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Old Monday 25th August 2014, 13:16   #3201
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And a few more pics - Bluetit, Dunnock, Nuthatch, Cock Pheasant and Chiffchaff. All but the Nuthatch were seen in Devon around Wembury. The Nuthatch was seen in Coate Water, Swindon.
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Old Wednesday 27th August 2014, 13:40   #3202
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Ok, sigh, I am still alone. Well if anyone returns you will have a lot of reading to do . . . .

Went to Albert Falls Dam today to do some birding. For those that don't know, this is a large dam just outside Pietermaritzburg on the Mngeni River. it has a long shoreline and a small game reserve and vegetation ranging from aquatic through acacia grassland to scrub to forest so it hosts quite a variety of birds.

A huge wind blew up whilst we were there which cut short the birding, but we still managed to see a good variety:

African Firefinch
African Fish Eagle
African Hadeda
African Pipit
Black-headed Heron
Blacksmith Lapwing
Brown-throated Martin
Burchell’s Coucal
Cape Glassy Starling
Cape Turtle Dove
Cape Wagtail
Cape Weaver
Chinspot Batis
Common Fiscal
Common Ostrich
Common Sandpiper
Crested Barbet
Crowned Plover
Dark-fronted Bulubul
Egyptian Goose
European Starling
Fork-tailed Drongo
Grey Heron
Groundscraper Thrush
Helmeted Guineafowl
Jackal Buzzard
Kitlitz’s Plover
Lesser Striped Swallow
Long-crested Eagle
Neddicky
Pied Crow
Pied Wagtail
Plain-backed Pipit
Red-eyed Dove
Red-throated Wryneck
Southern Black Tit
Tawny-flanked Prinia
Three-banded Plover
Village Weaver
White-bellied Sunbird
White-breasted Cormorant
White-faced Duck
White-throated Raven
Yellow-billed Kite
Yellow-throated Longclaw

TOTAL: 45

The most interesting bird was the European Starling, of which we saw a pair. This is rather ominous as they seem to be spreading up from the Cape fast (first I've seen in this area), and may possibly have the same effect on local bird populations as did the Common Mynah.
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Old Saturday 30th August 2014, 16:27   #3203
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OK, here is my UK bird list. Not nearly as good as last time because we didn't actually go birding at all in any reserves: however I did manage to add a few to my UK total and I have put those down in bold.
.....
Hi Sal,
I'm glad you enjoyed your trip. The photos are great. I particularly liked the last one of the Robin with it's head back singing his heart out. Super.

On the list we have two types of Martin - House and Sand. Do you know which type it was?

OK we leave tomorrow and will be in Marloth on Monday.
Counting down the hours.

Allan
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Old Saturday 30th August 2014, 18:16   #3204
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Just booked our usual Jan/Feb for 2015 trip to the Western Cape, Knysna area

really looking forward to it

Last edited by BillN : Saturday 30th August 2014 at 18:25.
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Old Sunday 31st August 2014, 11:47   #3205
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Just booked our usual Jan/Feb for 2015 trip to the Western Cape, Knysna area

really looking forward to it
Sounds like a plan! I must go visit that area somewhere in the coming years, but first I ' m looking forward to our own trip to the north east. Just three weeks from now!
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Old Sunday 31st August 2014, 15:05   #3206
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Hi Sal,
I'm glad you enjoyed your trip. The photos are great. I particularly liked the last one of the Robin with it's head back singing his heart out. Super.

On the list we have two types of Martin - House and Sand. Do you know which type it was?

OK we leave tomorrow and will be in Marloth on Monday.
Counting down the hours.

