Friday, November 10, 2017

In pursuit of the secretive Forest Buzzard
Soutpansberg and Magoebaskloof Limpopo Province July 2017
With Michael Parker.

Af Hawk Eagle
The Forest Buzzard is the only endemic migratory raptor in South Africa, breeding down in the Eastern Cape and migrating up to the eastern escarpment for from March to August, before heading back.
On the way up to the Soutpansberg, we went through one of our best trapping sites, but were frustrated with not being able to catch anything, saw 6 Black-chested Snake Eagles, 1 Brown Snake-eagle and 2 African Hawk Eagles. Tried for a juv Lanner, but it lost interest. Ditto with a pair of Gabar Goshawks who didn't see the trap!
All we caught on the first day was a Purple Roller in desperation!
Brown Snake-eagle
the 1st Forest Buzzard

3rd FB
That night we put on a call for Wood Owl, but soon switched over when I heard a Cape Eagle Owl calling!! It never came in sadly.

Ad Jackal Buzzard
The next morning we set off North over the mountains and tried a new area, still no luck and not many birds around. We finally got a n adult male African Hawk Eagle, such gorgeous birds then an adult Brown Snake Eagle and an adult male Lanner, all on the one road! (like the number 9 bus...!).

Later that day we were into the higher elevation of the Magoebaskloof forest area, plantation and indigenous forest. We were making our way to the lodge, when there on a pole was a Forest Buzzard! Got a trap out and the bird came in and Bam! new one for Michael!
At 850g, the bird was in good condition.
just a little bit later we spotted another one a bit far off which didn't see the trap.
Long-crested Eagle

Next day, we set off with a frost and 2 degrees! tried for a pair of Long-crested Eagles, but they were too interested in each other to look at what we had to offer!! Then saw another Forest Buzzard, couldn't get near it. Then we got an adult Jackal Buzzard before heading back for breakfast. Set nets in rides, got a few Cape With-eyes and a retrap Barratt's Warbler i had ringed last March.

the Crest!
Later that afternoon, we got another Forest Buzzard, an adult at 730g, in exactly the same spot we got the Jackal Buzzard in the morning, the marks from the trap were there to the inch!! Tried for a juv JB, but it got flushed by a vehicle. A bit later we found another FB in a spot where I have had a lot of success catching them, mature pine plantation, which they seem to like, probably good understory to hunt in.
We got the bird, our 3rd! It was an adult and weighed in at 763g.

Heading home the next day we managed to catch an adult Long-crested Eagle just outside the village of Hearnetzberg. Much later we got another Jackal Buzzard, a 'wintering' bird down in the farmland from the hilly Waterberg.

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