28 July 2021

Winter colours

27 June 2021 - Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve

The last two visits to Suikerbosrand, we had dismal weather to start, so I decided to try once again, together with my son Jaden to see if we could photograph Pink-billed Lark. We had an early start, stopping for coffee at a petrol stop on route, where my temperature gauge showed -1 degrees. But, on the up side, clear skies.

We didn't go to the actual reserve, but explored the adjacent property where I had previously found the Lark in May. With the windows down and heater on, we started up the road. As expected in the cold weather, birds were few and far between so early but we did get Cape Longclaw in the early morning sun.

Cape Longclaw (Macronyx capensis)

Quail-Finches are notoriously difficult to both see and photograph. I had a few land in front of the car, but this had me photographing into the sun - I will take this for now and try and get a better image on the next visit

African Quail-Finch (Ortygospiza fuscocrissa)

There were a couple of Stonechat's around

African Stonechat (Saxicola torquatus)

However, this morning, Capped Wheatear were the most abundant

Capped Wheatear (Oenanthe pileata)

We had both African Pipit

African Pipit (Anthus cinnamomeus)

and Plain-backed Pipit

Plain-backed Pipit (Anthus leucophrys)

We saw three Lapwing species, this is Crowned Lapwing 

Crowned Lapwing (Vanellus coronatus)

As it warmed up, a few Spike-heeled Lark's made an appearance

Spike-heeled Lark (Chersomanes albofasciata)

Long-tailed Widow are starting to transition back into summer plumage, already!

Long-tailed Widowbird (Euplectes progne)

But still no Pink-billed and when we spoke with some other birders they reported the same. We were running out of time and drove the road in reverse direction, but at least with the sun in a more favourable position. A Zitting Cisticola was warming up and preening, as the sun rose a little higher.

Zitting Cisticola (Cisticola juncidis)

Finally, I found a single Pink-billed - but it didn't stick around long and flew away into the distance. Despite further careful searching, we admitted that it was mission unaccomplished and headed home for an early lunch.

Until next time........

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