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Old Monday 2nd February 2009, 09:50   #576
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One day, when I get over to England, I shall go and stand in an English forest at dawn . . . .
Better hurry, Sal, before they build airports all over them!

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Old Monday 2nd February 2009, 09:53   #577
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Hi Dave,
I'm not really the best person to ask on bird calls, but I think there are Robin, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch and a woodpigeon.
Allan
Thanks for the info, Allan, I'll go back and have another listen. I'm hoping to visit UK in late March, so I'll try to get up early at least once to see what I can hear!

Best wishes,
Dave
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Old Monday 2nd February 2009, 11:03   #578
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Better hurry, Sal, before they build airports all over them!

Dave
Do they do that in UK too? Aaaarrrrggh.
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Old Monday 2nd February 2009, 15:44   #579
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Oh dear Allan, you will have to sit at home and watch boring old birds . . . .
Funny you should say that - guess what I did this morning

We had 30 cm of snow last night and everything has ground to a halt. More snow and temperatures of -5 forecast tonight. 3 weeks to go then Sun and warmth.

Dave,
where are you visiting in March?

Allan
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Old Monday 2nd February 2009, 15:50   #580
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I was just thinking, this is the "Your Local Patch" thread.

I live 10,000Km away - how local is that

Allan

ps - it does feel like home though
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Old Monday 2nd February 2009, 16:12   #581
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But in 3 weeks time you wont live 10 000km away, you'll be a total local. A 'local is lekker' local. Besides, you add a certain je ne sais quoi to this thread, something to do with knowing about both the South African and the English bird life and thus being able to draw comparisons that we can't.
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Old Monday 2nd February 2009, 16:48   #582
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But in 3 weeks time you wont live 10 000km away, you'll be a total local. A 'local is lekker' local. Besides, you add a certain je ne sais quoi to this thread, something to do with knowing about both the South African and the English bird life and thus being able to draw comparisons that we can't.
You say the nicest things

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Old Monday 2nd February 2009, 17:35   #583
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You say the nicest things

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Old Monday 2nd February 2009, 20:13   #584
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Dave,
where are you visiting in March?

Allan
Allan, I expect to split my time between the Glasgow/Firth of Clyde area, Mull of Kintyre (Campbeltown/Machrihanish) and the Ardnamurchan peninsula. That's where all our relatives live, and they're the reason we're going across. You may not know this, but I was born and educated in Scotland, coming to Africa after graduation from Glasgow University. Hoping to arrive around 28th March, and will stay for a month or so.

So you can come here to look at SA birds, and I will reciprocate by looking at UK birds (and if possible, a pine marten). I suspect you will have better weather!

And keep in touch while you're here in SA! We're all bursting with curiosity about what you might see.

Best wishes,
Dave K

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Old Tuesday 3rd February 2009, 17:45   #585
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Allan, I expect to split my time between the Glasgow/Firth of Clyde area, Mull of Kintyre (Campbeltown/Machrihanish) and the Ardnamurchan peninsula. That's where all our relatives live, and they're the reason we're going across. You may not know this, but I was born and educated in Scotland, coming to Africa after graduation from Glasgow University. Hoping to arrive around 28th March, and will stay for a month or so.

So you can come here to look at SA birds, and I will reciprocate by looking at UK birds (and if possible, a pine marten). I suspect you will have better weather!

And keep in touch while you're here in SA! We're all bursting with curiosity about what you might see.

Best wishes,
Dave K

Hi Dave,
have a great time in Scotland. I visited that area a long time ago and had a great time. A pine marten would be fantastic, I'd like to see one of those, so the best of luck to you.

One interesting point on the wishing people luck front. We say I'll keep my fingers crossed, you say I'll hold my thumb. Where do these expressions come from?

It's a shame that you are not coming closer to us as it woud have been nice to meet and share a few beers and some tall tales. Maybe in SA!

