This is the Southern African Rare Bird News Report issued at 21h00 on Monday, 31 October 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 http://groups.google.co.za/group/sa-rarebirdnews
Starting in the Western Cape, a pelagic trip out of Simon’s Town on Saturday turned up both a WANDERING ALBATROSS as well as a SPECTACLED PETREL which were enjoyed by all on board. For a change, both birds were actually surprisingly friendly and hung around for everyone to get good looks at them and take lots of photos. Elsewhere in the province, the best records included a EURASIAN HONEY BUZZARD for a short period of time in a garden in Wetton last week whilst it was also confirmed yesterday that at least one SQUACCO HERON remained on view at Paarl Bird Sanctuary. Late this afternoon, an AFRICAN PIED WAGTAIL was reported hanging out in the parking area about 300m south of the slipway at Buffels Bay in the Cape Point section of the Table Mountain National Park. If it stays in the area, it could become one of the more easily accessible opportunities in recent times for people to add this special to their provincial lists.
Spectacled Petrel on pelagic trip
© Trevor Hardaker
Wandering Albatross on pelagic trip
© Trevor Hardaker
Eurasian Honey Buzzard in Wetton
© James McFarlane
Squacco Heron at Paarl Bird Sanctuary
© Jacques Botha
Moving into Kwazulu Natal, a couple of slightly delayed reports have surfaced. The first is from 20 October when a SOUTH AFRICAN CLIFF SWALLOW was noted at the Charter’s Creek grasslands – although this species is regularly recorded in the inland portion of the province, there is no reference to any records along the coastal strip and this bird is quite some distance further east than is normally known for this species. The second record is from 14 October and concerns a SLATY EGRET at Muzi Pan, not only a rare bird for the province, but also a rare bird for the country.
Mpumalanga continues to produce interesting regional sightings – at Lower Sabie in the Kruger National Park, at least one young GREATER FLAMINGO continued to stay on during last week whilst, on Saturday, no fewer than 3 LESSER FLAMINGOS were reported from a farm dam at Komatipoort. Also of interest is that the SOUTHERN BROWN-THROATED WEAVER that was located at Crocodile Bridge in the Kruger last year is back. Apparently, it is nesting and the nest is halfway across the bridge on the upstream side about 25m from the bridge. I have been told that if you want to see it and are looking during the heat of the day, you should look below the nest where it sits on one of the reeds in the shade.
In Mozambique, another EURASIAN HONEY BUZZARD was reported on Monday from the Pomene area.
And finally, although almost certainly an escapee, the VIOLET TURACO that was reported last week from the Durbanville area in the Western Cape was still on view on the weekend.
Greater Flamingo at Lower Sabie
© Brian Culver
Lesser Flamingos at Komatipoort
© Brian Phelps
Eurasian Honey Buzzard at Pomene
© Karin Nelson
Violet Turaco in Durbanville
© Glen Mansfield
Please remember to send through your details to be included on the various listing clubs that are hosted at www.zestforbirds.co.za. 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.
Cape Town, South Africa
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