Tag Archives: SABAP2

Kamberg & Hlatikulu Sightings – January 2017

Kamberg January 2017 – By Pam Kleiman

I enjoyed watching numerous White Storks around the district


White Stork

The first of the Common Moorhen chicks seen on the small dam on Connington farm


Common Moorhen

A little Dark-capped Yellow Warbler drying off after a bath


Long-crested Eagle. I have yet to discover where these birds nest.


Long-crested Eagle

IMG 7585 Great excitement as I drove out from the farm on the 10th. Sitting on the Escom wires were three Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters. This is a bird rarely seen in the KZN Midlands.


Blue-cheaked Bee-eater

A Spotted Flycatcher I saw purely by chance as it darted out of dense foliage to catch an insect


Spotted Flycatcher

A rather intense stare from a Cape Weaver


Cape Weaver

IMG 7962 This month I started seeing Amur Falcons around the area. Amazing to think that these small birds migrate all the way from northern China every year


Amur Falcon

IMG 7970 A male Southern Red Bishop showing off his beautiful Summer plumage


Southern Red Bishop (male)

A few butterflies in the garden


Small patches of the beautiful Hesperantha coccinea seen along the banks of a crystal clear stream.


Hesperantha coccinea

Hlatikulu Conservancy January 2017 – By Pam Kleiman

On my rounds recording the birds for SABAP2 I so enjoy being able to take photos of what I see in order to share them on this forum. I do hope you enjoy rambling with me!

Bar-throated Apalis, a species I only ever see in one spot along the road from Mooi River to Hlatikulu


Bar-throated Apalis

An unexpected find in a swampy area covered in tall grasses – Cuckoo Finch


Cuckoo Finch

A little bird that has coined the nickname “Bumble-bee bird” for obvious reasons. A male Yellow-crowned Bishop


Yellow-crowned Bishop (male)

I was rather surprised to find a pair of Ostriches along the road to the Crane sanctuary.


Ostrich (male and female)

Western Osprey another favourite species seen occasionally on our dams in Summer


Western Osprey

A short parade by a Red-necked Spurfowl on the road in front of my vehicle


Red-necked Spurfowl

A small group of young Cape Longclaws were fluffed-up against the wind on a high, grassy slope


Cape Longclaw

I don’t see too many mammals on my travels, but do see the occasional Dassie / Rock hyrax


Dassie / Rock Hyrax

Brunsvigia natalensis – a solitary plant at the side of the road


Brunsvigia natalensis


Brunsvigia natalensis

A summer flowering aloe just past it’s prime



One of the few orchids I have seen this month. I think this is Satyrium longicauda


Satyrium longicauda


Satyrium longicauda

Vlei Orchid – ? Satyrium hallackii


Vlei Orchid – ? Satyrium hallackii

Kamberg Wildlife Sightings – June 2016

Pamela Ellenberger Kleiman

Being new to the district I hope to be able to contribute sightings occasionally from the Kamberg Conservancy.

A view from the D450 across the hill where 2 farmers regularly put out carcasses for the Vultures. As an atlasser I have seen a group of up to 40+ individuals flying in the area.


During the first 2 weeks of May I was privileged to see a large flock of Southern Bald Ibis in 4 different areas, the main one along the D450


I see this pair of Grey Crowned Cranes regularly along our valley which has a series of farm dams in it.


I love the name Groundscraper Thrush. The only time I have seen them they have been calling from the top of the tallest trees!


Red-throated Wryneck, a permanent visitor to my garden.


During May the Black-headed Oriole was often in the garden. Now in June I no longer hear it.


African Harrier-hawk is often seen in the Oak trees along our valley much to the annoyance of many of the small birds.


Just a picture of a Long-crested Eagle giving the eye to two Hadedas.


On the 23rd May there were still White Storks around despite the fact that we had already had a few mornings of quite heavy frost.


Hottentot Teal that were a new atlas recording for our area.


On the road to Fairview farm I recorded 2 pairs and 2 individual Secretarybirds last week.


Buff-streaked Chat. This is a Species I am delighted to be finding more and more often in our area.


There is an ever present flock of White-faced Whistling Ducks on ponds on one of our dairy farms.


Another new atlas recording – rather a bad shot, unfortunately of a Black Crake on Connington’s small dam.


This Denham’s Bustard was also another new atlas recording which I saw along the main road to Kamberg.


