Skip to content

SANParks.org Forums

View unanswered posts | View active topics






Post new topic Reply to topic  Page 4 of 6
 [ 80 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Re: Latest on Pels Fishing owl?
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2012 6:37 pm 
Offline
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
User avatar
Award: Birder of the Year (2013)
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2004 10:27 am
Posts: 5353
Location: Chasing down the rarities
I must admit, it irritates me a little when people say that birds don't read guides. Because guides are based on birds' movements. The chicken or egg scenario here is definitely bird and then only book. :lol: But let's leave it at that.

Gymnogenes have been present in Gauteng for donkeys years now. I saw one just the other day circling over Bryanston and a week or so later one came flying over me along the Moreleta greenbelt in the East of Pretoria.

The Lammergeier sighting in Fochville is certainly interesting, but can it be verified? Sorry I am very skeptical of these things, purely because of my own mistakes I make till this day. On Tuesday I was looking at an Ovambo Sparrowhawk in its nest. I was about to walk away from it when my 9 year old daughter asked me if I was sure that it was an Ovambo Sparrowhawk, because she saw a long bill. I was like of course it is one! It is is sitting in an Ovambo Sparrowhawk nest, so its got to be one. I took the bins from her and low and behold a Hadeda Ibis came into view. :slap: Obviously taking over the Ovambo Sparrowhawk nest. Assumption is the mother of all stuffups!

Yes, you are quite right, some awesome birds have pitched up in recent times. Very interesting as you said. But I have two views on that.

1. Extreme weather conditions, yearly, blows in some vagrants, such as what was the case with the Black Skimmer in Cape Town. A hurricane off the coast of Northern USA blew this thing 1000's of kilometers off course and into Ireland, where it was present for a day. Obviously this bird was confused and decided to do what it was supposed to do and started moving south as they would do normally on the other side of the Atlantic at this time of the year. If one calculated the amount of days the Black Skimmer was seen later in the Cape, one can very well argue that it was the same bird that was seen in Ireland taking the speed it flies.

Now as I said, extreme weather conditions is nothing new. In 2000 floods were caused in Kruger by a cyclone and the same again happened last year, so I cannot even blame something like global warming even though evidence exists that global warming is a reality. As an interesting example, in 2000 no one heard or read of scarce birds in Kruger, but last year there were numerous reports of pelagic birds that got blown into Kruger from Mozambique. Why is this the case?

Was there just no vagrant species to report in 2000? Or did we just have the amount of birders with the amount of knowledge and the technology that we have now? My opinion is the latter. There are far more clued up birders out there now than even a year ago. And word gets around much faster than a couple of years ago when you would read in the African Birds and Birding magazine of a rarity 2 months down the line!

2. I will stick my neck out now and say that Little Crake is not a new species to our country. Given the shy nature of crakes in general and the fewer birders in previous years, it has just not been noticed before. Take Baillon's Crake for instance. Previously people would go ballistic over a sighting of a Baillon's! Now they are picked up left, right and centre. I can guarantee you that there aren't more of them out there. Birders have just become better in recent years. And I think the SABAP project have a lot to do with that. I spoke to Etienne Marais at Mkhombo dam the other day. He said that the type of birding one do with SABAP is what you need to get these tricky birds. I agree with him. SABAP birding produced an African Skimmer in Carletonville earlier this year for instance. In 2008 SABAP birding produced a Franklin's Gull in the middle of Centurion!!! Previously birders would've just scanned over these birds and assume them to be something else more ordinary. And together with that, now all of a sudden we almost expect to see these strange things!

Rob Geddes have seen Spotted Crake at Mkhombo dam for years. It was just never reported until the one we picked up there in 2010.

3. Competitions and challenges amongst birders such as our Gauteng challenge also spurred on birders to look with more purpose and venture into new areas to find something to challenge the rest of the group with.

I think a combination of more birders, better birders, better reporting and venturing into new areas is what makes more rarities pitch up in the country.

