Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Limpopo Forest to River trip April 6th to 19th

Steve and Gloria Wilson

The first bird! LCE
With the Amur Falcons well on their way to their breeding ground, we were going to remain in the northern province of Limpopo which meant more time in the forests and also a visit into the Kruger National Park at Pafuri, a place I had never been to before.

We set off to the misty highland forests of the escarpment, only to run into a big rain front! We did as best we could in the first, but too much water and rain made it impossible to do anything.
However, we did manage to catch Steve's first ever Eagle in the form of a lovely Long-crested Eagle, an adult female.

We set off North to to the extreme north east of the country and a bush camp on the Luvuvhu River. The next day at dawn we entered the Kruger and made our way further east. On the way we stopped to watch a bird party and then I spotted a bird I had always wanted to see, Arnott's Chat!! a small family party of them! We also got Brown-headed Parrot too. Later on we found a herd of Elephants, and later Buffalo. Somewhere near Punda Maria camp, we stopped at a waterhole and there right in front of us laying in the shade of a tree was a huge female Lioness!
One of the most memorable places was Crooks Corner, the apex of South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, here there was nice open grassland and riverine woodland. Saw a juvenile Martial Eagle, shame we couldn't trap here!!

Round camp we got a few nets up and caught Collared Sunbird, Southern Boubou, Terrestrial Brownbul, White-browed Robin-chat and had fly over Grey-headed Parrots! A good place for watching raptors here, we had Verreaux's, and Martial Eagle, Wahlberg's and Booted Eagles, African Hawk and Black-chested and Brown Snake Eagles, Tawny Eagle, Honey Buzzard African Goshawk, Harrier Hawk, Shikra, Cuckoo Hawk, Fish Eagle and Bateleur from camp!

We spent another 2 days after the Kruger up in the Soutpansberg mountains and again unfortunately got rained off. When there was a break, took a drive and going through a bit of plantation, suddenly came across an adult male Crowned Eagle!! I managed to get a trap down and back off, I couldn't go very far, as I had to keep my eye in things. The bird reacted and came in over the trap to land in a tree above the road!! My heart was in my mouth as I have never caught one of these magnificent eagles before. We could see the bird, looking intently at the trap, it mannered itself to make a launch, when a vehicle came round the corner, birdwatchers!!!, The eagle flew and that was that. How very frustrating!
adult male Green-winged Pytilia

Up into Mpangubwe National park next and at our private bush lodge, set a few nets. We got a nice selection of birds, Golden and Cinnamon Breasted Buntings, White-bellied Sunbirds, Fork-tailed Drongo, Cape-glossy Starling, Emerald-spotted Wood Dove, Red-winged Starling and a Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill.
view from the ringing base!
Road trapping we got a 2nd yr male Dark-chanting Goshawk and a 3rd yr Brown Snake-eagle.

Moving west to our next area, we got Pale-chanting Goshawk and a Lanner Falcon, another juvenile male in the same spot as previous trips this year, hanging out picking off the Red-billed Quelea which must still be breeding here.

Meve's Starling
Next bush lodge, we set nets and had a very pleasant couple of sessions. To start with, we caught 5 species of Kingfisher, including another Giant Kingfisher!!! Two Woodland, Brown-hooded, Malachite and Pygmy Kingfishers. I also put up the stuffed eagle owl to get a response and was not disappointed! At one point there were 6 hornbills in the nets! Getting Red-billed and Grey, as well as Red-headed Weavers, Orange-breasted Bush-shrike, Meve's Starlings, Arrow-marked Babblers and White-throated Robin-chat! Other nets produced Greater and Lesser Honeyguides, Kurrichane Thrush and a flock of White-crowned Helmet-shrikes.
WT Robin-chat

Had to evict a Nile Monitor from Steve and Glorias room at one, point, lucky it was only a small one, but did give a good account of itself!

Heading back south, we got a pretty special bit of action, when I spotted a pair of Brown Snake-eagles on a pylon. I got a trap down and it wasn't long before the male came in and on to the trap.
While the bird was working the trap, the female decided to join its mate and then they were both on the trap! Next thing i was wrestling with a pair of very large eagles! Wow! Have only ever caught two BSE's on one trap before and a great way to finish a very pleasant trip!

The double! Brown Snake-eagles
91 birds of 48 species.

ad m Grey Hornbill

Woodland Kingfisher

The unwanted lodger!

No comments: