SA Rare Bird News Report - 17 January 2011

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Trevor Hardaker

Jan 17, 2011, 2:28:58 PM1/17/11
to SA Rare Bird News


This is the Southern African Rare Bird News Report issued at 21h30 on Monday, 17 January 2011. 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


As you have all realized by now, I have snuck back quietly (or perhaps not so quietly) from an excellent trip to the Pearl of Africa, Uganda. Amounting a bird list for the trip of well over 500 species (including incredible Shoebill and a whole host of Albertine Rift endemics) as well as more than 50 mammals (with awesome Mountain Gorillas and Chimpanzees) and a good selection of exciting reptiles and frogs, it could certainly be described as a successful trip. When I eventually find some time after having waded through the 2500 emails that are now clogging up my inbox, I will write a trip report and post it to my website. And, for those of you that are waiting for replies to your emails, I will eventually work my way through all of them, so please just have a little bit of patience…


I would also just like to express my thanks to both Shaun Overmeyer and Robert Wienand who took on the task of disseminating rarity news while I was away. I think they did a great job to keep the information flow going and, hopefully, all the subscribers out there appreciated their efforts. Thanks very much to both of you – you can now take a well deserved break and the information flow can now revert back to me for any reports of unusual records.


I still have to work through a lot of emails, but I think most of the recent records have already been covered but, anyway, here is a brief report to get things going again…


Starting in the Western Cape, there seems to have been a bit of an influx recently of EUROPEAN ROLLERS. Many of the records have already been posted, but a single bird near Wellington seems to have slipped through the net. It was first seen on Thursday and was still present there earlier today. If any locals are still interested in chasing this one for the provincial lists, directions to where the bird is hanging around have been given as follows:


Take the road going from Wellington to Hermon. At the leather tannery just outside Wellington, you turn right .The road is signposted “Oakdene”. You then get to a t-junction where you turn left. You travel on this tar road for approx. 5 km and, as the road changes to a gravel road, you turn right at a small school on the right hand side. On this gravel road, you travel approx 1 km. There is then another gravel road turning to the left. Stop here as the bird is in this vicinity. It hawks insects between the telephone wires on the left and a beefwood tree windbreak on the right. Behind the beefwood are vineyards and it also sits on the trellises of the vines.


Also of interest in the province was a record of 12 AMUR FALCONS on the weekend reported along the Reenendal road just west of Knysna whilst, on Saturday, a EURASIAN HONEY BUZZARD was seen at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.


Moving into the Northern Cape, it seems that the main attractions have been the recent influx of CHESTNUT WEAVERS into the province. The bird at Tswalu Kalahari Reserve was still present on the weekend and attracted a small group of local twitchers. Other interesting news from the province comes from the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park where the Ljiersdraai area has produced a LESSER MOORHEN and a GREATER PAINTED SNIPE, both very unusual records for this part of the world.



Eurasian Honey Buzzard at Kirstenbosch

© David Winter

Chestnut Weaver at Tswalu

© Tony Archer



Lesser Moorhen at Ljiersdraai

© Wanda Wentzel

Greater Painted Snipe at Ljiersdraai

© Wanda Wentzel



In Kwazulu Natal, the biggest excitement came late yesterday when a GREATER FRIGATEBIRD was discovered floating around over Durban Yacht Club. A WESTERN MARSH HARRIER at Darvill Bird Sanctuary yesterday was also an exciting find and, although not strictly a rarity, the following has been received on what seems to be a reliable stake-out for RED-HEADED QUELEA at the moment, a bird that can be tough to connect with.



Found a great and easily accessible pan for Red-headed Quelea that are nesting. From Gateway shopping centre there is a little pan in an undeveloped area to the north in between the centre and an area called Prestondale, stay in the low lying drainage line, park just off the road close to a red soil bank and walk 40m to the pan.


The North-west Province turned up a SANDERLING yesterday seen from the bridge over the Kgomo-Kgomo floodplain whilst, earlier today, a pair of Common Mynas were seen feeding 3 GREAT SPOTTED CUCKOO youngsters outside the main gate of Sun City.


In Limpopo Province, a RIVER WARBLER was still present near Ngala Safari Lodge on the weekend as well.


And, finally, in Botswana, a GREEN SANDPIPER was reported at a pool about 10km south of Sepupa on the western side of the Panhandle.

Great Spotted Cuckoo at Sun City

© Stuart Groom



Don’t forget to send through your details to be included on the various listing clubs that are hosted at 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.


Kind regards





Cape Town, South Africa




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