Friday, November 10, 2017

Three day trips out of Johannesburg to the SE and North. June July 2017

Craig Natrass myself and my daughter Kara-Mae headed down to this lovely region of grassland and cattle grazing country of Greylingstad.

Juv Jackal Buzzard
We got a Greater Kestrel first off, followed by 2 Jackal Buzzards, both well fed, a juvenile and 3rd year bird. Possibly coming into this region from the Drakensberg some 200km away to cash in on whatever they were feeding on. We got 2 more Greater Kestrels that day.

Another trip to this site in September got us a Black-chested Snake-eagle, a second year bird and a great catch that took 2 hours before we could drop successfully for it! Also a non breeding bird to that area and seldom seen there, so it would be very interesting to know where it had come from.
Kara-Mae with a 3rd year JB
Kara with an adult Gtr Kestrel
2nd year BC Snake-eagle
We returned again to this site in October this time to look if any Steppe Buzzards had arrived on their wintering grounds. We were in luck! we came across 4 birds and managed to catch 2. Both 3d year birds and intriguingly one had tied round its leg a tight knot of string. I can only imagine this bird had been caught somewhere in the middle east and it had escaped! Good for the bird!
A real surprise was finding and catching a 2nd year Pale-chanting Goshawk here, way out of range for it, and not recorded in the area before.  We also got another Jackal Buzzard, another 3rd year bird.

One of the plans was to catch and ring the South African Cliff Swallows which breed under all the little bridges in the area. These Afro-tropical migrants arrive here in September and leave in April.
So we got a net under 3 different bridges and caught 23 birds before the wind got too strong.

SA Cliff Swallow
SA Cliff Swallow
Saw some good birds here, loots of Secretarybirds, Blue Crane, Blue Korhaan, flocks of Pink-billed Larks.
2nd year PCG, nice moult!
2 3rd year Steppe Buzzards, different morphs

string around the SB leg

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