Freda - nice Kruger schedule you have for the rest of the year
WTM - One would think if it was that comfortable in moving out into the open and coming close to 2 people it probably is resident. There are some clumps of tangled undergrowth in the camp that would constitute more regular habitat. Still the most reliable place to see EN is at Punda Maria. There seems to be a resident bird in the undergrowth next to Safari Tent 1, but they can be heard at various points throughout the camp and also on the Mahonie Loop. Of course coaxing them out into the open is a little more challenging!
I also posted the records onto the SA Bird Network and have had some interesting replies.
Most were urging me to post all the sightings as incidentals on SABAP2 (South African Bird Atlas Project 2 for those in the dark), but interesting feedback included:
At Mkhuze Game Reserve, where Nicators are very common, my wife and I once observed a pair of Nicators gleaning ticks off of a pair of Suni. We initially only saw the Suni, and once we'd approached to within about 8m of them, we noticed their unusual 'oxpeckers'. Also at Muzi Pan on a particularly cold winter's morning (for Zululand), I was able to approach an immature bird for photos at about 10m, but I've never been as close as you. Yours is far more bizarre though, one seldom sees them out in the open like that!
Regarding your other sightings, we do an annual trip to Skukuza in July and have recorded Mosque Swallows every year on the riverine drve from Skukuza to Lower Sabie. Similarly, Crowned hornbill have been regular just between Skukuza and the low-level bridge crossing the Sabie River. There's a fairly extensive thicket that's grown around the permanent supply of (presumably) runoff/waste water from Skukuza itself.
Well done on the great sightings. As a regular visitor to the park it is always good to hear of sightings such as these.
Just out of interest Mosque Swallows are regular visitors to the Mlondozi picnic site just north east of Lower Sabie. I attach one of the photos I took at the site a while ago.
I have also once seen Crowned Hornbill on the road from Skukuza to Tshokwane on the tar road between the Maroela loop entrance/exits.
The sighting that really caught my eye was your sighting of the Nicator. I must confess I was one of those skeptical readers who thought it may have been a female Black Cuckooshrike. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was indeed a Nicator. I have never seen this bird in the park, and that is even though I have searched the northern Kruger on several occasions for this bird. I will be back in the park next weekend and will definitely keep an eye out for this bird. The obvious starting point then being the A circle?
Thanks once again for the posting.
We had a meeting up at Mogalakwena River Lodge (just west of Alldays) about two weeks back and on an afternoon walk we had brief sightings of a bird that could only have been a Nicator, also completely in the wrong habitat, dry arid thornveld?? Seems they're more around in winter!
Ben De Boer
Birdlife South Africa Avitourism Unit