08 April 2021

Finally an Ayres's

16 January 2021 - Tuks Experimental Farm

I have seen Ayres's Hawk Eagle in a few countries on the continent, but it was still missing from my SA List. So, I jumped at the chance to get access to Tuks Experimental Farm with Niel Cillie and a number of other birders keen to see this impressive raptor.

We met at 10am outside Tuks and followed Niel to the site after passing through Security. I only had 3-hours, so was quite nervous that I wouldn't have enough time. We searched all the known sites, but no sign of the Eagle. However, there were other birds to entertain us while we sat chatting and waiting.

Sacred Ibis (Threskiornis aethiopicus)

The Eagle's at this site successfully hunt and kill from the large flock of feral Pigeons that forage and roost around the farm almost on a daily basis.

At 12:55, there was no still no sign of the bird or any activity and I needed to head back home when all of a sudden Niel heard some Myna's alarm calling and we saw an eagle streaking down out of the sky with a Pigeon in its talons and land in one of the Blue Gums where it would enjoy its lunch.

Ayres's Hawk-Eagle (Hieraaetus ayresii) with Feral Pigeon

Niel convinced me to stay a little longer and at least get a better view, so we all made our way to where it had landed and got some pretty good views of what is one of my favourite Eagles. It hadn't started feeding yet, so we got a few images and left it in peace. 

Ayres's Hawk-Eagle (Hieraaetus ayresii)

It was really great to finally catch-up with Ayres's in South Africa and this was my 2nd lifer for this year, to be added to my SA list.

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