Mapungubwe Trip Report

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5 years 11 months ago #62810 by Doug
Doug created the topic: Mapungubwe Trip Report
Karen, Connor and I headed up to Mapangubwe with Michael to hopefully find the Pacific Golden Plover but in general to do some general birding and see how many lifers we could get for Michael.

We drove through the night and arrive at the entrance to Den Staat just after 4 AM. Getting out the spotlight we drove slowly hoping to pick up a Three-banded Courser. Unfortunately the mourning search did not produce anything but we did manage to add an early morning Barn Owl and at least two Freckled Nightjar.

As we arrived at the start of the wetland, dawn broke and birding sprung to life. We added many typical wetland birds including Green-backed Heron, Malachite and Pied Kingfishers, African Jacana and the first of dozens of Black Crake. As we travelled along the road leading past the first pan, White-fronted Bee-eaters were everywhere. And then we got Michael's first lifer in Senegal Coucal together with quite a few Burchell's Coucal.

The rest of the morning at the wetland offered some nice species including African Openbill, Common Ringed Plover/b] and a nice collection of waders including Marsh, Wood and Curlew Sandpiper, Ruff and Three-banded Plover.

We then headed for the entrance to Mapungubwe, picking up African Hawk-eagle on the way.

Entering into the reserve we headed slowly for the tree top boardwalk. On the way, larks were abundant picking up Sabota, Rufous-naped and Fawn-coloured Lark as well as quite a few common bushveld birds.

Arriving at the Tree Top Boardwalk, the over cats conditions meant that the birding was still very good and we added some really nice sightings and some lifers. Nesting Broad-billed Roller was another lifer for Michael together with Meyer's Parrot. A young Martial Eagle did its best to imitate a Spotted Thick-knee although he did not have us fooled for a minutes <!-- s:lol: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_lol.gif" alt=":lol:" title="Laughing" /><!-- s:lol: --> We also added other birds at the boardwalk including Diederick Cuckoo, Red-billed Buffalo-weaver building nests right in front of the hide and a few egrets and herons on the river.
http://www.simplybirding.com/forum/download/file.php?id=1050&sid=bba9188ad606b0d79f1011f7a30aacde
Broad-billed Roller nesting along the Tree Top Board Walk

The confluence lookout point added some other species including Common Swift - yet another lifer for Michael, close up views of Long-billed Crombec and Yellow-billed Stork.

We were no where near being ready to book in so we exited the eastern section of the reserve and headed round to the other side via the pontdrift entrance. The first part of the forest saw more Adfrican Hawk-eagle and our first White-crested Helmet-shrike. We arrived at the Molutswa Bird Hide. There was not a lot of activity but we did hear a lone Pearl-spotted Owlet calling.

From there we headed round through the dense riverine bush along the limpopo. Here we kept adding birds and hit 150 specs along this section. Highlights included closeup photographic views of White-fronted Bee-eater
http://www.simplybirding.com/forum/download/file.php?id=1049&sid=bba9188ad606b0d79f1011f7a30aacde

As we carried on along the river drive we added Tropical Boubou, Black Cuckoo, Terrestrial Brownbul and golden-tailed Woodpecker. We were also gifted with very close range photographic opportunities with a very trusting Meves's Starling.
http://www.simplybirding.com/forum/download/file.php?id=1048&sid=bba9188ad606b0d79f1011f7a30aacde
Meves's Starling, a very common bird at Mapungubwe

Our river drive then added the one bird we were all hoping to see. Retz's Helmet-shrike, a lifer for all of us.
http://www.simplybirding.com/forum/download/file.php?id=1047&sid=bba9188ad606b0d79f1011f7a30aacde
The elusive and difficult to find Retz's Helmet-shrike

We then went to our accommodation and during the evening braai we added Striped Pipit, Southern Black Tit and Great-spotted Cuckoo.

With the others being tired, just Michael and I headed back to the Tree Top Board Walk early the next morning and it was alive with calls and species. We added African Morning Dove, African Green-pigeon, Vereauxx's Eagle-owl and Little Egret.

We packed up and headed for the exit and were rewarded with Barred Wren-warbler, Monotonous Lark and more Meyer's Parrot at the exit gate.
http://www.simplybirding.com/forum/download/file.php?id=1045&sid=bba9188ad606b0d79f1011f7a30aacde
One of several Monotonous Lark at the exit gate.

We left the reserve on 185 species.

We stopped serious birding and headed for Sagole Big Tree. The visit was well worth it as we added Mottled Spinetail to our trip list.
http://www.simplybirding.com/forum/download/file.php?id=1044&sid=bba9188ad606b0d79f1011f7a30aacde
Sagole Big Tree is a must visit for Mottled Spinetail

Although serious birding had long stopped and we were all rather tired, but we finished the trip on 195 species.

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5 years 11 months ago #62823 by arty
arty replied the topic: Re: Mapungubwe Trip Report
awesome trip report bud and well done on your lifers,rather expensive when you get to have a huge lifelist and have to travel extensively to get lifers.it is so exciting for me to know i have still over 500 species to get just here in RSA and considering i am only adding about thirty a year it will be some time till i crack 500.

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5 years 11 months ago #62825 by Doug
Doug replied the topic: Mapungubwe Trip Report
It's always exciting. I now enjoy birding for birding's sake and lifers are a bonus. Takes the pressure off finding lifers.


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5 years 11 months ago #62866 by Margaret
Margaret replied the topic: Re: Mapungubwe Trip Report
I experienced again this weekend that the greatest "treasure" of birding lies in the surprises. Doug thought we had the best chance to find three-banded coursers, but nature gave us meve's helmeted-shrike. Personally the lifer list is only a mechanism to focus and drive my strategy to birding - I have the best chance to enhance my knowledge in I research species, look for them, and develop an understanding of their habits, etc.

To all who want to do a similar trip to Maphungube I will recommend it. Thanks Doug, you are not a guide, but your energy levels contribute to getting the most from the opportunity.

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5 years 11 months ago #62868 by Doug
Doug replied the topic: Mapungubwe Trip Report
It was a pleasure to bird with you Michael and maybe one day I should visit FGASA and get certified so I am not restricted to casual birding.

I do enjoy helping people to find the birds they are looking for.


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