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 Post subject: Re: Latest on Pels Fishing owl?
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:43 am 
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Interesting discussion here…

As has already been said, all the local bird parks and zoos were checked and not one of them has ever kept a Pel’s Fishing Owl. That, of course, does not absolutely confirm that it has not escaped from somewhere, but where does one go from there? Maybe it is an escapee, but at this point, we will never know. Why does one just naturally assume that it is an escapee just because it is an owl and it is not known from the area? What about Verreaux’s Eagle Owl and Pearl-spotted Owlet that have turned up in the Western Cape as well in the last couple of years? Also escapees? What about the other non-migratory birds that have turned up in the Western Cape recently like Tawny Eagle, Bateleur, Lappet-faced Vulture, Lilac-breasted Roller, Woolly-necked and Marabou Storks, Green-backed Heron, Crowned Hornbill, etc.? All escapees…? I don’t think so… Birds move occasionally, even if they are not generally migratory species and there are some really bizarre records out there. What about Bush Blackcap turning up in St. Francis Bay in the Eastern Cape or Cape Sugarbird turning up in Bloemfontein in the Free State…? These things happen!

The Western Cape seems to have a natural attraction to vagrants, pulling in both regional vagrants from other parts of the country as well as rarities from other parts of the world. There is a solid history of incredible records to prove that and there is no arguing the point. As to the Pel’s, if one did a little homework, you would soon find out that there are also a number of vagrant records of this species along the coast in the Eastern Cape as well, so there is also precedent that these birds DO move down the coast from Zululand. As to the bird not being skittish, it is no more or less skittish than any other Pel’s I have seen. When I first found it in Newlands, I flushed it as well, so it certainly wasn’t totally comfortable around human presence. Having said that, I have also walked right up to Pel’s and stood directly below where they were perched in trees as they sat looking down at me (just like the bird in Constantia did) in Zululand, Pafuri and the Okavango, so I don’t think this behavior is anything out of the ordinary at all.

There are a lot more people out there birding these days and the fact that there are so many cameras around also helps. I was fortunate to be involved with both of the recent megas, the Little Crake and Black Skimmer and, although I didn’t personally find them, was the person who had to stick his neck out and make the identification of a bird that had never been recorded here before. If people learn to look at birds in detail, rather than just trying to tick them off on a list, I think we will probably end up with even more odd birds being found. A case in point was the recent Hudsonian Godwit at Vleesbaai – I was out of the country at the time when the bird was found. It was photographed and news was put out that it was a Black-tailed Godwit. Many people headed out there and ticked the bird as such without even looking at it properly. It had already been there for a couple of weeks when I got back and happened to see the photos. I immediately realized that it was actually a Hudsonian Godwit, rather than a Black-tailed, and put the news out as such and then a huge twitch ensued. I just wonder whether all those people who had already ticked it as a Black-tailed went back to relook at the bird or whether they just changed the tick on their lists… :hmz:

Whatever the case, finding or twitching a rarity is really exciting stuff and we should all just enjoy it when the opportunity arises… and, of course, us Capies are hugely grateful that most of these opportunities arise close to home... :lol:

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Trevor Hardaker

Last SA lifer: Amsterdam Albatross - 13 Jul '13 - Cape pelagic trip, Western Cape
Last World lifer: Junin Canastero - 24 May '14 - Marcapomacocha, Peru

My wildlife pics and reports: www.hardaker.co.za


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 Post subject: Re: Latest on Pels Fishing owl?
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:47 am 
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I am still cheesed off at that Godwit.. I was right there.. metres away.. but nooooo lets look at the Bailon's and go eat a steak at the Dros.. :roll:


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 Post subject: Re: Latest on Pels Fishing owl?
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:54 am 
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:lol: :lol:

Well said by a proud Cape Tonian. :wink:

Thanks for your reply, Trevor.

Being very involved in the birding circles as you are, do you have any insights on the illegal bird trade?
I know that our Cape Parrot and Blue Crane suffer severely at the hands of illegal trading. Same goes with our other parrot species and then the lovebird species to the point where we now have a wild population here in Johannesburg. I even remember the "hit" on the Abel Erasmus Taita Falcon nest.

How serious is it? Do you have any idea?

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Latest Lifer(s): White-winged Flufftail, Dickinson's Kestrel, Senegal Coucal, Three-banded Courser, African Broadbill, Thrush Nightingale, Rufous-bellied Heron.

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 Post subject: Re: Latest on Pels Fishing owl?
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:57 am 
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Trevor is not in the mood to chat to you now WTM.. :twisted:


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 Post subject: Re: Latest on Pels Fishing owl?
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:59 am 
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Obviously, like everyone else, I am well aware that there is an illegal bird trade and that it is affecting certain of our birds quite badly, but unfortunately, I don't really have an inside line on it - that would imply that I am part of the bird trade mafia which I am not... :naughty:

Now WTM, instead of sitting at your pc moaning about all the Cape rarities and trying to turn them into escapees, get out into the field and go and find us a mega in your part of the world and a reason to spend unbudgeted sums of money... I'm waiting... :whistle:

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Trevor Hardaker

Last SA lifer: Amsterdam Albatross - 13 Jul '13 - Cape pelagic trip, Western Cape
Last World lifer: Junin Canastero - 24 May '14 - Marcapomacocha, Peru

My wildlife pics and reports: www.hardaker.co.za


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 Post subject: Re: Latest on Pels Fishing owl?
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:59 am 
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Hey Deedee, this food thing of yours :twisted:

But now another question:

Now I have been travelling a fair amount, and lets say for the past 5 years I have taken pics like a madman of everything I see, (I have approx. 20000 bird pics) and of those I struggle to ID lets say a 1000, that due to lighting or bad pic taking or,or,or. How would I get them ID'd the best way. To post them all on the forum will be :wall: :wall: I am asking the question I think a lot of interested peoples would like to ask. :thumbs_up:

WTM, that is an interesting Queastion. :hmz: And on that, how does this affect Bird Sightings?


