Hotazel again

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11 years 3 months ago #2525 by nkgray
nkgray created the topic: Hotazel again
Another two weeks in the Hotazel area and my tally is now 91, that 100 mark for winter birding in the Kalahari is not too far off.

Still no luck with the Cape Penduline Tit, and having gone through my list was staggered to see that I have not yet seen a Cape Sparrow on the farm! House, Southern Grey-headed and even Great, but not a Cape Sparrow in sight! I managed to add another 2 relatively common species in Fiscal Flycatcher and Marico Sunbird. The highlights of the 5 additions in the past two weeks were undoubtedly a circling Martial Eagle and then the happenings of Tuesday evening last week.

The camelthorn above my trailer has been a hive of activity since late May when I started working in the area - 22 species in that tree alone! But Tuesday night was quite eventful. About 9pm my alarm clock started up! The Pearl-spotted has been calling in the early evenings of late. I didn't even bother going out as this is such a regular occurrence, but then the call changed and the Southern White-faced Scops-Owl put in its second appearance. Out with the spotlight and I managed a fleeting glimpse as the light fell on him and he took off. I was no sooner back inside and beating the computer at Scrabble again when my latest addition to the list arrived - an African Scops-Owl. Before Tuesday I had only glimpses on two occasions in the Kruger when the owl flew off as the spotlight hit it. This time I located it fairly easily and watched for a while, spot in one hand, binoculars in the other. Emboldened by the fact that it didn't seem to have any thoughts of going anywhere, I went in to fetch the Canon and try for a flash photo. After some minutes working out how to hold the camera and the spot with two hands while using manual focus (it wasn't that co-operative) I finally managed to focus for the first shot and pressed the shutter release only to get a shot of an empty branch!!!!!! Three differnet owls calling in the same tree in under 2 hours was quite amazing.

The Scops has been back every night since at different times (amazing how your sub-conscious tunes in to these calls and you wake up at 2:30am knowing exactly why) but even though he has called for long periods I have been unable to get the spotlight on him again.

Neil Gray

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