It is such a pleasure to have a pair of Lanner Falcons on Connington. They give me the occasional fly-past.


High up on grass veld last week I was surprised to find 6 Wattled Crane – such beautiful creatures.


A very skittish and unexpected visitor to my garden on Connington this week was a Black Sparrowhawk, only just managed this record shot before it flew off.


Great to be back in the country and be able to see Duiker wandering across the fields in front of my cottage.


June 21st. Full moon breaking through the cloud.


Boston Wildlife Sightings – March 2015

Crystelle Wilson: Gramarye

ONE morning a reedbuck spent several minutes running backwards and forwards on a hillside with what can only be described as pure joy of life.

CW 1

A joyful Common Reedbuck

On the birding front, an exciting lifer for me was a Rufous-breasted Sparrowhawk. The way to tell this bird apart from juvenile Black Sparrowhawks, which can also show rufous colouration on the chest, is that they have yellow eyes and not red like the Black Sparrowhawk.

CW 2

Rufous-breasted Sparrowhawk in flight

CW 3

Notice the diagnostic yellow eyes of the Rufous-breasted Sparrowhawk which sets it apart from it’s close relative the Black Sparrowhawk which has red eyes.

At the end of the breeding season there are many juvenile birds around. The plumage of these birds, especially raptors, can be very different from those of the adults. The trick is to look at the shape of the bird, rather than the colour of its feathers. One such individual flying overhead had me very puzzled, and it was only by looking at my photographs that I could identify it as an African Harrier-Hawk, messily dressed like the gawky teenager it was.

CW 4

African Harrier-Hawk in flight.

The juveniles of common birds such Common Fiscal can also be confusing.

Juvenile Common Fiscal

Juvenile Common Fiscal

Another exciting sighting was a pair of Wattled Cranes opposite the Mount Park Guestfarm near the Everglades Hotel. Tanya Smith of EWT’s crane project tells me that that was a traditional breeding site for the birds and she was very pleased to hear that they have been spotted again in the area.

CW 7

Tanya Smith of the Endangered Wildlife Trust searching for a crane chick

Tanya managed to successfully ring the surviving Grey Crowned Crane chick that was hatched at The Willows/Gramarye this season.

Surviving Grey Crowned Crane

Grey Crowned Crane chick trying to keep a low profile to avoid potential danger.

The SABAB2 atlas list for the Elandshoek pentad 2935_3000: Red-winged Starling, African Olive-Pigeon, Speckled Pigeon, African Harrier-Hawk, Amur Falcon, Jackal Buzzard, Steppe Buzzard, Malachite Sunbird, Malachite Kingfisher, Red-collared Widowbird, Sombre Greenbul, Banded Martin, (with its tell-tale white eyebrows and long wings)

CW 8

A gorgeous Banded Martin shows off its white eyebrow

Blacksmith Lapwing, Cape Grassbird, South African Shelduck, Yellow-billed Duck, Neddicky, Wing-snapping Cisticola, Brown-throated Martin, Common Waxbill, Black-headed Heron, Long-crested Eagle,

CW 9

The Long-crested Eagle is a KZN Midlands favourite!

Purple Heron, African Reed-Warbler, Little Rush-Warbler, Dark-capped Yellow Warbler, African Snipe, Zitting Cisticola, Black-headed Oriole, Red-throated Wryneck, African Paradise-Flycatcher, White-throated Swallow, African Rail, Black Sparrowhawk, Pied Kingfisher, Green Wood-Hoopoe, Cape Longclaw, Pin-tailed Whydah, Black Saw-wing, Cape Wagtail, Three-banded Plover,

CW 10

A Three-banded Plover on the waters edge

Speckled Mousebird, Barn Owl, Greater Striped Swallow, Amethyst Sunbird, Olive Thrush, Southern Grey-headed Sparrow, House Sparrow, Cape Sparrow, African Dusky Flycatcher, Fork-tailed Drongo, Cape White-eye, Yellow-fronted Canary, Spur-winged Goose, Drakensberg Prinia, African Stonechat, Egyptian Goose, Levaillant’s Cisticola, Black Crake, Common Moorhen, Little Grebe, Red-knobbed Coot, Cape Crow, Bokmakierie, African Darter, White-breasted Cormorant, Reed Cormorant, African Sacred Ibis, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Diderick Cuckoo, Village Weaver, Southern Red Bishop, Common Fiscal, Cape Robin-Chat, Southern Boubou, Cape Turtle-Dove, Red-eyed Dove, Hadeda Ibis, Grey Crowned Crane, Barn Swallow, Lanner Falcon.