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 Post subject: Re: Latest on Pels Fishing owl?
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 9:09 am 
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Trevor always have time to chat to people, Daan. :D

I unfortunately don't have access to documents and records of Pel's in the Eastern Cape, so I cannot comment on that from a homework perspective. All my information is based on credible sites such as SABAP and Birdlife through Google.

My concern is raised because of things species such as Rufous Fishing-owl which have been proved to be kept illegally for trade or as pets.

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Latest Lifer(s): White-winged Flufftail, Dickinson's Kestrel, Senegal Coucal, Three-banded Courser, African Broadbill, Thrush Nightingale, Rufous-bellied Heron.

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 Post subject: Re: Latest on Pels Fishing owl?
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 9:15 am 
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Trevor Hardaker wrote:
Now WTM, instead of sitting at your pc moaning about all the Cape rarities and trying to turn them into escapees, get out into the field and go and find us a mega in your part of the world and a reason to spend unbudgeted sums of money... I'm waiting... :whistle:


What are you talking? I am sneaking out of the office at 11 a.m. to head out to a weekend of intense rarity searching along Zaagkuil, Kgomo-Kgomo and Mkhombo dam.

Your number is on speed dial, Trevor! :thumbs_up:

Book your tickets so long! :lol: :lol: :lol:

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Latest Lifer(s): White-winged Flufftail, Dickinson's Kestrel, Senegal Coucal, Three-banded Courser, African Broadbill, Thrush Nightingale, Rufous-bellied Heron.

Follow me as I bird on Twitter @wildtuinman


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 Post subject: Re: Latest on Pels Fishing owl?
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 9:18 am 
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Go for it WTM... I look forward to getting the email from you with the mega photo... :cam:

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Last SA lifer: Amsterdam Albatross - 13 Jul '13 - Cape pelagic trip, Western Cape
Last World lifer: Junin Canastero - 24 May '14 - Marcapomacocha, Peru

My wildlife pics and reports: www.hardaker.co.za


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 Post subject: Re: Latest on Pels Fishing owl?
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 9:22 am 
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Yes Scipio.. I eat a lot.. believe me, I eata da Chicken.. a lot.

That reminds me, time for a shake.. Mmmm strawberry.

Ja, now I am so in the mood to go bird.. Damn you Trevor and WTM.


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 Post subject: Re: Latest on Pels Fishing owl?
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 9:23 am 
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Scipio wrote:
But now another question:

Now I have been travelling a fair amount, and lets say for the past 5 years I have taken pics like a madman of everything I see, (I have approx. 20000 bird pics) and of those I struggle to ID lets say a 1000, that due to lighting or bad pic taking or,or,or. How would I get them ID'd the best way. To post them all on the forum will be :wall: :wall: I am asking the question I think a lot of interested peoples would like to ask.


Scipio, feel free to mail your photos to me: wildtuinman@yahoo.com.

I will try and id them for you as best as I can. :thumbs_up:


Scipio, Daan lost a moerse lot of weight over the last two years. He is gymming every day and he looks a bit like Hulk. So I am afraid you will have to get something else to tease him over.

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Latest Lifer(s): White-winged Flufftail, Dickinson's Kestrel, Senegal Coucal, Three-banded Courser, African Broadbill, Thrush Nightingale, Rufous-bellied Heron.

Follow me as I bird on Twitter @wildtuinman


Last edited by wildtuinman on Fri Nov 09, 2012 9:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Latest on Pels Fishing owl?
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 9:27 am 
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Ja come one Scipio, even if you just post one or two a week, it will give everybody here something to do.. this birding forum has died down considerably over the last 2 years.. we need something to do. :thumbs_up:


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 Post subject: Re: Latest on Pels Fishing owl?
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 11:49 am 
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:thumbs_up: A few a week it will be. :thumbs_up:


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 Post subject: Re: Latest on Pels Fishing owl?
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 12:59 pm 
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Thanks to all who have contributed to this lively discussion.

For me, birding is one of my many pastimes, and I have been privileged to do it with some of you.

Pel's has been long on my 'to see' list. A car crash (not mine) prevented me from seeking one with the guy who knew where they were on the Okavango panhandle, and crawling along the Olifants river scanning all the trees was also fruitless, so actually seeing one free to fly away, brought me joy.

To me, that is what matters.

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 Post subject: Re: Latest on Pels Fishing owl?
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 1:06 pm 
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BB I am so glad you saw that big brown bird with those huge brown eyes ..But you never know you might spot another one or two on your forthcoming trip up North and I hold thumbs that you do.

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