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 Post subject: Re: Scops Owl
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2009 9:39 pm 
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Location: Nottingham, UK
When I was there in August there was one in the tree in the parking area close to the reception area and one roosting on one of the beams in the restaurant!


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 Post subject: Re: Scops Owl
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2009 9:43 pm 
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If you are planning to go southwards from Skukuza you have a very good chance to get one at the Afsaal Picnic Site. I also saw one at the car park opposite of Satara reception in Nov 08!

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 Post subject: Re: Scops Owl
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2009 9:33 am 
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During the last year saw a Scops Owl at Afsaal everytime I visited (at least 15 times) sometimes high up in a tree others low down - you can almost touch it. It seems to be well habituated to people.

There is an area cordoned off so that you don't go to close

Good Luck - they are really quite cute


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 Post subject: Re: Scops Owl
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2009 9:40 am 
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We saw them in September at both Afsaal and Satara.
They are all over KRUGER just listen at their "kru kru kru" and you will know that peace will be with you.

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I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


Last edited by gmlsmit on Tue Dec 29, 2009 4:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Birding sensus weekends in Kruger
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2010 9:44 pm 
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Hi Guys

As you know, we attended the BBW at Lower Sabie this past weekend.

Our Lower Sabie Stiffnecks team of 16 people had a very wide spread of experience in terms of bird watching among ourselves. On the one hand we had people like Yolande Oelsen with more than 550 ticks on her list in our team, and on the other hand there were total novices among us. And then we had mercenaries in the form of Lizet Grobbelaar and hubby who were at Lower Sabie as private guests. :dance:

The birding expert was Duncan Pritchard, who contributed a lot to our experience with his enthusiasm and very relaxed way of birding. He was shared between the two game viewer trucks.

The weekend before we had a major cancellation from our team, with Martie from the blog withdrawing due to personal reasons. She was replaced by Clickclick, and boy oh boy, can Clickclick click!! :lol:

We met one another on Friday evening at the dinner for the first time. We had a lovely dinner prepared for us by the staff at Lower Sabie. We left after 8 the evening for a 2 and a half hour night drive. It was drizzling, and the birding was slow, but we managed to see a lot of Square-tailed Nightjars as well as Water Thick-knees among other birds. The excitement ran very high when we had our first glimpse of a White-backed night heron :big_eyes: , but not good enough to call it a tick on a life list. Disappointing was the fact that we didn’t manage one single owl.

The weekend was a cat weekend for us as well. We managed not less than 3 sightings of lions during the weekend.

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 Post subject: Re: Birding sensus weekends in Kruger
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 10:28 am 
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To add to what Skopsie has said.....

My BBW started rather slowly and ended in a bang!

I only left Pretoria at 9 in the morning, thinking that I would probably be in Kruger at 1PM. Well how wrong was I! after an uneventful drive to nelspruit, the weather changed and it started to 'sous'!(Heavy rain) Well now my plan was to go via Croc bridge for the birdingbut guess what.... after arriving at Croc bridge @ 1, there was no Bridge! Just a solid crocodile river and no more bridge. :big_eyes: Well now my Timing plan was in trouble. Ok what now, oh well back to malelane then. Half an hour later at malelane I finaly got into the Park.

well with the delays and the heavy rain I lost a lot of 'Birding' time. So it goes! Going from malelane to croc bridge on the dirt roads was a slippery afair and very muddy. I only got 46 species and finaly arrived in camp at 17:30.


WOW talk about being nervous. :pray: My first time at a Birding weekend and not knowing to many people there. in fact I was so caught in thought that I walk Straight past Yolande and didn't even recognize her!

Well then after unpacking we all came together at dinner and were introduced to one another. Tony from the West Rand Honarary rangers opened the evening and gave us a run down of the weekend activitys. We also were introduced to Duncan, our birding expert. :dance:

After the dinner we went on the night drive from 8pm till 11pm. Unfortunatly with all the rain the birding was a little disapointing and we only got water thick-knee and Squaretailed night-jar, mostly.....but we got a major boost by the quick glimpse of the White backed night Heron. 8) maybe tomorrow, you never know right!

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Latest Lifer:= Lesser Crested Tern; Rufous Winged Cisticola.


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 Post subject: Re: Birding sensus weekends in Kruger
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 1:02 pm 
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Location: Noordheuwel, Krugersdorp.SA
I'll just add my 2c worth to what Skopsie and Ferdelance already said.

I planned to arrive at Phabeni gate aroun 06h00, leaving home at just before 02h00. Heavy fog started around Belfast and stayed until right at Phabeni. Also horrific huge pothole from Dullstroom, all the way to just outside Hazyview. So I arrived at Phabeni at around 07h20. The rain cleared and I was feeling a liitle more optimistic that the weather would clear, but right through the day, night and even Saturday we had rain on and off, mostly only drizzling though.

I hit the S3 Sabie River road/Phabeni road as Johann suggested and inspite of the rain...nature was beautifull and birding rather good too. Not many game though.
Went from Phabeni to Skukuza for a steaming cup of coffee, then off to Leeupan and back to Lower Sabie on the H10.

