Rufousnaped Lark

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Friday, December 7, 2012

The Quick Twitch

Well, what can I say? On Thursday 6th I braved the protest marchers and potential traffic delays to go and view the latest rarity to South Africa. A Collared Flycatcher was seen by a local birder and ringer, Malcolm Wilson, in his Robindale garden in Randburg Gauteng and he quickly put the news out for all the twitchers come and see. Some European birders are probably wondering what all the fuss is all about but this was only the 9th recorded sighting of this species in South Africa. It was first sighted on Tuesday 4th and by Thursday an estimated 400 birders had been through his garden and surrounding suburb to see and photograph the bird.

I left home at 15h30 and I reached the turnoff on the highway at the same time that I reached the back end of the protest march and with a bit of detours arrived at the house at around 16h16. Luckily when I got there, there were only a few birders and I could move around and photograph to my hearts content. The bird kept his distance and left me wishing I had a longer lens again!! Any sponsors out there wanting to get rid of a 400mm f2.8 Canon lens with a converter or two??

Anyway here of the results of my attempts. Not very good I'm afraid as the lighting was poor, I didn't take my tri-pod (silly me) and the distance was too great...

Collared Flycatcher (6)

I am also seriously thinking of changing my blog name from The Lazy Birder to The Busy Birder because I always have to be somewhere else when I have a gap to go birding! Rush, rush, rush....

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Amsterdam Rd and Hoogland Health Hydro

I popped out for a quick birding trip the other day to Amsterdam Rd to see if the Cuckoofinches and Melodius Larks were about but I dipped on both of them. All I got was a Capped Wheatear with a juvenile and some distant Clapper Larks and the usual Rufousnaped Larks and Whitewinged Korhaans.

Adult Capped Wheatear

Juvenile Capped Wheatear

There was a Micro-light aircraft practising its landing procedures which probably contributed to the lack of birds as well as some off-road bikers that were tearing around the place making a racket! I decided to go through to Hoogland Health Hydro to see what was about here and was pleasantly surprised with a Yellow-throated Petronia pair that were feeding their chicks at the nest in a tree stump right next to the road. The nest was in a tree next to a slope so I could get up high and photograph level with their position.. This is the first time I have seen this species so close to home!

Yellow-throated Petronia (3)
Not wanting to disturb the Petronias too much I left them after a few minutes and headed down to reception to announce my presence. Down at reception I found a very obliging Kurrichane Thrush who sat still while I got a few photos of him.

Kurrichane Thrush (2)

Another interesting sighting for this area was a Short-toed Rock-thrush which is only supposed to be a winter visitor to this site?

Short-toed Rock-thrush

After asking for permission, I took a drive to the air-field which has a picnic site nearby. This was a great spot for some good birds, I saw Lesser Honeyguide, Bru-bru, Violet-backed Starling, Red-throated Wryneck, Paradise Flycatcher, Black Cuckooshrike, Black-backed Puffback, Klaas' Cuckoo and SA Cliff Swallows. On the drive up there I heard Red-wing Francolins calling higher up and spotted a Black-breasted Snake-eagle circling overhead. I could not get close enough for decent photos of any of these species however.

Finally for the possible reptile fans out there who may find this site, I photographed two interesting fellows who I have tentatively identified as a Transvaal Girdled Lizard and a Spotted Gecko but if you know better then let me know the correct names, thanks!

Transvaal Girdled Lizard?

Spotted Gecko?

That's all I have time for now but I had a great trip to Mkhombo Dam again last weekend which I will be posting shortly so keep an eye out for it.