Monday, 21 May 2012

Outing report- 20th May 2012 Bird ringing at Igwalagwala Forest, Melville

(Photo Andy Ruffle)

Attendees: Liz Blomeyer, Stan & Val Culley, Andy Ruffle, Ron Whitham (5 attendees).

After a long absence by the club, it was nice to return to this lovely patch of forest once again.
As expected, this morning's ringing session produced quality rather than quantity. Here are a selection of photos of the more interesting birds that came out of the bags.

The 'Big 6 Birds' in Kruger

Howard Kelly has kindly forwarded a link to a blog post regarding the 'Big 6 Birds' in Kruger.

To see this very interesting article and some stunning photos click here.

SASOL Checklist of Birds of Southern Africa

It seems that this publication is no longer in print. However, copies are available for download, just click here.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Outing report- 13th May 2012 Mike Neethling's Vulture Restaurant

By Andy Ruffle

(Photo Andy Ruffle)

Attendees: Doug & Angie Butcher, Bob & Moira Clark, Stan & Val Culley, Mike Fagan, Stanley Gengan, Julian & Fiona Hicks, Yegas, Daphne & Vitay Naidoo, Hazel Parry, Noeleen Phillips, Dudley & Irene Reid, Andrew Spence & Marietjie Griessel, Hazel van Rooyen, Andy Ruffle, Barrie Willis & Sue Hansbury. (23 attendees)

We could not have hoped for a more perfect start to the day, with clear skies, little wind and a temperature of around 18 degrees as we arrived at the vulture restaurant. To our delight, Cape Vultures were already soaring enmass above the cliffs. With no cane to mask our approach, the birds were reluctant to settle on the ground. The cleared field did, however, produce African Pipit and Black-winged Lapwing, the latter not being a particularly common sight locally. We also had good sightings of about 6 Oribi buck.

(Photo Stan Culley)

Not wanting to disturb the birds too much, we moved away from the restaurant and parked up inorder to walk to the cliff edge. Here we were treated to spectacular views, as birds flew just meters above our heads.

(Photo Stan Culley)

(Photo Doug Butcher)

(Photo Andy Ruffle)

Close scanning of the cliff-face, revealed a vulture nest containing an egg. This was soon occupied by an adult as can be seen from Stan's photo below.

Adult Cape Vulture sitting on a nest (top left)
(Photo Stan Culley)

It was with great reluctance that we left to drive to the gorge for breakfast. In light of the fact that the Cape Vulture appears to be in 'free fall', according to the extremely worrying latest SABAP2 distribution map, we were very priviliged to be able to experience such an amazing show. I thought Mike had trained his vultures well, but it transpires that he had placed a fresh carcass at the restaurant on Saturday, especially for us. Mike, thank you for allowing us to witness the incredible work you are doing here.

Breakfast at Oribi Gorge NR
(Photo Doug Butcher)

Mountain Wagtail, Oribi Gorge NR
(Photo Stan Culley)

Saturday, 12 May 2012

WMBD Talk 12th May 2012 report back

By Andy Ruffle

Guest speaker Andrew Pickles
(Photo Doug Butcher)

Birdlife Trogons celebrated World Migratory Bird Day 2012 with a fascinating talk by guest speaker Andrew Pickles.
Andrew's presentation enlightened the audience on the various types of migrants and some of the amazing journeys these birds embark on twice a year. The importance of bird ringing to help determine the movements of migrants was also covered, along with the various other methods now used to track the birds.
If you missed the talk this time, we will hopefully be able to repeat it for next year's WMBD. It's certainly well worth attending.

Watch this space for more interesting talks coming up. 

(Photo Andy Ruffle)

(Photo Doug Butcher)

Many thanks go to the Port Shepstone Methodist Church for allowing us to use this ideal venue.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Outing report- 5th-6th May 2012 Cape Parrot Count

Text & photos by Andy Ruffle

Mpur lookout point

Liz Blomeyer, Herbie Osborne and I, headed out to Mpur, some 60kms from Ingeli Forest Lodge, for the 15th Cape Parrot Count.
Since last year, invasive bramble has taken over our usual vantage point, making it extremely difficult to access and possibly not suitable for setting up camp. Not to be defeated, we set about finding another way in, on foot, to what was really our desired spot. It wasn't too long, before we stumbled upon what promised to be an ideal alternative location.  With some very expert manouvering of the vehicle by Herbie through Pine trees and much clearing of debris from the plantation floor by Liz and I, we managed to reach what was to be our base camp. By 1530 we were all set up and took the short walk down to the viewing point to have a well deserved beer and marvel at the view.