SA Rare Bird News Report - 04 March 2021

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Trevor Hardaker

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Mar 4, 2021, 11:01:21 AM3/4/21
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S O U T H E R N   A F R I C A N   R A R E   B I R D   N E W S   R E P O R T

 

 

 

This is the Southern African Rare Bird News Report issued at 18h00 on Thursday, 04 March 2021.

 

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.

 

None of the records included in this report have undergone any adjudication process with any of the subregion’s Rarities Committees, so inclusion in this report does not constitute any official confirmation of the particular record. Observers are still encouraged to make the necessary submissions accordingly.

 

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

 

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Let’s start with a handful of scarcity reports first…

 

EUROPEAN HONEY BUZZARD:

 

·         One in a garden in Sunvalley in Midrand (Gauteng) on Tuesday.

·         One at Pindi Park Farm in Banket (Zimbabwe) on Tuesday.

·         One in a garden in Three Rivers (Gauteng) on Monday.

 

 

European Honey Buzzard in Sunvalley

© Neil Puntis

European Honey Buzzard in Three Rivers

© Greer da Cruz

 

 

On to the rest of the news and, starting in the Western Cape, several RED PHALAROPES were reported on a fishing trip west of Hout Bay yesterday. Locals were excited to find a SQUACCO HERON at Paardevlei near Strand at -34.089, 18.808 this morning while, up on the west coast, the long staying RED-NECKED PHALAROPE was also still at Kliphoek Salt Pans in Velddrif at -32.826, 18.203 this afternoon. Both an adult and immature BROWN SNAKE EAGLE were seen together on the van der Stel Pass near Bot River at -34.154, 19.232 on Tuesday while there were also still at least 15 CAPE VULTURES present on the farm Cornellskop, in the Bot River Valley, on Tuesday morning as well. Unfortunately, subsequent to this, there was a fire on the neighbouring property which pushed the Vultures off and they have not been seen again since then. The LESSER CRESTED TERN was also still at Rooisand Nature Reserve yesterday while 2 TEMMINCK’S COURSERS were found on the farm Mierkraal, in the Nuwejaars Wetlands Special management area near Bredasdorp, on Tuesday.

 

Over on the Garden Route, there was some excitement when a single RED-BILLED OXPECKER was found at Hartenbos Private Game Lodge yesterday (no sign of it in the area today though) while other lingerers included the AFRICAN PIED WAGTAIL still in the Knysna Waterfront Yacht Club car park yesterday and the EUROPEAN ROLLER still along the R340 near Plettenberg Bay yesterday as well. Another EUROPEAN ROLLER was also found this afternoon along the R404 near Herolds Bay at -34.031, 22.375.

 

 

Red Phalaropes on fishing trip

© Grant Scholtz

Squacco Heron at Paardevlei

© Micha Feher

 

 

Squacco Heron at Paardevlei

© Charles Britz

 

 

Brown Snake Eagles on the van der Stel Pass

© Charles Britz

Cape Vulture in the Bot River Valley

© Charles Britz

 

 

Cape Vulture in the Bot River Valley

© Johan van der Westhuizen

Cape Vulture in the Bot River Valley

© Lester van Groeningen

 

 

Cape Vultures in the Bot River Valley

© Luke Cornell

 

 

Lesser Crested Tern at Rooisand Nature Reserve

© Stanislav Novotny

Temminck’s Courser on Mierkraal farm

© Eugene Hahndiek

 

 

Red-billed Oxpecker at Hartenbos Private Game Lodge

© Alida van der Merwe

European Roller near Plettenberg Bay

© Neil Ebedes

 

 

In the Eastern Cape, there was some major excitement when the mega SOOTY GULL was found on the beach about 2km east of the Sundays River mouth on Tuesday afternoon. It subsequently moved west from there and was present yesterday at the actual mouth itself hanging around in a Tern Roost there and was present there again earlier today. It seems safe to assume that this is the same individual that was first found at the St Lucia estuary, then moved to Kei Mouth (where many twitchers connected with it) and then down to Kenton-on-Sea which means that it has moved about another 80km further west since the last sighting of it there. Elsewhere, new records included 2 WAHLBERG’S EAGLES seen over the old drive-in in Despatch yesterday, a LILAC-BREASTED ROLLER seen 1,1km west of Hofmeyer along the R401 yesterday and a BLACK-CHESTED SNAKE EAGLE seen about 5km north of Meisieshalt, on the Thornvlei road just outside Gonubie in East London on Tuesday while other birds still in place included a few WHITE-WINGED WIDOWBIRDS still on a private farm near Cradock on Tuesday and a number of BLUE-CHEEKED BEE-EATERS still present in Colchester earlier today.

