This is the Southern African Rare Bird News Report issued at 21h00 on Thursday, 01 March 2012. 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, the SAND MARTINS reported recently in amongst mixed flocks of hirundines at Strandfontein Sewage Works are still attracting attention from locals and at least 2 individuals were still present there yesterday. Elsewhere in the province, a male BLACK-EARED SPARROWLARK at Gondwana Game Reserve near Mossel Bay on Tuesday afternoon was a surprise find whilst a pair of VERREAUX’S EAGLE OWLS together with a chick have been found in the Bibby’s Hoek area of the Knysna Forest.
Sand Martin (with Barn Swallow) at Strandfontein Sewage Works
© Otto Schmidt
Black-eared Sparrowlark at Gondwana Game Reserve
© John Vogel
In Kwazulu Natal, some RED-HEADED WEAVERS have now also been found breeding at Phinda Game Reserve. They were originally recorded there in 2008, but then disappeared and have only recently been relocated theree. Is anyone aware of any breeding records any further south than this? Also of interest, Phinda has recently recorded a new species for the reserve, its 426th, in the form of a SOUTHERN MASKED WEAVER! Other interesting records in the province include 2 PINK-BACKED PELICANS at the bird sanctuary dam in Pietermaritzburg on Friday, numbers of CUCKOO FINCHES being reported at Midmar Dam near the Thurlow gate in the grasslands on the eastern side of the dam and a WHITE-THROATED CANARY on Sani Pass on Saturday (still within SA) whilst a HARTLAUB’S GULL was reported from Casuarinas in Richard’s Bay earlier today.
Records of EURASIAN HONEY BUZZARDS in Gauteng continue to be received with a bird reported from Riverclub in Sandton this afternoon.
And, in Namibia, a different BLACK-HEADED GULL (to the one included in Monday’s report) has now also been found in Walvis Bay whilst at least one GULL-BILLED TERN is also still present there.
Red-headed Weaver at Phinda Game Reserve
© Daryl Dell
Lastly, as a matter of interest, I include below the latest range change map for Eurasian Honey Buzzard showing the differences between the first bird atlas (SABAP1) and the atlas that is currently running (SABAP2) received from Prof Les Underhill at the ADU. It is quite interesting to note just how much this species has expanded its range in SA and one could theorize as to why this has happened. Suffice it to say that it is through projects like SABAP2 that we are able to pick up these sorts of things and I can do nothing but encourage all of you out there to get involved with this very worthwhile project. It is a huge amount of fun and you can take part when you are out in the field doing your general birding. Think of it as your way of giving back! I hope every single one of the 1200+ members of SA Rare Bird News will consider registering for this project and taking part as each and every record received is as important as the next one. For those who want to find out more about it, have a look at http://sabap2.adu.org.za/index.php and I hope to see your names appearing in the recently registered section shortly…
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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