On the weather front you are probably right. I still haven't been able to get to work today. I hope tomorrow will be ok (I'm self employed so no work, no pay ). However it is forecast to freeze tonight and more snow on Thursday. The poor birds are really suffering. Having said that there was little display or territorial behaviour in the garden, the severe weather has meant that the birds are now desperately trying to stake out territories around one of our feeding stations (we have 3). The robins are particularly aggressive - maybe a bit like the pin-tailed wydahs, but here usually only restricted to the same species.

Thanks for the kind words about what we may see. I'll try to post updates while we are in SA.

Three weeks today and I will be home and warm

Allan
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Old Tuesday 3rd February 2009, 18:42   #586
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Hi Dave,
have a great time in Scotland. I visited that area a long time ago and had a great time. A pine marten would be fantastic, I'd like to see one of those, so the best of luck to you.
Speyside Wildlife have a hide where Pine Martens are regular visitors. Well worth booking a place.
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Old Tuesday 3rd February 2009, 22:58   #587
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Here's another link for Dawn Chorus in UK..

http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/programm...us/index.shtml


Sorry that I have not yet written up any tales of daring do in South Africa. I shall attempt to write up a bit at a time...the photos still need cropping not that I can do much in Photoshop yet!

I have begun to put my bird list for SA on Bubo listing - under Africa Life list -
here
http://www.bubo.org/listing/View-All-Lists.html
Up to 70 something...a lot more to go!
At present there is no subspecies for Yellow-billed Buzzard!
I think I will have to request a Southern Africa list!

I enjoy reading up on your tales.

Snow still here in London altho melted a bit today in the sunshine.
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Old Wednesday 4th February 2009, 09:32   #588
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Birding with Sea Eagle from the Kruger to Drakensburg.

Arrived at Jo'burg 45 mins late, which was good flying as we had been delayed at Heathrow with ice on our wings. Had to wait for a de-icing machine(?) before the Pilot would take us up and away!

Uneventful flight - had 2 seats to myself but a more uncomfortable economy seat I have never experienced before. Thanks SAS! The armrests didn't go down far enough. Enough already!

At Joburg started the List!
African Palm Swift my first SA bird! Crag Martin, Red-winged Starling,Cape Sparrow and Cape Wagtail. Then it was the familiar House Sparrow and Feral Pigeon.Little Swifts flying with a Cattle Egret up a gantry! Glossy Ibis flew past and Common Mynas stalked the floor!

So to Phalaborwa - aboard a small plane. with props- well -I remember a Soviet Fly boy with oodles of medals telling me in 1981 when flying in a similar plane, its not the propeller going round that should worry you its when it stops!
Unfortunately the weather was a bit overcast so not the best views.

Arrived at the airport -to find that my luggage hadn't arrived with me.
Glad I had put that spare T-shirt in my backpack! But no cosmetics - sun protection to you ...eek.No long sleeves eeeekkkk -I react to bites - no protection there then! Hope that a shop would be open at the first camp!

Wonder when the luggage would arrive?

Then it was leaving the Lesser Masked Weavers to build their nests with the Drongo's buzzing about. Now everything happened at a really alaming rate....
birds left right and centre with mammals added into the mix. Quite where one was supposed to look!

Grey-headed Hornbills with White -backed Vulture on a nest.A European Beeeater! A Magpie Shrike and a Bearded Woodpecker.

Then it was the Raptors....a tight-rope walking Bateleur, Wahlbergs Eagle on a nest. African Fish and Tawny Eagles. Great stuff!
Then the bird I had been hoping to see Lilac-breasted Roller and after swooning -there was a Purple Roller! Chin-spot Batis and their "three blind mice" song!

Then there were the Storks - aptly named Woolly -necked and the magnificant Marabou. Then some noisy individual and collectively Helmeted Guineafowl.

Help overload....

The Mammals seen on route to Letaba Camp included Warthogs,
the wonderful Elephants, Impalas (stripy bottoms) a couple of male Lions and Baboons.

