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Meeting Lovelace’s cousin (Macaroni Penguin)

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francoisd
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Meeting Lovelace’s cousin (Macaroni Penguin)

Unread postby francoisd » Wed Mar 04, 2009 8:48 am

"Hi. If you want to quickly fly down to Cape Town, I will be leaving tomorrow morning at 07:00 to see if I can pick up the Macaroni Penguin for my life list."
This email of mine set the wheels in motion for a whirlwind visit from Johann.

After some emails flying around on Monday morning, Johann had a ticket booked down to Cape Town for the Monday evening, landing at 20:40. After enjoying a hamburger at the airport and catching up on things we set off to Gordon’s Bay. We found a bed for Johann in our guest room (read third bedroom used as a store room with a bunkbed in it) and after a little shut-eye it was wake-up call time at 04:30 on Tuesday morning as we set off to Brandfontein near Agulhas in search of the MEGA tick, a moulting Macaroni Penguin.

With Johann’s return flight leaving at 18:30 on Tuesday evening we were pressed for time but a 3 hour trip does not suddenly become a 2 hour trip however much one wish it to become one. Well maybe if you are willing to add a hefty speeding fine to your trip expense which I decided was not worth it.

Trying to make up time to get to the spot, we did not do a lot of birding enroute but did manage list about 50 birds before we got to the site including 1 lifer for Johann (Large-billed Lark)

Arriving at Brandfontein around 09:00 (we took the last 20 km slowly (took an hour) as we knew we had some time to play with) we made our way down to the beach and first walk right pass the bird which was sitting on a huge rock while we were scanning down on the ground. Photos were taken, congratulations given on a new lifer (one which will probably not come around quickly again). After spending about an hour at the site, Johann remarked that taking the cost of the plane ticket into account, his two lifers cost R600 each. I thought we better work at the cost per lifer and suggested we head in Rooiels’ direction to see if we can connect with the Cape Rock-jumpers. While leaving the car park we added a Grey-backed Cisticola to Johann’s tally of lifers.

Enroute Johann mentioned that he still needed African (Jackass) Penguin for his list so I said we’ll pop into Stoney Point at Betty’s Bay for them and then we can also add Cape Cormorant to his list. After a 2 hour drive we were at Stoney Point and in 15 minutes added African Penguin, Cape- and Bank Cormorant to Johann’s list and left for Rooiels with Johann on 6 lifers or R200 per lifer, much better.

Arriving at Rooiels we had about one hour to hook up with the Rock-jumpers before we had leave for the airport. I’ve never visited the Rooiels sight so late in the day so was wondering what to expect as I normally find the Rock-jumpers early morning. We did manage to add Orange-breasted Sunbird to Johann’s list but unfortunately we dipped on the Cape Rock-jumpers and also the Cape Sugarbirds, but 7 lifers at R172 each is not too bad.

Now time was running out and we made our way back to the airport via the coastal drive from Rooiels to Gordon’s Bay and then the airport.

19 hours, 480 kilometres, 86 birds (the once I could remember, Johann kept score so he can add) and 7 lifers later, Johann was back at the airport.

Was it money worth spent for Johann? Well I’ll leave that for him to answer.
And as to the title of the topic: Lovelace is the Rockhopper penguin in the movie Happy Feet. Rockhopper's and Macaroni penguins are from the same genus

Here are a couple of photos I took of the penguin. Johann also got some good shots and maybe he’ll post some?

Image

Image

Image

Image
Last edited by francoisd on Wed Mar 04, 2009 9:27 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Yolandé Oelsen
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Re: Meeting Lovelace’s cousin (Macaroni Penguin)

Unread postby Yolandé Oelsen » Wed Mar 04, 2009 9:08 am

Great photo's Francois! :thumbs_up: :mrgreen:
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Re: Meeting Lovelace’s cousin (Macaroni Penguin)

Unread postby Johann » Wed Mar 04, 2009 10:03 am

Ja, I think it was worth it. Getting lifers around Gauteng is gonna cost me that much in petrol money per bird in any case so I'm not complaining :wink:
Thanks again Francois for playing my guide for another whirlwind tour of Cape Town and surrounds. At this rate I might just get to 100 Western Cape ticks by 2030 :lol: A handful at a time every 3 years or so.

