21 December 2021

BIF Test

12 December 2021 - Glen Austin Pan

I had my 1.4 Extender repaired, after it was damaged at Ruaha and my lens serviced at CameraTek - so I needed to take them for a test. I popped over to Glen Austin Pan in the afternoon in less than ideal weather - overcast and drizzle.

There were two Whiskered Tern's foraging over the pan. Against a busy background, focus tracking is a challenge for DSLR's which is one of the pro's that the new mirrorless camera's don't struggle with.

Whiskered Tern (Chlidonias hybrida)

I then walked the surrounding grasslands, finding Crowned Lapwing

Crowned Lapwing (Vanellus coronatus)

Spotted Thick knee on the wing - no issue tracking this one in flight

Spotted Thick-knee (Burhinus capensis)

and a Northern Black Korhaan

Northern Black Korhaan (Afrotis afraoides)

I was happy with the tests and the fact that my big glass was now as good as new and all the residue dust from the desert of Kuwait was now cleaned out.

Finally, I have also cleared my backlog of processing and posts and can start the New Year staying current and with a post from our Christmas holiday in Plettenberg Bay.


11 December 2021 - GECKO Conservancy

Anton van Niekerk and I conducted a pen ultimate Grass Owl survey for this year at a GECKO site I hadn't visited before.

We met in the late afternoon in the shadow of an oncoming storm and walked the first field, flushing a pair of Marsh Owls

Marsh Owl (Asio capensis)

Overhead we had a Black-winged Kite

Black-winged Kite (Elanus caeruleus)

and on the flowers, many Pioneer Caper White's were present

Pioneer Caper White (Belenois aurata)

At the adjacent site which had a smaller area of suitable Imperata habitat, we hit the trifecta. Owl + Ring + Egg. A24 is a female ringed 2-years ago and now breeding not too far from where she was originally ringed. I only managed a shot as she dropped back into the grass

African Grass Owl (Tyto capensis)

We then tried one last site, after sitting out the heavy thundershower - but without luck, other than a Yellow-billed Duck on a small dam

Yellow-billed Duck (Anas undulata)

But, this was a great outcome from this quick survey and Anton will check again before the end of the year, to see if the single egg is now more than one.

19 December 2021

Kyalami Estates - November Round-up

30 November 2021; Kyalami Estates

November was a fairly productive month where I recorded 61 species in the Estate including Red-throated Wryneck, Golden-tailed Woodpecker and Barn Owl.

Migrants included; Willow Warbler, European Bee-eater and a Klaas's Cuckoo.

I managed a few pics from the garden where Cape White-eye was still drinking from the Banana Tree

Cape White-eye (Zosterops virens)

A Southern Masked Weaver seems to have been watching the White-eye

Southern Masked Weaver (Ploceus velatus)

In the park, I watched a Karoo Thrush pulling a slug out of the grass

Karoo Thrush (Turdus smithii)

They also perch on the playground equipment

Fiscal Flycatchers are still prevalent

Fiscal Flycatcher (Melaenornis silens)

The Southern Fiscal have had breeding success

Juvenile Southern Fiscal (Lanius collaris)

At the small dam, the Southern Red Bishops have built their nests and are trying to entice the females

Southern Red Bishop (Euplectes orix)

The pair of White-throated Swallow's are also busy building a nest

White-throated Swallow (Hirundo albigularis)

Bronze Mannikin's are now enjoying the seeding grass

Bronze Mannikin (Lonchura cucullata)

And I managed to catch a Willow Warbler coming down to drink

Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus)

There is a single flowering Jacaranda in the Park - it really does stand out and smell great

Purple Haze

A few invertebrates were seen; Slate Sprite

Slate Sprite (Pseudagrion salisburyense)

Common Zebra Blue

Common Zebra Blue (Leptotes p. pirithous)

and a Common Geranium Bronze

Common Geranium Bronze (Cacyreus marshalli)

Migrants and invisible Ele's

09 January 2024 - Mabula; Day 3 Only the boys opted for this morning's drive and were entertained with these two Dung Beetle's tryin...