23 June 2021

Kyalami Estates - March Round-up

31 March 2021 - Kyalami Estates

Summer is slowly abating and migrants are preparing to depart, but there are still good birds to be enjoyed on morning and afternoon walks around the Estate. Of course species numbers will slowly reduce with the on-set of autumn.

This March, I recorded 59 species. A few notable birds seen included; African Paradise Flycatcher, European Bee-eater, Willow Warbler and African Green Pigeon which I have heard, but not yet seen.

Fellow birders in the Estate also recorded Black Stork and Levaillant's Cuckoo, whilst at the Mall across the road House Sparrow and Rock Martin are common - but not yet recorded in the Estate.

Of course I managed to photograph a few species during the month. Pigeons included African Olive

African Olive Pigeon (Columba arquatrix)

and Speckled

Speckled Pigeon (Columba guinea)

Whilst Red-eyed Doves remain abundant

Red-eyed Dove (Streptopelia semitorquata)

From my garden and balcony I also photographed the raucous and highly adaptive Rose-ringed Parakeets

Rose-ringed Parakeet (Psittacula krameri)

Streaky-headed Seedeater

Streaky-headed Seedeater (Crithagra gularis)

A young Karoo Thrush and it's shadow enjoying my bird bath

Karoo Thrush (Turdus smithii)

White-rumped Swift

White-rumped Swift (Apus caffer)

Thick-billed Weavers passing by occasionally

Thick-billed Weaver (Amblyospiza albifrons)

as do Cape Glossy Starling

Cape Glossy Starling (Lamprotornis nitens)

A Crested Barbet pausing briefly on a chimney of my neighbours house

Crested Barbet (Trachyphonus vaillantii)

as well as a male Cape Sparrow on an aerial

Cape Sparrow (Passer melanurus)

Migrants including Greater-striped Swallow. This one surprisingly still collecting nesting material

Greater-striped Swallow (Cecropis cucullata)

I had a flock of European Bee-eaters that entertained me over a couple of mornings as they departed from their roost close by and a few with Bee's caught in flight

European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster)

Tawny-flanked Prinia are easy to find in and around the Parks

Tawny-flanked Prinia (Prinia subflava)

I added a new butterfly to my Estate list; Spotted Sailer

Spotted Sailer (Neptis s. marpessa)

Marsh Acraea's are still around the St Ledger Dam

Marsh Acraea (Telchinia r. rahira)

I'm always on the lookout for Odonata and found Violet Dropwing

Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata)

Along with a number of Damselflies which are still a struggle to identify. Thanks again to Lappies for his guidance. This a male Common Threadtail

Male Common Threadtail (Elattoneura glauca)

Slate Sprite

Slate Sprite (Pseudagrion salisburyense)

and Acacia Sprite

Acacia Sprite (Pseudagrion acaciae)

In the garden the Carpenter Bees were quite active

Carpenter Bee (Genus Xylocopa)

along with an assortment of unidentified Bee's/Wasps

I will sign off this post for March, with an interesting sunset image

Kyalami Sunset

18 June 2021

A few nights in the Mountains

12 - 14 March 2021 - Mountain Sanctuary Park, Magaliesberg

After many years, it was really cool to dust off and shake out the camping equipment that had been stored whilst we were in Kuwait. We planned a weekend trip to Mountain Sanctuary Park, about a 90-minute drive from our house, together with my wife's two brothers.

It is a well managed park, with spacious campsites and upgraded ablutions with a number of well marked walks from the site. Granted Magaliesberg is not the same scale as the Drakensberg, but the fresh air and clear skies were really enjoyed, as was the good food and great company and much laughter.

We had some clouds appear over the mountain over the first day, but fortunately they did not bring the rain to our side

Threatening Clouds from the South

Walks around the camp over the 2-days produced a few expected birds - these are the few I managed to photograph; Familiar Chat

Familiar Chat (Oenanthe familiaris)

Groundscraper Thrush foraging around the empty camp sites. Which of the first two images do you prefer - one with some habitat to provide context or just a bird on a branch?

Groundscraper Thrush (Turdus litsitsirupa)

A migratory Spotted Flycatcher

Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata)

A female Black Cuckooshrike

Female Black Cuckooshrike (Campephaga flava)

and a distant juvenile Black-chested Snake Eagle

Black-chested Snake-Eagle (Circaetus pectoralis)

This was the view north from the camp

Looking North

I was really hoping to see the Verreaux's Eagles and on the morning we were packing up - my son spotted a pair passed by overhead. They really are magnificent

Verreaux's Eagle (Aquila verreauxii)

There weren't too many birds seen on the walks, but Lazy Cisticola was great too see

Lazy Cisticola (Cisticola aberrans)

Of course there were many invertebrates around and butterflies included Common Diadem

Common Diadem (Hypolimnas misippus)

Velvet-spotted Babul Blue

Velvet-spotted Babul Blue (Azanus ubaldus)

White Pie

White Pie (Tuxentius calice)

Broad-bordered Grass Yellow

Broad-bordered Grass Yellow (Eurema b. brigitta)

and Two-pip Policeman

Two-pip Policeman (Coelliades pisistratus)

I did also find a male African Hummingbird Hawk-moth that disappeared quite quickly

African Hummingbird Hawk-moth (Macroglossum trochilus)

And a striking Jaunty Dropwing near one of the small but pretty waterfalls on the walk up the mountain

Jaunty Dropwing (Trithemis stictica)

It was really a great and relaxing few days and a weekend we will certainly be repeating in the coming year, now that the camping gear is out and used again.

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