Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Limpopo to KZN trip March 18th to 31st 2017

Alice Tribe, Colin Wilson, Rachel Kilby, Ray Marsh, Diane WIlliams and Peter Robinson.
Colin with a cracking ad GK

Alice with a cracking adult male LK
Starting the trip in a clockwise fashion this time, we set off north to the Limpopo Valley. Road-trapping produced Lesser and Greater Kestrels, Black-shouldered Kite and Pale-chanting Goshawks. Saw a pair of Secretarybirds which is always encouraging.

At our bush lodge on the Limpopo, the highlights were undoubtedly getting a Giant Kingfisher in a 40 foot net, in a spot where the last bird you wold thing would be a Giant Kingfisher! Then at night we dazzled Firey-necked Nightjar and called in two juvenile African Scops Owls, a good birthday present for Alice!
Road-trapping produced 2 Brown Snake-eagles a Black-chested Snake-eagle and a Lesser-grey Shrike.

Next bush lodge was in the Vhembe-Dongola region, one of many nature conservancies and Mopane tree habitat, good for raptors! We did ok on the latter, getting another Brown Snake-eagle, a second year bird, followed by an adult female Dark-chanting Goshawk and two African Hawk Eagles. The first one a spectacular catch from some 6-700m away. Two birds were sat up high on a ridge, we dropped and waited all of 2 minutes before they both came in, the female continuing and the male landing on the trap!
Rachel with an ad m AHE

Ray with an adult BCSE
Next morning on the way south now, we got another Black-chested Snake-eagle first thing, an adult and tried for a Tawny Eagle, a big juvenile bird, which came in but lost interest, trap shy.
Got another Dark-chanting Goshawk, a 2nd yr female, then two Brown Snake-eagles in quick succession! One a 1st year and an adult.
Next up we came across a Steppe Buzzard and dropped, only to realise there was a Black-chested Snake-eagle on the next pole! dropped a second trap and waited. The BCSE was not interested in his trap, but when the SB dropped to the first trap, it was too much! the BCSE flew to the first trap and we got it! It must be competition, not having another lesser predator take food in your area. The BCSE was the biggest Ive ever caught at 2.1kg's. This was followed up by getting a 1st yr Steppe Buzzard a bit later, not the same one!
Swee Waxbill

Into the misty mountains next, and here we had a few tremendous mist-netting sessions, setting nets in low scrub. We got some lovely birds. Yellow Bishops in breeding plumage, endemic Barratt's Warblers, Southern Double-collared Sunbirds, Swee Waxbills, Drakensberg Prinias, Olive Thrush, Cape Robin-chat's, Golden Weavers and African Stonechat to name a few.
Road-trapping here we got a lovely adult female Long-crested Eagle and a lovely adult Jackal Buzzard,both birds specific to this region and habitat.

OT Warbler
We dropped down into the Lowveld next, to the site next to the Kruger, so we heard the Lions at night! Netting here was slower, but got Willow Warblers and Red-backed Shrikes and the speciality former, Olive-tree Warbler, very few of these are ringed in SA and I have found a good little spot for them here, they were looking very smart now having finished moulting.

Heading back onto the Highveld grassland biome, we stopped at the escarpment to scan the cliffs for the very rare and threatened Taita Falcon. It took a few minutes, but were rewarded with a bird sitting high up above us, an adult, which took off in pursuit of some unfortunate hirundine, but what a stoop!

On the way we got another Jackal Buzzard, a 2nd year male and another adult female Long-crested Eagle. At the Farmhouse where we stay, we set the usual nets above the forest in the gorge and headed down to Newcastle to Rina Pretorius who runs the show, to ring at the Amur Falcon roost. The roost was much reduced already, with birds heading north through Africa to eventually arrive on their breeding grounds in eastern Siberia!

We got 8 Amur Falcons over the 2 nights and 5 on the last night with only a few hundred birds present where there can be nearly 40,000 birds!

Netting round the farm we got Chorister Robin-chat, Olive Thrush, Cape Batis. Road-trapping we got our 3rd Jackal Buzzard, an adult male and a retrap which had been ringed by Rina 10 years ago!!

So all in we did ok, with 187 birds caught of 67 species!

Purple Roller
LCE ad F
Colin with a Brown Snake-eagle
adult male Amur Falcon

the 10 year old retrap JB!

No comments: