Tag Archives: denhams bustard

Kamberg Wildlife Sightings – August 2016

Pamela Kleiman – Connington Farm

A very quiet month as far as creatures and plants go, however, being an atlasser it was great to see the start of the migrant birds coming into the area.

Early in the month I was pleased to see quite a large group of Cape Vultures near the Connington road from Rosetta. They seemed to be feeding on something small hidden under some willow trees in a small gully where they were joined by a Yellow-billed Kite and some Pied Crows.

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Cape Vulture

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Cape Vultures

There have been a lot of young Jackal Buzzards around, some of them with very confusing colour variations

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Jackal Buzzard

Down my end of the valley I usually only see Southern Red Bishops so was nice to see some Yellow Bishops for a change – still in their Winter plumage

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Yellow Bishop

Cape Longclaw one of my favourites – just love their kitten-like mewing call

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Cape Longclaw

The first signs of Spring

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Halleria lucida

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Buddleja salvifolia with its gorgeous scent

Two early migrants, Yellow-billed Kite and White-throated Swallow

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Yellow-billed Kite

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White-throated Swallow

A first record for pentad 2915_2950 was a Squacco Heron

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Squacco Heron

Egyptian Geese and Common Moorhen in amongst the water lilies

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Egyptian Geese in the foreground and Common Moorhen in the background

The male Village Weavers are suddenly in full summer plumage and looking so dapper

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Village Weaver (male)

Hlatikulu Conservancy Area by Pamela Kleiman

The mountains were looking splendid in their covering of snow earlier in the month.

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A lucky close sighting of a pair of Oribi

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Oribi (female)

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The male Oribi silhouetted against the snowy ‘berg

A few early flowers after the fire season

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I unexpectedly found this pair of Denham’s Bustards on a recently burnt hill

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Denham’s Bustard

A pair of Ground Woodpeckers flew out of holes in the road cutting as I drove past

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Ground Woodpeckers

I have come across Sentinel Rock Thrush in a few places now

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Sentinel Rock Thrush (female)

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Sentinel Rock Thrush (male)

I often see Buff-streaked Chats I the area

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Buff-streaked Chat (male)

It’s not too often I get to see a Red-throated Wryneck out in the open, let alone get a reasonable photo of one!

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Red-throated Wryneck

Boston Wildlife Sightings – June 2016

Crystelle Wilson of Gramarye

Winter truly arrived in June and we regularly had temperatures of -6ºC in the mornings.

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A Cape Longclaw tried its best to warm up in the first weak rays of the sun at the edge of a dam

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Cape Longclaw

A sad sighting was that of a dead Spotted Eagle-Owl lying on the path to the river. We couldn’t work out why it died, but it appeared as if its neck was broken.

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Spotted Eagle-Owl lying dead on the path

Very welcome sights were that of Denham’s Bustards on a few occasions

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Denham’s Bustards

In the frost in a maize field (above) and ponderously taking to the air (below)

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Denham’s Bustard in flight

The atlas list for the Elandshoek pentad 2935_3000: White-breasted Cormorant, Long-crested Eagle, Common Moorhen, Yellow-fronted Canary, Red-knobbed Coot, Levaillant’s Cisticola, Brown-throated Martin, Malachite Kingfisher, Pied Starling, African Stonechat, Little Grebe, Egyptian Goose, Yellow-billed Duck, African Spoonbill, Black-shouldered Kite (carrying out its pest control duties)

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Black-shouldered Kite

Red-winged Starling, African Sacred Ibis, Bar-throated Apalis, Jackal Buzzard, Cape Crow, Common Fiscal, Spotted Eagle-owl, Green Wood-hoopoe, Red-necked Spurfowl, Olive Woodpecker, Speckled Pigeon, Cape Glossy Starling, Sombre Greenbul, Black-headed Heron, Dark-capped Bulbul,

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Dark-capped Bulbul

Amethyst Sunbird, Fork-tailed Drongo, Hadeda Ibis,

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Hadeda Ibis

Southern Boubou, Helmeted Guineafowl, Olive Thrush, House Sparrow, Cape Robin-chat, Village Weaver (making the most of hospitality on offer at the feeding station)

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Village Weavers

As did the Cape White-eyes

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Cape White-eyes

Bokmakierie, Drakensberg Prinia,

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Drakensberg Prinia

Red-eyed Dove, Cape Turtle-dove, African Firefinch. The Grey Crowned Crane family continued with their daily routine, the youngster is still with the parents and roost with them at night.

 

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Grey Crowned Crane family

Caroline McKerrow of Stormy Hill

There were three Mountain Reedbuck on the hill. The Common (Grey) Duiker was seen a few times and the Vervet Monkey troop have been visiting. An African Fish-Eagle cruised around overhead. An African Harrier-hawk landed in one of the trees and flew off with one of our resident Weaver birds. A Common Reedbuck was seen while out on a ride. Jackals have been heard a lot with the dogs barking to let them know that they are not welcome near the house.

