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Monday, December 5, 2011


Just popped in for an hour and a half, water levels are down.not much action but did get a lifer in a willow warbler.good pics of white throated swallow as always and the greater flamingos have still not arrived. saw burchells coucal,little bittern,swallows,swift,brown throated martin,spur winged goose,levaillants cisticola,thick billed weaver,swamp hen,common moorhen dabchick,coot,hottentot teal,yellow billed duck and back again black winged stilt which have been absent for awhile.
                                                               WILLOW WARBLER

                                                            BLACK WINGED STILT
                                                       JUVENILE BLACK WINGED STILT
and the ever present white throated swallows

Sunday, November 27, 2011

26/11/2011 Big Birding Day

It is our national big birding day and i started at Rondebult this morning at five thirty,good light going to be another scorcher today. Surprised i am the only birder here but then we are limited to a 50 km radius of our starting point and have to do three pentads still today.looks like i have chosen pentads that are not popular which is great. My 2 hour count at Rondebult produced 67 species inclusive of the shy and reclusive African Rail.Water levels are pretty low and i think this might have to do with the photographic clubs wanting good photo ops of waders.Might be wrong but that is the impression i get. the dam in front of hide number one is filling up and i see a lot of work has been done. A lot of the reeds have been removed and the banks have been built up. In front of hide number two i saw hundreds of fingerlings so the fish that where put in have breed and seems to be successful. Here are a few pics from today.
The ever present white throated swallows once again producing good photos.

                                                                      Little Grebe
                                                                  Black headed heron
                                                                       Glossy Ibis

Monday, November 14, 2011

12/11/2001 # 2

After having got the three banded plovers done and dusted eventually got around to the rest of the morning.Was not a bad visit just very hot. Arrived at 5.30 am and it was already 26 degrees c. Played golf later in the day and the temp got up to 41 degrees c so rather uncomfortable. Lots of little bittern flying around as well as black crowned night heron,squacco heron,dabchick,various warblers,yellow billed duck,red billed teal,spur winged goose and the ever present menace the Egyptian geese. They are getting out of hand at hide number two,there chicks are really getting big with there wings developing really quickly now. Of the original 8 there are only 6 left.
The male is very aggressive and chases any other duck that is  landing away.
                                                          Juvenile Egyptian Goose.
 A few more from this morning.  White throated swallow
                                                        Red Billed Teals
Juvenile Red Knobbed Coot
                                                             wood sandpiper
                                                           little reed warbler

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Rondebult this morning was hot,arrived at 5.30 am and it was already 26 degrees.Middle of a heatwave here and expect temps to rise into the mid 30's today. Got a whole sequence of three banded plovers doing the bone dance.
The male arrived and started doing his dance, he bobbed up and down while the female kept moving away. she eventually succumbed and went down on bended knee accepting his advances.
Foreplay consisted of the male doing a dance on the back of the female. He actually drummed his legs and claws on her back and in this way stimulating her. It did make a bit of a noise i was about 4 metres away from them and i could hear the drumming noise.

after about three minutes of this dance they settled down.
she then lifted her tail for him.

not more than fifteen seconds and it was over

he flew of and left her to sun herself in the afterglow of a good copulation.

Saturday, October 29, 2011


As always Rondebult provided some good sightings and photo op's this afternoon Trashing the idea of the golden hour in the morning is the only time to get good pics'.Granted it is the best time but some patience in the heat of the afternoon also produces good images.Not a huge list as i was static at hide number 2 ,I just wanted to practice my craft. The squacco heron below moved around quite a lot I think it wanted to land on the sandbar in front of the hide and my lens kept putting him of.
Straight afterwords this little bittern flashed across and this was the only pic i managed to get.
I heard these little african reed warblers but they where pretty flitty in the reeds. This one posed for me for about three minutes giving me some nice results

could not help my self with this little fella,chirping in desperation trying to find his mom.

