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 Post subject: Re: Birding visit to Mountain Zebra
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2013 7:21 am 
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Legendary Virtual Ranger
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Location: Chasing down the rarities
Nice advice anyone. I have never birded there before, only drove past it once and saw the most beautiful Martial Eagle right next to the highway! The road between here and Uniondale also seems excellent for Black Harrier as I spotted 4 - 5 different birds on a single drive.

There was a lovely insert on this park on 50/50 on Monday night and I saw that they were introducing lions now as well.

What I can add is that there are a couple of interesting new records found in the park recently namely Common Scimiterbill and a very lost Crimson-breasted Boubou (Shrike) was found closer to Graaf Reinette. See if you can get hold of the Graaf Reinette bird club to get more info on these two rare species for that area.

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 Post subject: Re: Birding visit to Mountain Zebra
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 01, 2013 2:00 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 16, 2013 12:25 pm
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I had four great days in Mountain Zebra; what a wonderful park and so well run too. It was extremely dry especially compared to humid Durban. We saw 77 birds in four days, 11 of which were lifers for me. I saw the Double-banded courser as in the photo posted by Kaapsedraai - what a beautiful bird. It was great to spend some time trying to figure out which lark was which. We were also treated to Ludwigs Bustard on 3 separate occasions; each time flying. Another thing I really enjoyed was expereincing a different cast of bird characters than our usual suspects in Durban like Scaly-feathered Finch, Rufous-eared Warbler, Bokmakierie, White-browed Sparrow Weaver, Grey Tit and many more. I hope to return again - next time in summer when more migrants are back. cheers Penny

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 Post subject: Re: Birding visit to Mountain Zebra
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2013 9:47 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2013 10:27 am
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Location: Secunda
I visited this underestimated gem earlier this year. Fine, so I was there out of prime birding season, but it was so peaceful and had that unique Karoo beauty that just envelops you. Btw, their restaurant has really good food, particularly the 2 shank options!

I found that there were 2 places in camp that were rewarding for birds, behind the chalets in the late afternoon/evening and around the laundry during the day. In terms of out and about, pretty much anywhere is good, but I found the high areas best for variety (particularly of the LBJs) and the area between the park entrance and the camp had some interesting sightings.

Here follow some images:

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

I will post some more later

John

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 Post subject: Re: Birding visit to Mountain Zebra
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 03, 2013 4:42 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: Secunda
Sorry, did move them into a folder after sorting them. Btw, please let me know if I got an ID wrong :hmz:

Let's try again :redface:

Scaly-throated finch
Image

Grass pipit
Image

Rock pipit
Image

Karoo prinia
Image

Grey-winged francolin
Image

Large-billed pipit
Image

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 Post subject: Re: Birding visit to Mountain Zebra
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 04, 2013 7:35 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2013 10:27 am
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Location: Secunda
Thanks for the kind comments on the images guys. I will post some more from this magically quiet place later.

hilda, thanks for the link, have read that thread a bit, will post some queries from my lifelist there when I audit it after my KTP trip, dont want to claim 400 and then I have some lbj that is really just another grass pipit :evil:

I saw the francolins twice, both times on the plateau. The one time was at the intersection of the Rooiplaat and Kranskop loops, the other between said intersection and the Umgeni loop.

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 Post subject: Re: Birding visit to Mountain Zebra
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 04, 2013 9:58 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: Secunda
Tractrac chat
Image

Rock pipit behind the chalets (which are really luxurious and have great views)
Image

Karoo scrub-robin
Image

Sickle-winged chat
Image

I know they are low on colour, but these guys make up for it with personality!

Have a great evening

John

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 Post subject: Mountain Zebra: Trip Report focusing on birds
Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2013 6:54 pm 
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My reason for visiting Mountain Zebra was to gain exposure to a different habitat and therefore different birds from what I am accustomed to in Durban. What a lovely reserve; beautiful in its aridity. As well as 11 lifers, I also picked up quite a few extras for my yearlist.

Southern Boubou was a frequent visitor at the chalet. Despite hearing this bird frequently, I dont see it as much.

Image
IMG_5915 by Penza1957, on Flickr

White-browed Sparrow-weavers were nest building outside the chalet so we saw a lot of them too.

Image
White-browed Sparrow-weaver by Penza1957, on Flickr

We went to the picnic site and found Cape Robin-chat, Chinspot Batis and Cape Bunting

Image
Cape Bunting by Penza1957, on Flickr

On the way back we hit the high road and were rewarded with this Jackal Buzzard hovering above

Image
IMG_5969 by Penza1957, on Flickr

The Rooiplaat and Kranskop loops were very productive. Here we saw Rufous-eared Warblers, Cape Sparrow, and Scaly-feathered Finch in amongst the ground squirrels, suricates and yellow mongoose.

Image
Scaly-feathered Finch by Penza1957, on Flickr

I was hoping to see a Sickle-winged Chat but every chat turned out to be a Familiar, until we stumbled across this one.

Image
Sickle-winged Chat by Penza1957, on Flickr

Then came the fun and games in trying to differentiate between the larks and pipits. Luckily we had Faansie Peacock's brilliant LBJ book. All in all we saw four different larks but only one pipit, you guessed it - African Pipit. The larks were Eastern Clapper Lark, Eastern Longbilled Lark, Spike heeled Lark and Large-billed Lark.

Image
Large-billed Lark by Penza1957, on Flickr

Image
Eastern Long-billed Lark by Penza1957, on Flickr

On to some black and buff beauties; Buff-streaked Chat; Northern Black Korhaan and Double-banded Courser

Image
Buff-streaked Chat by Penza1957, on Flickr

Image
Northern Black Korhaan by Penza1957, on Flickr

Image
Double banded Courser by Penza1957, on Flickr

I had been longing to see a bokmakierie as I haven't seen one for years. We heard them all over the place but there were none in sight until the last day when I was rewarded.

Image
Bokmakierie by Penza1957, on Flickr

I've had a Karoo craving ever since I've been back

Penny

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