CW 11

Lanner Falcon

Derek Hurlstone-Jones: The Rockeries

The iconic African Fish-Eagle was seen overhead while driving along R617 at the Elands river.

Bruce and Bev Astrup: Highland Glen
A pair of Greater Striped Swallow nested under the eaves where they successfully raised their young.

Glyn Bullock: Harmony
Floater flock of approximately 40 Grey Crowned Cranes were seen regularly on “Harmony”. Highest number noted being 51.

David Clulow visiting on 11 March:
Long-tailed Widowbird at “Seven Streams” T-junction; White Stork on 29 March; Mousebirds at Elands river.

Piet Nel and his son, Willem: Twin Rowan:
Besides seeing the parents of the surviving chick from the pan on The Willows, while they were feeding on “Gramarye”, we saw three Grey Crowned Cranes near the upper fence line on The Willows, with five chicks running and hiding in the tall grass.

Grey Crowned Crane chick on “The Willows”:
An unsuccessful attempt to ring the surviving chick being reared on The Willows on 11 March – because the chick, after being clearly spotted, did its belly crawl into the long grass, after which it lay ‘doggo’ and could not be found; but on 16 March, Tanya Smith of the African Crane Conservation Trust was successful, and the chick was suitably caught, ringed and then set free again.

Caroline McKerrow: Stormy Hill
March was a quiet month, but the highlight was a sighting of two Bushbuck.

David and Wizz Lawrence: The Willows
Three Grey Crowned Cranes flying overhead.

An unusual incident occurred when soot from the fireplace was being irritatingly released. The reason became apparent, when a Barn Owl flew out from the hearth, and into the kitchen, where Wizz caught it and set it free whereupon it flew immediately towards “Gramarye”. The Owl appeared thin, hungry and thirsty – apparently having been in the chimney for some while before it eventually managed to get past the draft release lever.

Rob Geldart: Boston View and Watershed
The usual pair of Wattled Cranes from the pan on “Myrtle Grove” together with their chick, now well grown. African Fish-Eagles are seen fairly often.

Christeen Grant: Sitamani
March is the month when a touch of autumn creeps in, the grass is starting to turn gold, a crispness in the air, but still storm clouds on the horizon. March is also the month of Moths and Mushrooms and there have been many!

01 Cover IMG_2922

A delightful Striped Stream Frog Strongylopus fasciatus sprang across the grass this morning outside the kitchen door, then obligingly waited for me to fetch my camera for a photo shoot! The house is about 150m from the nearest stream, so perhaps it is looking for a winter hibernation spot.

Amphibian Striped Stream Frog Strongylopus fasciatus IMG_2990

Striped Stream Frog – Strongylopus fasciatus

The Speckled Pigeons were most indignant when the planks that supported their nest were moved after their fledgling had flown. Happily they approve of the new arrangement and have already almost reared their youngest juvenile.

Bird Speckled Pigeon juvenile IMG_2977

Speckled Pigeon juvenile

Three flowers caught my eye, a first identification of Berkheya echinacea, also seen Helichrysum cooperi and the delicately elegant Hesperantha baurii.

Flower Berkheya echinacea IMG_2971

Berkheya echinacea

Helichrysum cooperi

Helichrysum cooperi

Hesperantha baurii

Hesperantha baurii

Some interesting insects in and around the house, the Mottled Veld Antlion flew in one evening,

Mottled Veld Antlion

Mottled Veld Antlion

I know where their larvae pits are in dry sandy soil.

Mottled Veld Antlion larvae pits

Mottled Veld Antlion larvae pits

The excerpt from Q&A Insects and Spiders of southern Africa (pub Struik 1993 S. Matthews, illustr. C. Grant) describes the larvae feeding habits.

Insect Antlion Struik

The excerpt from Q&A Insects and Spiders of southern Africa (pub Struik 1993 S. Matthews, illustr. C. Grant)

Cockroaches of the Hostilia sp.

Insect Cockroach Hostilia sp IMG_2987

Cockroach: Hostilia sp.

Insect Cockroach Hostilia sp P1030295

Cockroach: Hostilia sp

and this lovely Preying Mantis were also seen.

Common Mantid sp.

Common Mantid sp.

