Friday, 27 May 2011

Grey Heron

Umzimkulu River Mouth, 27/05/2011
(Photo Andy Ruffle)

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Hunting threat to Dwarf Olive Ibis

(Photo credit-Nik Borrow)
Reports from BirdLife Species Guardians on São Tomé – a small island nation in the Gulf of Guinea - indicate that hunting is increasing and includes the Critically Endangered Dwarf Olive Ibis Bostrychia bocagei. A group of hunters were found with more than 90 São Tomé Green Pigeons Treron sanctithomae and at least one Dwarf Olive Ibis on 26 April 2011.
BirdLife Species Guardians from Associação de Biólogos Santomenses (ABS, the BirdLife contact NGO in São Tomé and Príncipe) found the hunters whilst carrying out surveys in Monte Carmo in Obô Natural Park, one of the main strongholds for the ibis.


Source- Birdlife International

Monday, 23 May 2011

Outing report- 22nd May 2011 Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve

From left to right back- Elaine Whitham, Doug Butcher,
Cathy Lee, Val Culley, Ron Whitham, Mike Fagan, Stan Culley.
Front left to right- Stanley Gengan, Andy Ruffle, Margaret Jones,
Angie Butcher, Irma Smook and Asothie Gengan.
(Photo Doug Butcher)

Attendees:- Doug & Angie Butcher, Stan & Val Culley, Mike Fagan, Stanley & Asothie Gengan, Margaret Jones, Cathy Lee, Andy Ruffle, Irma Smook, Ron & Elaine Whitham.

It was with great pleasure that we welcomed two new members to the club today, Stanley and Asothie (pronounced Asodie) Gengan from the Umzinto area.
Our usual routine was slightly changed, with us driving down into the valley first to try to catch the forest birds before the heat of the day set in. With the sunlight only just peaking over the edge of the gorge and tantalizingly bathing the upper cliffs, we took a leisurely walk along the road from the picnic site to give ourselves better light conditions. African Dusky Flycatchers darted from their perches to hawk insects and Collared Sunbirds could be seen at particularly close quarters as they sipped nectar from the flowering Dicliptera clinopodia, seemingly unawares of our presence.
A White-starred Robin made a brief, but welcome appearance.

(Photo Ron Whitham)

A short walk along the Hoopoe Falls trail, after breakfast, added Grey Cuckooshrike, Blue-mantled Crested-flycatcher and Terrestrial Brownbul to our list, amongst others.
Returning to the Hutted Camp, we headed off along the Baboon Trail in search of three Southern Ground Hornbill which we heard had been sighted earlier in the day. Unfortunately, they were nowhere to be seen, despite scouring all possible locations. A recent controlled burn on the trail meant any chances of LBJ's was dashed. We were, however, rewarded with a very good sighting of a Cape Rock-thrush, which Stan (Culley) was able to photograph after much patience on his part.
Our braai in the campsite area concluded another glorious winter's day in Africa.

Species recorded- Common Myna, White-necked Raven, Red-eyed Dove, Red-winged Starling, African Dusky Flycatcher, Collared Sunbird, Green Wood-Hoopoe, Sombre Greenbul, Red-capped Robin-chat, Olive Thrush, Dark-capped Bulbul, White-starred Robin, Bar-throated Apalis, Tambourine Dove, Southern Boubou, Trumpeter Hornbill, Black-headed Oriole, Cape White-eye, Egyptian Goose, African Harrier-hawk, African Olive-Pigeon, Jackal Buzzard, Dark-backed Weaver, Terrestrial Brownbul, Black-backed Puffback, Grey Cuckooshrike, Fork-tailed Drongo, Southern Black Tit, Square-tailed Drongo, Crowned Hornbill, Blue-mantled Crested-flycatcher, Rock Martin, Cape Turtle-dove, African Fish-eagle, Cape Rock-thrush, Cape Glossy Starling, Pied Crow, African Black Swift, Greater Double-collared Sunbird. (39 species)

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Friday, 20 May 2011

White Storks hunted down

The largest flock of White Storks ever recorded in Malta shot at from several different locations, as the birds sought overnight shelter in Malta.
At least six the 200-strong flock of storks were seen to be shot down, while another injured stork was recovered but had to be euthanized by a vet. Another two injured storks were recorded in flight with dangling legs and missing feathers. A shot Glossy Ibis another rare migratory bird for Malta, was also received by BirdLife from Zabbar.
The flock of 200 White Storks arrived in Malta on 18 May,. The BirdLife Malta office immediately informed the police and mobilised its field teams to monitor the birds and ensure their safety.


