This is the Southern African Rare Bird News Report issued at 20h15 on Thursday, 29 November 2012. 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 http://groups.google.co.za/group/sa-rarebirdnews
Mpumalanga continues to host the headline bird of the moment, the MADAGASCAR CUCKOO in the southern part of the Kruger National Park. Thought to have disappeared from the Biyamiti area where it was first found and lost to all dipping twitchers, it was relocated yesterday morning some 10km to the north, but still along the Biyamiti River and was just 400m further upstream earlier this morning. Should it be relocated again tomorrow morning, it is bound to be a popular attraction for a weekend twitch again…
Elsewhere in the province, Mkhombo Dam maintains a high profile with birding today turning up at least one adult CHESTNUT-BANDED PLOVER, 2 WHIMBRELS and a single PECTORAL SANDPIPER within the first 500m of entering the dam area. Equally interesting is a report of 2 pairs of SHORT-TAILED PIPITS from the weekend at Verlorenkloof Resort including a nest found with 3 eggs in it. Unfortunately, this is a private resort and so access to these birds may prove difficult.
Hopping across to the North-west Province, Kgomo Kgomo produced a juvenile CHESTNUT-BANDED PLOVER earlier today as well, whilst, yesterday, a BAILLON’S CRAKE was reported from there.
In Gauteng, a GREEN SANDPIPER was, once again, reported along the Jukskei River at the Waterfall Estate in Midrand on Sunday. Unfortunatley, this is also a private residential estate, so access is going to be difficult here.
Madagascar Cuckoo in southern Kruger
© Johann Kritzinger
Baillon’s Crake at Kgomo Kgomo
© Dylan Vasapolli
Moving down into Kwazulu Natal, a number of people have asked for directions to Mpempe Pan where the CASPIAN PLOVERS have been reported from and Dominic Rollinson has very kindly provided the following:
Directions: Approximately 40 kms north of Hluhluwe town along (the R22) take a dirt road off to the right (GPS: 27o43,160’″ S, 32o27,754’″ E) opposite a trading store (Mnqogokazi Trading Store I think). Follow this road for approximately a kilometre then take a turn to the right which will lead down to a large floodplain. There is a network of roads crossing the floodplain, so probably easiest to follow the GPS directly to the spot we saw them at (GPS: 27o43,124’ S, 32o28,969’ E),close to the reed lined pan.
The province is also delivering some good birds at the moment. A GREEN SANDPIPER was located at Thula Thula Private Game Reserve earlier today whilst birding out on the Nibela Peninsula yielded around 10 CHESTNUT-BANDED PLOVERS and a DUSKY LARK. Yesterday saw a male YELLOW-CROWNED BISHOP being located at Junction Dam at Phinda Private Game Reserve. The RED-HEADED WEAVER has, once again, also been reported from Leopard Mountain Game Lodge in Mkuze, whilst close by at Rhino River Lodge, there have been a couple of sightings reported of a male PENNANT-WINGED NIGHTJAR.
Down in the Western Cape there has been very little to report apart from a SPECTACLED PETREL reported a few days ago from an observer on a fishing vessel south of Cape Point.
Moving into the Northern Cape, there was quite a surprise yesterday morning when a BAR-TAILED GODWIT was discovered at Victoria West Dam whilst, on a farm just outside Jan Kempdorp, a RED-CHESTED CUCKOO has been reported calling incessantly for the last few days.
And finally, in Namibia, although it has become a rare resident now, a pair of SOUZA’S SHRIKES have been observed feeding a youngster in the last week up in the Caprivi at S18 03 22.5 E20 54 56.2, so if you are going to be in that area in the next short while, it may be worth checking out. Other news of interest from the country includes a GREAT WHITE PELICAN at Erindi Private Game Reserve near Omaruru present in the area now for the last few days, a LONG-CRESTED EAGLE reported from Hoochland Park in Windhoek and, earlier today, an immature RED-FOOTED FALCON located just outside Luderitz.
Long-crested Eagle in Windhoek
© Michael Houlden
Red-footed Falcon in Luderitz
© Jessica Kempner
Please remember to send through your details to be included on the various listing clubs that are hosted at www.zestforbirds.co.za. 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.
Cape Town, South Africa
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