Some of the bird I saw on this route:
Saw plenty of Jacobin and Levaillant's cuckoos ( as was the case for most of the weekend), Common Cuckoo, African Cuckoo, Diderick cuckoos.
An adult Little Sparrowhawk was answering a juvenile calling from the left side of the road, but seem to not want to fly over the road to it, and kept within the tree canopy on the right. The juvenile though was not as clever though and sat calling out in the open.
Had a great view of an African Fish eagle, as well as two African Hawk Eagles. Close to Skukuza I saw a Lizard buzzard too.
Leeupan was a bit of a dissappointment - 2 Saddlebilled Storks, plenty of Comb Ducks and then the usual bunch. Saw about 23 White Storks just outside Leeupan, but would see plenty more of them through the park.
Birding on the H10 towards LS provided plenty of BBJ - Tawny eagles, Wahlbergs, Steppe Bussards, Bateleurs, Amur Falcons and then a beautiful sighting of a male Pallid Harriers perched rather close to the road, enjoying?? :huh: the rain.

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"I'll rise up like the Eagle & I will soar with You because Your Spirit leads me on ~ by the Power of Your Love"


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 Post subject: Re: Birding sensus weekends in Kruger
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 1:30 pm 
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Joining up with Ferdelance and meeting all the others Skopsie, Laksman, Kameelperd, Janice, Allison, ClickClick , Duncan, Blair, Tony and our guide/driver Irwing - was really nice. Also meeting Lizet on Saturday off course! :lol:

We didn't get much sleep over the weekend. But the 3am drive on Saturday morning started right of with a huge bang! And we thought we might me lucky enough to see the coalition of 4 male lions from the previous night again! :lol:
But instead we found one of the White-backed Night Herons again! On the rocks right by the road on the Sabie river bridge. I managed to get 2shots of it before it took off again. We were all thrilled!! The only person less excited about a heron with a white back and who appreciated all the cat sigtings more than the birds, was ClickClick. She managed a good shot of it too as it flew off! :clap:

The regular Water and Spotted Thick Knees were seen, with the Square-tailed Nightjar, European Nightjar and 2 Fierynecked nightjars.
Stopping at a sand loop on the Salitje road, walking and sitting on the rocks out there waiting for the dawn chorus, was rather disappiointing, as basically only the Woodlands Kingfishers, Rattling Cisticola and Blackcrowned Tchagra turned up to entertain us! :?
At a small vlei, Skopsie then made my day by pointing out 2 Great Spotted Cuckoos! :dance:
And while Duncan and the others headed into the bush trying to flush anything interesting, the Dwarf Bittern quietly flew over them, but no one heard Lisa and I calling Dwarf bittern!" and luckily for all of the others landed at eh vlei on the other side of the road for all to see. Here we also had another Saddlebilled Stork sighting.
Croaking Cisticolas and Yellowthroated Longclaws
were seen. At Mlondozi dam were more Comb Ducks, and Openbilled Storks. European, Lilacbreated and purple rollers were all over the place with the purple ones being the least. Here again we had a great sighting of African Cuckoo. Southern Carmine Bee-eaters were also seen.

We drove on straight from 3AM until 12h30 just to have a quick "brunch" and break before we again headed off at 14h00. A quick stop at sunset Dam again produced Openbilled storks, a green shank (with red legs :twisted: ) and great sightings of an Osprey. Juvenile Afircan fish eagles were also seen, as well as White headed Vultures(right through the weekend) and Kori Bustard, a male Black-bellied bustard displaying.
A late afternoon walk with Duncan produced White-browed and white-throated Robin Chats, Southern Boubou, Willow and Icterine Warbler and a African Green Pigeon, sitting very conspiciously on a low branch not bothered at all with the crowd underneath, that is until I went closer with the camera, and it tried to fly of, but managed only about a meter before it dropped dead in the thickets :big_eyes: :redface: It must have been sick?
WE also had a Yellowbilled Kite and Black cuckoo in the camp. And then off couse the hightlight being the Thrush Nightingale wich a few of us managed to find.

I will post some of the pics later today.

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"I'll rise up like the Eagle & I will soar with You because Your Spirit leads me on ~ by the Power of Your Love"


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 Post subject: Re: Birding sensus weekends in Kruger
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 4:23 pm 
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Not sure if anyone saw my post but on Saturday three seperate trucks saw on separate occasions a saddlebilled stork with yellow eyes and yellow wattles - according to the books the female has yellow eyes and no wattles whereas the male has brown eyes with wattles. We had to record whether male/female for the EWT survey. Anyone ever seen this before? Some of the guests got pics but I don't have them. I have an e-mail address though, will contact him and see if I can post a pic.

