SA Rare Bird News Report - 15 January 2015

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Trevor Hardaker

Jan 15, 2015, 1:01:31 PM1/15/15
to SA Rare Bird News, The Cowies

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This is the Southern African Rare Bird News Report issued at 20h00 on Thursday, 15 January 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



Starting with the scarcities again, at least 2 EUROPEAN HONEY BUZZARDS were present at the Tokai Arboretum (Western Cape) on Sunday, another was present along the entrance road to Sibuya Game Reserve (Eastern Cape) last Thursday and at least one bird remained present at Avis Dam in Windhoek until Tuesday. Another individual was reported from Glen Agricultural College just outside Bloemfontein this afternoon as well.



European Honey Buzzard at Sibuya Game Reserve

© Chris Ovens



On to the rest of the news and, once again, Namibia continues to hog the limelight with Southern Africa's 6th ever RED-THROATED PIPIT continuing to entertain the many twitchers at Avis Dam in Windhoek. The bird is fairly reliable and is sticking to a relatively small area along the sandy shoreline on the southern side of the dam. Many people from across the subregion have already made the pilgrimage for this mega and, should it still be in place tomorrow, there is every chance that the weekend will see yet another large influx of birders into the area.


The news has spread so widely now that apparently, immigration officers at the airport have actually asked a couple of birders on arrival "where will you be staying in Windhoek or are you just here to see THE bird?" and that departure staff and security have gathered around birders heading back home to see the photos of "their bird" on the backs of cameras. It's great to see so much interest in this little avian gem…J


Another good record for the country was a single AMUR FALCON located amongst Red-footed Falcons on Sunday about 140km north-east of Windhoek.



Red-throated Pipit at Avis Dam

© Trevor Hardaker

Amur Falcon north-east of Windhoek

© Christiane Maluche



Moving down into the Western Cape, there have been some interesting records in the last few days, not least of which was a flock of 21 CASPIAN PLOVERS seen at the Kliphoek Salt Pans in Velddrif yesterday morning (the same site also still continues to host a RED-NECKED PHALAROPE). Unfortunately, subsequent searches for the Plovers has failed to relocate them and they may well have moved off into the surrounding farmlands somewhere (which is perhaps more suited to their habitat preferences). Also of interest in the province was a male MONTAGU'S HARRIER seen on the Uplands Road near Plettenberg Bay on Tuesday whilst AMUR FALCON sightings ranged widely from the Uplands Road through to Barrington near Knysna in the last week.


In the Eastern Cape, there seems to have been an influx of EUROPEAN ROLLERS with several birds spotted in different part of Sibuya Game Reserve in the first half of this week whilst another individual was located in Middelburg yesterday. Earlier today, a female RED-FOOTED FALCON was also located on Sandfontein farm in Middelburg.



Caspian Plovers at Velddrif

© Thinus Maritz

Red-necked Phalarope at Velddrif

© Eddie du Plessis



European Roller at Sibuya Game Reserve

© Chris Ovens

Red-footed Falcon in Middelburg

© Tino Herselman



Up the coast into Kwazulu Natal, a rather surprising record was made on Monday when a GREAT SNIPE was found in front of the hide at the Sappi wetlands in Stanger. Unfortunately, subsequent searches for the bird have proved unsuccessful but it is hoped that it may be relocated there again before too long. Also of interest in the province was a RUFOUS-BELLIED HERON located on the Pan Loop and a BLACK COUCAL on the Vlei Loop, both at Cape Vidal earlier today.


And finally, in Mpumalanga, the SOUTHERN BROWN-THROATED WEAVER was still present at Crocodile Bridge in the Kruger National Park yesterday whilst, also of interest, were no fewer than 5 SOUTHERN POCHARDS at Nsemani Dam.



Great Snipe in Stanger

© Don Cowie



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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