Source: Birdlife International

Friday, 13 May 2011

Rollers by Stan Culley

Racket-tailed Roller
Hippo Pools, Zimbabwe. October 2010
Purple Roller
Punda Maria, Kruger. May 2008
European Roller
Garden, December 2007

Broad-billed Roller
Mkuze GR, November 2004

Lilac-breasted Roller
Bulawayo Golf Course, Zimbabwe. September 2009

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Appointment of new Chairman

Following the sad loss of Barry, the committee of BirdLife Trogons has needed to re-appoint a Chairman.
It was a unanimous decision to appoint Andy Ruffle to follow in Barry’s footsteps and the committee is confident that Andy will perform his duties with continued enthusiasm and leadership.
Following Andy’s appointment, there needed to be a slight re-shuffle down the line and so the committee now consists of:-
Chairman - Andy Ruffle
Vice Chairperson - Jeanette Osborne
Treasurer - Doug Butcher
Secretary - Elaine Whitham (and will continue to e-mail outings reminders)
Outings Co-ordinator - Mike Fagan (this will be handed over and Mike will become Bird Ringing Co-ordinator)

Margaret Jones - currently taking care of selling our car licence stickers and is taking over the Scrap Book

Herbie Osborne - our very important DIY man for the Lions Show and always supporting and helping when needed!
Eric Kok - co-opted on to the Committee, will take over from Mike as Outings Co-ordinator.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

June Stannard 1922-2011

June Stannard passed away peacefully on Sunday 8th May 2011.
June was not only a well-known writer on birdlife and other conservation issues, but is best remembered as a pioneer in recording bird-song.
A memorial service for her was held on 13th May 2011 at Munster. Our condolences go to her family and all those who knew her. Her passing is another great loss to the birding community.

For more information about June and her book 'Birds Sing for Us'

Umdoni Crowned Eagle Juvenile Kill

Clive Edmundson has forwarded this very interesting photo of the Umdoni Crowned Eagle juvenile with a Rock Hyrax Procavia capensis kill. The photo was captured by Carol Weedon during a recent visit to Umdoni Park in the last week of April 2011.

The bird is approximately 8 months old and is likely to have fledged in early January 2011 according to Clive Quickelberge.

The youngest crowned eagle seen to make a kill on its own did so 61 days after fledging, but more often its parents feed the juvenile every 3 to 5 days for the next 9 to 12 months while the youngster practices its hunting skills.[1].

Little Sparrowhawk - hunting expedition that went wrong

This interesting encounter with a Little Sparrowhawk was sent in by Stacy Jones from Umtentweni. This is what she has to say......

Little Sparrowhawk on a curtain rail in Stacy's lounge
(Photo Stacy Jones)

''On Sat morning Debbie and I were sitting in our lounge having a coffee when suddenly two birds flew at rapid speed through the open front door. To our amazement we realized that a Sparrow Hawk was chasing the swallow and followed it into the house. The swallows often fly in through the front door. Luckily we have big doors that we can open off the dining room both at the front and the back so we rushed to open them – the swallow disappeared but the hawk landed on the curtain rail.
I managed to take a couple of photos before the hawk too made its dash for freedom – not without a few ruffled feathers and minus its breakfast!!''

Stacy also sent in this photo of a Brown-hooded Kingfisher in her garden.

Brown-hooded Kingfisher, Umtentweni
(Photo Stacy Jones)

Monday, 9 May 2011

Outing report- 7th-8th May 2011 Cape Parrot Count

by Andy Ruffle

Anette Bester and her son with Eric Kok
 waiting for parrots on sunday morning
(Photo Andy Ruffle)

The fourteenth Cape Parrot Big Birding Day (CPBBD) took place this year on 7th & 8th May. Students from the University of Kwazulu Natal , Pietermaritzburg, covered forest patches in Ingeli and Mpesheni, whilst Birdlife Trogons revisited their usual site at Mpur in the Glengarry area.

