Borakalalo trip report - Sunday 7th June 2009

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8 years 5 months ago #11699 by Dewi Edwards
Dewi Edwards created the topic: Borakalalo trip report - Sunday 7th June 2009
BORAKLALO

A 4am start found Gordon, Doug and I heading North to Borakalalo for a day’s birding. Gordon had very kindly invited me out birding when he’d heard that I was visiting South Africa on holiday.

First stop was along the dirt road leading to the park where we pulled over for a welcome cup of coffee and listened to the calls of the first birds of the day. Pearl Spotted Owlet, Crested and Coqui Francolin and African Turtle Doves were heard and it wasn’t long before we saw our first bird perched on a wire…….

Pearl Spotted Owlet



Crested Francolin



Just before reaching the entrance gate, the first of many African Fish Eagles was noted, along with Vervet Monkeys at the gate itself.

African Fish Eagle



A quick stop at the bridge over the river and we were picking up such birds as Arrowmarked Babblers, Dark Capped Bulbuls, White Breasted Cormorant, African Darter, Natal Francolin and a lifer for me – Half-collared Kingfisher.

African Darters


Further along the track, a Little Sparrowhawk was seen perched in a bush efore flying off into deep cover.

Little Sparrowhawk


A short stroll near the campsite was productive, with Magpie Shrike, Long-billed Crombec, Southern Black Tit and Chinspot Batis making an appearance. Walking back in the opposite direction, we encountered several more new species including Giant Kingfisher, Rattling Cisticola, Neddicky, Pied Kingfisher, Blue Waxbill and Brubru.

Rattling Cisticola


Chestnut-vented Tit-babbler was next along with the ubiquitous Laughing Doves, whilst Red-eyed Doves were always to be heard.calling from the surrounding bushveld.

Doug and Gordon then heard and located a Grey Tit-flycatcher and great views were had by all as it called from it’s perch in a nearby tree.

Grey Tit-flycatcher


Further along the track we found several more species, notably Brown-crowned Tchagra, African Firefinch and Brown-hooded Kingfisher.

Gordon returned to fetch the car at this point, whilst Doug and I carried on to the end of the trail picking up Egyptian Geese, Blacksmith Lapwing, Cape Glossy Starling, Hammerkop and Grey Go-away-bird. When Gordon returned with the car, we drove along to the river and scanned from a vantage point. White-browed Scrub-robin, Grey- backed Cameroptera & Red-billed Oxpeckers were seen and a Yellow-fronted Canary picked for seeds in the track ahead.

Yellow-fronted Canary


Continuing slowly along the track, we found Lilac-breasted Roller, Green-winged Pytilia, Groundscraper Thrush and Cardinal Woodpecker. Emerald-spotted Wood-doves flew up from the trackside and a Black-winged Stilt flew up-river.

Groundscraper Thrush


A stop off at Ga Dinonyane hide produced several new species for the day, with birds coming thick and fast. Southern Boubou, Fork-tailed Drongos, Tawny-flanked Prinia, Southern Masked-weaver and Commom Waxbill were all seen whilst Pearl-breasted Swallows hawked for insects over the wetter areas. Red-billed Hornbills called nearby as a small flock of Red-faced Mousebirds flew by. African Jacana on the pool and both Southern Grey-headed and Cape Sparrows were busy feeding in the bushes.

Driving back towards the dam, we picked up Southern Tellow-billed Hornbill, Crested Barbet, White-bellied Sunbird, Southern Yellow-billed and Southern Grey Hornbill, Black-shouldered Kite and Golden-tailed Woodpecker.

Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill


Down on the lakeside we came across Green-backed Heron, Ostrich on the far bank, Black Crake in the reeds and Great Crested Grebes just offshore.

Great Crested Grebe


A stop at the picnic site had us pondering over an identity crisis! Was it a Drongo or a Flycatcher? I noted at the time that the bird had a red eye, which does not show up well in the photos, and the bill shape is definitely not that of a Flycatcher. As we sat in the car afterwards reviewing photos and discussing the options, I was convinced that two bird species were seen, but only one photographed? The one pictured below is a Drongo, probably Fork-tailed and in moult. (I’ll post some Black Flycatcher photos in my Kruger report later so that comparisons can be made).