 

 

Sooty Gull at the Sundays River mouth

© Vivienne Dames

Sooty Gull at the Sundays River mouth

© Keith Joubert

 

 

Sooty Gull at the Sundays River mouth

© Paul Martin

Sooty Gull at the Sundays River mouth

© Larry McGillewie

 

 

Sooty Gull at the Sundays River mouth

© Hugh Retief

Sooty Gull at the Sundays River mouth

© Pieter Odendaal

 

 

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater in Colchester

© Marie Delport

 

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater in Colchester

© Paul Martin

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater in Colchester

© Hugh Retief

 

 

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater in Colchester

© Larry McGillewie

White-winged Widowbird near Cradock

© Larry McGillewie

 

 

Moving up the coast into Kwazulu Natal, there was major excitement when a mega BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER was found at Mpempe Pan at -27.719, 32.491 yesterday and was still present in the same area today. To the best of my knowledge, this is only the 19th record of this species in Southern Africa. The first record was in Richard's Bay in December 1977 followed by one in Swakopmund in February 1984 and one in Walvis Bay in November 1984.  The next record was from Barberspan Nature Reserve in January 1986, followed by one at the Berg River estuary in September 1993, one at the Umvoti River estuary in March 1995, a dead bird found at Durban Airport in December 2000, the famous twitchable one at Marievale Bird Sanctuary in January 2001, another bird at Barberspan Nature Reserve in February 2001, a bird at Krugersdrift Dam in the Free State in February 2008, then the well twitched bird at Muzi Pan as well as the bird near St Francis Bay, both in December 2010, one at Kei mouth in April 2011, one at Mile 4 Salt Works in Swakopmund in April 2012, one at Waterfall Estate in Midrand in September 2012, one again at Mile 4 Salt Works in January 2013, one at Rakops River Lodge in Botswana in March 2019 and, most recently, 2 birds together at Voelvlei, near Mossel Bay, in December 2020.

 

With all the eyes in the area, it’s no wonder that there were also reports of DWARF BITTERN, LESSER MOORHEN and 2 TEMMINCK’S COURSERS there as well. Manyoni Private Game Reserve chimed in with a LESSER MOORHEN and several AFRICAN CRAKES there yesterday while the reserve also produced a WHITE-HEADED VULTURE flying over Bayete Zulu yesterday as well and a GREY-HEADED KINGFISHER earlier today. Elsewhere, a WHITE-BACKED VULTURE was seen flying over Howick this morning, an AYRES’S HAWK EAGLE was reported over New Germany in Durban on Tuesday and at least one LESSER MOORHEN was still at the dam on a private farm in Port Edward yesterday as well. A rather sad report was that of a STRIPED CRAKE found freshly dead earlier today at Palm Lakes in Ballito.

 

 

Buff-breasted Sandpiper at Mpempe Pan

© Daryl Dell

Buff-breasted Sandpiper at Mpempe Pan

© David Hoddinott

 

 

Buff-breasted Sandpiper at Mpempe Pan

© Paul Goslin

Buff-breasted Sandpiper at Mpempe Pan

© Decklan Jordaan

 

 

Temminck’s Courser at Mpempe Pan

© Daryl Dell

Lesser Moorhen in Port Edward

© Lia Steen

 

 

In the Free State, a LILAC-BREASTED ROLLER was seen just north of Bloemfontein at -28.967, 26.299 yesterday while a dead BRONZE-WINGED COURSER was found in the Woodland Hills area of Bloemfontein on Tuesday, seemingly a victim of a collision with a car.

 

The North-west Province held on to a STRIPED CRAKE which was still on view in the Kgomo Kgomo area today.

 

Up in Limpopo, there were at least 2 STREAKY-BREASTED FLUFFTAILS still vocal in the Punda Maria region of the Kruger National Park yesterday while a young AYRES’S HAWK EAGLE was found just outside Hoedspruit at -24.362, 30.941 yesterday too.

 

And finally, in Namibia, the YELLOW-THROATED LEAFLOVES were back in the gardens of Caprivi Houseboat Safari Lodge in Katima Mulilo again this morning.

 

 

Striped Crake at Kgomo Kgomo

© Klaus Schmid

Ayres’s Hawk Eagle near Hoedspruit

© Keenan Houareau

 

 

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

Trevor

 

TREVOR HARDAKER

Cape Town, South Africa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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