Christeen Grant of Sitamani

June and fire-break burning are synonymous, tracer lines burnt earlier in April hold the fire when the breaks are burnt. A damp day preceded our burn day so fortunately we had an ideal cool burn, that doesn’t damage the plant life as severely. Jackal Buzzards, Drongos, Long-crested Eagles and Cape Crows wheeled around looking for rodents displaced from their homes. The fires are dramatic, particularly in the late afternoon.

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Despite the very dry and cool conditions some of my favourite flowers found here were blooming, bright golden yellow and orange Aloe maculata on the hillside;

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Aloe maculata

snow white, delicate Buddleja dysophylla;

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Buddleja dysophylla

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Buddleja dysophylla

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Buddleja dysophylla

Buddleja salvifolia buds are swelling, almost ready to bloom;

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Buddleja salvifolia

tiny, cheerful Euryops laxus have popped up in the short grass around the house; in the tracer-lines,

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Europs laxus

early Gerbera ambigua;

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Gerbera ambigua

Halleria lucida is flowering profusely and creating a magnet for birds and insects;

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Halleria lucida

a neon coloured Ipomoea bolusiana plant took advantage of the shelter along the warm east side of the house.

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Ipomoea bolusiana

The male Black-backed Puffback is still persistently trying to attack his mirrored image in the windows, defending his patch. When resting he is starting to display his courtship puffback. The birdbaths are very sought after and often up to 30 Cape White-eyes splash and drink together, the shy Southern Boubou, Cape Robin-chats and Dark-capped Bulbuls take their turn in the verandah birdbath. The Fork-tailed Drongos, Olive Thrushes, Canaries and Cape Sparrows prefer the birdbath under the trees in the garden. Also seen were a flock of Common Waxbills, African Stonechats, Buff-streaked Chats, Amethyst Sunbirds, a Spotted Eagle-Owl and a Cape Batis. A Fish Eagle can be heard regularly calling from the valley.

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Black-backed Puffback (male)

The Lesser Savanna Dormice, Grahiurus kelleni, are still very much in residence, though seen less frequently, particularly in cooler weather. The young Duiker has moved off on it’s own, we still see all three around, but separately.

A few butterflies seen are what I think is a Common Hottentot male,

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Common Hottentot (male)

and a Geranium Bronze, Cacyreus marshalli.

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Geranium Bronze

An unusual Katydid perched on the backstep.

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Kaytid

A spider I hadn’t seen before and rescued from the bath, was identified as a Funnel web wolf spider, Family Lycosidae.

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Funnel web wolf spider

Boston Wildlife Sightings – May 2014

Christeen Grant – Sitamani
We have had truly stunning weather during May, an Indian Summer. Brilliant blue skies and amazing dawn and sunsets.

Plant Autumn veld

Bees have been congregating wherever there has been water, puddles and even taps, as it’s been so dry. I have seen several Gaudy Commodores in the winter form, blue and black with scarlet markings. Carpenter Bees are attracted to the Polygala myrtifolia flowers in the shrubbery

Insect Carpenter Bee

and there was a lovely russet Stinkbug on our kitchen door one morning.

Insect Stinkbug

The grasses have turned into a glowing mix of autumn hues, a dried Crassula alba flower blended well into the palette.

Plant Crassula alba

Aloe maculata plants are covered in buds.

Plant Aloe maculata buds

Here and there are a few brave flowers, Nemesia caerulea,

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Sutera floribunda

Plant Sutera floribunda

and Senecio polyanthemoides which attracted a wide range of small beetles, and neatly camouflaged, a hungry green Praying Mantis!

Plant Senecio polyanthemoides with Praying Mantis

Early one morning just before sunrise a male Common Reedbuck sauntered down our driveway, and on a few occasions Duiker browse under the trees in the orchard.

Mammal Common Reedbuck male

There was a fresh Porcupine scraping near the house. Black-backed Jackal call most evenings.

Mammal Porcupine scraping

A persistent Rock Kestrel decided our hillside was his territory and repeatedly dive-bombed two Pied Crows until they flew off. Hadeda Ibis complacently forage around the garden.

Bird Hadeda Ibis

The Speckled Pigeons have hatched a brood very late in the season in the garage. The bared branches of the Sweet Chestnut tree near the house exposed a Dark-capped Bulbul nest. In summer they had been flitting in and out of the dense foliage.

Bird Dark-capped Bulbul nest

A Black-backed Puffback has been displaying his white ‘puff’ in the wisteria on the verandah.  In the late afternoons, a chittering flock of Cape White-eyes love exploring the Natal Bottlebrush, Greyia sutherlandii, which already has buds on it.

