Borakalalo July 2009

  • Vocifer
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8 years 4 months ago #12069 by Vocifer
Vocifer created the topic: Borakalalo July 2009
My son (15) and I visited Borakalalo last Friday. We started out from the West Rand at 4.30 in freezing weather which reached -3.5ºC at Hartebeespoortdam. We reached Borakalalo just before gate opening at 6. A hot cup of coffee and rusks has seldom tasted better.
It was still dark when we reached the picnic spot and a mist was blown in from the dam further decreasing visibility. There were literally hundreds of waterbirds criss-crossing the dam. From the dam wall we witnessed our first new tick, Greater Crested Grebe. Unfortunately too dark for photos. My bird photography started as an aid in identifying birds but has since progressed into an additional pastime.

We were the only visitors in the reserve and the abundance and variety of birds for mid-winter was astounding! For two ranks amateurs we counted 80 species and it could have been more had we spent more time later in the day at the dam. We were extremely satisfied.

Please correct me if any of my ID’s are incorrect.
Below the dam wall we initially got excited as we thought we were looking at an out-of-season Osprey but we realized it to be an imm Fish Eagle. Still, it made a pretty picture.



Further down the stream my son was proud to have "caught" this Long-billed Crombec about to take of:



This Fish Eagle enjoyed posing for us:



We saw 2 Pearl-spotted Owlets. They were very active and continually dive-bombed into the grass. One even caught something. This one produced the best photo, which my son took:



Another new tick for me was this Grey-backed Camaroptera. He was in a bush beside the hide and he was not trapped as the top was open. He had obviously been in there before and knew his way in and out.



White-browed Scrub-robins were plentyful and willing to pose



This guy was not scared of us at all and was unwilling to leave the road:



Amongst the numerous water birds was this Squacco Heron:



Again one my son took. These Pied Kingfishers are a delight to photograph:



This Brown-crowned Tchagra was initially shy, but our patience paid of and he eventually struck a beautiful pose:



I have not seen Green-backed Herons high up in a tree. My son was excited at spotting it as well as the photo with the sun behind the bird.



Unfortunately we didn't find any of the specials we were looking for, African Finfoot and White-backed Night-heron, but hey, we can dream can't we?
I ended up with 10 new ticks for the day and as mentioned 80 species spotted. Although freezing cold earlier, the day turned out well. It was peculiar being there alone but enjoyable. Must say the park was extremely tidy, quiet and pleasant. Can’t wait to return in summer when all the migrant and breeding colours are back. Definitely worth a visit!

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  • Duncan
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8 years 4 months ago #12072 by Duncan
Duncan replied the topic: Re: Borakalalo July 2009
Just a note on the camaroptera. Initially I thought that Green-backed Camaroptera's wouldnt occur at Bora and after consulting Roberts 7 it looked as though I was right. However I consulted the current bird atlas data and it looks as though they might unless there is a glitch in the system. I still reckon thou that this is grey-backed Camaroptera because of the lack of green on the back and tail. The illustrations and distribution maps of these 2 species seem to be a bit dodgy in Roberts 7. Infact they changed these illustrations for Roberts birds of the Kruger national park I reckon because the ones in roberts 7 were inaccurate.

Regards Duncan

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  • Dewi Edwards
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8 years 4 months ago #12073 by Dewi Edwards
Dewi Edwards replied the topic: Re: Borakalalo July 2009
Nice one Vocifer,
Had a great day out there last month with Gordon and Doug. Cracking birding spot.
Love the P-S Owl photo.
Cheers,
Dewi.

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  • nkgray
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8 years 4 months ago #12082 by nkgray
nkgray replied the topic: Re: Borakalalo July 2009
It doesn't matter what time of year it is, Borakalalo is for me one the premier Bushveld birding venues. Great to see that as "rank amateurs" as you put it that you chose to go to there. I hope your successful and enjoyable day (from both the birding and bird photography perspectives) will get you back again soon!

Neil

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  • Dave Shedman
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8 years 4 months ago #12084 by Dave Shedman
Dave Shedman replied the topic: Re: Borakalalo July 2009
As rank amateurs ourselves, I think we need to get over there as soon as possible. This is a great report and some excellent photos, from both you and your son. I'm envious of your Pearl Spotted Owlet shot as we have still only ever seen one in captivity and heard one at night in the vlei next to our house. I'd give my right arm for a photo like that (assuming I can persuade Canon to invent a left-handed camera!). Well done on getting 80 species in a day, sounds like you guys had a great trip.

Ô¿Ô

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  • Vocifer
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8 years 4 months ago #12085 by Vocifer
Vocifer replied the topic: Re: Borakalalo July 2009
Thank you for the kind replies.
Duncan, I totally agree with you about the Camaroptera. I actually had the grey-backed ticked off on my list and it must have been a slip of the mind to write Green-backed. Thanks for the correction.
Dewi Edwards, thank you for the compliment. Your report on Borakalalo and the stunning photos actually convinced me to go there.
I will surely visit again.

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