When we arrived at the Camp we took a walk. Bushbucks all over and the birds were incredibly tame. More Lesser masked Weavers, Greater Blue-eared Starlings (quite the dashing gigalo!) Speckled Mousebird and the Crested Barbet...what a great bird that is! Oh and the tree Squirrels.
Green Pigeons (African) were pretending to be Parrots. (sorry inside joke for Jan!)
We had an opportunity to look across the Letaba River where we spotted a Nile Crocodile (rather glad it was where it was and no closer!) Blacksmith's Plovers were picked out in their very smart uniforms, Water Thick Knee, Little Egrets and Three-banded Plovers looking really lovely with their grey cheeks and smart bands. We also saw an Elephant and then finally a Collared Praticole. Have to admit it was quite nice to see a bird one recognised instead of thinking whats-sthat?

I went to the shop and found one longsleved garment I could be seen dead or alive in! (The blouses were just aweful -do people really wear these ruffled edged cotton things? Actually a rather nice lightweight hooded jacket -which did for going out later on! (So a hoodie I became!)
The suntan cream I bought I was allergic too - but learnt that the following day...it was very cheap -but the most expensive in the shop...I ought to have borrowed some!

I have to say I was knackered - we ate at the Camp Restaurant - either the food was average or I was so tired I didn't notice!
Sleep! To the sounds of the African bush and darkness.
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Old Wednesday 4th February 2009, 11:05   #589
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Dryocopus - great report so far, am loving it. Cant wait to know when the luggage arrives, what other birds you saw, what happened with the suncream etc etc!

I see that you saw the Grey-winged Francolin , I've yet to see one! And lots of other really nice birds. I have been looking for a Black-crowned Night Heron for ages - only sen one once many years ago. One or two of your bird names caught me for a moment and maybe it's because I haven't caught up with all the new names. One is the Long-tailed Cormorant, which we call the Reed Cormorant then there is the Fasciated Snake-Eagle which we call the Southern Banded Snake-Eagle and finally the Intermediate Egret - Yellow-billed Egret here.

Re the clothing: I think most of the stuff in the Parks shops is stocked with tourists in mind!

Looking forward to the next post.
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Old Wednesday 4th February 2009, 11:30   #590
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One interesting point on the wishing people luck front. We say I'll keep my fingers crossed, you say I'll hold my thumb. Where do these expressions come from?

Allan
You've got me there - being Scottish, I still keep my fingers crossed, but I know neither the origin of that, nor of the expression "holding thumbs".
Another interesting point - when I indicate the number three, I hold my thumb and fourth finger (pinkie to the Scots) together, then, with the back of my hand outwards, hold up my index, second and third fingers. Here they face the hand forward, hold thumb and forefinger together, and raise the last three fingers. I have absolutely no idea why this should be so.

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Old Wednesday 4th February 2009, 11:33   #591
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Speyside Wildlife have a hide where Pine Martens are regular visitors. Well worth booking a place.
Frank, thanks for this info. I don't think I'll have time to go to Speyside on this trip, but I'll bear it in mind. Ardnamurchan does have a reasonable population of pine martens, so maybe I'll get lucky. It also receives visits from the Mull sea eagles, so I'm hoping for that as well.

Best wishes,
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Old Wednesday 4th February 2009, 11:44   #592
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Dryocopus,
Thanks for your first report. Looking forward to the others. You did well to spot lions on your first day in the Park. Letaba has always been one of my favourite camps for birding. I like wandering round at night trying to locate calling African Scops-owls, which are superb little guys. They have such faith in their camouflage that you can sometimes approach very closely to them. Letaba is also good for Orange-breasted and Grey-headed Bush-shrikes, White-browed Robin-chats and African Mourning Dove.

Best wishes,
Dave
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Old Wednesday 4th February 2009, 12:13   #593
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You've got me there - being Scottish, I still keep my fingers crossed, but I know neither the origin of that, nor of the expression "holding thumbs".
Another interesting point - when I indicate the number three, I hold my thumb and fourth finger (pinkie to the Scots) together, then, with the back of my hand outwards, hold up my index, second and third fingers. Here they face the hand forward, hold thumb and forefinger together, and raise the last three fingers. I have absolutely no idea why this should be so.