Fork-tailed Drongo


A Bushveld Emperor Butterfly was also noted here


In the reeds along the shoreline there were many Cisticolas and Prinias, notably Tawny-flanked and Black-chested Prinia and Zitting Cisticolas. Herons were much in evidence, with Goliath, Purple, Grey, Black-headed and Squacco seen along with , Yellow-billed, cattle and Little Egrets.

Black-chested Prinia


Zitting Cisticolas



Goliath Heron



Purple Heron


Squacco Heron


Great Egret



Red-knobbed Coots were everywhere. It’s ironic that just a month earlier I was in the Coto Donnana in Southern Spain with three birding friends and we spent quite a long time scanning through hundreds of Common Coots looking for a genuine wild Red-knobbed Coot! These birds are rare in Europe, so we were determined to find one. Eventually Chris, one of our group, found one after careful scanning. Maybe I should have checked through all these here for a one of the “Common” variety!

Red-knobbed Coot



Other birds along the lakeshore drive were Sacred Ibis, Hammerkop, Little Grebes, Marico Flycatcher, Crimson-breasted Shrike, Yellow-billed Stork, African Spoonbill and Burchell’s Coucal.

Sacred Ibis and Hammerkop


African Darter


Yellow-billed Stork


Southern Pied-babblers were watched as we left the lake and headed inland where we came across the surprise of the day, an out of season Osprey sitting in a tree. A little research later revealed that some birds do over-winter in Southern Africa.

Osprey


A Water Monitor was also seen sunning itself, but slid into the water as it heard the car approach.

Water Monitor


A stop-off at Sefudi Dam brought sightings of Ashy Tit, Golden-breasted Bunting and Little Bee-eater and before leaving the park we added Acacia Pied-barbet, Green Wood-hoopoe and Grey-headed Bush-shrike to the list.

Ashy Tit


Outside of the park, we came across a flock of birds feeding in a roadside field. Careful scrutiny revealed White-winged Widowbird, Fan-tailed Widowbird and Village Indigobird. Purple Rollers were also seen on the roadside wires before we ended the day at a lake by the roadside as the sun set behind the distant hills. The final two species of the day were noted here, being Yellow-billed and White-faced Duck.

All in all a superb day’s birding. A lot of the species seen are probably very common and familiar to Simply Birding members, but to a visiting Brit like me, they were mostly unfamiliar and thus exciting to see.

Many thanks to Gordon and Doug for inviting me to join them on a great day’s birding. I hope that I can reciprocate their hospitality sometime in the near future.




