SA Rare Bird News Report - 07 August 2017

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Trevor Hardaker

Aug 7, 2017, 2:01:06 PM8/7/17


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This is the Southern African Rare Bird News Report issued at 20h00 on Monday, 07 August 2017. 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, a pelagic trip out of Simon's Town yesterday turned up a single NORTHERN ROYAL ALBATROSS while the group of BLACK-BELLIED STARLINGS remained along Rustenburg Road in Stellenbosch yesterday and the male NORTHERN SHOVELER was, once again, reported from Paarl Bird Sanctuary on Saturday as well. Perhaps one of the most surprizing records over the weekend was that of an AFRICAN RED-EYED BULBUL seen on a farm 18km south of Porterville, well out of range for this species indeed. Over in the east of the province, both the GREAT SPOTTED CUCKOO and the WHITE-BROWED SCRUB ROBIN were also still present at Reflections Eco-Reserve in Wilderness yesterday.



Black-bellied Starling in Stellenbosch

© Landi le Roux

Black-bellied Starling in Stellenbosch

© Rob Bowie



Black-bellied Starling in Stellenbosch

© Karen Powell

African Red-eyed Bulbul south of Porterville

© Johan van Niekerk



In the Eastern Cape, what is presumed to be the same female WESTERN MARSH HARRIER that was previously seen at Hope Farm dam near Port Alfred was seen again yesterday along the Boknes - Cannon Rocks road.


Moving up the coast into Kwazulu Natal, lingering rarities included the MALAGASY POND HERON at Mziki which was still bringing much delight to twitchers on Saturday, the SOOTY TERN which was still on view yesterday at the St Lucia estuary and the TEMMINCK'S COURSERS near Newcastle Mall which were also still in place yesterday.



Malagasy Pond Heron at Mziki

© Vaughan Meyrick

Malagasy Pond Heron at Mziki

© Kevin Westermann



Sooty Tern at St Lucia

© Gaynor Donovan



In Mpumalanga, at least one male CAPE SPARROW was still present in Satara camp in the Kruger National Park on Saturday while the park also delivered a CAPPED WHEATEAR yesterday on the S37 road on the section between the H1-3 and the S35 and a PURPLE-BANDED SUNBIRD was present earlier today at the end of the Skukuza nursery below the boardwalk.


And finally, up in Limpopo Province, the big new news was the discovery of a GULL-BILLED TERN at the Foskor mine dams on Friday while the 7 AFRICAN SKIMMERS were still present then as well. I am still waiting to hear on what possible access there might be for this site but, at the moment, I do not have any details on whether it might even be possible or not. Also of particular interest was the discovery on Saturday of a non-breeding female RED-HEADED QUELEA in a flock of Red-billed Quelea in a garden in Raptor's View just outside Hoedspruit. This is way out of range for this species and I cannot seem to find any references to previous records of this species in the province, so it may well be the first. If anyone is aware of any previous records in Limpopo Province, I would love to hear about them. In the Kruger National Park, the pair of AFRICAN SKIMMERS were also still at Engelhardt Dam near Letaba on Saturday while a group of 12 GREAT WHITE PELICANS were reported at Grootvlei Dam on the S50 between Mopani and Shingwedzi on Friday.



Gull-billed Tern at Foskor dams

© Lieliebet van der Westhuizen

Red-headed Quelea (centre) in Hoedspruit

© Cameron Blair



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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