Tambourine Dove at Paarl Bird Sanctuary

© Jacques Botha



In the Northern Cape, at least 4 BLACK-TAILED GODWITS were present at Spitskop Dam near Kimberley on Saturday.


Then into Kwazulu Natal where the immature CRAB PLOVER in the Southern Sanctuary area at Richard’s Bay continued to entertain visitors on the weekend whilst a PECTORAL SANDPIPER at the Sappi wetlands in Stanger yesterday was a nice find as well.


Many Mpumalanga listers are making their way to Crocodile Bridge to add the SOUTHERN BROWN-THROATED WEAVERS that are currently nesting there to their provincial lists and the birds continued to show well throughout the weekend. Elsewhere in the province, an ALLEN’S GALLINULE on a farm at Hectorspruit has apparently been in the area since last Sunday already and remains on view.



Black-tailed Godwits at Spitskop Dam

© Alf Taylor


Allen’s Gallinule at Hectorspruit

© Lynton Balcomb

Southern Brown-throated Weaver at Crocodile Bridge

© Robert Wienand



In the Free State, a LONG-CRESTED EAGLE in the Sasolburg area last Wednesday was an interesting find whilst the North-west Province’s main attraction at the moment, the GREY PLOVER at Borakalalo Game Reserve, continued to show on the weekend as well.


Of interest in Gauteng, a small falcon thought to probably be an AFRICAN HOBBY was noted yesterday in the Randburg area adjacent to Boschkop Nature Reserve.



Limpopo Province also turned up a Pluvialis plover, but one of slightly better quality. A PACIFIC GOLDEN PLOVER was located at Den Staat Wetlands on Wednesday and was still present there late this afternoon. A bird (possibly the same individual) has now been present at this site for at least the last 3 summers.


Namibia continues to shine with no fewer than 40 RED-NECKED PHALAROPES now present at Walvis Bay Salt Works whilst the lagoon itself turned up both a BLACK-HEADED and a FRANKLIN’S GULL earlier today.


And lastly, in Zimbabwe, the country produced a real crippler yesterday when a WHINCHAT was found at Aberfoyle in the Honde Valley. The bird was seen hawking insects from a fence near the 1st tee on the golf course.


There are probably only about 15 previous records of this species in Southern Africa, the last one being at least 6 years ago, so if this bird stays, it may well attract some of the subregion’s keenest twitchers…

Whinchat at Aberfoyle

© Justen Dralle



Grey Plover at Borakalalo Game Reserve

© Mark Tittley

Pacific Golden Plover at Den Staat Wetlands

© Sue Wood



Please remember 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



Follow our local exploits in the field at:


See our photos and trip reports at:




Pelagics, rarity photos, listing clubs and more:




Get the latest rarity news by joining at:




Online database of all SA rarities




Reply all
Reply to author
0 new messages