It was a great day’s birding, but sadly, it was enjoyed by only a few. Thanks to those who made the effort and took part. They all agreed that it was very worthwhile and most enjoyable. Barbara Palmer wrote, “Please HBC committee, never cancel our MBBD!!” Sure, it rained a bit, but this did not impede us unduly and we all achieved good counts and even had some really spectacular sightings! The prize in this respect must surely go to John and Roy, who visited Genadendal and saw a Narina Trogon!! What an amazing bonus for them to find this spectacular bird so far out of its range.
By mid afternoon the weather had cleared and our day ended with a fine, if cold, picnic in Fernkloof when we swapped stories and compared sightings.
The scores were; Chaetops frenatus (Ronnie and Renee Hazell, Barbara Swart and Margie Ogston) 118 species; G(r)abar Goshawks (Barbara and Graham Palmer, Chris Cheetham and Jenny Fynn) 113 species; Bowmacs (John and Shelagh Bowman, Mike and Helen MacNaught) 107 species; and Dozy Darters (John Saunders and Roy Whitaker) 97 species. By taking a road less traveled and going to Genadendal, the latter added quite a few one-off sightings.
Lady Birds (Anne Philip and Margaret Loesch) could not make Sunday, so went out in the rain on Saturday anyway and achieved 64 species. Well done for making the effort!!
For the Challengers, it was a good opportunity to add some birds to their Big Birding Year score and we are looking forward to the first set of results which are due at the end of May.
The combined list of 159 species is as follows: Bar-throated Apalis; Pied Avocet; Cape Batis; Southern Red Bishop; Yellow Bishop; Bokmakerie; Southern Boubou; Cape Bulbul; Cape Bunting; Denham’s Bustard; Common Buzzard; Forest Buzzard; Jackal Buzzard; Brimstone Canary; Cape Canary; Yellow Canary; Familiar Chat; Grey-backed Cisticola; Levaillant’s Cisticola; Red-knobbed Coot; Bank Cormorant; Cape Cormorant; Crowned Cormorant; Reed Cormorant; White-breasted Cormorant; Black Crake; Blue Crane; Cape Crow; Pied Crow; Klaas’ Cuckoo; African Darter; Cape Turtle Dove; Laughing Dove; Namaqua Dove; Red-eyed Dove; Rock Dove; Fork-tailed Drongo; African Black Duck; White-backed Duck; White-faced Whistling Duck; Yellow-billed Duck; African Fish Eagle; Verreaux’s Eagle; Little Egret; Western Cattle Egret; Peregrine Falcon; Common Fiscal; Greater Flamingo; African Dusky Flycatcher; Fiscal Flycatcher; Spotted Flycatcher; Cape Gannet; Egyptian Goose; Spur-winged Goose; African Goshawk; Cape Grassbird; Great Crested Grebe; Little Grebe; Sombre Greenbul; Common Greenshank; Helmeted Guineafowl; Grey-headed Gull; Hartlaub’s Gull; Kelp Gull; Hamerkop; Black Harrier; African Harrier-Hawk; Black-crowned Night Heron; African Hoopoe; Black-headed Heron; Grey Heron; African Sacred Ibis; Hadeda Ibis; Rock Kestrel; Giant Kingfisher; Malachite Kingfisher; Pied Kingfisher; Black-shouldered Kite; Yellow-billed Kite; Blacksmith Lapwing; Crowned Lapwing; Large-billed Lark; Red-capped Lark; Brown-throated Martin; House Martin; Rock Martin; Common Moorhen; Red-faced Mousebird; Speckled Mousebird; Common Moorhen; Neddicky; Fiery-necked Nightjar; African Black Oystercatcher; African Penguin; African Olive Pigeon; Speckled Pigeon; African Pipit; Common Ringed Plover; Grey Plover; Kittlitz’s Plover; Three-banded Plover; White-fronted Plover; Karoo Prinia; White-necked Raven; Cape Robin-Chat; Cape Rockjumper; Cape Rock-Thrush; Curlew Sandpiper; Marsh Sandpiper; Black Saw-wing; Secretarybird; Streaky-headed Seedeater; Cape Shoveler; Cape Siskin; Cape Sparrow; House Sparrow; Southern Grey-headed Sparrow; Rufous-chested Sparrowhawk; African Spoonbill; Cape Spurfowl; Common Starling; Pied Starling; Red-winged Starling; Black-winged Stilt; Little Stint; African Stonechat; White Stork; Cape Sugarbird; Amethyst Sunbird; Malachite Sunbird; Orange-breasted Sunbird; Southern Double-collared Sunbird; Barn Swallow; Greater Striped Swallow; African Swamphen; Little Swift; White-rumped Swift; Cape Teal; Red-billed Teal; Common Tern; Sandwich Tern; Swift Tern; Spotted Thick-Knee; Water Thick-Knee; Olive Thrush; Narina Trogon; Ruddy Turnstone; Cape Wagtail; Lesser Swamp Warbler; Little Rush Warbler; Common Waxbill; Swee Waxbill; Cape Weaver; Southern Masked Weaver; Capped Wheatear; Whimbrel; Pin-tailed Whydah; Cape White Eye; Cardinal Woodpecker.