Allan
Hi Allan

Yes, it was House Martins. I saw Sand Martins over there in 2011. Great that you will be back in Marloth tomorrow - enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

On Wednesday I am off to Giant's Castle to do a Bearded Vulture Count with the Bird Club (four of us plus one guy from Ezemvelo) very excited about this - one of those bucket-list things - and also about the fact that if we see bearded Vultures it will be a new tick for me!
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Old Sunday 31st August 2014, 15:11   #3207
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Just booked our usual Jan/Feb for 2015 trip to the Western Cape, Knysna area

really looking forward to it
Wonderful Bill. Envious as usual!
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Old Wednesday 29th October 2014, 21:34   #3208
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Botswana : help needed

Can anyone advise me please on a number of questions , which will appear below.
First, some background: I am an Irishman living in Bournemouth, UK, married to a lady from Cape Town (Susan).
I first visited the Cape in 2009, and have been back 4 more times. Earlier this year, I did a solo self-drive through parts of Kruger and thoroughly enjoyed it. There's a thread here somewhere about that trip. My Cape list is over 200 birds and my SA list is heading towards 300, just to supply context.

Next February I intend to take a trip to Botswana with Susan. We fly to Kasane and hope to spend 4 nights in Chobe. Susan then goes on to CT, and i've got 10 days on my own.
My vague plan at this stage is to go though Caprivi strip, spending maybe 2 nights there. Then I hope to go to Drotski's cabins on the Okavango pan-handle. i've been told its worth spending 4 nights there.
That leaves me 4 days to play with. Dilemma...what to do.

3 Questions:
1. It is an eye-opener how expensive Botswana is. I understand the demographic and economic reasons why this is so (basically). I'm not loaded with money, so I won't be doing Egyptian cotton sheets (Egyptian Geese more my style) when i'm on my own.
Can anyone suggest mid-priced lodging for the first 4 nights in Chobe. I said Susan is a lady for a reason. She doesn't do 'primitive' in terms of accommodation, whereas I'm not at all fussy.
Likewise with Caprivi: now i'll be on my own and will be happy with a cheap lodging which is clean and serves food. I think Drotski's cabins are reasonably priced. Is this true?

2. Should i return to Chobe and do more birding to catch up on missed species?
Desired birds: Kori's Bustard; Secretary bird: all Owls but especially Pels; all woodpeckers; any near-endemics; any birds that are not easily found near CT.

I see myself as a 'middling' birdwatcher, rather than a 'top birder'. I like finding my own birds but also love being shown around by birders with far more experience than myself. Will I meet many birders in late february?

3. Should I have opened a new thread for these queries? If so, how do I open a new thread...its ages since I've done it. I've been advised by Sal ( recenly back from the UK) to look in the upper left side of an existing thread for 'post new thread' but haven't seen it. If any moderator sees this, any help would be great!

Kind wishes,

Padraig.
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Old Thursday 30th October 2014, 05:34   #3209
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Ok, sigh, I am still alone. Well if anyone returns you will have a lot of reading to do . . . .

Went to Albert Falls Dam today to do some birding. For those that don't know, this is a large dam just outside Pietermaritzburg on the Mngeni River. it has a long shoreline and a small game reserve and vegetation ranging from aquatic through acacia grassland to scrub to forest so it hosts quite a variety of birds.

A huge wind blew up whilst we were there which cut short the birding, but we still managed to see a good variety:

African Firefinch
African Fish Eagle
African Hadeda
African Pipit
Black-headed Heron
Blacksmith Lapwing
Brown-throated Martin
Burchell’s Coucal
Cape Glossy Starling
Cape Turtle Dove
Cape Wagtail
Cape Weaver
Chinspot Batis
Common Fiscal
Common Ostrich
Common Sandpiper
Crested Barbet
Crowned Plover
Dark-fronted Bulubul
Egyptian Goose
European Starling
Fork-tailed Drongo
Grey Heron
Groundscraper Thrush
Helmeted Guineafowl
Jackal Buzzard
Kitlitz’s Plover
Lesser Striped Swallow
Long-crested Eagle
Neddicky
Pied Crow
Pied Wagtail
Plain-backed Pipit
Red-eyed Dove
Red-throated Wryneck
Southern Black Tit
Tawny-flanked Prinia
Three-banded Plover
Village Weaver
White-bellied Sunbird
White-breasted Cormorant
White-faced Duck
White-throated Raven
Yellow-billed Kite
Yellow-throated Longclaw

