Rufousnaped Lark

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Week 47 - Amsterdam Rd, Raslouw

After receiving info that the Cuckoofinches and Melodius Larks were back in the area I set off early on Sunday to try and find them. This area is buzzing with birds and I immediately started assembling a fairly impressive list.

We had had some good rain the previous night and the birds were in full song, four swallow species filled the skys along with three swift species and calling larks were all around me (until you pull a camera of course). Eastern Clapper Larks were probably the most common with at least 5 birds calling and displaying within a 50 meter radius of my vehicle. Cisticolas were also calling and displaying with Zitting, Desert and Cloud Cisticolas present.

A Typical view and lucky photo of a Zitting Cisticola

This area is also crawling with Northern Black Korhaan which are extremely vociferous and active at this time of year. Suddenly out of this chorus I heard another familiar but slightly out of place call, a Barrows Korhaan being hounded in flight by a male and female Nothern Black. I followed the birds and after much searching with my bins, located the Barrows on the far side of a fallow field, I decided to drive closer but could not locate the bird again until it burst off the ground and flew across to the area i had just come from...

Quickly heading back, I located the bird in taller grass and managed to approach to about 20m for a few photos before the bird flew off again where I lost it in the tall grass.

Barrows Korhaan (2)

Well this definately made the trip worthwhile and heading back home again I spotted a kestrel on the electricity pylons close by. On closer inspection I located two Greater Kestrel fledglings sitting low down on the pylon which allowed a close approach and even posed for some photos..

Greater Kestrel Fledglings (2)

While photographing the birds I noticed a group of hunters with catapults and a large pack of dogs combing the area for whatever they could find.. Luckily they passed far from the pylon and the two kestrels. I have encountered these hunters before who chase up hares or small buck and allow their dogs to chase, kill and devour the quarry just for sport..

Hunters in the veld

I can imagine what would have happened to the kestrels if they had been seen...

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