Excellent Nylsvlei Census Weekend

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11 years 9 months ago #695 by Doug
Doug created the topic: Excellent Nylsvlei Census Weekend
Just some interesting news on our weekend at the Nylsvlei census.

We started off on the friday going up to Kgomo-kgomo and Zaagkuilsdrif.
We got a nice range of species including an Allen's Gallinule as usual.
Also of interest was Garden Warbler at the corner of Zaagkuilsdrif road and Crake Road which was a lifer for me and hearing a Barred Wren-warbler calling at the same spot, but quite a distance off. The river at Crake road was so high, the entire bridge was under water and we could only get some nice river birds at the bridge itself.

After the days efforts we went on to Nylsvlei.
Sadly when we got there it was bone dry.... for now...

We attended the census training and route allocation / draw and I, as team leader for the Halfwit Godwits drew our route... C1... not the best as it was a "dry" route along the boundary fence and only had one type of bushveld habitat so our chances were not that great. In spite of that we did really well under the circumstances and got 56 species in a 2 hour slow census walk along a 500m stretch of road. Nice species included a total of 7 Violet-backed Starlings, Southern Pied babbler heard calling as well as Yellow-throated Petronia and probably the highight of the mornings walk was excellent views of Pearl-spotted Owlett and Pale Flycatcher.

We then progressed down to Jacana hide to find it as dry as anything.

We then decided to visit Vogelfontein... dry as well...

Then as we were birding, a storm of scary proportions rolled towards us so we headed up to Mookgopong. We got a nice range of raptor species plus other nice birds and on our way back down, the farm lads were so flooded from the storm, we found Comb Duck swimming in a farm field. At that same field we picked up about 50 Black-winged Pratincoles and on the way back, a Juvenile Eurasian Hobby hunting birds over a field.
Returning to Nylsvlei we found the river had risen from 0 - 3m in the space of a few hours and the Jacana hide pan had gone from bone dry to a meter deep in water in a very short space of time.

The next morning we awoke and were treated to a lifetime special...
Close up views of Grey-headed Bush Shrike.. two adults feeding a youngster seen at a distance of 3 meters
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They were calling and the recordings I got were spectacular. We then spent a little time photographing a female African Paradise Flycatcher on her nest right in the camp site.

We proceeded back to Vogelfontien and picked up Icterine Warbler and Shikra together with stunnig closeup views of Barred Wren-warbler.

Finishing the day we went up too the flooded farm lands again and met the farmer who was more than happy to drive us around his farm in his 4x4. We picked up 500+ Black-winged Partincoles. I sms'd everyone who's number I had and Etienne called me for directions. He rushed up and got views of the Pratincoles. He also reported an outbreak of over 1000 Amur Falcons.

Heading back to Pienaar's river we completed our weekend with some nice birds there and ended up on a total of 195 species for the weekend although we dipped on the Green Sandpiper at Maloto. Also on the raptor front we ended up with 12 raptors spceis (15 if you include pied crow and two vluture species). The raptor list: Jackal Buzzard, Steppe Buzzard, Greater Kestrel, Lesser Kestrel, Juv Eurasian Hobby, Tawny Eagle, Whalberg's Eagle, Cape Vulture, White-backed Vulture, Black-shouldered Kite, Black/Yellowbilled Kite, Amur Falcon, Brown Snake-eagle, Shikra and Pied Crow. Also a possible Gabar Goshawk calling at Pienaar's river but I will have to email the call to a few people to clarify (it may also be Ovambo but the call is not on any of the CD's) so it may be 16.
All in all a spectacular weekend with over 45 minutes of spceial bird calls recorded which should be awesome once cut up.

Just a quick word of thanks to all who assisted in setting up, running and sponsoring the census. It was a truely awesome weekend. I will post a full species list for the trip on the forum once i have entered it into my database.

regards.
Doug

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