Hotazel update

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11 years 3 months ago #2453 by nkgray
nkgray created the topic: Hotazel update
Hi All,

Just back from another two weeks in the Hotazel area - I did manage to fit in another weekend in the Kgalagadi, where the Capped Wheatears have disappeared and the Kori Bustards are just about everywhere you look, but I thought you might be interested in some of the happenings in the Hotazel area.

Early this week I almost literally ran over a Tawny Eagle rounding a bend on one of the sand roads on the farm - the only one I have seen outside the Park in the Kalahari region. The farm manager was quite excited. He told me that they had a breeding pair on the farm until a few years ago and then they seemed to have moved to an area north of Black Rock some 30km or so away. He is hoping that this may mean a return to their former territory - assuming it is the same bird(s). Does anyone perhaps know whether Tawny Eagles or any big raptors for that matter change their nesting sites every few years, and would they return to a previous haunt?

My Groundscraper Thrush with the lame left leg in the geological core yard has been joined by another challenged individual - a Kalahari Scrub-Robin with no tail! Well it has the stump of a tail, which wags quite frequently - just no tail attached. Goodness knows how it managed to lose it. I was curious to see how a bird without an effective rudder would fly. It solves the problem by not flying too frequently. Ever seen a robin that prefers to run away rather than fly off on your close approach? When it does fly it seems to fly straight up to a suitable perch and then make for its next perch only a few metres away. No long stretches.

My alarm clock is still working well. The Pearl-Spotted Owlet starts up in the canopy of the camelthorn tree above my trailer every morning at between 05:30 and 05:45. This morning, however, he had some competition. I was out at 04:15 with anorak over my pyjamas and spotlight in hand to locate the source of the latest call - and picked up a lifer, Southern White-faced Scops-Owl. I just wish he'd pick 05:30 or later next time!!!!

My tally for the farm after 8 weeks is now 86 out of 233 listed on the Roberts ver 3.1 CD, which I consider not too bad for the time of year. Some of the birds that I was initially seeing infrequently now seem to be joining large bird parties and moving through the bush en masse. Find the Southern Pied Babblers and the bird party will not be too far away, usually comprising a core of Black-chested Prinia, Pririt Batis, Yellow-bellied Eremomela, Chesnut-vented Titbabbler, Violet-eared Waxbill and Kalahari Scrub-Robin, but more recently containing Fairy Flycatcher, Brubru, and Ashy Tit. With the early arrival of a few migrants I might just get the 100 mark before I leave the area in September.

One bird I have not yet found is the Cape Penduline Tit. Can anyone help me with the habits and haunts of this bird.? Perhaps I can narrow my search.

Neil Gray

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