This is the Southern African Rare Bird News Report issued at 21h00 on Thursday, 3 January 2013. Information has been gleaned from various websites, email groups as well as 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 KwaZulu-Natal there has been another interesting record of a PACIFIC GOLDEN PLOVER in the province, this time at Mpempe Pan north of Hluhluwe today. Because of the possible interest in this bird Dominic Rollinson has provided the following directons:
Approximately 40 kms north of Hluhluwe town along (the R22) take a dirt road off to the right (GPS: 27Deg43’08.57″ S, 32Deg27’45.65″ E) opposite a trading store (Mnqogokazi Trading Store I think). Follow this road for approximately a kilometre then take a turn to the right which will lead down to a large floodplain (can be a bit confusing but basically follow your nose/GPS down to the floodplain). There is a network of roads crossing the floodplain, so probably easiest to follow the GPS directly to the spot we saw it at (GPS: 27Deg43’06.11″ S, 32Deg28’58.12″ E), a couple hundred metres before a low-level bridge. There are plenty of Kittlitz' Plovers around, the bird was amongst them not far from the reed lined pan (Mpempe), which is to your right as you look down onto the floodplain.
Also in KZN, at Nibela, there were no less than three EUROPEAN HONEY BUZZARDS present today.
Pacific Golden Plover at Mpempe Pan
© Patrick Rollinson
In the Western Cape there have been a number of new records in recent days. A GREATER SAND PLOVER was found at Voëlvlei near Vleesbaai on Sunday. This species occurs uncommonly along the coast and appears to be recorded in lower numbers than in years gone by.
Greater Sand Plover at Voëlvlei
© Leandri Venter
There was at least one PECTORAL SANDPIPER still present at Voëlvlei on Wednesday and on the same day at Strandfontein Sewage Works near Cape Town another bird was found. There appear to be more records of this species popping up in different parts of the country. This summer has once again shown that there are an increasing number of records of this wader.
Pectoral Sandpiper at Voëlvlei
© Josef Van Wyngaard
Pectoral Sandpiper at Strandfontein Sewage Works
© Howard Langley
Staying in the Western Cape, a SPECTACLED PETREL, a somewhat uncommon pelagic species, was encountered during a pelagic trip about 12 Nautical miles west of Cape Point on Sunday.
Spectacled Petrel off Cape Point
© Dalton Gibbs
Another interesting record for the Western Cape was that of a EURASIAN HOBBY that was seen on the R325 near Vleesbaai on Wednesday. In addition, there were at least three RUFOUS-CHEEKED NIGHTJARS near the De Mond Nature Reserve entrance on Tuesday and a EUROPEAN ROLLER was seen 1km south of Bredasdorp on the same day.
In the Northern Cape the Kgalagadi continues to produce interesting records, possibly as a result of good rains in the area. In the last week to 10 days there has been a report of KAROO SCRUB-ROBIN, KAROO KORHAAN, AFRICAN CRAKE at Mata Mata (as reported before) and YELLOW-BILLED EGRET. All these species are uncommonly seen or unknown in the park, with the crake and egret being particularly noteworthy.
African Crake at Mata Mata, Kgalagadi
© Tim Jones
Moving over to Mpumalanga, a record of interest is of a BROWN-THROATED WEAVER being seen at Crocodile Bridge on Tuesday, where there is a small isolated population of these birds.
In Limpopo Province there has been another report of a GREEN SANDPIPER; one bird was found alongside the Timbavati River in the Ngala Private Nature Reserve.
In North West Province an interesting record received is of a SPECTACLED WEAVER, seen on Saturday in riverine growth just upstream from Kgomo-Kgomo. This is a species that could be increasing its range westwards as SABAP2 records seem to indicate. The PECTORAL SANDPIPER was also still showing well at Kgomo-Kgomo, along with three GREATER PAINTED SNIPES, the latter by no means a rarity, but certainly a bird some people may still want to see.
Finally, in Gauteng, a NATAL SPURFOWL has been recorded on Northcliff Hill in the heart of Johannesburg. This is an unusual record somewhat south of its known occurrence, and is of regional interest to local birders.
Please remember that while Trevor is away, Robert Wienand and myself will be handling all rarity reports. Please feel free to contact us.
083 411 7674
083 299 2484
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.
André & Robert