LIST OF BIRD SPECIES SEEN

Great-crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus
Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis
Common Ostrich Struthio camelus
Little Grebe (Dabchick) Tachybaptus ruficollis
White-breasted Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo
Reed Cormorant Phalacrocorax africanus
African Darter Anhinga melanogaster
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
Black-headed Heron Ardea melanocephala
Goliath Heron Ardea goliath
Purple Heron Ardea purpurea
Great (White) Egret Casmerodius albus
Yellow-billed Egret Egretta intermedia
Little Egret Egretta garzetta
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides
Green-backed Heron Butorides striatus
Hamerkop Scopus umbretta
Yellow-billed Stork Mycteria ibis
African Sacred Ibis Threskiornis aethiopicus
Hadeda Ibis Bostrychia hagedash
African Spoonbill Platalea alba
White-faced Duck Dendrocygna viduata
Yellow-billed Duck Anas undulate
Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiacus
African Fish Eagle Haliaeetus vocifer
Osprey Pandion haliaetus
Black-shouldered Kite Elanus caeruleus
Little Sparrowhawk Accipiter minullus
Crested Francolin Francolinus sephaena
Coqui Francolin Peliperdix coqui
Natal Francolin Francolinus natalensis
Swainson’s Spurfowl Francolinus swainsonii
African Purple Swamphen (Purple Gallinule) Porphyrio madagascarensis
Black Crake Amaurornis flavirostris
Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
Red-knobbed Coot Fulica cristata
African Jacana Actophilornis africanus
Three-banded Plover Charadrius tricollaris
Crowned Lapwing Vanellus coronatus
Blacksmith Lapwing Vanellus armatus
Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus
Speckled (Rock) Pigeon Columba guinea
Red-eyed Dove Streptopelia semitorquata
Cape Turtle Dove Streptopelia capicola
Laughing Dove Streptopelia senegalensis
Emerald-spotted (Green-spotted) Wood-Dove Turtur chalcospilos
Grey Go-away Bird Corythaixoides concolor
Burchell’s Coucal Centropus burchellii
Pearl-spotted Owlet Glaucidium perlatum
Red-faced Mousebird urocolius indicus
Giant Kingfisher Ceryle maxima
Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis
Half-collared Kingfisher Alcedo semitorquata
Malachite Kingfisher Alcedo cristata
Brown-hooded Kingfisher Halcyon albiventris
Little Bee-eater Merops pusillus
Lilac-breasted Roller Coracias caudata
Purple Roller Coracias naevia
Green (Red-billed) Wood-Hoopoe Phoeniculus purpureus
African Grey Hornbill Tockus nasutus
Red-billed Hornbill Tockus erythrorhynchus
Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill Tockus leucomelas
Acacia Pied Barbet Tricholaema leucomelas
Crested Barbet Trachyphonus vaillantii
Golden-tailed Woodpecker Campethera abingoni
Cardinal Woodpecker Dendropicos fuscescens
Pearl-breasted Swallow Hirundo dimidiata
Brown-throated Martin Riparia paludicola
Fork-tailed Drongo Dicrurus adsimilis
Ashy Tit Parus cineracens
Southern Black Tit Parus niger
Arrow-marked Babbler Turdoides jardineii
Southern Pied-babbler Turdoides bicolor
Dark-capped (Black-eyed) Bulbul Pycnonotus barbatus
Groundscraper Thrush Turdus litsitsirupa
White-browed Scrub-Robin Erythropygia leucophrys
Chestnut-vented Tit-babbler Parisoma subcaeruleum
Long-billed Crombec Sylvietta rufescens
(Cape Reed) Lesser Swamp-warbler Acrocephalus grasilirostris
Grey-backed Camaroptera Camaroptera brevicaudata
Zitting (Fan-tailed) Cisticola Cisticola juncidis
Neddicky Cisticola fulvicapilla
Rattling Cisticola Cisticola chiniana
Tawny-flanked Prinia Prinia subflava
Black-chested Prinia Prinia Flavicans
Chinspot Batis Batis molitor
Grey Tit-flycatcher (Fantailed Flycatcher) Myioparus plumbeus
Marico Flycatcher Bradornis mariquensis
African (Grassveld) Pipit Anthus cinnamomeus
Crimson-breasted Shrike Laniarius atrococineus
Magpie (African Long-tailed) Shrike Corvinella melanoleuca
Common Fiscal (Fiscal Shrike) Lanius collaris
Southern Boubou Laniarius ferrugineus
Brubru Nilaus afer
Brown-crowned (Three-streaked) Tchagra Tchagra australis
Grey-headed Bush-Shrike Malaconotus blanchoti
Burchell’s Starling Lamprotornis australis
Cape Glossy Starling Lamprotornis nitens
Common (Indian) Myna Acridotheres tristis
Red-billed Oxpecker Buphagus erythrorhynchus
White-bellied Sunbird Cinnyris talatala
House Sparrow Passer domesticus
Cape Sparrow Passer melanurus
Southern Grey-headed Sparrow Passer diffusus
Southern Masked-weaver Ploceus velatus
White-winged Widowbird Euplectes albonotatus
Green-winged Pytilia (Melba Finch) Pytilia melba
African (Blue-billed) Firefinch Lagonosticta rubricata
Blue Waxbill Uraeginthus angolensis
Common Waxbill Estrilda astrild
Fan-tailed Widowbird (Redshouldered Widow) Euplectes axillaris
Village Indigobird (Steelblue Widowfinch) Vidua chalybeata
Yellow-fronted (Yellow-eyed) Canary Serinus mozambicus
Golden-breasted Bunting Emberiza flaviventris