Bird Cape White-eyes

The Cape Glossy Starlings have visited the garden several times this month. In the grass down near our gate I’ve seen an African Hoopoe, and sunning themselves on rocks, African Stonechats.

Bird African Stonechat Female

At the moment a Drakensberg Prinia has decided that he must stake his territory and fend off his ‘reflected-image’ in the sitting room window, giving beautiful close-up sightings.

Bird Drakensberg Prinia a

Lizards can be seen soaking up the sun, in leaf litter. Including Variable Skinks

Reptile Variable Skink

and between wooden slats, a small Agama.

Reptile Agama

Caroline McKerrow – Stormy Hill

A Caracal in the forest while on a horse ride.

Barbara and David Clulow – The Willows

On 18 May saw the floater Flock of Grey Crowned Cranes walking in a long stately, slow queue on Melrose farm at 5:20 pm over a rise and down into a dip, where they could no longer be seen

Barbara took this photo of a Gymnogene along the Dargle Road

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While driving along Dargle road, a Lanner Falcon poised for take-off from a perch on a pole

DSCF1670 (3)Lanner Falcon

And a juvenile Gymnogene (African Harrier-Hawk) being dive-bombed by some irritated defenders

gymnogene being divebombed

myriads of monkeys munching mielies

DSCF1657Monkeys with mealies

Crystelle Wilson – Gramarye

It is possible to find new sightings even after so many years of birding in the district. This month I added Red-backed Mannikin to my lists for the first time after spotting them in the forest on Norwood. Unfortunately they didn’t allow my camera lens to get too close to them as they flitted about in the foliage.

Red-backed-Mannikin

The annual Cape Parrot count was disappointing with only one confirmed sighting at Boston View, although others were heard at Impendle and on the Ridge at Inhlosane.

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But it was good to hear and see an African Goshawk on its dawn patrol at the Ridge

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and finding a Long-crested Eagle on a nest on the banks of the Elands River at Boston.

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I spotted another buzzard with confusing plumage, very dark to be a Steppe Buzzard, and out of season, but not resembling juvenile Jackal Buzzards. Even the experts declined to call it, advising me to look the other way when I see it again!

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Other welcome sights were Denham’s Bustard,

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Black-winged Lapwings and the more common Blacksmith Lapwing comparing its black-and-white outfit with that of its bovine friend.

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The atlas list for the Elandshoek pentad 2935_3000 was: Cape Glossy Starling, Red-throated Wryneck, Green Wood-hoopoe, Cape White-eye, Cape Sparrow, Red-eyed Dove, Cape Turtle Dove, Dark-capped Bulbul, Village Weaver, African Dusky Flycatcher, Speckled Mousebird, Southern Greyheaded Sparrow, Cape Robin-Chat, Fork-tailed Drongo, Common Fiscal, South African Shelduck, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Red-collared Widowbird, Hadeda Ibis, Egyptian Goose, Common Waxbill, African Sacred Ibis, Cape Crow,

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African Rail, Bokmakierie, Grey Crowned Crane, Spur-winged Goose, Denham’s Bustard, Long-crested Eagle, Southern Red Bishop, Red-necked Spurfowl, Black-headed Heron, Greater Striped-Swallow, Spotted Eagle-Owl, African Pipit, Little Grebe, African Darter, Blacksmith Lapwing, Cape Longclaw, Red-knobbed Coot, Cape Weaver, Yellow-billed Duck, Common Moorhen, Cape Wagtail, Cape Canary, Buff-spotted Flufftail, Amethyst Sunbird, Pin-tailed Whydah, African Hoopoe, Pied Kingfisher, Le Vaillant’s Cisticola, African Stonechat, Southern Boubou, Pied Crow, Lanner Falcon,

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Red-billed Quelea, House Sparrow, Brown-throated Martin, Jackal Buzzard, Pied Starling, Reed Cormorant, African Black Duck, Cape Parrot, African Harrier-Hawk, Black-shouldered Kite, Olive Woodpecker, Cape Batis, Sombre Greenbul, Southern Black Tit, Black-headed Oriole, Red-winged Starling, Southern Double-collared Sunbird, Black-backed Puffback, Thick-billed Weaver, Yellow-fronted Canary, Helmeted Guineafowl, Bar-throated Apalis, Wattled Crane.Boston_7179_Wattled-Crane

Bruce and Bev Astrup of Highland Glen watched a Lanner Falcon circling above

Cape Parrot Count: Crystelle Wilson, Barbara and David Clulow

On 17th and 18th May we counted Cape Parrots at Flemmington, at Boston View House with the huge Yellowwoods well stocked with kernels, and on the ridge below southern Inhlosane – walking up in minus 3 degrees Celsius at 6 am to overlook the magnificent indigenous forests. We heard Cape Parrots in the distance, saw one flying overhead and perching several times, but nothing like a few years ago.

lone cape parrot