Okay, so it was too easy
16 participants, with 10 scoring 8/8!
Average score: 7.3
1.) Black-chested snake eagle
. No problems here. The white underwing with barred flight feathers are diagnostic.
2.) Large-billed lark
One of the easiest larks to identify (even I can do it!
). One incorrect ID. Heavy bill with lots of yellow to the base.
3.) Black harrier
. No problems here. Wing pattern, low flight and longish tail.
. Three incorrect ID's. Heavy bill, white throat. Paler than streaky-headed seed eater. Unstreaked breast vs. streaked breast of female yellow canary.
5.)Booted eagle, pale morph
. The most difficult one it the challenge, with five incorrect answers. Small size helps eliminate some of the larger eagles (size can be deduced from the relative size of the blue gum leaves), and feathered tarsi (just visible above the feet), which make it not a buzzard; light brown head and contrasting creamish-white underparts also helps as this is the most common form of booted eagle.
No problems here. Short bill, dark eye and white blotch visible on the primaries.
7.)Cape long-billed lark
Only two incorrect answers here. Very long bill, streaked flanks and long tail. For me, the location also helped -- Hondeklipbaai -- but you folks unfortunately did not have that info
I thought this was a giveaway, but there were two incorrect answers. Dark grey foreneck (vs. light grey of Denham's bustard), more-or-less uniform dark (vs. marked) face and marked back (vs. plain back) also differentiate it from Denham's bustard. Black-bellied bustard looks more like a red-crested korhaan, but with a thin, black line up the foreneck contrasting with the white cheek (not present here).Note on birding in Namaqualand:
While there are lots of nice birds to see almost everywhere in Namaqualand (as long as you travel slowly), I can definitely recommend the following route as a "must" for a birding trip in Namaqualand (should any of you guys find yourselves in the Northern Cape at some point
Just north of Garies on the N7, take the first exit from Garies that indicates "Hondeklipbaai" (this is the long way to Hondeklipbaai). Follow the signs to "Sarrisam" and "Soutpan" (this include a couple of illogical-looking turn-offs). This route is mostly farm roads, so there are several gates that need to be open and closed. After a long drive, you'll find a largish sign saying "Sarrisam" and a very small sign stating "See" [sea] to the left. Take this route to follow a dirt road towards Namaqua National Park and Koringkorrelbaai. The NNP gate may or may not be manned. When we were there, it was unmanned, but we could open and close it ourselves just like any other farm gate we went through that day. It is probably better to get a permit (and pay conservation fees) at Skilpad before going this way (but we just settled up the next day when we visited Skilpad). Part of the route follows a small stream. Find out at the Garies Toeriste Stal (Garies Tourists stall) in Garies [they serve great pastries btw -- "vleis" (mutton), chicken and bobotie] what the condition of the road is like. When we were there it was about a week after heavy rains, and we had no trouble with a unloaded Terios, but a sedan may have gotten in trouble (especially in the park where the two-spoor track goes through some deep-ish sand) and a couple with a heavily-laden double-cab 4x4 full of camping gear apparently had some trouble the day before. Koringkorrelbaai in Namaqua National Park is very .... remote.... You feel like you're the only people in the world when you're there. Three campsites, each with its own braai and longdrop are the only "unnatural" things there
We've spent one day driving this route towards Koringkorrelbaai (and then from Sarrisam through Wallekraal back to the N7). We saw, amongst other birds, 16 Ludwig bustards (in groups of 2 to 4), many, many jackal buzzards, a pair of booted eagles, southern black korhaan, lesser flamingo, red-capped lark, large-billed lark, black harrier, black-chested snake eagle, pale chanting goshawk, lanner falcon, bokmakierie, pied avocet, damara canary, yellow-billed duck, yellow canary, African stonechat, malachite sunbird, yellow bishop, Cape weaver, Karoo chat, southern double-collared sunbird, South African shelduck, black-winged stilt, black-headed canary, ant-eating chat, ostrich, spur-winged goose, Cape crow, pied crow (and a group of meerkat "suricates" ).