TOTAL: 45

The most interesting bird was the European Starling, of which we saw a pair. This is rather ominous as they seem to be spreading up from the Cape fast (first I've seen in this area), and may possibly have the same effect on local bird populations as did the Common Mynah.
Edited the Cape Glassy Starling out . . . .
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Old Thursday 30th October 2014, 05:43   #3210
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3. Should I have opened a new thread for these queries? If so, how do I open a new thread...its ages since I've done it. I've been advised by Sal ( recenly back from the UK) to look in the upper left side of an existing thread for 'post new thread' but haven't seen it. If any moderator sees this, any help would be great!
Sorry Padraig, bit of misunderstanding here. Under 'Your local patch' go to 'Europe and the rest of the world" to 'Africa' to 'South Africa'. This is where you should find the 'post new thread' tab; not in 'Southern Africa Forum'. I'm sure it would help to post this query in both places, specially as no-one seems to be reading this thread at the moment. You may have a better chance of replies with a new thread. Good luck!
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Old Sunday 23rd November 2014, 20:07   #3211
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...Thanks Dave, I'd recommend Seascape Cottage to the east of Betty's Bay. The fynbos is recovering from a fire a few years ago and the habitat is very favourable for a number of species.

Sugarbirds were abundant as were Karoo Prinia. Cape Rock Thrush, Cape Grassbird & Victorin's Warbler were in the grounds and Cape Clawless Otter was seen by previous guests. It's a magical place & close to Harold Porter Botanical Gardens & Stony Point Penguin colony.
...
Just want to thank Dave J (redeyedvideo) for this excellent recommendation, the Seascape Cottage. Priceless and when we went, Sept 12-14, 2014, it was fairly inexpensive compared to USA prices. Rooi Els (Cape Rockjumper site) is also fairly easy to reach from there.

Dalcio
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Old Sunday 11th January 2015, 17:09   #3212
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Flying out to the Western Cape, (George - Knysna) on Monday for a month

I hope you "locals" will prepare your exotic birds for my visit

plus the food, wine, sea, sun, wonderful people and country
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Old Monday 12th January 2015, 03:43   #3213
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Bill they are all ready and waiting . . . . Well the birds, the wine, the food, the sea the wonderful people. You should get plenty of sun too, interspersed with the odd drop of rain! Have a great trip and hope you add to you SA list, which must be getting quite long by now.
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Old Sunday 15th February 2015, 19:29   #3214
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Bit of help, please. Trying to access recording of the call/alarm (not song, which I can readily find) of Knysna Warbler so I can discount (or reflect further) on sighting (and 'hearing') at Kirstenbosch Gardens, end January. Can't seem to find one on the web. Saw briefly a dark warbler that might fit the bill then it disappeared into the undergrowth, and have it calling in the background of a rather pathetic video of Cape Francolin that I took (and don't have the technical nous to upload!). If anyone could point me in the right direction, much appreciated.
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Old Tuesday 24th February 2015, 17:42   #3215
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Bill they are all ready and waiting . . . . Well the birds, the wine, the food, the sea the wonderful people. You should get plenty of sun too, interspersed with the odd drop of rain! Have a great trip and hope you add to you SA list, which must be getting quite long by now.
Just got back - had the usual fantastic time - marvellous people, beautiful scenery, really really good food, beautiful weather and a really relaxing and peaceful time.

Already booked 2016 for a month

Thank you South Africa ....... would really like to spend three months there - so much to see explore and do

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Old Wednesday 25th February 2015, 04:22   #3216
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Sounds absolutely perfect. If you publish a TR or bird list anywhere. please give me a heads-up?
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Old Wednesday 25th February 2015, 20:53   #3217
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Sounds absolutely perfect. If you publish a TR or bird list anywhere. please give me a heads-up?
Thanks Sal - will try to put a report together, but this year a restaurant a night was amongst the highlights!!!

