SA Rare Bird News Report - 12 November 2009

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Trevor Hardaker

Nov 12, 2009, 3:08:32 PM11/12/09
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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 22h00 on Thursday, 12 November 2009. 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


Firstly, some feedback on the BUSH BLACKCAP record from Southwell in the Eastern Cape in Monday’s report – I suggested that it might constitute the furthest west record of this species in the country ever. I have subsequently been made aware of a record in mid August 2002 where a bird was present in a garden in St. Francis Bay for 3 days. This is certainly a lot further west than the Southwell record and, if anyone is aware of any records even further west than this, I would be very interested to hear about them.


Now, on to some more current news…


The Western Cape is certainly starting to get busier and this morning turned up a stunning adult BLACK-HEADED GULL in full breeding plumage at Geelbek in the West Coast National Park. The park also had at least one LESSER SAND PLOVER on show this morning at Seeberg whilst the irruption of LARK-LIKE BUNTINGS on to the west coast continues with good numbers present in the park earlier today as well. The gull is of particular significance this morning as it was a milestone bird for the observer, Niall Perrins, who, with this bird, cracked the magical 800 mark on his Southern African lifelist. Well done, Niall!!



Black-headed Gull at Geelbek

© Niall Perrins

Lesser Sand Plover at Seeberg

© Niall Perrins


Moving on to Kwazulu Natal, there have been a few reports of RED-HEADED QUELEAS turning up in gardens in Meerensee in Richard’s Bay over the last few days which appears to be unusual for this species.


In Mpumalanga, a male TUFTED DUCK was found at Dullstroom Nature Reserve yesterday in the company of several Southern Pochards. This species is probably one of the most likely genuine vagrant ducks to reach us given the fact that their wintering grounds in Africa overlap with where our Southern Pochards move off to, so an individual could easily tag on to a group of Pochards heading south again and land up here.

Red-headed Quelea in Meerensee

© Andre Vorster


Namibia is still providing plenty to see at the moment with 2 COMMON REDSHANKS still present at Mile 4 Salt Works near Swakopmund this week whilst up to 31 RED-NECKED PHALAROPES are still entertaining visitors at Walvis Bay. Perhaps the oddest record in the country received in the last few days is of a GREY KESTREL about 50km west of Katima Mulilo on the eastern end of the Caprivi Strip! Given that this species is normally restricted to the region around Ruacana in the north-western corner of Namibia and that the most easterly record that I am aware of is still west of Rundu (if anyone knows of records further east than this, I would be interested to hear about them), this appears to be an easterly vagrancy of some 600km or more!


Mozambique has also gotten in on the action turning up a, by now almost expected, CRAB PLOVER at Inhambane whilst the Panda area has produced a COMMON REDSHANK as well as a EURASIAN HONEY BUZZARD.



Crab Plover in Inhambane

© Maans Booysen

Eurasian Honey Buzzard in Panda

© Maans Booysen


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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Trevor Hardaker and John Graham

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