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Old Monday 7th January 2008, 20:51   #1
Dave Kennedy
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Southern African Forum

Thanks to whoever was responsible for giving South Africa its own forum. Maybe now a few more folk will look at our posts! We have some great birds here, and will enjoy sharing them with you.

Best wishes,

Dave Kennedy

Last edited by Dave Kennedy : Monday 7th January 2008 at 20:54.
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Old Tuesday 8th January 2008, 07:27   #2
alan carr
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Thanks to whoever was responsible for giving South Africa its own forum. Maybe now a few more folk will look at our posts! We have some great birds here, and will enjoy sharing them with you.

Best wishes,

Dave Kennedy
Unfortunately, not to many folks looking/responding

Have a Wattled Plover for fun:

http://bigal-sa.smugmug.com/photos/235469599-L.jpg
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Old Tuesday 8th January 2008, 10:06   #3
Alan Manson
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Nice Plover Alan. This morning was overcast at Cedara (Pietermaritzburg, KZN), but I managed some poor pics of Little Bittern and Red-headed Quelea.

Alan
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Old Tuesday 8th January 2008, 10:32   #4
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Originally Posted by alan carr View Post
Unfortunately, not to many folks looking/responding

Have a Wattled Plover for fun:
Hey ,you're making me homesick.Just had a look at your location and found that i worked about a mile from your house on the construction of the Armscor building.
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Old Tuesday 8th January 2008, 18:21   #5
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Can't believe this! Three responses overnight! I've been grafting my butt off putting in SA info, all to no avail until now. Let's try to keep this going - and perhaps others will join in.

Nice plover, Alan C - and well done with the queleas and bittern, Alan M. dddiver......any chance of you coming back out here?

Best wishes,
Dave Kennedy
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Old Tuesday 8th January 2008, 18:31   #6
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Since the two Alans have been so generous with their illustrations, here are two of my wee pals from the Western cape.

Dave Kennedy
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Old Tuesday 8th January 2008, 22:59   #7
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Hey guys,
keep the great pics coming! Going to SA in February / March and I can't wait!

Cheers
Damien
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Old Wednesday 9th January 2008, 03:40   #8
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Hello guys, keeping with the plovers/lapwings, here's a Lesser Blackwinged Plover (Kruger in June last year):

http://bigal-sa.smugmug.com/photos/169067833-L.jpg

Alan, Little Bitterns really don't like having their pics taken (Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary December last year):

http://bigal-sa.smugmug.com/photos/232502049-L.jpg

dddiver: which Armscor buildings? Centurion or Erasmusrand?

Damien: where are you heading for?
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Old Wednesday 9th January 2008, 12:13   #9
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Hi all,
Great photos! It's nice to see some other interested birders around SA. Thought I would share a couple of my favourite photos as well.

Cheers,
Benji
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Old Wednesday 9th January 2008, 13:17   #10
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I managed to catch a few red-heads in the couple of minutes of sunlight I had this morning; these were getting ready to leave their roost.

Cool scope Dave!
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Old Wednesday 9th January 2008, 13:39   #11
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Well, done, guys, some great material coming in! Alan C's LBW Plover (great photo) I note is now a Senegal Lapwing, and the bittern demonstrates how good birding can occur even within a large city.
Benji's African Broadbill, Double-banded Courser and Grey-headed Bush-shrike are splendid. It would make them even more interesting if you had some details about location, Benji.
Nice to hear you're coming to visit, Damien. If you tell us something about where you intend to go, we could give you some pointers about what to look for.
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Old Wednesday 9th January 2008, 13:51   #12
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If anybody's interested, I have already posted a fair amount of stuff under the sub-forum "Southern African Birds". I will probably switch to posting here in "South African Forum", since it seems to have generated a livelier response.

Alan M - glad you like my scope! So do the birds, as you can see. It is a World War II British Army spotting scope for mortar crews, and in terms of sheer power outperforms quite a few expensive modern scopes. Not too good for digiscoping, of course - but it is very robust, and I love it to bits.

Regards,
Dave Kennedy
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Old Wednesday 9th January 2008, 13:56   #13
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I managed to catch a few red-heads in the couple of minutes of sunlight I had this morning; these were getting ready to leave their roost.