Here's a couple of shots from Wilderness
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Old Thursday 26th February 2015, 06:12   #3218
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Lovely! The Darter is particularly beautiful. OMW how many restaurants was that???? All different I hope!
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Old Tuesday 3rd March 2015, 21:08   #3219
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Hi, Sal,
I had almost given up hope! Are we having a bit of a renaissance? That would be splendid. And thanks for flying the flag, as you clearly have been doing. I have been taking a bit of a birding back seat for a while, being busy with Cape Town's ADU recording butterflies, dragonflies and reptiles, but the birds are still out there and at the beginning of the year I scored a personal triumph in finding - at long last - my first Barratt's Warbler.
Best wishes,
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Old Wednesday 4th March 2015, 07:55   #3220
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Hi Dave, for a renaissance, we really need more South African contributors who are prepared to help with questions from overseas visitors, which I am often unable to do! I haven't posted any birding outings as there is no-one there to read them . . . . Its great to see you back, I know what a lot of time you would be spending on the ADU stuff and it's a great service you are doing, so no worries, but I hope we shall see you back here occasionally. Congratulations on the Barratt"s Warbler, great find, where did you see it? Over the last year I have picked up African Cuckoo Hawk, African Rock-Pipit, Bearded Vulture, Black-winged Lapwing, Common Starling, Common Quail, Forest Buzzard, Osprey and Peregrine Falcon and have only seven to go to my 500 which for me is pretty exciting.
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Old Wednesday 4th March 2015, 21:56   #3221
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I haven't posted any birding outings as there is no-one there to read them.....

Having returned from a couple of weeks in SA earlier in the year, will always be interested in birding news from your part of the world.....so a prospective reader here! Did trawl this thread for some pointers before we went (as it wasn't a dedicated birding trip [wife's 'particular' birthday] I needed all the help I could get!). Appreciate I won't be able to contribute much (if at all!) but hope you guys won't think it a wasted effort if you do post.....thanks and good birding
Neil
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Old Thursday 5th March 2015, 09:53   #3222
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I haven't posted any birding outings as there is no-one there to read them.....

Having returned from a couple of weeks in SA earlier in the year, will always be interested in birding news from your part of the world.....so a prospective reader here! Did trawl this thread for some pointers before we went (as it wasn't a dedicated birding trip [wife's 'particular' birthday] I needed all the help I could get!). Appreciate I won't be able to contribute much (if at all!) but hope you guys won't think it a wasted effort if you do post.....thanks and good birding
Neil
Hi Neill, many thanks for this. OK will put in my next bird outing! Hope you had a great time in SA and found plenty of birds despite the fact that it wasn't really a birding trip!
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Old Thursday 5th March 2015, 19:41   #3223
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Thanks Sal. Yes, we had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed it. Did the 'grand tour' from Jo'burg through Kwazulu, Garden Route, finishing in Cape Town. Unfortunately, from a birding perspective, it was a coach tour doing the 'touristy' things, so some infuriating glimpses of birds that remained unidentified......and I suspect the rest of the party wouldn't have taken too kindly to stopping every five minutes for LBJs! Nevertheless, I managed a couple of birding sorties in some of our 'free' time'.....and also got a few species in amongst 'the looking at lions, elephants, and leopards' in Kruger (not that that isn't a very pleasant way to spend one's day). Think I finished up on 198 species, not too bad but plenty more to come back for!
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Old Friday 6th March 2015, 02:19   #3224
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Think I finished up on 198 species, not too bad but plenty more to come back for!
That's a pretty pleasing total considering! And, even better, it leaves you nearly 800 or so to com back for! Kruger is one of my most favourite places so I'm glad you enjoyed it. i shall be there at the end of May into June for a couple of weeks, cant wait.
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Old Friday 6th March 2015, 21:39   #3225
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Kruger is one of my most favourite places so I'm glad you enjoyed it. i shall be there at the end of May into June for a couple of weeks, cant wait.
....we're jealous! Going to have to save up the pennies so we can return
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