Dave
A little bird told me (just keeping with the ornithological theme)that 'holding your thumbs' originates from a German phrase, which may I guess have travelled across the continent and, via Dutch, moved into the Afrikaans language as they use it a lot. Crossing your fingers is the English version which has its origins way way back, probably in religous circles where it was apparently used by Christians as a recognition sign.

Raising the last three fingers to denote three comes from the Zulu way of counting. There is a fairly logical reason but I can't remember what it is.
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Old Wednesday 4th February 2009, 15:16   #594
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A little bird told me (just keeping with the ornithological theme)that 'holding your thumbs' originates from a German phrase, which may I guess have travelled across the continent and, via Dutch, moved into the Afrikaans language as they use it a lot. Crossing your fingers is the English version which has its origins way way back, probably in religous circles where it was apparently used by Christians as a recognition sign.

Raising the last three fingers to denote three comes from the Zulu way of counting. There is a fairly logical reason but I can't remember what it is.
Right on, Sal! It's amazing what you learn on BIRDFORUM!
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Old Thursday 5th February 2009, 17:47   #595
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Dryocopus - great report so far, am loving it. Cant wait to know when the luggage arrives, what other birds you saw, what happened with the suncream etc etc!

I see that you saw the Grey-winged Francolin , I've yet to see one! And lots of other really nice birds. I have been looking for a Black-crowned Night Heron for ages - only sen one once many years ago. One or two of your bird names caught me for a moment and maybe it's because I haven't caught up with all the new names. One is the Long-tailed Cormorant, which we call the Reed Cormorant then there is the Fasciated Snake-Eagle which we call the Southern Banded Snake-Eagle and finally the Intermediate Egret - Yellow-billed Egret here.

Re the clothing: I think most of the stuff in the Parks shops is stocked with tourists in mind!

Looking forward to the next post.
Thanks.

The Grey-francolin were seen on the most exciting of birding days - couldn't think I could top Wakkerstroom but we did on the Drakensburg Lesotho day!
(It got better and better...almost too much excitement where the birds were concerned!) Thats not including the mammals - surreal experience that was..in an air con minibus with a Rhino (white) or two in front of the drivers car wheel - then a Graceful Giraffe sashaying past the back window! Sometimes I really couldn't believe my eyes.

I looked up Southern Banded Snake Eagle on Bubo listing but Clements has it as Fasciated - I prefer Fascinated!!
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Old Thursday 5th February 2009, 17:52   #596
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Dryocopus,
Thanks for your first report. Looking forward to the others. You did well to spot lions on your first day in the Park. Letaba has always been one of my favourite camps for birding. I like wandering round at night trying to locate calling African Scops-owls, which are superb little guys. They have such faith in their camouflage that you can sometimes approach very closely to them. Letaba is also good for Orange-breasted and Grey-headed Bush-shrikes, White-browed Robin-chats and African Mourning Dove.

Best wishes,
Dave
Lions were no problem I think we saw them every day - but mainly asleep quite boring really!

I heard Scops on the first night - mind you I heard all sorts as well including some mythological creatures in my imagination! First night in the African bush.

I failed to mention Afdrican Mourning Dove - saw lots of them too!
I will copy my Bubo list when its finished for you so you dont miss a bird!
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Old Thursday 5th February 2009, 18:40   #597
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Birding with Sea Eagle from the Kruger to Drakensburg

Day 2 Letaba Camp, Tzendze Loop and Night Drive

Temp reached 35 degrees today....overcast and a little rain but clearing by 9am.

6am found us leaving camp...Letaba River brought African Jacana, African Fish Eagle,Spur-winged and Egyptian Geese, Little Egret, Lesser Striped Swallows and a GOLIATH Heron, boy are they huge! Our Grey Herons are a big bird but dwarfed by this big b*****! Grey H up to 100cm - Giant H up to 152cm but in reality it look totally huge!

Grey-go-away Birds that didn't, Long-billed Crombec 's which first reminded me of our Nuthatches and then didn't! Then we hit the coloured birds -brightly coloured...White-bellied Sunbird which had a bottle green head and a purple breastband, Bluebilled Firefinch - what a stunner, it wont surprise you to learn i didn't even try to get a pic of these little whizzers!

