SA Rare Bird Report - 22 December 2014

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Allan Ridley

Dec 22, 2014, 1:46:37 PM12/22/14
Hi All

Thanks for reading the latest edition of the SA Rare Bird Report. Just to let you know, I'm probably going to be too busy eating (or digesting) turkey on 25 December, so there is unlikely to be a formal report that evening. I will send out ad hoc reports if there is anything worthwhile.

It's been a pretty quiet few days on the rarities front, so the headline pictures this week goes to a bird which is (probably) seen every year, but very infrequently photographed, and most of the claimed published photographs are in fact incorrectly identified. This Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo was seen near Mphingwe camp, in central Mozambique.     Inline images 1
Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, both © Etienne Marais

On to the more traditional rarities, and starting in the Eastern Cape:
A Lesser Grey Shrike was reported on the Nelspoort Road 48kms west of Aberdeen and seen 7 December. Also, a Pink-backed Pelican, was seen at the Khwalimanzi hide in Camdeboo National Park on 19 December. Lastly, a European Honey-Buzzard was seen near Port Alfred on 20 December.
Inline images 2
Pink-backed Pelican © Jan du Toit

Moving into Gauteng, the Slaty Egret at Walkhaven was reported yesterday morning, but hasn't been seen since despite much searching at Walkhaven and the surrounding farms. The European Honey-Buzzards are out in full force in Gauteng, and there have been reports of birds from Wierdapark in Centurion, Hekpoort near the Magaliesberg, and from over the Joburg Zoo. Lastly, and not a true rare bird, but a nice bird to get a photo of, a Corn Crake was photographed in the Buffelsdrift Conservancy north of Pretoria on Friday morning.

Inline images 3
Slaty Egret © Neil Ebedes

Inline images 4
Corn Crake © Rowan van Tonder

Inline images 5
European Honey-Buzzard © Andrew Keys

Moving into KZN, the Abdim's Stork seems to have taken up residence at the Darville Sewerage Works on the Duziturf fields and was still there this past weekend. The European Honey-Buzzards are also infiltrating (maybe following the holidaymakers down the N3?) and have been reported from near Albert Falls in the Karkloof and Zimbali from in the last two days.

Inline images 6
Abdim's Stork © Warren Kemm

Inline images 10
European Honey-Buzzard © Heidi Watson

In Mpumulanga, a pair of Cape Teals was photographed at the Nsemani Dam, near Satara on 18 December which is a very good record for the Kruger National Park. Staying in the Park a Green Sandpiper was seen at the Biyamiti Weir on 20 December although subsequent searches have not relocated it. Also, a Sand Martin was seen at Hippo Pools near Crocodile Bridge this afternoon. Finally, a Southern Brown-throated Weaver was seen building a nest near Crocodile Bridge this weekend. Further west in Mpumulanga, and of particular interest to the Wider Gauteng listers, Mkhombo Dam turned up a pair of African Pygmy Geese on Saturday (although these were not seen again on Sunday), a Grey Plover and a White-fronted Plover.

In the Western Cape, a pelagic trip out of Cape Town produced a cracking Spectacled Petrel on Saturday, a Red-backed Shrike was seen near Witsand on Sunday and a European Honey-Buzzard followed the N1 down to Llandudno this afternoon.
Inline images 11
Spectacled Petrel © Frans-Hendrik Joubert

Finally, in Botswana a Collared Palm-Thrush was reported from Nata Lodge, which is a little south of its usual range.
Inline images 12
Collared Palm-Thrush © Andre Joubert

Thanks for all the reports and please continue to send them to me at ( or message on 0828428814 during Trevor's absence.


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