Sunrise at Uilenkraalmond (Barbara)
At Harold Porter after the rain
The prevailing mood is that we should proceed with the MBBD tomorrow, weather notwithstanding. We will all be under the same handicap and the skill will be in trying, not only to find birds, but to keep dry!!
Kick off will be at 6:30 am (or whenever you choose) and we will meet at Fernkloof at 6:30 pm for our picnic. Please remember to bring a funny story of the day! We certainly won’t be expecting any record breaking scores, but at least we will be participating!
To those who unfortunately cannot make it, we apologise and look forward to the next occasion when we may get better conditions. Please drive carefully!!
Predictably, when one arranges something that requires good weather, it rains, and tomorrow’s MBBD is obviously no exception! There is an 80% chance of all day rain tomorrow, so we are postponing the event until Sunday – however, Sunday doesn’t look all that good either, so we will look at the forecasts again tomorrow and confirm in the afternoon. Sorry to be a wet blanket, but it won’t be much fun birding in the rain all day and we will be better off waiting for a good day.
The weather forecasts are flip flopping and we really won’t know what is going to actually happen on Saturday until Friday’s forecast; so lets keep hoping that one of the two days will be fine. I am going away until Friday and will communicate again on my return. Sorry that we cannot be firmer at this stage. In the meantime, I suggest you liaise with John Saunders and Lester should you wish to finalise arrangements prior to my return. I will be out of range until then.
Once again, I urge members to please join in the fun of the Mini-Birding-Big-Day. All birders should enjoy the fun of spending a day searching for and identifying our local birds. You don’t have to do it for 12 hours – just take part – even if for only half the day. Stop off somewhere for breakfast or lunch, but enjoy yourselves, and then join the other participants for a picnic at Fernkloof afterwards, when you can exchange stories about the day and compare notes!
Please remember that in a team of 4, three people must see and agree on the bird, whilst in teams of three or two, two people must see it. A single sighting will not be allowed.
We have only 4 teams entered so far, but we are hoping for lots more!
Please remember the Mini Birding Big Day (MBBD) scheduled for Saturday 13 April, when teams of up to four members are invited to participate and see how many birds they can identify in a 12 hour period – from 6:30 am to 6:30 pm, in the area of their choice. It will be followed by a ‘bring-your-own-picnic’ at Fernkloof. Participants will be required to bring everything, including chairs and tables to celebrate the success of their day and compare notes with the other teams. Please send me your team – participants and team name, asap. Let’s have a good turn-out for a fun-filled day!
Ronnie Hazell firstname.lastname@example.org
In order to maximise our opportunities on MBBD, new starting and ending times are now 6:30 am and 6:30 pm. This means that teams need only be back at Fernkloof by 6:30 pm in order to qualify, at which time each team will be asked to name its best bird and best experience of the day. Please remember to submit your team name and members to me (Ronnie Hazell – email@example.com ) by Saturday 6 April. So far I have;
“Chaetops frenatus” (Ronnie and Renee Hazell, Barbara Swart and Margie Ogston)
This year’s MBBD will take place on Saturday 13 April. Teams of between 2 and 4 members are invited to participate. The competition will run from 6 am to 6 pm and the area will be open, i.e. participants can choose their own area and go as far afield as they wish, however, all teams must be back at Fernkloof at 6 pm when we will compare results and experiences and have a bring and braai. If you have previously seen a bird, then you may identify it by its call. Any team not back at Fernkloof by 6 pm will be automatically disqualified from the competition.
Please bring everything you need for the braai, including all food, drink, crockery and cutlery.
Please let me know by Saturday 6 April if you intend participating, who will be in your team and what your team will be called. Let’s have a good turn out for what is always a fun filled and enjoyable birding experience.
Please will all entrants for the new Southern Africa Challenge please confirm their participation with me so that I can send you the list we will be using, and also so that I will know which Section you will be entering. The latter is particularly important!
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org