_________________
657
Latest Lifer(s): Pacific Golden Plover

Follow me as I bird on Twitter @wildtuinman


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Latest on Pels Fishing owl?
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2012 6:58 pm 
Offline

Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2007 11:22 am
Posts: 4757
Quote:
The Lammergeier sighting in Fochville is certainly interesting, but can it be verified?


I saw the video, and can forward you the contact details of the person that showed me. :thumbs_up:

Quote:
Assumption is the mother of all stuffups!


Agreed, but we assume the birds stick to our norms as humans. :wink:

All I am saying, is that it is possible for a Skimmer/Pel's etc. in Capetown. That without saying it is not at all possible. I agree with what you say, but also as you said, birding is all the rage now, so maybe thats why all this is coming out, and there might have been a Skimmer before, or a Pel's before, or, or, or.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Latest on Pels Fishing owl?
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2012 7:52 pm 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger

Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2011 6:37 pm
Posts: 344
Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
I agree with basically everything WTM is saying here. I don't think there have been any previous Black Skimmers or Pels in Cape Town, as those are two species that are not easy to overlook. Whereas with Little Crake, chances are there have been a few before as it is a secretive little bird, and even if it did get spotted, most birders I think would just assume they are looking at a Baillon's Crake, as most SA birders weren't even aware of Little Crake's existence until March this year!! Same goes with various Warblers such as Olivacious and Upcher's. I'm pretty sure there have been a few in SA, but at least 95% of birders here would overlook them and just put them down as Icterine or Olive-tree Warbler etc. All those birds are migratory though and migratory birds are known to get 'lost' so there would be a logical explanation to them turning up. But Pels isn't migratory, and hasn't even shown any hints of range expansion, so I can't see at all how one could turn up in Cape Town naturally. Unfortunately I don't think this Pels mystery is going to get solved.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Latest on Pels Fishing owl?
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2012 8:03 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger

Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2010 10:29 am
Posts: 1664
Location: Worcester , Cape
Scipio wrote:

Gymnogene has been seen in the Middle of Roodepoort, .....



Also regularly seen in - Constantia - Cape Town .......... :)

_________________
Tread softly , and let your departure not be spoiled by the damage of your arrival

Next :
3 - 6 Sept 2013 - Punda.
7 - 10 Sept 2013 -Shingwedzi .
11 - 13 Sept 2013 - Balule .
14 - 17 Sept 2013 - Satara .


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Latest on Pels Fishing owl?
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2012 8:22 pm 
Offline

Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2007 11:22 am
Posts: 4757
Matt, et al. All I am saying is that even though we as humans set the bar, we should not think we should set the bar for the animals as well, and I am not only speaking of birds.

There are so many debates on Brown Hyena, birds, animal behaviour. And as long as we cannot ask the Owl in question we can only speculate, but we should do so without being patronising due to our so-called expertise towards others. :thumbs_up: Also, we should not make the rules for the fauna out there.

I do agree, it is helluva strange to find a Pel's there, but I would vouch a guess, that this is not the last of strange, abnormal sightings, birds, or other fauna. :wink:

Okie, Gymnogene was something not to be seen a decade or so ago. :thumbs_up: Things change.

No offence to anyone please, and I do agree with what has been said on this thread, but I am only thinking out of the box, wondering if the change in Earth might have an effect on nature as we know it. I mean, there were many superstorms in History, and now one blew a Skimmer here, only now. :hmz:


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Latest on Pels Fishing owl?
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 12:36 am 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger

Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2011 6:37 pm
Posts: 344
Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
Sorry if I came across as patronising Scipio, it was definitely not my intention, as I am by no means an expert. Just giving my opinion on this whole situation :)
I agree that we shouldn't set the bar, or make the rules for animals, because there is still a lot about animals that we humans don't understand. My opinion is just based on passed behaviour of the animals and probabilities, but my views must definitely not be taken as fact :)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Latest on Pels Fishing owl?
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 5:35 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2012 11:22 pm
Posts: 218
Location: Bela-Bela, Limpopo
I can imagine that the goldfish and koi communities in Cape Town are really NOT impressed by the latest visitor of the avian fraternity!

