SA Rare Bird News Report - 27 January 2011

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Trevor Hardaker

Jan 27, 2011, 2:12:24 PM1/27/11
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This is the Southern African Rare Bird News Report issued at 21h10 on Thursday, 27 January 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


Starting in the Western Cape, there have been a few interesting regional reports of note. On the Garden Route, a EURASIAN HOBBY was reported on Sunday between Wilderness and Sedgefield whilst a little further west, along the coastline between Arniston and De Hoop Nature Reserve, a flock of 23 CASPIAN PLOVERS were recorded in amongst Kittlitz’s and Common Ringed Plovers late last week. This latter record is particularly interesting given the number of birds and the habitat and obviously refers to a group that was on the move to somewhere else – in recent years, this species has become extremely rare in the province. The spate of EUROPEAN ROLLER records also continues with a bird noted between Bredasdorp and De Hoop Nature Reserve and another reported along the N2 near the turn-off to Still Bay.


Moving into the Northern Cape, the CHESTNUT WEAVER at Tswalu Kalahari Reserve is still present whilst yesterday, yet another ALLEN’S GALLINULE was reported from near Kimberley, following the one on the weekend at a different locality. Further west near Kenhardt, a juvenile LILAC-BREASTED ROLLER was found yesterday about 4km south-east of the town on the road to Vanwyksvlei whilst, earlier today, a BROWN SNAKE EAGLE was noted about 15km north-west of the town on the road to Kakamas. These latter two species are much further west than where they normally occur.


In the Eastern Cape, the EUROPEAN ROLLER onslaught also continues with no fewer than 5 individuals noted between Kap River and Mpekweni on the weekend and another one reported at Rookwood yesterday whilst at least one CAPE EAGLE OWL is still present in the quarry at Grahamstown (although they seem to have lost their appeal with such sporadic reports). The male MACCOA DUCK was also still present at Butterworth Sewage Ponds on Monday.


Further up the coast in Kwazulu Natal, there have also been a number of interesting regional reports coming through from an atlassing trip that worked the area around Ulundi. Most notable records for the province coming from this area over the weekend included a nesting RED-HEADED WEAVER, a pair of LESSER MOORHENS, a DUSKY LARK at the entrance to Ophathe Nature Reserve, a male RED-HEADED FINCH as well as WHITE-BELLIED KORHAAN.


In the Free State, a male PALLID HARRIER has been reported from Sterkfontein Dam near Harrismith, quite possibly the same individual that was present there last year.


Moving into Gauteng, a quiet phone call into the BirdLife South Africa headquarters this morning to report an unconfirmed sighting of a GREY WAGTAIL at Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens got the necessary attention and, before long, the sighting had been confirmed. With the alert being posted at 14h30, many of Gauteng’s finest dropped everything and rushed out there and, within an hour of the alert, the first twitchers had connected. The bird continued to show throughout the afternoon moving between The Dell and the waterfall along the river course and is sure to attract even more people tomorrow and throughout the weekend if it remains on view.


Another interesting record for the province is the presence of BROWN-HEADED PARROTS which have been recently seen just off Panner’s Lane in River Club, Sandton. The co-ordinates for where they seem to be hanging around have been given as S26 04.884 E28 01.924. It would be interesting to try and establish whether these are genuinely wild birds that have moved into this area or whether they are escapees, as this is a long way west of where they normally occur.


Mpumalanga produced a RIVER WARBLER yesterday along a densely vegetated drainage line in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve, possibly the start of the arrival of this species into our area.


In Limpopo Province, there was some excitement last Thursday when a LESSER FLAMINGO was reported from Albasini Dam whilst, up on the Limpopo River at Poplin Ranch, there were reports earlier today of 2 THRUSH NIGHTINGALES and a RIVER WARBLER as well. Elsewhere in the province, both GREY WAGTAILS were once again on show earlier today at Debegeni Falls in Magoebaskloof.


Lastly, in Namibia, a EURASIAN OYSTERCATCHER was reported from Sandwich Harbour on the weekend.



Grey Wagtail at Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens

© Tobie Muller

Grey Wagtail at Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens

© Niall Perrins



Grey Wagtail at Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens

© Yolande Oelsen

Grey Wagtail at Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens

© Justin Nicolau



Don’t forget to send through your details to be included on the various listing clubs that are hosted at 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.


Kind regards





Cape Town, South Africa




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