Lifers thanks to bird atlas project

  • Duncan
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8 years 4 months ago #12131 by Duncan
Duncan created the topic: Lifers thanks to bird atlas project
While browsing through the distribution maps from the ongoing bird atlas project. I noted that both African Grass-owl and Blue Korhaan (both potential lifers for me and my dad) had been seen in a pentad (areas of about 8kmX8km that the country has been sub-divided into for the atlas project) about 45 minutes away from where we live in Krugersdorp. I managed to convince my dad yesterday that it was a good idea to go and atlas this pentad as we might then find 1 or both of these species. We went through today at about 15:30 and after about an hour of atlasing we found a very recently burnt area of veld(as in still smoking) where we found Crowned, Wattled and Blacksmith Lapwings, Cattle Egret, Black-headed Heron, Capped Wheatear, Black Korhaan and after about 10 minutes of scanning one of our targets Blue Korhaan. They were so far away that I could easily just have written them off as just another lapwing but once we had the scope on them there was no doubt and we had relatively good all be it distant views of the birds. In the same pentad we came across a really productive dam just as sun went down which meant that we weren’t able to PI all of the water birds seen but we did pick up Pied Avocet, Greater Flamingo and Goliath Heron. At this stage we decided to back track to a marshy vlei we had ID earlier as being a possible site for the Grass Owl. Within seconds of arriving we found not one but 2 grass owls. Although it did take us a little while to PI the owls in the fading light, they did put on a bit of an aerial show which made being out in the cold worth while.

The overall birding in the pentad was quite good (45 in about 2 hours of daylight) and the fact that we got both our target species was very pleasing. I was particularly pleased about the Grass Owls as we had been looking for them for about a year and they had become our bogey bird. I also noted more than 10 Marsh Owls in the same pentad which I always enjoy. I will however have to return for photos of the lifers as neither presented us with any opportunities.

For those of you looking for any species in particular it might be worth your while consulting the data on the atlas projects website. You can also get a list of birds found in your home pentad or any other atlassed pentads which is quite useful. You don’t have to be a registered atlaser to access this information but don’t count on site being particularly user friendly as I don’t think the data is there for this purpose.

Regards
Duncan

P.S Where can one find Cape Eagle-Owl close to or in Gauteng?

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8 years 4 months ago #12135 by gordon
gordon replied the topic: Re: Lifers thanks to bird atlas project
Hey Duncan,

Those are the days that make birding worthwhile!!! <!-- s:yes: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/yes.gif" alt=":yes:" title="Yes" /><!-- s:yes: --> <!-- s:yes: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/yes.gif" alt=":yes:" title="Yes" /><!-- s:yes: -->

Cheers,
Gordon

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8 years 4 months ago #12144 by Duncan
Duncan replied the topic: Re: Lifers thanks to bird atlas project
Yeah thanks I agree. It's great when a plan works out. I must also mention that even the best plan for getting a target species may not work out. We vistited the dirt road just before the entrance to suikerbosrand on a number of occasions, some after sunset and some before sunrise looking for grass owls and didnt find any (These visits were all before I found the posts on this forum about the dirty cops sometime last week).

The other thing I thought I would mention is that both these lifers were found basically in the centre of no where as regards birding hotspots which goes to show that good birding can be had virtually anywhere provided there is range of different habitats.

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