Ag too hell with the pm. Let me post what I have said about this topic elsewhere:
Note that this is my personal opinion.
It was always going to happen with the Olifants river damming up. It is not like these birds aren't around. They will simply shift to more suitable habitat. Don't be surprised to start seeing them more, once again, in the Southern Kruger.
The Levubu numbers are also growing. And for the first time in years Pel's were seen outside the Park in Phalaborwa
Again, don't get me wrong. It is no good thing that the river is dammed up. There is now actually more water in the Olifants river than before, thanks to the big Masinger dam in Moz. The worst knock-on effect of that is that, probably the largest Nile Crocodile breeding area, got wiped out! Crocodile gorge is flooded!!
Pel's Fishing-Owl were previously recorded and still are present on the Sabie river and Crocodile rivers. Shimuwini camp also produces records of them and they were even seen at places like Kannidood dam, near Shingwedzi and Lake Panic, near Skukuza.
As I said earlier, Pel's Fishing-Owl are seen quite regularly again along the Luvuvhu river in the Pafuri area, which to me indicates an influx of birds to that specific area. All of these locations inside Kruger are excellent for them as it keeps human influence to a minimum and that is probably why these birds only occur inside Kruger, Ndumo, Mkuze and Mapungubwe. The fact that it is now found outside Kruger such as in Pahalaborwa is excellent news in my opinion.
In the Prime Origins guide to best birding in Kruger it is listed on page 214 that there are around 30-40 breeding pairs in Kruger. 8 pairs along the 18km stretch of the Luvuvhu river and ONLY 2 on the Olifants river!! 2 more on the Sabie River. The 2 known pairs along the Olifants river is an indication that these birds never saw the Olifants river as a favorite haunt in the first place anyways! So currently the Olifants river is one pair stronger at 3!
The unnatural damming up of the river to the west of Kruger (inside South Africa) most probably caused a suitable habitat for these birds there, causing them to move in to the area which further proves my theory that they are well capable of moving around in search of suitable habitat. I remember an article in the African Birds and Birding or some similar source about this moving in search of suitable habitat behavior of them, further proving this theory of mine. I will find the article and post it as soon as I do.