SA Rare Bird News Report - 02 February 2015

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Trevor Hardaker

Feb 2, 2015, 1:00:51 PM2/2/15
to SA Rare Bird News,, Debbie Coetzer

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This is the Southern African Rare Bird News Report issued at 20h00 on Monday, 02 February 2015. 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



As usual, we start off with the scarcities and EUROPEAN HONEY BUZZARDS were reported from Madikwe Game Reserve (North-west) on Monday, in Cecilia Forest (Western Cape) on Saturday, in Gosho Park near Marondera (Zimbabwe) on Saturday, along the Zaagkuilsdrift road on Saturday and in the Hekpoort district (Gauteng) yesterday. Two separate birds were also reported over Hatfield in Pretoria on Tuesday and Saturday.


The GREEN SANDPIPER was also still present at Darvill Bird Sanctuary (KZN) on Saturday whilst another was reported from Duke's waterhole in the Kruger National Park last Sunday.



European Honey Buzzard at Cecilia Forest

© Mike Buckham

European Honey Buzzard at Hekpoort

Dennis Walden



European Honey Buzzard on Zaagkuilsdrift road

Colin Thornton



European Honey Buzzard at Madikwe Game Reserve

© Matt Jones

Green Sandpiper at Duke’s waterhole, KNP

Karin Nelson



On to the rest of the news and, starting in the Western Cape, the biggest excitement came when the CASPIAN PLOVERS were re-located at Kliphoek Salt Pans in Velddrif yesterday afternoon. After a once-off sighting of 21 birds 17 days ago, the birds had not been seen again, but finally, a group of 10 individuals turned up again at around 2pm yesterday. With it being early enough, a number of keen twitchers were still able to get out there yesterday afternoon and enjoy the birds. Please remember that this is private property and permission needs to be sought from the owners for access. You can get all the necessary information from their website at Upon entering the saltworks, drive until you reach a T-junction and turn left here. The road then bends to the right and, a little further on, bends to the right again. The Plovers were in the first pan on the left that you reach after the second bend. The RED-NECKED PHALAROPE was also still present at the site yesterday (just in the next pan further along on the left), although its appearances have been a little erratic of late whilst, slightly further south at Geelbek in the West Coast National Park, a COMMON REDSHANK remained on site until at least Saturday. A single SAND MARTIN was also reported along the north-east side of Pan P2 at Strandfontein Sewage Works yesterday.


Over on the eastern side of the province, birders on the Garden Route were also quite excited when an immature RED-FOOTED FALCON was located in amongst some AMUR FALCONS on the Uplands Road in Plettenberg Bay on Friday. Several locals were able to connect with the birds and, yesterday, it was confirmed that there were actually 2 birds present there whilst there was also at least 2 EUROPEAN ROLLERS present there as well. News has also filtered through of a moulting NORTHERN ROCKHOPPER PENGUIN that was found on the rocks between Brenton and Buffels Bay. It was taken into care and is currently at the Tenikwa Rehab Centre where the bird from last year is also still being kept and is recovering well.



Caspian Plover at Velddrif

© Eddie du Plessis

Caspian Plovers at Velddrif

© Michele Nel



Caspian Plovers at Velddrif

© Glynis Bowie



Caspian Plover at Velddrif

© Michael Mason

Common Redshank at Geelbek

© Robbie Engela



Red-footed Falcon along Uplands Road

© Mike Bridgeford

Northern Rockhopper Penguin (new one on left) at Tenikwa Rehab Centre

© Mike Bridgeford



The Eastern Cape produced another female RED-FOOTED FALCON earlier today south-east of Cathcart on the road to Chiselford, possibly one of the same individuals that was reported from this general area a little while ago.


In Kwazulu Natal, there were still a couple of CUCKOO FINCHES present at Thurlow Park on Saturday whilst yesterday, a female RED-FOOTED FALCON was reported at Dieu Donne Dam along the Sani Pass Road.


Up into the Free State where there were a number of interesting birds reported around Tweeling in the last few days. Perhaps most interesting of these was an AFRICAN CRAKE walking along a gravel road close to a small dam on Hillside farm about 15km east of Tweeling whilst the same area also produced a male MONTAGU'S HARRIER. Also of interest has been several RED-FOOTED FALCONS south of the town, both males and females. Over in the Sasolburg region, the LESSER MOORHEN was still at Bongani Mabaso Eco Park along with the long-staying RED-CHESTED FLUFFTAIL yesterday, but a bigger surprise came from a suburban garden close by when an AFRICAN GREEN PIGEON was located there, quite possibly the first record ever for the province, although this still needs to be confirmed.


Although not confirmed at this stage, there has also been a report from Friday of a probable LESSER YELLOWLEGS near Memel described as a first winter bird in fresh plumage. The bird was seen at a pan about 6km north of town on the dirt road to Vrede. If anyone is in the area, it may be useful to go and spend some time there and scour the area to see what you can find. Apparently, there are lots of waders at this pan and, knowing the observer and his experience, I have little doubt that this is not the real deal.



Red-footed Falcon at Dieu Donne Dam

© Trish Strachan

African Crake near Tweeling

© Pieter la Grange



Red-footed Falcon near Tweeling

© Pieter la Grange

Montagu’s Harrier near Tweeling

© Pieter la Grange



In neighbouring Gauteng, the popular SLATY EGRET at Gnu Valley continued to entertain on the weekend showing off to a number of people that went to look for it. Also of interest was at least 3 MARABOU STORKS at Olifantsfontein dump site on Saturday (still 2 present there this morning) whilst the mini-influx of RED-FOOTED FALCONS in the province continues with birds reported at Ingwe Bush Camp in Hekpoort on Friday and at Rietvlei Nature Reserve yesterday.


A COMMON BUTTONQUAIL was also picked up after it had flown into the roof of a school in Westcliff, Johannesburg this morning, but subsequently died unfortunately.


Across into Mpumalanga where the SOUTHERN BROWN-THROATED WEAVER still remains at Crocodile Bridge in the Kruger National Park as well whilst the park also turned up a CUCKOO FINCH yesterday on the Biyamithi Loop.


A single RED-BILLED OXPECKER was also located hanging around some cattle near Ermelo on Saturday at 26 34 28 S 30 13 41 E.

Cuckoo Finch on Biyamithi Loop

© Joshua Rogers



Red-footed Falcon at Hekpoort

© Andrew Keys

Red-footed Falcon at Rietvlei Nature Reserve

© Warren Ingram



Slaty Egret at Gnu Valley

© Andrew de Klerk



Common Buttonquail in Westcliff

© Debra Coetzer

Southern Brown-throated Weaver at Crocodile Bridge

© Karin Nelson



In Mozambique, an immature CRAB PLOVER was located on the weekend on Inhaca Island just north of Ponta Raza.


And finally, in Namibia, the RED-THROATED PIPIT at Avis Dam in Windhoek has still not stopped attracting attention and the weekend saw twitchers from the Cape, Free State and Gauteng all connecting with it.



Crab Plover on Inhaca Island

© Frank Hawkins

Red-throated Pipit at Avis Dam

© Cliff Dorse



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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