Many varied size, colour and shaped moths have settled for daytime rest. Some I haven’t been able to identify, if anyone can help I would be most grateful! Clouds of small dark moths flutter beneath the trees during the day, I think they are the daytime Handmaiden Amata sp..

Handmaiden Amata sp.

Handmaiden Amata sp.

Others include Plated Footman Sozusa scutellata, Pretoria Red Lines Cyana pretoriea and six more moths.

Plated Footman - Sozusa scutellata

Plated Footman – Sozusa scutellata

Pretoria Red Lines - Cyana pretoriea

Pretoria Red Lines – Cyana pretoriea

Insect Moth IMG_2986

Unidentified moth (1)

Insect Moth IMG_2985

Unidentified moth (2)

Insect Moth IMG_2983

Unidentified moth (3)

Insect Moth IMG_2969

Unidentified moth (4)

Insect Moth IMG_2968

Unidentified moth (5)

Insect Moth IMG_2961

Unidentified moth (6)

After each showery day multitudes of fungi appear, (I haven’t managed to identify all of them); Bolete or Cep, Blusher Amanita rubescens, Earth-star, Fly Agaric Amanita muscaria, Cinnabar Bracket Pycnoporus sanguineus and two more.

Bolete or Cep

Bolete or Cep

Fungi Blusher Amanita rubescens IMG_2941

Blusher – Amanita rubescens



Fly Agaric - Amanita muscaria

Fly Agaric – Amanita muscaria

Tropical Cinnabar Bracket - Pycnoporus sanguineus

Tropical Cinnabar Bracket – Pycnoporus sanguineus

Fungi IMG_2956

Unidentified Fungi (1)

Fungi IMG_2952

Unidentified Fungi (2)

Cape Serotine bats Pipistrellus capensis flit at dusk and dawn. Common Reedbuck come to the greener grass near the house to graze at night. Duiker pick their way through the long grass and almost every evening the Black-backed Jackal call.

Boston Wildlife Sightings – February 2015

Sitamani – Christeen Grant

As I’ve been away for most of February I have concentrated on the beautiful moths that settle outside the kitchen door most evenings.

Moth Mopane Moth Imbrasia belina

Mopane Moth Imbrasia belina

Some I haven’t been able to identify, if anyone can help I would be most grateful! Eggar Moth sp Family Lasiocampidae, Golden Plusia Trichoplusia orichalcea, Hawk Moth sp Family Sphingidae, Mopane Moth Imbrasia belina, Tri-coloured Tiger Rhodogastria amasis, Two-phase Emerald Rhadinomphax divincta,

Moth Two-phase Emerald Rhadinomphax divincta

Two-phase Emerald Rhadinomphax divincta

Moth Tri-coloured Tiger Rhodogastria amasis

Tri-coloured Tiger Rhodogastria amasis

Moth Hawk Moth sp Family Sphingidae

Hawk Moth sp Family Sphingidae

Moth Golden Plusia Trichoplusia orichalcea

Golden Plusia Trichoplusia orichalcea

Moth Eggar Moth sp family Lasiocampidae

Eggar Moth sp family Lasiocampidae

plus four with no name….

Moth P1020356 Moth P1020354 Moth P1020353 Moth P1020352

The two main flowers out this month have been Watsonia densiflora and Kniphofia augustifolia.

Watsonia densiflora

Watsonia densiflora

Kniphofia augustifolia

Kniphofia augustifolia

We have experienced strong winds in February just before thunderstorms and sadly a beautiful Amethyst Sunbird nest was blown out of a tree.

Bird Amethyst Sunbird nest P1030067

Then I spotted a Spectacled Weaver nest only partially completed, obviously the female’s exacting standards hadn’t been met.

Bird Spectacled Weaver nest P1030066

There have been some very beautiful sunrises and one evening a perfectly clear sky just after sunset with the evening star shining bright.

Cover photo Sunrise P1020687


Cover photo Sunset with an evening star P1020615

Sunset with an evening star

Gramarye – Crystelle Wilson

Several pairs of Grey Crowned Cranes appear to have bred successfully this summer. I saw chicks with their parents at at least four sites in the district.


Grey Crowned Cranes with chicks

The pair on The Willows and Gramarye produced three chicks, but two must have been predated as by the end of the month there was only one still with the adults.


Grey Crowned Crane with remaining chick

Talking about cranes, it has been a delight to see floater flocks of Grey Crowned Cranes numbering about 20 flying between Harmony and Netherby farms at dawn and dusk.


