SA Rare Bird News Report - 17 November 2014

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Trevor Hardaker

Nov 17, 2014, 12:59:29 PM11/17/14
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This is the Southern African Rare Bird News Report issued at 20h00 on Monday, 17 November 2014. 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



Let's start the report off with some of the more regularly reported scarcities noted recently...


EUROPEAN HONEY BUZZARD records are now starting to increase with a bird reported in Muldersdrift next to the Cradlestone Mall last Saturday, one at Chintsa West near East London on Thursday, one over North Riding in Gauteng yesterday and another between the H12 high water bridge and Nkhulu picnic spot in the Kruger National Park yesterday too.


GREEN SANDPIPERS were reported from Middelburg Sewage Works (Eastern Cape) on Thursday (a great record for the province!) whilst one bird remained present at Sweni bridge on the H1-3 in the Kruger National Park until at least late on Saturday, another bird was located on a farm at Alldays (Limpopo) yesterday and yet another one was found at Kumahlala hide in Mkhuze Game Reserve earlier today.


I have also included a map below showing all the records that I am aware of so far since the beginning of September for these two species (the red circles indicate the European Honey Buzzards and the blue circles indicate the Green Sandpipers). It will be interesting to see what the map looks like by the end of the season...



European Honey Buzzard at Chintsa West

© Helen Badenhorst

European Honey Buzzard near Nkhulu picnic site

© Dirk Human



European Honey Buzzard in North Riding

© Gary Cusins

Green Sandpiper at Middelburg Sewage Works

© Trygve Hvidsten



Green Sandpiper at Sweni bridge

© Elaine Fisher

Green Sandpiper in Alldays

© Geoff Goetsch





Moving on to the rest of the records and, starting in the Western Cape, the RED-NECKED PHALAROPE at Kliphoek Salt Pans in Velddrif was still present yesterday.


Neighbouring Eastern Cape also enjoyed a RED-NECKED PHALAROPE at the Tankatara Salt Pans in Port Elizabeth until at least Saturday. Two BLUE-CHEEKED BEE-EATERS along the road between Marsh Strand and Haga Haga was also a good find for the province whilst other good provincial records included a GLOSSY IBIS at the Batting bridge on the Nahoon River in East London on Friday, a EURASIAN HOBBY at Middelburg on Saturday with the same area producing a single WHISKERED TERN yesterday and the GARDEN WARBLER in Graaff Reinet also still present until at least yesterday.



Red-necked Phalarope at Velddrif

© Cliff Dorse

Red-necked Phalarope at Tankatara Salt Pans

© Daniel Danckwerts



Red-necked Phalarope at Tankatara Salt Pans

© Gerrie Horn



Red-necked Phalarope at Tankatara Salt Pans

© Roy Tustin

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater near Marsh Strand

© Linda Smith



Up the coast into Kwazulu Natal, the SOOTY TERN remained present at the mouth of the Umfolozi River until at least late on Friday whilst the way out of range KNYSNA WARBLER at Doreen Clark Nature Reserve in Hilton was still present on Friday and a GREY-HEADED KINGFISHER located in Mkhuze Game Reserve on Saturday was also a nice find.


In Gauteng, it was Marievale Bird Sanctuary that was attracting attention over the weekend with at least 2 WESTERN MARSH HARRIERS present there.



Knysna Warbler at Doreen Clark Nature Reserve

© Adam Riley

Western Marsh Harrier at Marievale Bird Sanctuary

© Mark Tittley



Western Marsh Harrier at Marievale Bird Sanctuary

© Luke Johnson



Across into Mpumalanga where a RUFOUS-BELLIED HERON was located at Londolozi Game Reserve last Friday, the second record for the province in recent times whilst a SOUTHERN BROWN-THROATED WEAVER was, once again, reported from Crocodile Bridge in the Kruger National Park on the weekend as well. But perhaps the most bizarre record came from the west of the province near Verena on Saturday when a BLACK-RUMPED BUTTONQUAIL was located on call. Earlier today, a few people made the effort to confirm this record visually and at least two birds were seen, both a male and a female. This is well out of the known range of this species but, unfortunately, due to the sensitivity of the site and the species, details of the spot will not be made public. However, it is suggested that birders who look for similar habitat (open, tussocky grassland with average height of 20-30 cm, and ground cover of 40-60%) in the general region may well find that this species is more widespread than originally thought. Please also remember that Common (aka Kurrichane) Buttonquail also occurs in this area, so care should be taken when identifying the birds.


And finally, in Namibia, a PACIFIC GOLDEN PLOVER was located at the Walvis Bay Lagoon on Saturday.



Rufous-bellied Heron at Londolozi Game Reserve

© Mike Karantonis

Southern Brown-throated Weaver at Crocodile Bridge

© Elaine Fisher



Pacific Golden Plover at Walvis Bay

© Eckart Demasius



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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