SA Rare Bird News Report - 06 October 2015

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Trevor Hardaker

Oct 6, 2015, 1:37:15 AM10/6/15
to SA Rare Bird News, Dave White


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This is the Southern African Rare Bird News Report issued at 07h30 on Tuesday, 06 October 2015. 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



The email problems now finally seem to be a thing of the past hopefully…


The first few days into October and the rarometer has certainly had a bit of an upward spike dishing out a number of records that saw many people rushing around trying to catch up on some of the good birds being reported.


Starting in the Western Cape, the big news of the weekend came when Southern Africa's 25th WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER was discovered on Sunday along the eastern edge of Pan P1 at Strandfontein Sewage Works. The bird remained in the area for about an hour before being harassed by local Blacksmith Lapwings and eventually took off flying strongly north and was not seen again, much to the disappointment of many twitchers who turned out during the course of the day to try and see it (not seen throughout yesterday either). They had to settle for a small consolation prize in that the AFRICAN JACANA was still present around the pans at the entrance boom. A pelagic trip out of Simon's Town on Saturday in rather rough conditions also delivered a WANDERING ALBATROSS whilst a LONG-CRESTED EAGLE was, once again, present along the N2 near George Airport on the weekend as well. Elsewhere, the RED-NECKED PHALAROPE was still present at Kliphoek Salt Pans in Velddrif until at least Sunday whilst a young CAPE VULTURE was reported flying over Constantiaberg towards Hout Bay yesterday and a LESSER GREY SHRIKE was located at Grotto Bay yesterday as well. There are also still numerous reports coming in of BRONZE MANNIKINS in the Rondebosch area, almost certainly referring to escapees, rather than genuine vagrants.



White-rumped Sandpiper at Strandfontein Sewage Works

© Lourance Klose

Red-necked Phalarope at Velddrif

© Philip Bredenhann



Comparative shot of White-rumped Sandpiper (centre) with Little Stints and Curlew Sandpipers

© Lourance Klose


Lesser Grey Shrike at Grotto Bay

© Riaan van Niekerk



Neighbouring Eastern Cape had provincial listers in a tizz on Friday when a report surfaced of a pair of WAHLBERG'S EAGLES that had been located on Table farm about 15km west of Grahamstown. Given that this is probably the first record of this species for the province, it was strange to hear that there were a pair of birds and that it seemed that they might be nesting there. Nevertheless, it drew quite a bit of local attention and a number of provincial listers managed to connect throughout the weekend with the birds. For those wanting to still look for these birds, please note that the contact details given previously were not correct. If you want to arrange access, please contact Dave White at 072 285 5392 or 041 450 0398 to arrange the necessary permissions. Also drawing lots of attention was the pair of SCARLET-CHESTED SUNBIRDS present in a garden in Bulugha, about 40km north-east of East London and, since this is also a great record for the province, it saw many locals combining these two into a mega weekend provincial twitch and, with 2 gentlemen now sitting in the mid-490's on their Eastern Cape lists, the race is on to see who is going to be the first person to crack 500 species in the province. Elsewhere in the province, a SOUTHERN GROUND HORNBILL on Kwandwe Private Game Reserve yesterday was also quite a surprise, a rather westerly record for this species.


Moving up the coast into Kwazulu Natal, there was local excitement on Saturday when a single RUFOUS-BELLIED HERON was found at the Sappi Stanger wetlands, still an unusual record for the area.



Wahlberg’s Eagle near Grahamstown

© Lynette Rudman

Scarlet-chested Sunbird at Bulugha

© Stewart MacLachlan



Scarlet-chested Sunbird at Bulugha

© Lynette Rudman

Scarlet-chested Sunbird at Bulugha

© Guy Sutton



Southern Ground Hornbill at Kwandwe Private Game Reserve

© Alfie Curling

Rufous-bellied Heron at Sappi Stanger wetlands

© Don Cowie



Over in Mpumalanga, Mkhombo Dam was still attracting lots of attention on the weekend with all of the birds still around (LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, BLACK-TAILED GODWIT, up to 8 CASPIAN PLOVERS now, GREY PLOVER, RUDDY TURNSTONE and COLLARED PRATINCOLE) although sightings were a little erratic and not everybody always came away with a "full house" from their visit (All except the Godwit and Pratincole still present yesterday as well). I believe that some people also had trouble finding the area on the weekend as their GPS'es were taking them to the wrong side of the dam when entering the co-ordinates. According to those who know the site well, one needs to be on the south-western shore of the dam. You need to travel through the small village of Libangeni and then on to a dirt track which takes you down to the water's edge.


Elsewhere in the province, a SLATY EGRET was reported yesterday along the Crocodile River at Malelane Gate whilst a pair of SOUTHERN BROWN-THROATED WEAVERS were also still present at Crocodile Bridge and at least one AFRICAN SACRED IBIS remained present at Pioneer Dam near Mopani camp.



Hudsonian Godwit at Mkhombo Dam

© Bill Richter

Caspian Plovers at Mkhombo Dam

© Bill Richter



Caspian Plover at Mkhombo Dam

© Niall Perrins

Southern Brown-throated Weaver at Crocodile Bridge

© Michael Raum



Lesser Black-backed Gull at Mkhombo Dam

© Niall Perrins



Up in Limpopo Province, the draw of the RUPPELL'S VULTURE at Blouberg Nature Reserve has not waned at all and there were still good number of twitchers there over the weekend enjoying this subregion mega.


Over in Mozambique, a pelagic trip out of Maputo on Saturday delivered some fantastic birds including a single TROPICAL SHEARWATER, up to 8 BLACK-BELLIED STORM PETRELS (the first time this species has been recorded off Maputo since a singleton back in the 1970’s!) and a mega flock of SOOTY TERNS numbering in excess of 800 individuals!


And finally, in Namibia, a PECTORAL SANDPIPER was located at Rietfontein waterhole in Etosha National Park on Friday.

Black-bellied Storm Petrel on Maputo pelagic trip

© Gary Allport



Sooty Terns on Maputo pelagic trip

© Gary Allport



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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