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Warblers, River

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa
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Warblers, River

Unread post by Owl » Thu Mar 26, 2009 6:19 pm

In the recently published Roberts Bird Guide Kruger National Park and adjacent Lowveld, the River Warbler is not treated in the main text.

It does appear on the list of Vagrants at the end where it is described as "rare non breeding Palaearctic migrant to region".

This allocation is perhaps a bit of misleading as the species is prone to local explosions in suitable habitat and 2009 certainly seems to be a good year for this Eastern European species that has a disjointed migration route and only arrives in South Africa in late summer and despite its very reclusive habit becomes quite vocal and sexually charged before it makes the journey back to its European breeding grounds.

Last week there were reports of a bird in Satara camp (See Kruger Birds topic), but today the following reports have been circulated from Faansie Peacock, author of Pipits of Southern Africa and the Gauteng Bird Guide and one of the country's leading lights on LBJs.

> RIVER WARBLER 3: One singing male RIGHT IN SKUKUZA CAMP in Kruger - in
> dense
> thickets near where a secondary road splits off to chalets 210-216. This
> bird was briefly seen dropping down through the grassy understorey after
> completing a singing bout at about 08:30 in the morning on 23 March 2009.
> While searching for this bird, we heard a creaking, stuttering krr-r-r-r-r
> (like the ratchet-call of a robin-chat). This came from the ground below
> the
> same shrub that the warbler was singing from, and was followed by a flash
> of
> brown as something scuttled through the undergrowth. It would be logical
> to
> think that the culprit was the semi-terrestrial River Warbler, but the
> call
> just sounded to low-pitched and too powerful for a small warbler - I am
> tempted to suggest that there might be a Thrush Nightingale and a River
> Warbler in the same bush in Skukuza!
> RIVER WARBLER 4 & 5 (&6?): At least two, possibly three, birds were also
> encountered along the S2 (Doispane Road), which links Phabeni Gate with
> the
> main Kruger Gate/Skukuza road. Here two males were heard singing
> simultaneously, while some alarm notes could might have been one of the
> males or a third (female?) bird. The birds were active in some dense
> roadside scrub in a small gulley, and I have a feeling that a patient
> vigil
> at this spot might produce reasonable views of these super skulkers! That
> being said, we encountered all five these birds purely by accident - I am
> sure if you have more time to explore, you are likely to find many of
> these
> vastly under-recorded warblers throughout the Lowveld!

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