Southern African Rare Bird News 31 Dec 2020

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Garret Skead

Dec 31, 2020, 11:38:22 AM12/31/20
Dear SARBN subscribers

You know it's a good season for rare birds, when two subregional mega rarities are found on consecutive days!

Starting in Botswana, the big news was the discovery of a RED-THROATED PIPIT at Gaborone Dam yesterday, located at -24.699, 25.902 (accessed through the sailing club entrance), photo attached (c) Ian White. There was a furthest twist in the tale today, with a second bird also being discovered, in the same vicinity. These birds become the second rarities this month with two individuals present at the same place, although we have to hope that the Pipits will stick around for longer than the Buff-breasted Sandpipers.

The other exciting news was the discovery of a LESSER NODDY off the coast of Cape Vidal / Greater St Lucia on 29 Dec, which was seen from a fishing vessel approximately 850m off shore, and photographed by 14 year old birder Tinus Cronje (photo attached). Unfortunately, the bird hasn't been seen or relocated since first being reported. Staying in KWAZULU-NATAL, the MADAGASCAN CUCKOO was present on Tuesday 29 Dec, but not reported again since then. The GREAT SNIPE at Lake Sibaya was seen again on yesterday, and a GREEN SANDPIPER was also seen at Darville Sewage Works outside Pietermaritzburg. A number of DUSKY LARKS were reported during the week, with at least two individuals at Manyoni Private Game Reserve, and another Malibala hide in Mkuze Game Reserve. AYRE'S HAWK EAGLES were reported from the R22 near Hluhluwe on 30 Dec, and another over Arboretum in Richard's Bay this afternoon, where a EUROPEAN HONEY BUZZARD was also seen. The BRONZE-WINGED COURSER was present on 29 Dec at Paddock, south KZN, and a BLACK-WINGED PRATINCOLE was reported today flying over the N3 between Estcourt and Mooiriver.

In the WESTERN CAPE, the BAIRD'S SANDPIPER, RED-NECKED PHALAROPE and LESSER SAND PLOVER were all seen this afternoon at Strandfontein (see my previous report for a discussion on their locality and movements). At Rooisand Nature Reserve, at least one LESSER SAND PLOVER was present on Tuesday, and staying in the Overberg, a group of BLUE-CHEEKED BEE-EATERS was seen near Waschkraalvlei in the Nuewjaars Watland SMA near Elim on Tuesday, as well as two EUROPEAN HONEY BUZZARDS on the Swartvlei road near Kleinmond on the same day. The AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER was still present at Kliphoek salt works, and 2 AFRICAN PALM SWIFTS were seen outside Malmesbury, on 30 Dec. On the Garden Route, the DARK-CAPPED BULBULS were still present in Mossel Bay this afternoon, and a number of EUROPEAN ROLLERS were seen in the Plett area during the course of the week. Botlierskop near Klein Brak also delivered a GREAT REED WARBLER, which seems to have been at the site for a little while, and was seen again today at -34.056, 22.131. A single EUROPEAN HONEY BUZZARD was sighted at the base of Robinson's Pass coming from Mossel Bay today, and two BLACK STORKS were discovered at Voelvlei this afternoon.

In the FREE STATE, the MADAGASCAN CUCKOO was seen on the afternoon of 29 Dec, but thereafter Soetdoring Nature Reserve was closed, apparently due to level 3 regulations, and will re-open on 15 Jan. The province continued to deliver sightings of BRONZE-WINGED COURSER, with one bird seen at Soetdoering on 29 Dec. A female AMUR FALCON was seen on a farm near Harrismith yesterday.

In the EASTERN CAPE, at least 2 EURASIAN OYSTERCATCHERS were seen at Gamtoos mouth on Tuesday, and a WESTERN YELLOW WAGTAIL was located at a site near Port Alfred (-33.584, 26.877). The bird was seen again today, and apparently visits a small stream crossing the road regularly. This location also comes with an important safety warning. Apparently the site has been very unsafe in the past, with theft and violent muggings, so please be extra careful if you attempt to twitch this bird. Elsewhere, an immature BATELEUR was seen soaring over the N2 this afternoon, approximately 5km north of Nanaga farm stall.

In the NORTH-WEST PROVINCE, EUROPEAN HONEY BUZZARDS were reported near Brits and in the De Wildt area near Hartebeespoort dam on 29 Dec. There were two ALLEN'S GALLINULES still present near the Kgomo-Kgomo bridge as of today. A DUSKY LARK was also seen along the Zaagkuildrift road yesterday.

In LIMPOPO, a LESSER MOORHEN was seen on a private residental estate near Hoedspruit on 27 Dec, and the LESSER JACANA was still present at the R36 pan near Ofcolaco on 29 Dec. Four LESSER MOORHENS were also seen at the same dam. Another LESSER JACANA was seen at Grietjie Private Game Reserve near Phalaborwa on 30 Dec (note: no general public access). In Madikwe Game Reserve, a THREE-BANDED COURSER was seen on 20 Dec and relocated a few days later. Lindani Nature Reserve delivered a somewhat out-of-range NARINA TROGON on 30 Dec, at -24.048, 28.402. In the Kruger, a GREEN SANDPIPER was seen at -23.858, 31.568 on the H1-5 yesterday morning, and another GREEN SANDPIPER was seen today at the private reserve Lissataba, at approx. -24.299, 30.774. Access can be arranged by contacting Colin van der Meulen or Robyn Reid on At least one LESSER MOORHEN was still present in Mabalingwe Game Reserve today.

In the NORTHERN CAPE, the GREAT WHITE EGRET was still present in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park between Samevloei and Leeudrill on 29 Dec.

In GAUTENG, a EUROPEAN HONEY BUZZARD was seen over Hazeldean trails on 28 Dec, and another over Pretoria East on 30 Dec. A DUSKY LARK was also seen south east of Rust de Winter yesterday.

In NAMIBIA, two RED-NECKED PHALAROPES were reported by Paaltjies Rd, Walvis Bay on 29 Dec.

And finally, MOZAMBIQUE delivered no less than 17 GREATER FRIGATEBIRDS this afternoon off the beach at Inhassoro.

Thanks for all the reports and happy birding. 

Kind regards
Lesser Noddy (c) Tinus Cronje.jpg
Red-throated Pipit (c) Ian White.jpg
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