Thursday, April 25, 2019

Rwanda March 2019

This incredibly friendly and amazing country is an absolute pleasure all round!
I was with Graeme Dunlop who was going to help me by running the ringing whilst I gave a 3 week guide training course at 3 different sites.
We visited the Bugesera region with all its wetlands, Akagera National Park with its Serengeti type savanna and the Montane rainforest site of Nyungwe National Park with its 27 Albertine Rift Endemics.
We really caught some incredible species here, Neumann's Warbler, Grauer's Warbler, and Grauer's Swamp Warblers! Hardly possible to see these birds normally and only in the Albertine Rift Endemic area.
We made history by catching Rwandas first Little Weaver! as well as its 9th Collared Flycatcher!
We also caught 64 Willow Warblers over the 3 weeks, as well as Reed, Garden and Eastern Olivaceous Warblers and a European Golden Oriole. Definitely can't wait to go back!

Papyrus Gonolek, bit of a shocker!

Greater Swamp Warbler, huge feet!

Golden Oriole

Ruaha Chat, was Arnott's once!

Collared Flycatcher 4f 9th for RW!

1st Little Weaver for RW!!

Equatorial Akalat

Tullberg's Woodpecker

Rwenzori Batis ARE

Nyungwe Forest

Id never seen one of these before! Kungwe Apalis ARE!

Dusky Crimsonwing ARE

Red-throated Woodland Warbler, a phyllosc! ARE

Grauer's Swamp Warblers ARE

Neumann's Warbler like a little Pitta! ARE

White-bellied Elminia

Grauer's Warbler ARE

Red-faced Crimsonwing

Blue-headed Sunbird ARE

Regal Sunbird my fave! ARE

Doherty's Bush Shrike

Abyssinian Thrush

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

South Africa March Limpopo trip

the next trip was with Richard Dobbins, Wendy James, Alison Rees, Ian Begg, Mike Polling and Andrew Hughes. Richard has now been with me on 4 trips and Wendy one 8 years previously to Uganda.
We did the same circuit as last time but stayed at a few different sites. We did exceptionally well for raptors with 65 birds ringed of 21 species, a new trip record! including another Tawny Eagle and a Secretarybird!! This was just crazy, but I was very happy to have tried out a plan I've always said would work and it did!
We flushed the bird coming over the crest of a hill, high up on the grasslands of the Freestate and watched it work a fenceline which, i could eventually see joined the road. So we drove fast some 500m and deployed trap the same side of the fence the bird was working and retreated. After some 10 minutes, the bird appeared over a crest in the track and suddenly saw the trap and pounced!! What a handful!!
We also did a session at a small bridge which had a colony of SA Cliff Swallows under it, catching a page or two of these little Afro-tropical migrants. We also got 3 European Nightjars one night as they came out of roost. We also got a Freckled Nightjar, not something you catch everyday!

juv BC Snake Eagle

adult female Lanner

Freckled Nightjar

adult m Lesser Kestrel
grumpy Spotted Eagle Owl

a kamikaze Red-crested Korhaan!
Ian and Andrew with a double header of African Hawk-eagles!

adult female Tawny

lovely Tawny!

Euro Roller

Wendy with an early morning Wahlberg's Eagle 
Juv Af Gos
Yellow-throated Woodland Warbler, a nice little endemic phyllosc!

the Secretarybird!
Richard trying to contain the Secretarybird!

juv BC Snake Eagle

Cliff Swallow

3rd year Secretarybird 

South Africa, the February Limpopo to Natal trip

So, having thawed out from Canada, i was ready for some nice hot bush action! We were a team of 6, Lee Gregory, Simon Evans, Ken and Sandy Griffin, from the UK and Step Wilson from California!

We did the usual circuit, starting north from Johannesburg up to the Limpopo, then back south via the  Lowveld and greater Kruger area, up onto the highveld Grasslands and the Amur Falcon roost in KZN.

for raptors we did pretty good, 73 ringed of 18 species including 22 Steppe Buzzards and highlight was a Tawny Eagle. For mist netting we did ok with 210 birds of 93 species caught, probably the best was getting a River Warbler, quite a rare bird in SA and a couple of Olive Tree Warblers, not a lot of them caught in SA either.

The falcon Roost at Newcastle produced 12 Amur Falcons and one Red-footed Falcon, some 20-30 thousand birds were present.

Lee and Simon with a pair of adult BC Snake-eagles

Palm Swift

Step and the 2nd year Tawny

Tawny head

Lee and an adult Jackal Buzzard

adult Wahlberg's Eagle 

Olive-tree Warbler

River Warbler

couldn't ever catch enough of these!

the Amurs coming into roost

Greater Double-collared Sunbird

the one Red-footed Falcon we got out of 13 falcons.