With the weather being kind to them, the Trogons, represented by Andy Ruffle, Jeanette and Herbie Osborne, Eric Kok and MD & Annette Bester and their children, were thrilled to record a total of seventeen birds this year, this being well in excess of previous counts at Mpur. However, despite being an outstanding result for this site, it does not necessarily reflect the full picture of the current status of the Cape Parrot . This will be revealed once Professor Colleen Downs, from UKZN, releases the final data for this year's count.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Rare Pumula Beach record **UPDATED

by Andy Ruffle

David Allan with the Roseate Tern specimen
(Photo Lennart Eriksson)

On friday 29th April 2011 Mike Fagan was handed a dead ringed tern which had been found by a lady walking on Pumula Beach.
Closer inspection revealed a silver SAFRING ring on the right leg and a green plastic ring on the left leg.

David Allan inspecting the SAFRING ring
(Photo Lennart Eriksson)

Characteristics of the bird, black crown with white forehead; long (40mm), black, decurved bill; pale grey wings and red legs, indicated a Roseate Tern Sterna douglii, but initial wing measurements of only 167mm seemed to rule out this ID. The normal wing of Roseate Tern measures c233mm. Little and Damara Terns were ruled out due to a bill size of c30mm. The bird was promptly popped into my freezer, to be given to David Allan, Curator of Birds at the Durban Natural Science Museum, at a later date.

(Photo Mike Fagan)

David's attendance at Barry's memorial service on monday, gave us the opportunity to clear this one up once and for all. It was very fitting then that, after formalities were completed, the specimen was unpacked and placed on a table for further analysis. David immediately confirmed the bird was a Roseate Tern, with the pinky wash of the breast now being evident.
The wing measurement discrepancy was due to the bird moulting, David pointing out that the last two outer wing feathers were only just starting to emerge.
It is believed that the bird was ringed at Algoa Bay in the Eastern Cape. The green plastic ring indicates the bird was ringed as an adult.
A paper on the ''green-flagged'' Roseate Terns of the E Cape can be downloaded here.
Mike has contacted SAFRING and we now await more information about dates and the actual place of ringing.
This is an extremely interesting record for the east coast as only one other specimen from this area has been recorded and that was at Durban. That bird is thought to be of the sub-species bangsi, although ours is more likely to be the nominate race.

UPDATE:- Results back from SAFRING indicate that our bird was ringed as an adult on 6th August 2009 at Bird Island, Algoa Bay, Eastern Cape by Anthony Tree.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Bird brain or not?

by Andy Ruffle

(Photo Andy Ruffle)
This little chappy (a Red-capped Robin-chat) suffered the misfortune of flying into a post after I had startled him whilst I was gardening on saturday (30th April). Appearing slightly stunned (the bird that is), I rescued him from the gaping jaws of our pups and placed him (for arguments sake) on the bird table to recover. A handful of home reared mealworms awaited his return to normality.

A quick inspection of the bird table shortly afterwards, revealed neither bird nor mealworms, a sure sign, I hoped, that he had recovered fully.

The next morning I was awoken by an incessant Treee-trooo, treee-trooo coming from outside the bedroom window. There, sitting on a branch just by the bird table was another Red-capped Robin-chat. Could it be the same one I wondered. I hastily fetched some mealworms and popped them onto the table, giving a mimic whistle as best I could. Sure enough, as soon as I had vacated the area, he was on the table munching away.
Needless to say, this has now become a regular routine every morning.
Who ever thought up the term 'bird brain' must be a bird brain, as this little critter certainly knows his stuff:):)

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

African Paradise-Flycatcher

Terpsiphone viridis

Sand Forest Lodge, Sept 2013(Subspp granti)
(Photo Stan Culley)
Stan's garden, 3 May 2011
(Subspp granti)
(Photo Stan Culley)