03 April 2012
09 September 2010
The latest update on the Secretarybirds that we tagged earlier in the year has some good and some not so good news. The bad news first. The smaller of the two chicks has died. Willem le Roux, the shepherd on the farm, found the dead bird in the veld and could retrieve the tags and ring. Unfortunately the reason for the death of the bird could not be established.
The other chick is alive and well and walks the veld with measured steps. With the last reportback from the veld, it still has not left the immidiate vicinity of the nesting site.
Apparently the adult birds are building a new nest in a Wild Olive tree (Olienhout Olea europaea africanus) not too far from the first site.
Another site not far from town (Aliwal North) is monitored as well. For the coming breeding season two nests in the Aliwal district are being monitored at this stage. Further reports of nesting sites will be followed up and I will report on the progress on this blog.
23 May 2010
Burchell's Courser showing the blue-grey head
A farmer in the district alerted me about a pair of Blue Cranes that had settled on his farm. So in the afternoon we went to investigate. We atlased the pentad as well – and had a few very special sightings. On the way to the area where the Blue Cranes settled, Elsabé had good luck to photograph (though a bit far off) Burchell's Coursers. There were 5 birds in the small flock and this observation was a first for the pentad. The Blue Cranes were nowhere to be found in their usual spot.
We moved to a lucerne field under pivot point irrigation – and here we got a few good surprises. The Blue Cranes were foraging in the newly established part of the field. We could get near enough to get a decent pic or 2. A little way off (out of camera range) a pair of Grey Crowned Cranes were feeding. These birds had been observed here more than once before. And to our surprise a single Ludwig's Bustard was patroling the short karroid shrubs just off the edge of the irrigation field. This was a very first for this area. Two korhaan species were seen as well in the shrub and grassland around the same pivot – Northern Black Korhaan and the endangered Blue Korhaan. The last special sighting of the day (with dusk setting in fast) was a single Lanner Falcon quartering the area for prey. Large numbers of Egyption Goose as well as Spurwinged Goose were observed as well. A total of 53 species were counted for the SABAP2 data sheet.