Hey Sal you have a photo of one in the Gallery! 2003.

Here is another
http://www.birdforum.net/gallery/sho...p?photo=188624

Violet -backed starling

http://www.birdforum.net/gallery/sho...hp?photo=79468

Gosh!

and then Black-backed Puffback - which sounds dull but is aything but!

http://www.birdforum.net/gallery/sho...hp/photo/35847

Its all too much - got to go and get the Dinner on!

More later....oh yes that suncream...made me come up in a rash and it was itchy! Thankfully I had antihestimine tablets which helped!


The luggage - well when we got back at lunch time the bag had arrived the night before on the next flight but the gate to KrugerNP was closed so no go...anyway it arrived in the morning! Thankfully.

Must shoot!
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Old Friday 6th February 2009, 04:38   #598
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Dryocopus, so glad you got the luggage back. Did you see much (other than birds) at LetabaI? I was disappointed the last time I went up there. There was very little game, but we saw some good birds. However we spent ages in the Matambeni hide and saw nothing other than Nile Cabbage!

Thanks for another interesting post. Keep it coming!
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Old Friday 6th February 2009, 11:56   #599
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[quote=Sal;1400365]Dryocopus, so glad you got the luggage back. Did you see much (other than birds) at LetabaI? I was disappointed the last time I went up there. There was very little game, but we saw some good birds. However we spent ages in the Matambeni hide and saw nothing other than Nile Cabbage!
QUOTE]

I hope it improves before July - we are spending 2 nights there!

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Old Friday 6th February 2009, 12:42   #600
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Day2 Continue. Birding with Sea Eagle

Was hoping to get back online last night - best laid plans and all that!

At Letaba Bridge we got out of the minibus , here were more birds! Black-winged Stilts, Black Crakes , there were several Pied Kingfishers perched, and a Wood Sandpiper (the first of lots seen during my tour!) - Greenshank, Ruff and Common Sandpipers, Three banded and White- fronted Plovers.Oh and a GWE.

Now for the mammals - Stripey Bottoms (impalas) and Elephants, a Steenbok and several more but always on their own, and African Buffalos looking non too friendly -wouldn't want to mix it with these!
More birds....Tawny Eagle, Golden-brested Bunting and Red-crested Korhaan (quite like these!) and Saddle-billed Storks which are dead impressive, well alive impressive dont sound the same!Doves and almost te most entertaining things I have yet to see Ground Hornbills! Family of Mum,Dad and a naughty teenager!

We stopped at Makhadzi - Brown-headed Parrots.

Then to the loop.Ostriches!!! Well they take the biscuit, so brilliantly disguised by their surroundings whilst we couldn't miss 'em where we first saw ' em once they beetled off there was really hard to spot 'em again.
I did manage a few pics! 5 in all I think and a mixture - male and females!
Double-banded Sandgrouse and Blue Waxbills.
Then 7 Giraffes, as we left the loop and went off somewhere(?) we spottedBurchell's Zebras and a few Elephants drinking from a water supply and then the Elephants went towards a mud hole and took a bath! Amazing scenes such fun and they were clearly having a laugh with each other and enjoying the coolness of the mud.
oh a Pearl spotted owlet put in an appearance at some point! Not in the mud I hasten to add!

Slender Mongoose, a Tsessebe with a young calf and more Elephants.

At lunch stop we spotted Blue Waxbills, Yellow-fronted Canaries and Brown-hooded Kingfishers.Back towards the camp with yet another stop at Letaba Bridge this time seeing Green-winged Pytilia and African Fish Eagle.

The Night Drive - the searchlights picked out a Roosting AFE, Spring Hares,
A pair of Lions (clearly everyone knew about this pair!) the female looked regal and he looked knakered!, oh yes a very speedy Hippo just outside the camp clearly on some really important business! Dont think I'd see one move that fast before - even on the TV!Common Genets eyes ablazing! and we had several Nightjars - Square-tailed and Fiery-necked!
Not bad...

Yes good to get the luggage back!
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