But ja. . .I`m also in agreement with WM that it is probably an escapee. Doesn`t take away any of the excitement to tick of a Pels`though.

Good on you Cape Town :thumbs_up:

_________________
2013. . . . . Okavango?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Latest on Pels Fishing owl?
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 6:51 am 
Offline
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
User avatar
Award: Birder of the Year (2013)
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2004 10:27 am
Posts: 5353
Location: Chasing down the rarities
Scipio wrote:
I mean, there were many superstorms in History, and now one blew a Skimmer here, only now. :hmz:


There is an unconfirmed report of a Black Skimmer in Walvisbay a good number of years ago. But without photographic proof it will remain unconfirmed.

Storms have been blowing birds in for as long as I can remember Scipio. I only took to birding in 2003 but some of the memorable ones so far have been:

Franklin's Gull is a north American bird who migrates as far south as Panama. What was it doing in the middle of Centurion? :wink: Furthermore this was the second record of Franklin's inland in S.A. The first being a number of years prior.

There was a Great Frigatebird at Rust der Winter dam north of Pretoria in the early 2000's. It got blown in from the Indian ocean.

What about the famous Asiatic Dowitcher in Benoni in 2005? It migrates from Asia to as far south as New Zealand. Completely lost at Leeupan in Gauteng.

It's been happening for years, Scipio. Nothing new. It was pure luck that a couple of birders happened on the Skimmer at Rietvlei. Else we would never have known that it was present. Pure luck! :thumbs_up:

_________________
657
Latest Lifer(s): Pacific Golden Plover

Follow me as I bird on Twitter @wildtuinman


Last edited by wildtuinman on Fri Nov 09, 2012 7:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Latest on Pels Fishing owl?
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 6:53 am 
Offline
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
User avatar
Award: Birder of the Year (2013)
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2004 10:27 am
Posts: 5353
Location: Chasing down the rarities
Scipio wrote:
I saw the video, and can forward you the contact details of the person that showed me. :thumbs_up:


Would love that, thanks!

_________________
657
Latest Lifer(s): Pacific Golden Plover

Follow me as I bird on Twitter @wildtuinman


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Latest on Pels Fishing owl?
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 6:55 am 
Offline
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
User avatar
Award: Birder of the Year (2013)
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2004 10:27 am
Posts: 5353
Location: Chasing down the rarities
MattAxel wrote:
I agree with basically everything WTM is saying here. I don't think there have been any previous Black Skimmers or Pels in Cape Town, as those are two species that are not easy to overlook. Whereas with Little Crake, chances are there have been a few before as it is a secretive little bird, and even if it did get spotted, most birders I think would just assume they are looking at a Baillon's Crake, as most SA birders weren't even aware of Little Crake's existence until March this year!! Same goes with various Warblers such as Olivacious and Upcher's. I'm pretty sure there have been a few in SA, but at least 95% of birders here would overlook them and just put them down as Icterine or Olive-tree Warbler etc. All those birds are migratory though and migratory birds are known to get 'lost' so there would be a logical explanation to them turning up. But Pels isn't migratory, and hasn't even shown any hints of range expansion, so I can't see at all how one could turn up in Cape Town naturally. Unfortunately I don't think this Pels mystery is going to get solved.


Double :thumbs_up:

_________________
657
Latest Lifer(s): Pacific Golden Plover

Follow me as I bird on Twitter @wildtuinman


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Latest on Pels Fishing owl?
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 7:27 am 
Offline

Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2007 11:22 am
Posts: 4757
Cool MattAxel, WTM, :thumbs_up:

In the back of my head I also think it is a Escapee, but I would like to think it did himself with my heart. :lol:

Now a Question: In the birding Jargon so to speak, there are confirmed sightings, and as far as I can see, a confirmed sighting is:

a)Photographic proof
b)Birding weekend, and a group sees it, no proof required.
c)..........