MAMMAL SPECIES SEEN

Vervet monkey Chlorocebus aethiops
Giraffe Giraffa camelopardalis
White-tailed Gnu (Black Wildebeest) Connochaetes taurinus
Impala Aepyceros melampus
Sable Hippotragus niger
Kudu Tragelaphus strepsiceros
Tree squirrel Paraxerus cepapi


REPTILES

Water Monitor

INSECTS

Bushveld Emperor Butterfly

Cheers,

Dewi.

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  • wernher
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8 years 5 months ago #11700 by wernher
wernher replied the topic: Re: Borakalalo trip report - Sunday 7th June 2009
Hey Dewi those are fantastic! MANY lifers in that list for me. Very envious! Thanks for posting.

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  • gordon
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8 years 4 months ago #11716 by gordon
gordon replied the topic: Re: Borakalalo trip report - Sunday 7th June 2009
Hi Dewi,

It is great to see all your photo's from the trip!

It was a pleasure having you along for the day!

Cheers,
Gordon

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  • mossie
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8 years 4 months ago #11722 by mossie
mossie replied the topic: Re: Borakalalo trip report - Sunday 7th June 2009
Hi Dewi

The picture of the fork tailed drongo looks like a black flycatcher to me... lack of red eye, and forked tail?

Mossie

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  • Dewi Edwards
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8 years 4 months ago #11729 by Dewi Edwards
Dewi Edwards replied the topic: Re: Borakalalo trip report - Sunday 7th June 2009
Hi Mossie,

As mentioned in my report, Gordon, Doug and I discussed this bird at length. Gordon was on the other side of the trees taking photos, whilst Doug and I were on the lakeside. We were all positive we had seen a Black Flycatcher, but on reviewing this and Doug's pics, we thought maybe Drongo. After getting home and checking this photo out carefully I'm convinced it's a drongo. I still believe we saw both species, but this pic is of a Drongo in moult due to the lack of forked tail, the remains of rictal bristles can be made out and the longer, hooked upper mandible is that of a drongo rather than a flycatcher. The eye was also deep red, which does not show up in the photo as the bird was in the shade. There is also the posiibility of Square-tailed Drongo, but this species would normally be out of range here. The bird was also associating with other Fork=tailed Drongo's and eventually moved off with them.

Be good to know Gordon and Doug's comments on this photo once they have had time to review it?

Hope this helps.

Cheers,

Dewi.

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8 years 4 months ago #11731 by gordon
gordon replied the topic: Re: Borakalalo trip report - Sunday 7th June 2009
Hi Dewi and Mossie,

I was busy photographing Black Flycatcher at the time and their bird was moving very near to "my" bird. My own opinion looking at the photo's now is that it is probably a Flycatcher. Looks like it has rictal bristles?

Cheers,
Gordon

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8 years 4 months ago #11763 by mossie
mossie replied the topic: Re: Borakalalo trip report - Sunday 7th June 2009
Hi

Those two have had me confused often in the field.

The easiest way to seperate them, is when you have a side view of the bird.

The flycatcher makes a distinct angle of about 20-30 degrees between the wings and tail.

And by the way, your pictures are stunning!

Mossie

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8 years 4 months ago #11775 by NickyO
NickyO replied the topic: Re: Borakalalo trip report - Sunday 7th June 2009
Great trip report Dewi!

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  • Hanno Pretorius
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8 years 3 months ago #12262 by Hanno Pretorius
Hanno Pretorius replied the topic: Re: Borakalalo trip report - Sunday 7th June 2009
Hi there all.

It has been an absolute age since I've posted on the site. Firstly, great trip report above; secondly - I'm heading off to Bora on Thursday for a good day of SABAP2 atlas work. Has anyone been there since the above trip (report). I have been there over a year ago. Has anything changed regarding the poor management/'backwards-going' trend that I observed creeping into the park last year?

Thanks,
Hanno

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