18 February 2022

A Winters day in Summer

30 January 2022 - Suikerbosrand

My son and I decided to visit Suikerbosrand after a good week of rains. This time I was the passenger in his car, which made a nice change. We left early with a forecast of no rain, well the weather didnt listen to the forecast. At our M&B coffee stop, it was belting down, so we had to wait it out.

We birded the area before the reserve in really gloomy conditions which was also not optimal for birds, but did get an fairly obliging and calling Fan-tailed Widowbird on the flowering Cosmos.

Fan-tailed Widowbird (Euplectes axillaris)



We were pleased to find good number of Amur Falcons and saw that females outnumbered male around 5:1. Most were either perched on the fence or overhead lines waiting for the weather to improve. We checked each one carefully and managed to get only 1 male Red-footed amongst all the Amur's - but no chance of an image

Female Amur Falcon (Falco amurensis)


Male Amur Falcon (Falco amurensis)







We then headed for the reserve where the weather deteriorated even further - more rain and then mist with temps dropping down to 13 degrees in mid-summer. I stopped to check some Cape Buntings and saw the head of an Orange River Francolin pop out of the grass in the background

Orange River Francolin (Scleroptila gutturalis)


Birds were few and far between on the circular drive, so that was disappointing - but a calling Dusky Indigobird did put in an appearance

Dusky Indigobird (Vidua funerea)


Great to see so many Amur's but a disappointing trip for the rest. At least my son got some freeway driving experience, which was a plus.


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