Friday, 30 September 2011

Mystery Bird No.3 revealed

Mystery Bird No.3
(Photo Stan Culley)

The answer to the Mystery Bird No.3 quiz was a juvenile Cape Robin-chat. The photo was taken in Stan's garden at Port Edward.

To see No.4 see here.
The answer will be revealed on 30th December 2011.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Outing report- Umtamvuna NR 25th Sept 2011

(Photo Andy Ruffle)

Attendees: Doug & Angie Butcher, Stan & Val Culley, Mike Fagan, Stanley & Asothie Gengan, Sue Hansbury, Margaret Jones, Cathy Lee, Dorothy McIntye, Herbie & Jeanette Osborne, Andy Ruffle, Irma Smook, Lester & Cheryl van Groeningen, Bob & Hazel van Rooyen, Barry Willis. (20 attendees)

The main objective of our September visits to Umtamvuna is to see the spectacular display of spring flowers, some of which are endemic to the Pondoland area. Once again, this visit didn't disappoint.
A huge thanks to Dorothy McIntyre for enlightening us on the many flower and plant species seen.

Helichrysum eklonis
(Photo Andy Ruffle)

Helichrysum eklonis
(Photo Andy Ruffle)

Pelargonium species
(Photo Andy Ruffle)

Helichrysum species
(Photo Andy Ruffle)

Eulophia hians
(Photo Andy Ruffle)

Orchid species
(Photo Andy Ruffle)

(Photo Andy Ruffle)

Birds recorded: Amethyst Sunbird, White-necked Raven, Red-winged Starling, Crowned Hornbill, Croaking Cisticola, Neddicky, Southern Boubou, Sombre Greenbul, Hadeda Ibis, Egyptian Goose, Olive Sunbird, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Greater Double-collared Sunbird, Cape Canary, Common Quail, Cape Rock-thrush, Knysna Turaco, Fantailed Widow, Cape Weaver, Dark-capped Bulbul, Natal Spurfowl, African Harrier-hawk, Fork-tailed Drongo, Red-collared Widow, Brown-hooded Kingfisher, Spectacled Weaver, Yellow-billed Kite, Black Saw-wing, Long-crested Eagle, Trumpeter Hornbill, Woolly-necked Stork, Red-eyed Dove, Rock Kestrel, Yellow-throated Longclaw, Striped Pipit, Plain-backed Pipit, Familiar Chat, Lesser Honeyguide. (38 species)

Monday, 12 September 2011

Outing report- 11th September 2011 Vernon Crookes

(Photo Doug Butcher)

Attendees: Doug & Angie Butcher, Stan & Val Culley, Stanley & Asothie Gengan, Margaret Jones, Cathy Lee, Sandy Olver, Herbie & Jeanette Osborne, Irma Smook, Barry Willis & Sue Hansbury. (14 attendees)

Thanks go to Doug Butcher for leading this outing and Sandy Olver for guiding the group walks.

(Photo Doug Butcher)

(Photo Doug Butcher)

Those who attended and saw the giant earthworm casts, may be interested to know, this was produced by an endemic species to Vernon Crookes called Microchaetus vernoni. There are three giant earthworm species found at Vernon Crookes, of which this is the largest, reaching some 2.6m in length. The following picture of a giant earthworm was taken at Oribi Gorge NR by Paddy Norman. It is not sure whether this is the same species, but is certainly very similar.

Giant Earthworm at Oribi Gorge NR
(Photo Paddy Norman)
Unfortunately, there were no sightings of the Red-capped Robin-chat x Chorister Robin-chat hybrids or Short-tailed Pipit. Maybe next time.

