Rufousnaped Lark

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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Week 12 - Uitvlucht Loop

Week 12 was a squash weekend with us running between home and the squash courts for my son to compete. They did quite well in the doubles and finished first in the junior section. Saturday afternoon we rushed out to the Hammanskraal area to spend the night on a friends farm and then had to rush back to town for the next game at 10h00 on Sunday.

The evening on the farm was nice with Fiery-necked Nightjars calling all around us. I called one up and it did a slow fly past in the dying evening light. We took a torch and went searching for calling birds to take a photo but they did not stick around. I ended up photographing some Golden Orb-web spiders which are quite common in this area. They build huge webs of bright golden thread which is strong enough to catch small birds and sit and wait in the centre of the web for prey. The femals is quite large and can be as big as a mans outspread hand.

Golden Orb-web Spider
Early the next morning I left in the dark to try and find some night birds on the Uitvlucht loop road and disturbed a pair of owls at the farm gate. Unfortunately they took off too soon and away from me but judging by the size they must have been Spotted Eagle-owls. The Uitvlucht road did not produce any nightbirds but I got some eager Crested Francolins wandering around in the early morning darkness.

Crested Francolin

It turned out to be a rainy day and the birding was not great, I managed a few birds here and there but the highlight was probably a lone Bearded Woodpecker drumming on a dead tree about 50m from the road.

Bearded Woodpecker

With the rain now coming down steadily I decided to head back to the farm for a warm breakfast before the drive back into town for the tournament. A last quick photo of a Southern Black Tit concluded the photos and the birding for the day.

Southern Black Tit - Female
Next week should be more rewarding as I plan to head to Zaagkuil for the River Warblers. Hopefully I'll get more photos as well.

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