Your pics are great FD! Hope mine are half that good. Told you I need that image stabiliser.

Total of 87 seen on the day, lifers in bold:
Bishop Southern Red
Bokmakierie
Bulbul Cape
Bunting Cape
Buzzard Jackal
Buzzard Steppe
Canary Yellow
Chat Familiar
Cisticola Grey-backed
Cormorant Bank
Cormorant Cape
Cormorant White-breasted
Coucal Burchell's
Crane Blue
Crombec Long-billed
Crow Cape
Crow House
Crow Pied
Darter African
Dove Cape Turtle-
Dove Laughing
Dove Namaqua
Dove Red-eyed
Dove Rock
Drongo Fork-tailed
Duck African Black
Eagle African Fish-
Egret Cattle
Egret Little
Fiscal Common
Flycatcher Fiscal
Francolin Cape
Goose Egyptian
Goose Spur-winged
Grassbird Cape
Guineafowl Helmeted
Gull Hartlaub's
Gull Kelp
Harrier African Marsh-
Harrier Black
Heron Black-headed
Heron Grey
Hoopoe African
Ibis African Sacred
Ibis Hadeda
Kestrel Rock
Kingfisher Malachite
Kingfisher Pied
Kite Black-shouldered
Kite Yellow-billed
Lapwing Blacksmith
Lapwing Crowned
Lark Large-billed
Martin Brown-throated
Martin Rock
Mousebird Speckled
Mousebird White-backed
Neddicky
Oystercatcher African Black
Penguin African
Penguin Macaroni
Pigeon Speckled
Plover Kittlitz's
Plover Three-banded
Plover White-fronted
Prinia Karoo
Raven White-necked
Robin-Chat Cape
Sparrow Cape
Sparrow House
Starling Common
Starling Pied
Starling Red-winged
Starling Wattled
Stilt Black-winged
Stonechat African
Sunbird Malachite
Sunbird Orange-breasted
Swallow Barn
Swallow Greater Striped
Swallow White-throated
Swift Little
Tern Caspian
Tern Swift
Wagtail Cape
Weaver Cape
White-eye Cape
Last edited by Johann on Wed Mar 04, 2009 10:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Meeting Lovelace’s cousin (Macaroni Penguin)

Unread postby deefstes » Wed Mar 04, 2009 10:12 am

Well done Johann. I didn't want to fly down for a Penguin as they are notorious for not staying around for too long. Turns out this one did. Good call and excellent reward!
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Re: Meeting Lovelace’s cousin (Macaroni Penguin)

Unread postby Bush Baptist » Wed Mar 04, 2009 12:20 pm

Any idea how long this chap will stay there roughly?

Would like to maybe get a group together & go.
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Re: Meeting Lovelace’s cousin (Macaroni Penguin)

Unread postby francoisd » Wed Mar 04, 2009 12:35 pm

It was reported that the penguin started molting on Friday (27 Feb). Apparently it takes up to 14 days to complete and might therefore still be around on Saturday.

From what we saw I would say it was 85% complete, so would recommend anyone who want to see it to do it sooner rather than later.

Just a note on road conditions:
Road works is taking place between Botriver and Caledon. First Stop-Go at the bottom of the pass just before the Botriver turn-off - waiting time 20 minutes. Second Stop-Go 5km before Caledon - waiting time 10 minutes.

After Bredasdorp one turn right unto the Elim road and when you turn left unto the Brandfontein road it is good gravel road all the way.

The roadworks can add to your traveling time
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Re: Meeting Lovelace’s cousin (Macaroni Penguin)

Unread postby Johann » Wed Mar 04, 2009 12:49 pm

Trevor Hardaker mentioned about 10 days in his report on 02 March but comparing to pics taken on 28 Feb it has gone through quite a bit of moulting in only 2 days. Looking at the bird it only had the upper-back, shoulders and head basically left to go. Maybe 2 days if that long but this is only a guess. If you are extremely lucky it might still be there on the weekend but I won't bet on it.