Flock of Grey Crowned Cranes

An uncommon visitor this month at the dam on The Drift was a Purple Heron.


Purple Heron

While driving to the Geldart’s cottages on Boston View a heard a loud click coming from trees right next to the car and managed to snap a picture of an African Goshawk before it disappeared from view.


African Goshawk

Birding was good in February, with most migrants still present, like the Barn Swallows who will be leaving for Europe soon.


Barn Swallows

The SABAB2 atlas list for the Elandshoek pentad 2935_3000: Wing-snapping Cisticola, Purple Heron, African Hoopoe, Red-winged Starling, Steppe Buzzard,


Steppe Buzzard

Terrestrial Brownbul, Barratt’s Warbler, African Olive-Pigeon, Cape Batis, Bar-throated Apalis, Sombre Greenbul, Pale-crowned Cisticola, African Goshawk, Thick-billed Weaver, Pied Kingfisher, Blacksmith Lapwing, Malachite Kingfisher, Wailing Cisticola, Amur Falcon, African Firefinch, Neddicky, Drakensberg Prinia, Pied Starling, Yellow-throated Woodland-Warbler, Speckled Mousebird, Cape Longclaw, Buff-spotted Flufftail, Red-chested Flufftail, African Rail, African Fish-Eagle, Long-crested Eagle, Cape Crow, Cape Canary, White Stork, Black Saw-wing, Diderick Cuckoo, African Black Duck, Common Waxbill, Cape Grassbird, Black-headed Oriole, Little Rush-Warbler, Dark-capped Yellow Warbler,


Dark-capped Yellow Warbler

Little Grebe, Red-knobbed Coot, Moorhen, Common, Yellow-billed Duck, Cape Weaver, African Darter,


African Darter

Red-collared Widowbird, Bokmakierie, Cormorant, (you can tell the cormorants apart by the colour of their eyes) White-breasted Cormorant (green eye)


White-breasted Cormorant

Reed Cormorant (red eye)


Reed Cormorant

Greater Striped Swallow, African Pipit, Egyptian Goose,


Egyptian Geese

African Reed-Warbler, Southern Boubou, Brown-throated Martin, Black-headed Heron, Jackal Buzzard, Levaillant’s Cisticola, African Paradise-Flycatcher, Village Weaver, Pin-tailed Whydah, Olive Thrush, Giant Kingfisher, Speckled Pigeon, House Sparrow, Southern Grey-headed Sparrow, Cape Sparrow, Red-throated Wryneck


Red-throated Wryneck

Common Fiscal, Burchell’s Coucal, African Dusky Flycatcher, Amethyst Sunbird, Fork-tailed Drongo, Green Wood-Hoopoe, Cape Robin-Chat, Dark-capped Bulbul, Grey Crowned Crane, Cape White-eye, Red-necked Spurfowl, Yellow-fronted Canary, Barn Swallow, Cattle Egret


Cattle Egret

Zitting Cisticola, African Stonechat, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Southern Red Bishop, Red-eyed Dove, Cape Turtle-Dove, Hadeda Ibis, Cape Wagtail.

Stormy Hill Horse Trails – Caroline McKerrow

Two sightings of serval cat. One in the forest where I ride and one on the road near Everglades hotel. Both of them jumped into the bushes and disappeared when I got near. Mountain reedbuck in the forest and Vervet monkeys at my stables.


The following is an account I put on my facebook page on 12 February. I was driving towards town in the morning and as I came through the forest near Mafagatini, I saw a jackal come out of the forest onto the grass. The poor thing had its whole head stuck in a two litre plastic bottle of maas. It couldn’t see where it was going and trotted around in circles. I pulled over and jumped out of the car and made my way quietly over to it. It had fallen down and got back up again resuming its circular path, and as it came by me I grabbed the maas bottle handle. So, now I’d got the jackal and I started to ease off the bottle. I think it realised what was happening and started pulling against me as the bottle was working its way up its neck towards its ears. The jackal had been trying to get at the maas and bitten a hole in the plastic and then got stuck in there once it had put its head through. Then the ears came through and the jackal was free. It took one look at me, it’s eyes widened in shock and fear from having a human so close. It turned tail and ran back into the forest. What a lovely animal to see up close and I came away happy that I’d saved it from a long and painful death. What a start to the morning.