A drive this afternoon along the Swartrivier Road and past Teslaarsdal in search of birds revealed mostly the usual suspects, however, I was amazed to see no fewer than 19 Denham’s Bustards. I thought there might be a good collective noun for them, but it is just a ‘flock of bustards’. Never mind, they were still pretty spectacular, but I would gladly have swapped a dozen of them for a Secretarybird!
Yesterday I opened a 1982 magnum of Landskroon Pinot Noir. The cork was soft and soaked, so I was prepared to throw the wine away, but decided to taste it first. It had gone quite brown, but I was amazed to find it quite drinkable, and very smooth, with little acid and no tannins. I decanted it for about 6 hours and then had three glasses. It was amazing that It had lasted so well and I look forward to finishing it over the next few days! It still had the original price tag on it for R13,50!!
There must have been something in the air this morning, when no less than 45 birders turned up to join the outing to Haygrove Farm! This necessitated dividing the group into two, so that Mike led one half and I, the other. We were accompanied by a visitor or two and everyone enjoyed the outing which yielded 51 species. Surprisingly, we saw no ducks, but this may have been because the dams were all very low. A deck in the forest near a dam provided the ideal site for a post-walk picnic.
These are what we saw: Cape Batis; Southern Red Bishop; Yellow Bishop; Southern Boubou; Cape Bulbul; Common Buzzard; Brimstone Canary; Cape Canary; Grey-backed Cisticola; Levaillant’s Cisticola; Red-knobbed Coot; Reed Cormorant; Blue Crane; Cape Crow; Cape Turtle Dove; Red-eyed Dove; Tambourine Dove; Fork-tailed Drongo; Common Fiscal; African Dusky Flycatcher; African Paradise Flycatcher; Fiscal Flycatcher; Egyptian Goose; Cape Grassbird; Little…
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WordPress has just informed me that with my previous post (on walking in Fernkloof) I had posted 500 articles on this blog. Quite a lot of history and a good reference to the events of the past 8 years!
The Stanford Bird Club very kindly invited a representative of HBC to join them on their inaugural cruise down the Klein River in the newly launched ‘Lady Stanford’ and Renee and I were the lucky participants. We set off at 7:30 am this morning along with around 20 local birders and spent three and a half hours enjoying the wonderful birding along the river.
The Lady Stanford is a purpose built river boat and it provided a wonderful platform from which to enjoy the abundant birdlife that the region has to offer. We saw no less than 66 species. There were many Giant Kingfishers, abundant African Darters, all the Grebes, three Herons, Falmingos galore and much more. The juvenile African Harrier-Hawk was a highlight as it pecked at its branch, and we saw two Osprey, as well a s a number of Fish Eagles.
At one point, a Bontebok on…
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On Saturday morning Renee and I went to Rooisand to see if we could find the Pectoral Sandpiper that had been reported there. As we approached the hide, we met up with Lester and Cheryl van Groeningen, and entered the hide together, whence we searched the surrounding area. We could not locate the Sandpiper, but suddenly Lester drew our attention to a whiter than usual Wagtail and we all wondered about this unusual looking bird, thinking that it was an aberrant form of Cape Wagtail. Luckily Lester had his big lens with him and took a few photos, which he circulated to Trevor and Faansie. At first they were not to excited about the bird, but Lester pursued the issue with them and they asked for more images.
We were, therefore, delighted yesterday evening to see that both Faansie and Trevor had put out notes suggesting that this bird is…
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Having been intrigued by the different colours displayed in a group of six Acrolophia ustulata, found in Fernkloof, we revisited there this morning to try to get better photographs. At first we found 4 separate plants with dark maroon flowers, but could not locate the group of 6. We spent half an hour searching, before eventually finding them right where I thought they should be! It just shows how difficult it is to see these tiny plants.
Anyway, the upshot of it all was that we found no less than 10 plants in a small area of around 10 sq. metres, which was really exciting, and testimony to the fact that there are probably many more around. Furthermore, we were able to conclusively show three distinct colours; maroon, yellow and brick-red, so were well pleased with our effort.