One thing that wasn't mentioned in any of the reports is that the beach where mr Macaroni is located actually falls inside the Agulhas National Park. This is on the most western side of the reserve. This beach seems to start right on the fence so to speak.
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Re: Meeting Lovelace’s cousin (Macaroni Penguin)

Unread postby Johann » Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:21 pm

Johann wrote:..One thing that wasn't mentioned in any of the reports is that the beach where mr Macaroni is located actually falls inside the Agulhas National Park. This is on the most western side of the reserve. This beach seems to start right on the fence so to speak.


Looked at the map again and need to correct myself. It is not the most western side but more like smack-bang right in the middle. It is the western edge of one of the smaller pieces making up the reserve.
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Re: Meeting Lovelace’s cousin (Macaroni Penguin)

Unread postby JoelR » Wed Mar 04, 2009 4:48 pm

Lekker stuff, both of you! Obviously jealous as anything, but what can a working man do? :wink:

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Re: Meeting Lovelace’s cousin (Macaroni Penguin)

Unread postby Johann » Wed Mar 04, 2009 5:10 pm

Put in for a day's leave Joel. Just like me. :tongue:

This coming from the guy who picks up lifers all over the place. :mrgreen:
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Re: Meeting Lovelace’s cousin (Macaroni Penguin)

Unread postby JoelR » Wed Mar 04, 2009 6:27 pm

Johann wrote:Put in for a day's leave Joel. Just like me. :tongue:

This coming from the guy who picks up lifers all over the place. :mrgreen:

Sometimes I do manage to combine the "working man" part with some traveling and birding. Doesn't really work for short-notice flying twitches though - except to Centurion Mall.

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Re: Meeting Lovelace’s cousin (Macaroni Penguin)

Unread postby Johann » Wed Mar 04, 2009 10:18 pm

JoelR wrote:Sometimes I do manage to combine the "working man" part with some traveling and birding. Doesn't really work for short-notice flying twitches though - except to Centurion Mall.

Ja-nee that was an easy one No need for leave, just take lunch :lol:
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Re: Meeting Lovelace’s cousin (Macaroni Penguin)

Unread postby deefstes » Thu Mar 05, 2009 9:23 am

We need one of those again. Don't anyone just want to pop out and check if there isn't a moulting Macaroni Penguin hanging around Centurion Lake please?
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Re: Meeting Lovelace’s cousin (Macaroni Penguin)

Unread postby Johann » Thu Mar 05, 2009 1:20 pm

Bush Baptist wrote:Any idea how long this chap will stay there roughly?

Would like to maybe get a group together & go.


Bad news, received the following info at 11h54 on 05/03/09.
Trevor Hardaker wrote:Our recent entertainment, the MACARONI PENGUIN, seems to have done a disappearing act on us. It was present early this morning still sunning outself out on the rocks until around 08h00, but while no-one was looking, it simply vanished into thin air about 2 hours ago and has not been seen since!

There are good numbers of people (who have travelled down from all parts of the country) scouring the coastline in the area at the moment in the hope of relocating it. It has not fully completed its moult yet, so one has got to hope that it will come ashore again to complete the process, but, as yet, there are no reports of this.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
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Latest lifers from Kruger NP:
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Re: Meeting Lovelace’s cousin (Macaroni Penguin)

Unread postby Johann » Thu Mar 05, 2009 1:34 pm

Image Image

Image

Image

I notice now that your Panasonic's colours are much warmer than my Canon's. Quite like it. And I couldn't get a pic of it drinking, it was too close so I'm definitely envying those shots.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
Albert Einstein

Latest lifers from Kruger NP:
Black Coucal Centropus grillii Swartvleiloerie
Flappet Lark Mirafra rufocinnamomea Laeveldklappertjie


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