Wednesday, August 24, 2016

In search of the elusive Forest  Buzzard

July weekend

The last time I came up to the Magoebaskloof region, an area of Afro-montane forest and plantation, I was with Charlotte where we saw plenty of FB's even catching 4 birds.

SO the plan was to have another go over the same time period. Our first visit was with my two girls, Grace and Kara-Mae, 11 and 8 respectively. 

Kara with her Lizard Buzzard
Setting off we arrived at out lodge next to a trout dam in the afternoon, the only bit of action was dropping a trap for a circling Black-chested Snake Eagle, without success (not a common bird up here) and a juvenile African Goshawk which we couldn't tempt with our trap.
However the day was saved by catching and ringing a Lizard Buzzard, which Grace ringed, and Kara released, very chuffed too!

Next day we toured the small trails and back tracks in search for Forest Buzzards, saw a couple of distant Jackal Buzzards and Long-crested Eagles, but not catchable. 

'Eagle eyes' and the
Forest Buzzard
Then passing a stand of gum trees next to a garden, we spotted a pair of Black-headed Herons intent on some obvious and sudden abundance. Kara pipped up 'theres a buzzard' to which Grace and I sceptically ignored this discovery as a probable non raptor species. But for her sake I reversed to have a look at what she had seen. Bugger me!!! if it wasn't a cracking adult Forest Buzzard on the fence!!! We got a trap down and in a few mins had the bird! Well, it was nothing but praise for Kara, what a star! She had save the expedition!

Grace with the retrap JB
We were seeing plenty of LCE's and JB's but no more FB's, but in the afternoon we eventually got a Long-crested Eagle out of a stand of pines and at a good weight of 1.4kg.

Grace with the same bird
 16 months earlier! 
On the morning we set off back to Johannesburg, we caught a Jackal Buzzard with a ring!! It turned out to be the same bird we had caught last year in April 2015 so 16 months later!! It was a juv then and was now almost half way through its PJ primary with a sequential moult score of 555554000, it had lost 40g!

Dad and Kara with the BSE
Once we had got down into the savannah and farmland in the south of the province we came across and caught a Brown Snake Eagle off of a power pole, an adult at 2,2kg's.
Grace with the BCSE
Then 20 mins later we found a Black-chested Snake Eagle on a pylon, coming into Nylsvley and caught it. A big adult at a good weight of 1.75kg's. Grace managed to close all the rings on these birds (needed both hands) and she was very chuffed to have ringed all 6 raptors we caught. Kara was equally chuffed to have got 6 release ticks!

Kara and the LCE


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