Cool scope Dave!
Two more telescope fans.

Dave Kennedy
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Old Wednesday 9th January 2008, 16:35   #14
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It would make them even more interesting if you had some details about location, Benji.
African Broadbill is from Mkuzi - just before meeting a local guide trying to convince his clients that a Martial Eage was actually a Southern Banded Snake-Eagle!
Double-banded Courser is from Karoo NP in the middle of the afternoon heat right on the side of the road!
Grey-headed Bush-Shrike is from southern Kruger though for the life of me I can't remember which camp at the moment.

Though I would add another couple photos just to wet the appetites of anyone considering a visit to SA.
Eastern Bearded Scrub-Robin - Punda Maria, Kruger
African Barred Owled - Kruger
Spotted Ground-Thrush - Dlinzi Forest, Eshowe (Digiscoped from far enough away as to not disturb the bird).

For anyone interested in photography, these are all taken with the Nikon P5000 and a Swaro 80HD. I'm still getting used to the set-up, but quite pleased with the results for far!

Cheers,
Benji
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Old Wednesday 9th January 2008, 21:01   #15
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Thanks, Benji,

Your digiscoping setup is working brilliantly. I think the Barred Owlet is terrific.

On one occasion I spent a frustrating afternoon trying to spot a Broadbill in the fig forest in Mkuze. I could hear him, but for the life of me I couldn't see him.

Dave K
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Old Wednesday 9th January 2008, 22:11   #16
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Hey Alan,
Doing a bit of a whirlwind trip really.. 5 weeks visiting Kruger, Wakkerstroom, KZN, Garden Route, Cape Town, Karoo & West Coast.

Really looking forward to it!
Damien
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Old Thursday 10th January 2008, 06:11   #17
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Looks like the powers that be didn't like this thread in the SA Forum. Nor do they seem to like my inline images

Benji, those are really super shots, especially considering how you got them! The Natal Thrush is still on my missing birds list.

Threestreaked Tchagra (Bakubung in Pilanesberg GR):

http://bigal-sa.smugmug.com/photos/74927515-L.jpg

It would appear that image linking has been disabled in this particular forum...
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Old Thursday 10th January 2008, 09:03   #18
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South Africa seems a bit big to be a local patch but....

Damien, Sounds like you'll be covering pretty much the entire country. Should give you a great South Africa list! Is it purely a birding trip or are you taking in other sights as well? Sani Pass and Xumeni Forest near Underberg would give you some great birds too (Gurney's Sugerbird and Orange-breasted Rockjumper, Lammergeier, Drakensberg Siskin, etc.) I'm sure you'll have a great time!

Cheers,
Benji
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Old Thursday 10th January 2008, 15:11   #19
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Seems we have been translocated..............SA is pretty large for a local patch, but it may generate an increased number of visitors. which would be great. Fingers crossed, then, for the biggest local patch on the planet.

Best wishes,
Dave Kennedy
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Old Thursday 10th January 2008, 15:19   #20
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Hey Alan,
Doing a bit of a whirlwind trip really.. 5 weeks visiting Kruger, Wakkerstroom, KZN, Garden Route, Cape Town, Karoo & West Coast.

Really looking forward to it!
Damien
Damien, I think you should just purchase Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa, start at the beginning, and work your way through to the end! Your proposed itinerary covers just about all the finest hotspots and different habitats within South Africa, and I am sure you will have a fabulous time. If you like, I guess we could highlight particular specials, both on birds and places to see them, so that at least you would have some idea what to look for in each area. Let me give it some thought, and I will put something together.

Best regards,
Dave Kennedy
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Old Thursday 10th January 2008, 15:53   #21
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Damien,
If you're doing the trip on your own without a guide, I would definately suggest getting the Southern African Birdfinder by Callan Cohen. It will definately be a worthwhile investment!

Cheers,
Benji
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Old Thursday 10th January 2008, 21:17   #22
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Damien, here's a few thoughts about Kruger to get the ball rolling.