And finally this juvenile reed cormorant chased away the white throated swallow from his perch.
Was pretty hot at 11 when i arrived a muggy 25 degrees c but when i left at 13.00 it had risen to 35 degree c.
notable sightings where the white rumped swift and the common swift. the huge amounts of spur winged goose from earlier in the week where gone. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Todays visit was uneventfull.Ambient temp was 32 degrees c and water temp was 22 degrees c.A lot of scum on the water and hide number one is completely empty of water.The pan at hide number two smells really bad and i am sure i saw raw sewerage floating close to the hide.Hide number three also had a lot of scum on the surface.The sanctuary is looking neat and tidy.Hide number 5 is under construction and should be ready soon.
Little Bittern,Marsh Sandpiper,African Swamp Hen,Egyptian Goose,Spur winged Goose,Yellow Billed Duck,Cape Reed Warbler,Red Knobbed Coot,Common Moorhen,Myna,Feral Pigeon,Cape Turtle dove,Blacksmith Lapwing,Black Crowned Night Heron,Glossy,Hadida and Sacred Ibis,Dabchick,Southern Masked Weaver, Thick Billed Weaver,African Stonechat

On my last post i took pics of these gooslings,they have grown really quickly.

white throated swallow

immature black crowned night heron
marsh sandpiper.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Managed to get here early today 6 am. Ambient temp was a chilly 8 degrees c and the water temp is starting to rise which was 15 degrees c.Caught up with the ladies from Sandton camera club. The dam at hide number one is completely empty now and the water levels at the other pans are starting to drop. Was not a bad two hours birding espicially at the back pan near the willow trees.How long this water will still be here remains to be seen. There is still a lot of animal dung lying around in the picnic area which is ugly but otherwise spring is making the BS pretty with the reeds growing back at an alarming rate. I reckon a foot of growth in a week.
                                                                          BIRD LIST
Wood Sandpiper,Marsh Sandpiper,African Purple Swamphen,Malachite Kingfisher,White Throated Swallow
Cape Reed Warbler,Grey Headed Gull, Black Winged Kite,Red Knobbed Coot,Egyptian Geese,Spur Winged Goose,Thick Billed Weaver,African Stonechat,Capped Wheatear, all the Ibis,pigeons and doves,Levaillant's Cisticola,Southern Masked Bishop, Wattled Lapwing,Dabchick,Red Billed Teal,Yellow Billed Duck,Reed Cormorant and Little Bittern.i was only here for two hours this morning as i moved onto the EENDRACHT ROAD near Suikerbos for some good roadside birding.
                                                                       red billed teal
wood sandpiper
                                                               Egyptian gooslings
                                                                      Juvenile grey headed gull
                                                                  marsh sandpiper
                                                                 wattled lapwing

Sunday, September 18, 2011

18/09/2011 two

As i said in my earlier post i had visited other sites to bird.At the time of my last visit the BS had looked shabby but spring has arrived and the green shoots are coming through and the reeds have shot up to just under knee height.Spring doe's make everything look better but i think this is a just on the surface. Still large amounts of animal dung lying around in the picnic area.Water levels in the main pan are still high.The pan at number 1 hide is half empty, not sure if this is too get rid of the green seed which had choked it over winter or because water has stopped running in.Water levels at hide number two have receded but are still a little high but the water is clean. I managed to get around to the grassland via the walkway next to the eastern fence. I have been coming here for ages and never knew it existed.Walk down to hide 1 go left through the veld to the fence,turn right and walk up,a nice small dam is situated on the right and ruff,sandpiper,snipe,plover,waterfowl are all seen here.Walk up past the willow trees and the whole back of the reserve is accessible with herds of antelope and zebra which are pretty tame.A good visit which produced some spring specials.

Spur winged goose                                                             Red knobbed coot
Dabchick                                                                             Common moorhen
Yellow billed duck                                                             Hottentot teal
Sacred Ibis                                                                          Hadeda Ibis
Glossy Ibis                                                                          Cape Reed Warbler
Levaillant’s cistacola                                                          Long tailed widow bird
Fiscal shrike                                                                         Southern masked weaver
Egyptian goose                                                                    Reed cormorant
Ruff                                                                                     Marsh Sandpiper
African Stone Chat                                                              Black smith Plover
Three banded plover                                                           doves and pigeons


I have been visiting other sites during the late winter and getting good siting 's of grassland birds as the veld is burnt back many specials are around. Did a short trip to the southern cape, had a really good photo op with a female African Marsh Harrier and quite a bit of time at Marievale,Suikerbos and the surrounding farm lands.Good siting's of Larks,Pipits and various other winter specials. Today I went back to a favourite birding spot which most time produces really good pictures. A favourite has returned in the white throated swallow. A friendly little bird and is photogenic as well. This intra-africa migrant will breed here through our summer and although very common now produces some really good practice for all levels of photographer.The challenge is catch them in flight. The best i have got is not great but many more opportunities are still out there.