Wednesday, February 4, 2015

October Limpopo Raptor Run 2014

I picked up Doctor Richard Charles at the Pilansberg National Park and we set off north for the day.
Fist off we got an adult Pale-chanting Goshawk for a warm up, funny, but it was the only PCG we saw just about all day!

An hour or so later we came across a juvenile Black-chested Snake Eagle which came to the trap without any nonsense.

Then 10 minutes later another! This time a 2nd year bird. Obviously the fields are yielding some good seed-rodent-snake activity!

And last up a Black-shouldered Kite. Not a huge amount of birds, but a great day which required ample re hydration at the lodge that evening!

Republic of Congo June and July 2014

Republic of Congo June and July 2014

I had two trips to do guiding the VIP's for The Jane Goodall Institute at Tchimpounga National Nature Reserve over June and July.

These months are fairly quiet with not much in the way of migrants or breeding, so I was interested to see what I would get in the nets in between guiding.

I set the usual line of nets in the gardens of the Chimp sanctuary and got the usual Pygmy Kingfishers, Rufous-tailed Palm Thrush, Little Greenbul, Green-headed and Olive-bellied Sunbirds.
So I was quite excited when I found a small honeyguide in the net! Normally I would of expected a Lesser Honeyguide, but knowing that bird as a dry savannah species which does not occur anywhere near here, I took great interest!
After looking at the book, I concluded that it was a Least Honeyguide! A new one on me!
Least Honeyguide

As usual there were always a few new records for the reserve, this trip being; Cuckoo Hawk, Cassin's Honeybird, Pygmy Goose, Levaillant's Cuckoo and a very interesting but distant Kestrel, which could really only be Common, a long way out of range for the southern Rock Kestrel.

Thick-billed Honeyguide
The second trip again I set the usual nets and this time and tried Thick-billed Haneyguide and Black-backed Barbet on the ipod and speaker which I tried for 2 net rounds before stopping. Then the next two rounds produced non other than a Thick-billed Honeyguide and a Black-backed Barbet of the nominate race 'minor'.

One other new species ringed for the reserve was a Senegal Coucal whcih I managed to flush into the net.

An interesting lunch on the beach and a sea watch turned out a couple of good species, a flock of Greater Flamingos flew north as did a Wilson's Petrel!

Black-backed Barbet nominate 'minor'
We tried for a few White fronted Bee-eaters at a colony in a road quarry and succeded in getting one bird, but were very surprised to get a single black morph Horus Swift of the race 'Toulsonii' or sometimes known as Luanda Swift. The jury is still out on this one!

Black morph Horus Swift 'toulsonii' 2

 All in all a great trip with some good birds seen including Red-necked Buzzard, Damara Tern (new) and quite a few remaining Rosy Bee-eaters about now during their non breeding season.