SA Rare Bird News Report - 12 January 2015

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Trevor Hardaker

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Jan 12, 2015, 1:00:19 PM1/12/15
to SA Rare Bird News, Johan van Wyk, Clive Wright, Stuart Hancock, Dorian....@fqml.com

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This is the Southern African Rare Bird News Report issued at 20h00 on Monday, 12 January 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 http://groups.google.co.za/group/sa-rarebirdnews

 

 

Before I get started with the report, I must just apologise for not getting the updated listing clubs posted on www.zestforbirds.co.za over the weekend as previously promised, but I was otherwise distracted (as were many of you!) and they would have been out of date anyway…J I will try and still get to them this week, so make sure you have sent through your latest totals to me.

 

On to the news and there is no doubt that we are going to start in Namibia where the country certainly stole the limelight over the last few days delivering Southern Africa's 6th ever RED-THROATED PIPIT at Avis Dam near Windhoek. With the bird first being discovered on Wednesday, it was only on Friday at lunchtime that news eventually filtered through of the find. Windhoek locals were immediately mobilized and I received the first photos of the bird at about 16h30 which confirmed, without a doubt, the ID of the bird. With news of this broadcast early on Friday evening, it gave many people a chance to make the necessary arrangements and the first long distance twitchers were on site early on Saturday morning already to enjoy the bird. People flew in from Gauteng and the Cape whilst other crews from these areas as well as the Eastern Cape opted to drive in and, by midday on Sunday, a good many birders had connected with the bird whilst still more were enjoying it during the course of today.

 

With both Kwazulu Natal and Zimbabwe having 2 records each and Namibia sporting one previous record, the last record was around 15 years ago and there has never really been a widely twitchable bird, hence this latest individual was always going to be popular. It also became the first time that this species had ever been photographically confirmed in the subregion. This is a truly mega bird and, if you have the opportunity to get to Windhoek to go and look for it, I would encourage you to certainly do that. Who knows when next there might be a chance to see this bird in the subregion again?! Over the course of the weekend, there were also at least 3 individual EUROPEAN HONEY BUZZARDS seen in the area as an added distraction.

 

Also just a word of caution to those of you that are going to drive long distances to see the bird – please do take care on the roads. A group of 3 birding colleagues, Tony Archer, Selwyn Rautenbach and Johnny Wilson, were involved in an accident last night on their way home from seeing the bird. Fortunately, their injuries were relatively minor in the big scheme of things (one broken collar bone and one broken toe within the group), so we are thankful for that, but their vehicle has been written off. Let’s try and get everyone there to enjoy the bird and back home safely.

 

 

Red-throated Pipit at Avis Dam

© Niall Perrins

Red-throated Pipit at Avis Dam

© Tobie Muller

 

 

Red-throated Pipit at Avis Dam

© Owen Oertli

Red-throated Pipit at Avis Dam

© Sue Oertli

 

 

Birders enjoying the Red-throated Pipit at Avis Dam

© Kerry Fairley

 

 

Heading south into the Northern Cape, a GREATER PAINTED SNIPE was mistnetted yesterday just south of Springbok at 29 42' 02.9" S 17 54' 09.5" E, a slightly odd record for the region.

 

In the Free State, a PECTORAL SANDPIPER was discovered at Krugersdrif Dam outside of Bloemfontein on Tuesday whilst a EUROPEAN HONEY BUZZARD was reported from Vaalpark near Sasolburg on Saturday and, yesterday, a female RED-FOOTED FALCON was reported 4km north of Bothaville.

 

Down in the Western Cape, at least 2 SPECTACLED PETRELS were seen on a pelagic trip earlier today while a male VILLAGE WEAVER has been visiting a garden feeder in Boston in Bellville over the last few days, another odd record, but the possibility of an escapee can't be totally ruled out although I'm not sure how many people would actually keep this species in captivity. Also of interest was a PACIFIC GOLDEN PLOVER seen at De Mond Nature Reserve near Arniston on Tuesday.

 

In the Eastern Cape, a female RED-FOOTED FALCON was located yesterday near Cannon Rocks amongst a flock of Amur Falcon, still a rare bird in the province whilst a GREAT WHITE PELICAN was also present in the area. An immature COMMON CUCKOO has also been hanging around on a farm near St Francis Bay for the last few days.

 

 

Greater Painted Snipe south of Springbok

© Ryno Kemp

Pectoral Sandpiper at Krugersdrif Dam

© Gerald Wingate

 

 

Village Weaver in Boston

© Johan van Wyk

Common Cuckoo in St Francis Bay

© Clive Wright

 

 

Pacific Golden Plover at De Mond Nature Reserve

© Frans-Hendrik Joubert

 

 

Up the coast into Kwazulu Natal, a pelagic trip out of Durban on Saturday was a great success producing a single RED-FOOTED BOOBY along with a few regionally rare birds as well like SABINE'S GULL, LONG-TAILED JAEGER and EUROPEAN STORM PETREL. Interestingly, another RED-FOOTED BOOBY was seen offshore of Richard's Bay on Thursday from a large cruise vessel, so perhaps it is a good time to be at sea in KZN waters if you are still looking for this species. Also of interest in the province was a record of a VIOLET-BACKED STARLING on a farm outside Nottingham Road near The Bend Country Lodge on the weekend.

 

 

Red-footed Booby on Durban pelagic trip

© Niall Perrins

Red-footed Booby on Durban pelagic trip

© Tobie Muller

 

 

Red-footed Booby on Durban pelagic trip

© David Allan

Sabine’s Gull on Durban pelagic trip

© Niall Perrins

 

 

Sabine’s Gull on Durban pelagic trip

© David Allan

Sabine’s Gull on Durban pelagic trip

© Tobie Muller

 

 

Long-tailed Jaeger on Durban pelagic trip

© Tobie Muller

Long-tailed Jaeger on Durban pelagic trip

© David Allan

 

 

Long-tailed Jaeger on Durban pelagic trip

© Niall Perrins

European Storm Petrel on Durban pelagic trip

© David Allan

 

 

European Storm Petrel on Durban pelagic trip

© Niall Perrins

Red-footed Booby near Richard’s Bay

© Cristian Cottino

 

 

Up in Mpumalanga, a female RED-FOOTED FALCON was also discovered yesterday, this time near Belfast Dam.

 

In Gauteng, the SLATY EGRET remained on view at Gnu Valley on the weekend whilst a rather bizarre record concerns a juvenile BEARDED VULTURE seen yesterday afternoon apparently whilst paragliding at Dunnottaar Winch Park in Springs. The observer says, “He thermalled with me at about 2000ft above ground. He was very curious and although he completely outflew me, he came back multiple times flying just off my wingtip for about 10 minutes until he lost interest and thermalled above me out of sight. Typical that I didn't have my camera!

 

Moving up into Botswana, a male SOUTH AFRICAN SHELDUCK was located a few days ago on the Makgadikgadi Pans (Sowa Pans) at the Salt mines, a rather unusual record for this area.

 

And finally, although not strictly part of the Southern African subregion as we all use it, our northerly neighbour, Zambia, had a new bird added to its list on the weekend when a HARTLAUB’S DUCK at dam on a new mine development in the north-west of the country. Based on available literature, this record seems to be several hundred kilometers out of range, so is certainly an interesting record.

 

 

Slaty Egret at Gnu Valley

© Jean van Rooyen

Hartlaub’s Duck in north-western Zambia

© Dorian Tilbury

 

 

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

Trevor

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TREVOR HARDAKER

Cape Town, South Africa

 

 

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