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 Post subject: Re: Birding sensus weekends in Kruger
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 9:28 pm 
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Hi Senyetse

I quickly went through the photos of all our sightings of Saddle-billed Storks from the weekend, but they all seem to appear "normal looking" :)

I did however, saw one yesterday between Malelane and Berg & Dal that indeed has a yellow eye and yellow wattles! :shock:

Image

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"I'll rise up like the Eagle & I will soar with You because Your Spirit leads me on ~ by the Power of Your Love"


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 Post subject: Re: Birding sensus weekends in Kruger
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 6:20 pm 
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Location: Pretoria
Grobbelaar back-report on the BBW @ Lower Sabie:

We entered the Park at Malelene Friday around 15h30. With only one Gate Official and the closed Croc bridge, it took us about 20minutes to get through! We went via the S25 – S108 - H5 to Lower Sabie.
The majority of Raptor was the Amur Falcon. Because of the rain we had lots sitting in the open, especially in the dead trees. Sometimes we had flocks of 10-15 birds in one tree. Wahlberg’s Eagle (dark and pale form), we had about 4 times on that road and a single miserable Black Kite sitting in the rain. 4 types of Cuckoo: Common, African, Levaillant’s, & Jacobin Cuckoo. The European Roller was abundant with a few Lilac and only two Purple Rollers for the whole weekend. We had 70 birds and the big 4 (all but a leopard sighting) when we entered the camp at 18h30 – we even had hippo in the road!
ImageDiederick Cuckoo

Saturday we started at 04h00 with a Barn Owl flying over the camp, we then headed towards Mlondozi dam via the S128. We had many Square-tailed Nightjars in the road and a single Fiery-necked. We were surprised with a beautiful sighting of a Male Lion coming from ahead and we followed him for a few kilometers (in reverse) as he continued to walk in the road. We again had 2 hippos in the road. After sunrise we had nice sightings of Croaking cisticola, Striped Form Tawny Eagle and Flappet Lark to name just a few.

On the S29 we heard the call of a Black Coucal! Unfortunately we didn’t put this record down, as the bird only called twice and we couldn’t locate it again or get it visual, so if anybody goes that route keep a look out...
That grass veld area is also good for Lesser Grey Shrike, Yellow-throated longclaw, Shelley’s francolin closer to the rocky areas and at the picnic spot the Mocking cliff-chat & Common House Martin.
ImageGreen-Backed Heron with pray.
We then headed towards Lake Panic and found some of the water birds we still needed. Next to the passageway towards the hide we had 3 African Goshawk fledglings with their nest on the left hand side higher up a tree, all gulping down fresh kill. The reeds in front of Skukuza restaurant gave us a single Great Reed Warbler and we also managed to get Icterine that day. Carmine Beater and Trumpeter Hornbill next to the Sabie River, and the red-faced Cisticolas were calling everywhere.

From Skukuza we took the tarred road back to Lower Sabie where we took a 2-hour rest. In camp the Green Pigeons fed on the fig trees rather low down to get some photos.ImageGreen Pigeon.
Spotted flycatcher and Black Cuckoo was also approachable to get shots.
ImageSpotted Flycatcher
ImageBlack Cuckoo
We took a late afternoon drive via Sunset dam for a few more species, and the Golden hour produced some nice photos of Arrowmarked Babbler.
Image

The tick of the day was obviously the Thrush Nightingale which Johann heard as we drove through the camp gates past the petrol station. We found 3 birds the following day and Johann managed to photograph one here
and some of the BBW team managed to add it to their life lists the Sunday morning.

Our total ended at 172 the Saturday night when we at last could get together to meet some of the forum members: Skopsie, Ferdelance and Yolande.


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 Post subject: Re: Birding sensus weekends in Kruger
Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 8:33 pm 
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I was one of the members who fell behind on the Saturday walk through the camp. While we were on the deck at LS, we saw a crocodile struggling to swallow a barbel it caught. After a while it managed to bit it into two pieces and swallow the one piece. This was when the fish eagles came in. The first one took a cautious approach, by landing on the nearby sandbank and checking out the situation. The other one was bolder though, and snatched the remaining half of the barbel from the water close to the croc.

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 Post subject: Re: Birding sensus weekends in Kruger
Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 8:24 pm 
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Sorry for only posting pics now. They follow in now specific order....

Black-bellied Bustard
Image

European Rollers...everywhere...
Image

Openbilled Storks
Image

Southern Carmine Bee-eaters
Image

African Cuckoo
Image

Spotted Flycatcher
Image

Woodlands Kingfishers
Image

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"I'll rise up like the Eagle & I will soar with You because Your Spirit leads me on ~ by the Power of Your Love"


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 Post subject: Re: Birding sensus weekends in Kruger
Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 8:27 pm 
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Jacobin Cuckoo
Image

Green-winged Pytilia
Image

Common Sandpiper
Image

Diderick Cuckoo
Image

African Fish Eagle
Image

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"I'll rise up like the Eagle & I will soar with You because Your Spirit leads me on ~ by the Power of Your Love"


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 Post subject: Re: Birding sensus weekends in Kruger
Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 8:33 pm 
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Kurrichane Buttonquail
Image

White-backed Night Heron
Image

African Green Pigeon
Image

Diderick Cuckoo - female
Image

White-browed Robin Chat with juvenile
Image

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