And this is maybe a stupid question, but I am sure some others would like to know as well. As I said, I am in the tourist industry, and I get more and more requests for "Birding" trips. :thumbs_up: So Birding is a big thing these days. :clap:

Although they all want to see Lion in secret. :twisted:

Sorry, totally off-topic.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Latest on Pels Fishing owl?
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 7:28 am 
Offline
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2005 12:52 pm
Posts: 1738
Location: My business...
I've been following this discussion with big interest.

We have exactly the same mystery in Holland at the moment. 2 Weeks ago birders reported a Demoiselle Crane (Anthropoides virgo) from Maurik near Utrecht. It was immediately called exotic and taken off the Vogelbescherming (Equivalent to Birdlife SA) spotting list. Then suddenly they put it back up - they weren't sure where it came from.

This crane is from Asia especially China and has NEVER been seen so far West. This bird is like the Pel's - extremely at ease in human company. It's supposed to be skittish - try getting a close-up of the normal crane... - but this one allows people as close as 2m. Problem is, there is no evidence it's an escapee. Not ringed. Not chipped. Nobody owning up to theirs being missing. It's a very popular bird here to keep in captivity. None are missing from any of the "official"keepers or zoos in the area.

At the moment it was still reported from exactly the same farmer's field 2 weeks later. Mystery still not solved. Birders are now getting there to make the tick just in case it really IS a completely lost migrant. We're considering going to Maurik this weekend.

These photo's were made yesterday:

http://waarneming.nl/soort/photos/199066?from=2012-11-08&to=2012-11-08


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Latest on Pels Fishing owl?
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:11 am 
Offline
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
User avatar
Award: Birder of the Year (2013)
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2004 10:27 am
Posts: 5353
Location: Chasing down the rarities
GP, the problem is that there are people out there who keep birds illegally. And they will be the ones who won't own up to an escapee. You mention that birders are going out there to make the insurance tick in case it is a genuine vagrant. But my question is, how will we ever know if it a genuine vagrant?

Scipio, yes, pretty much, get photo evidence or get someone credible else to confirm the sighting. But in the end, nothing works better than photographic proof. Yes, there are jackasses out there who for some reason take photos of birds in different areas and pretend to see them in an area they do not occur in. But eventually these "stringers" build up a reputation.

We all make mistakes with id's. A good photo is always reliable to id a bird. Try and get the shot! :wink:

_________________
657
Latest Lifer(s): Pacific Golden Plover

Follow me as I bird on Twitter @wildtuinman


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Latest on Pels Fishing owl?
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:17 am 
Offline
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
User avatar
Award: Birder of the Year (2013)
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2004 10:27 am
Posts: 5353
Location: Chasing down the rarities
I am sure Trevor is going to come out with a very interesting and well thought out post to proof me wrong. :popcorn:

:D :D

_________________
657
Latest Lifer(s): Pacific Golden Plover

Follow me as I bird on Twitter @wildtuinman


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Latest on Pels Fishing owl?
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:42 am 
Offline
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2007 9:08 am
Posts: 2162
Location: Leeu Valley
Not much more that I can add here and I think WTM has given some wonderful food for thought here :thumbs_up:

Even though there are thousands of birders throughout SA now compared to 10 or more years ago, I still think there are many vagrants that are missed on a yearly basis. If a Black Skimmer resided for 2 days on the Sabie river and in those 2 days not one tourist was an active birder or even interested in birds, the sighting was lost and no one would have been the wiser.

Migratory birds I will accept turning up anywhere. The current weather is weird to say the least. I can't remember when last the highveld had a decent summer. It feels like a winter morning again here in Jozi and it is the middle of November. I speculate that we will have another couple of good rarities pop up in the next month or so before the world ends :twisted:

The Pel's is just a stretch too far though, I just can't wrap my head around it and I am very green about the sighting, and I too would have gone to see it had I lived down there, but I wouldn't tick it as a lifer etc. I would have just enjoyed the sighting, knowing what a special bird it is.


Last edited by DotDan on Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 80 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6  Next



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group

Webcams Highlights

Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Submitted by Trrp-trrrrrrrr at 19:44:02 Submitted by Foxy at 20:38:38 Submitted by Mrs. S.K.L.Gauntlett at 23:46:02 Submitted by ritad at 22:53:47