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Owl: Pel's Fishing

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa

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Johan van Rensburg
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Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Mon Jul 28, 2008 2:16 pm

Jumbo wrote:Is the playing of bird sounds to attract birds often used in the birding community, or is it frowned upon?


Like FD says, you have a variety of opinions... but, like with all things overuse should be avoided.

I spent some time with the best phisher (calling birds with sounds made by yourself, i.e. no help from recordings) I have met to date. This guy would call a few times only, if there was no reaction he'd move on. "If you do not get a reaction after the third attempt, you are not likely to get anything at all," he believes.

I also saw an amazing example of how well calling works for certain species... Retz helmet shrikes came from more than 500 m away reacting to its call made only once!

Many bird species will come closer to inspect a recording of their calls. I would be careful as to how often, and how long, I did this for. The location at which you are trying this is important too. In areas regularly visited by other birders and photographers, I wouldn't do it at all. It could confuse them into your birding space trying to find the source of the sounds... :lol:

If you are way out in the back of the sticks, using a tape now and then is not a big deal.

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Unread postby Imax » Mon Jul 28, 2008 2:35 pm

To me as with all things in life, one should consider the circumstances and effect it will have.

Calling a helmet shrike that is just foraging does no harm. Distracting Pels from nesting / breeding is a big NO-NO.

I've called many Pearl Spotted Owlets as their call is easy to imitate. Some times they "play" along, but I've had a few that from the tone and insistency of the call you can pick up that they are really upset about the "intruder". If it causes stress, you stop!

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Unread postby wildtuinman » Mon Jul 28, 2008 2:40 pm

Imax wrote:Distracting Pels from nesting / breeding is a big NO-NO.


Couldn't agree more! This is a great way to make sure no one else finds this bird - again! I am adamant that this is one of the reasons for the decline in Pel's numbers along the Olifants river.
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Unread postby Jumbo » Mon Jul 28, 2008 3:02 pm

Imax wrote:Calling a helmet shrike that is just foraging does no harm. Distracting Pels from nesting / breeding is a big NO-NO.


I’m inclined to agree with you, Imax (and WTM)….especially considering that these birds seem to be easily disturbed by human activity….this is however the first time I have heard of somebody successfully using this on a Pel’s….hopefully it does not happen too often. :(

francoisd wrote:I agree with those who say it should be kept to the bare minimum.

Johan van Rensburg wrote:... but, like with all things overuse should be avoided.


This sounds like good principles. 8) I have never ever considered using this before….. but might be tempted to try it with the Retz Helmet Shrikes (thanks for the hint JvR :wink: )…we have a flock of these shrikes that often visit the area around our house in Marloth…I’m battling to get good photos of them (mostly too far of or blurred because they are so active)….one of the group is leucistic and I’m desparate to get a photo.

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Re: Owl: Pel's Fishing

Unread postby junior1449 » Tue Oct 07, 2008 10:41 am

I read on the website of one of the private lodges in the s*** s**** that they spotted a pels on the sabie river two weeks ago. This is exciting! I do hope that it has a mate there and I hope that they are breeding (successfully). :pray:

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Re: Owl: Pel's Fishing

Unread postby TaraLB » Thu Oct 16, 2008 8:46 am

There's a female Pel's at a certain, well known, non-SA spot (PM me if u want the location). She was ringed something like 17 years ago and is still around. We found her twice, just ambling around, not really looking :) and once from a boat. It was fantastic!

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Re: Owl: Pel's Fishing

Unread postby Moegaai » Tue Nov 25, 2008 4:13 pm

:rtm: Got the following info from the SASOL Birds of Prey guide, obviously relating to these kinds of birds: Don't play the calls of birds of prey as this truly upset their routine. :naughty: They may get obsessed with trying to find the "intruder" to the extent that they neglect their nests. :cry: A less invasive method would be to play the sounds made by their prey. :whistle: This should interest them without upsetting them. :thumbs_up:

So the question raised by this: Who has MP3's along these lines!? :hmz: :huh:

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Re: Owl: Pel's Fishing

Unread postby Imax » Wed Nov 26, 2008 3:26 pm

Id rather ask what does a fish sound like :twisted:

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Re: Owl: Pel's Fishing

Unread postby o-dog » Tue Jan 27, 2009 1:39 am

Sometimes I visit this farm along the Limpopo West of Mapungubwe - one day I flushed what I thought was a Pel's. Returned to the same area and found a feather of one in a pool nearby. Cant be convinced by the bird I flushed but nice to know by the feather which I still have, that they are present outside our National Parks!
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Pells Fishing owl

Unread postby Hugh » Wed Apr 08, 2009 7:08 pm

We saw 2 Pells fishing owls on a trip near Pafuri on one our visits to Kruger Sorry no pic as we had no camera.Is this the only area in Kruger they are found. I also saw a Pells in Ndumu In the trees next to the river.
Again no photo as the owl went behind some foilage and was very high up. So where else in South Africa have there been sightings of this bird??
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Re: Pells Fishing owl

Unread postby DinkyBird » Wed Apr 08, 2009 8:39 pm

Huge - in Kruger, I have seen them along the Olifants river while walking - on two occasions. And I recall reading that our guru, Owl, saw one at Lake Panic a little while ago.
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KNP Pel's fishing owl survey

Unread postby bishop3006 » Fri Jun 19, 2009 8:21 am

Not sure whether to post this here or in the Birds forum. Mods, please move if necessary.

This morning into work I heard, on the Afrikaans RSG, a discussion between the presenter, Cobus, and André Botha (of Birdlife South Africa - can't remember?) It was about an expedition along the Olifants inside Kruger to do a count on specifically the Pel's population, as well as all other especially fish-eating birds. They're starting on Sunday and walking on both sides of the river for four days, all along the river, camping out at night. One group to start in the middle and walk towards Phalaborwa, the other on the Mozambique border and walking towards the middle where the other group started.

Apparently they did the Levubu a week or two ago and found between 9 and 11 breeding pairs on that 23km stretch, as opposed to about 7 birds along the whole 92km stretch of Olifants last year.

(The facts might not be all quite 100% correct as I was driving and couldn't make notes and had difficult driving at the time.)

Unfortunately they didn't give any website or anywhere where one can get more info. Cobus and another RSG employee, Voeta (sp?) Krige, are walking along (not their first adventure) and will most likely give some feedback again afterwards, probably once again discussing with André.

Just thought I'd mention, in case somebody has more info.
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Re: KNP Pel's fishing owl survey

Unread postby JenB » Fri Jun 19, 2009 8:48 am

Thanx for the info, Bishop! :clap:
Looking forward to hear more.
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Re: KNP Pel's fishing owl survey

Unread postby Imax » Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:06 am

Bishop, you listened very well, as you have it all spot on!

I wish I could be invited to assist :mrgreen:

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Re: KNP Pel's fishing owl survey

Unread postby mosij » Fri Jun 19, 2009 11:59 am

I have a copy of a propsal Andre made to the Wits Bird Club, who subsequently agreed to help fund the project - I've mailed him to see if I can post it here. It sets out very nicely the aims etc.


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