Birding in the Kruger National Park (KNP) is superb. On a safety note, you may not get out of your vehicle except in the various rest camps, at picnic sites, at bird hides and at certain view sites. You can drive yourself around, so you are in no way dependent on a guide who is trying to find the Big Five for his clients. The best birding is often in the rest camps themselves, for there the birds have become used to people, and allow close approach. The same applies at picnic sites, where you can get out of your car, rent a gas cylinder for a few rand, and cook your breakfast, should you so wish. There are also excellent hides in certain areas of the park. There is a good one near Skukuza, the main camp, which is first class for water birds.

The park is broadly split into different habitats……..

1) North of Olifants Restcamp the vegetation is largely mopane veld (Colophospermum mopane), much favoured by elephant. We have always found birding in and around the Letaba rest camp to be particularly good. Both Olifants and Letaba have riverine frontage, which boosts the variety of birds significantly. Olifants is situated high on a cliff, affording spectacular views.

2) In the far north, the sandveld around Punda Maria yields many unusual tropical species, including Black-fronted Bush-shrike, and up around the Luvuvhu River to the north you can find Bohm’s and Mottled Spinetails.

3) South of Olifants the vegetation is principally Acacia thornveld, which has a good bird population. Bird parties in such habitat may yield different waxbills such as blue and violet eared waxbills, finches such as green-winged pytilia and firefinches, and beautiful starlings like the greater blue-eared glossy starling.

4) The area near Berg-en-Dal in the south-west is hilly, mountainous and rocky, with a bird and animal population suited to such habitat.

5) The larger rivers boast excellent riverine forest, with large trees such as Sycamore fig Ficus sycomorus, and Apple-leaf Lonchocarpus capassa. Giant eagle owls often roost in such trees, and the fig fruit attracts many frugivorous species, especially African Green Pigeon.

Listen at night when in camp for the Prrrrrrrrup! call of the African Scops Owl. You can often find it sitting at the fork of a branch close against the trunk. Since it relies on its camouflage, it will often allow close approach.

Whatever you do, as soon as you get to the park entrance gate, buy the best map of the KNP available, for it will show not only the roads, but all the hides, picnic spots and viewsites as well.

Watch the vultures to find lions. Circling vultures are simply using a thermal to gain altitude, but if you see vultures and/or marabou stork descending from all directions towards a single location on the ground, there may well have been a recent kill. Likewise vultures and Marabou sitting in gangs in trees suggest that the predators may still be on the kill.

You can use this map for your basic park geography. You can click on any area and enlarge it, so the detail available is reasonable.

http://www.krugerpark.co.za/Maps_of_...-map-main.html

Best wishes,

Dave Kennedy
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Old Thursday 10th January 2008, 21:27   #23
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hey Guys Im also off to SA - going in a weeks time for almost 3 weeks.
have the field guides and a nikon mini scope as the leica is just too big to cart around.
staying at afton grove for a few nites and off to Phantom forest and Lanfebaan too.
also trying to get the wineries in for the other half!!
cant wait - wil post some pics on here when i return. Have also joined capebird.net - they seem a great bunch and are keen to give advice.
cheers
Nigel
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Old Thursday 10th January 2008, 21:33   #24
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Hi, Nigel,

We'll look forward to hearing about your trip. Not sure where Afton Grove or Phantom forest are - although there is a Phantom Pass near Knysna. I would appreciate a little more detail as to where you will be travelling. I take it Lanfebaan is Langebaan, on the Cape west coast.

Thank you,
Dave Kennedy
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Old Thursday 10th January 2008, 21:34   #25
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Hey guys,
Thanks for all the info! We've pretty much sorted the trip up to the Garden Route, so spending 7 days in Kruger, then a day in Wakkerstroom, day in Mkhuze, couple in St Lucia area, travelling through Eshowe into the battlefields before doing the Sani pass.. then a long drive across to Knysna and doing that area. From there it will depend on how we feel and what we've missed out on / etc.. Probably will go up to Karoo, then back down again to the coast before hitting Cape Town.

I've got the SASOL field guide, Newmans and Callan Cohen's book.. I'll probably try pick up Roberts' in country.

Should be a good trip! We're not using guides (except for Sani pass) so might not get the biggest list ever but hoping for some good birds!

Cheers
Damien
PS: I'll contribute some photos to this forum when I get back
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