Species recorded- Dark-capped Bulbul, Lesser Striped Swallow, Natal Spurfowl, Tambourine Dove, Chinspot Batis, Red-eyed Dove, African Pied Wagtail, Spectacled Weaver, Black-headed Oriole, White-browed Scrub-Robin, Speckled Mousebird, Neddicky, Little Rush-Warbler, Thick-billed Weaver, Bronze Mannikin, Crowned Hornbill, Fork-tailed Drongo, Yellow-fronted Canary, Brown-hooded Kingfisher, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Burchell's Coucal, Sombre Greenbul, Red-capped Robin-chat, Golden-tailed Woodpecker, Red-throated Wryneck, Green-backed Camaroptera, Bar-throated Apalis, Cape White-eye, Black-collared Barbet, Lesser Honeyguide, Lazy Cisticola, Gorgeous Bush-shrike, Tawny-flanked Prinia, Southern Boubou, Yellow-bellied Greenbul, Green Wood-hoopoe, Amethyst Sunbird, Olive Sunbird, Black-bellied Starling, African Dusky Flycatcher, Brown Scrub-robin, Knysna Turaco, Rufous-naped Lark, Cape Longclaw, Cape Weaver, Yellow-throated Longclaw, Black Saw-wing, Cape Glossy Starling, Spur-winged Goose, African Stonechat, Black-backed Puffback, Trumpeter Hornbill, African Paradise-flycatcher, Collared Sunbird, Jackal Buzzard, Cape Canary, Greater Double-collared Sunbird, Croaking Cisticola, Cape Grassbird, Southern Black Tit, Olive Bush-shrike (61 species)   

Black Stork possibly in trouble

In the account for the Black Stork in the Red Data Book from 2000, Keith Barnes wrote: "The Black Stork may suffer a decline in the near future and, owing to its small population, it requires monitoring." This range-change map shows that these were prophetic words. Keith considered that the breeding habitat, in mountainous regions was not threatened, but that the crunch was going to be food: fish, frogs, aquatic invertebrates. "Wetland conversion in the form of degradation of estuaries and highland marshes, the afforestation of catchments which reduces water inflow, and the damming of smaller rivers, such as in Lesotho and Mpumalanga, are causes of concern."

SABAP2 (2007–2011) probably represents the first monitoring of the Black Stork since SABAP1 (1987–1991), and the outcome is alarming. The species has not been recorded in SABAP2 in any of the quarter degree grid cells coloured RED in this map, and reporting rates have decreased in all the cells coloured ORANGE. ORANGE and RED are far and away the dominant colours on this map. There are large tracts of its former range where there have been remarkably few SABAP2 records, for example in the Overberg and Swartland areas of the Western Cape.

It is remarkable that a species as large and conspicuous as the Black Stork can quietly slip away unnoticed. This demonstrates once again the value of SABAP2, and the importance of making SABAP2 a continuous and ongoing broad brush monitoring project. We still need more birders to be involved! And resources to keep the project running into the long-term future.

Source: SABAP2/ADU

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Outing report-Mkhuze Weekend Away 26th-28th August 2011

Attendees: Liz Blomeyer, Doug & Angie Butcher, Stan & Val Culley, Stanley & Asothie Gengan, Belinda & Hilton Ions, Margaret Jones, Cathy Lee, Sandy Olver, Herbie & Jeanette Osborne, Hazel Parry, Andy Ruffle, Irma Smook, Ian Upfold, Ron & Elaine Whitham (20 attendees).

Friday 26th Aug

After gathering at the Mantuma Camp for a welcome get together, we all retired to our various accomodation for the evening.

Friday, 2 September 2011

International Vulture Awareness Day 3rd September 2011

By Andy Ruffle

Andrew Pickles, Wolf Meyer and Mike Neethling
 scan the cliffs from 'Mikes Point' for vulture nests
(Photo Andy Ruffle)

As part of International Vulture Awareness Day, Mike Neethling carried out a survey of the Cape Vulture breeding colony at Oribi, with the assistance of Andrew Pickles, Andy Ruffle,Wolf Meyer and Dr Roger Uys from KZN Ezemvelo Wildlife.
The morning began with counting the number of adult vultures on the cliffs above the Umzimkulu Valley. An impressive 75 adult birds were present.
The next task was to carefully scan the cliff faces to check the status of nesting sites which had been previously noted on the 18th June 2011.
25 juveniles have been succesfully reared to pre- fledging stage, despite the arrival of White-necked Ravens which had been raiding the nests of both eggs and chicks. This relates to a heartening 47% increase on the previous years figure of 17 fledglings.

Andrew Pickles and Mike Neethling
confer as they record the status of each vulture nest site.
(Photo Andy Ruffle)

Mike & Andrew scan 'Francolin face',
whilst Andy records the results
(Photo Wolf Meyer)

click photo to visit IVAD website