22 February 2023

Coast to Karoo

06 January 2023 - Kuilsfontein Guest Farm, Colesberg; Day 15

Our holiday in Plett had come to an end and again, it was just the relaxing family holiday we needed after a long and busy year. We had an early breakfast and agreed to head back to Colesberg over the Prince Alfred Pass - it is definitely shorter, albeit a little slower. But the return trip is still part of the journey, so we took it easy.

We finally arrived at Kuilsfontein Guest Farm, 10km outside Colesberg in a howling wind that was part of an approaching front - temps had dropped from 34 C in Plett to 13 degrees in Colesberg. While waiting for the gate to be opened enjoyed a small flock of Black-headed Canary's. After entering and driving the long driveway to the Farm, we checked into the quaint Stable Cottages.

We unpacked and relaxed with drinks outside our cottages which is when a cracking male Pallid Harrier flew overhead, struggling in the wind - of course my camera was inside the cottage. I grabbed my camera and ran to the other side of the cottages, but that Harrier was gone on the wind..Later I explored a bit of the farm - driving back to the entrance I found a Malachite Kingfisher near a causeway

Malachite Kingfisher (Corythornis cristata)

Further down the driveway there were Ant-eating Chat's displaying in the wind

Ant-eating Chat (Myrmecocichla formicivora)

I did find the flock of Black-headed Canary's, but no sign of the male that I had seen whilst waiting at the gate. This is a great record for this Pentad

Female Black-headed Canary (Serinus alario)

Walking one of side roads, I flushed a Northern Black Korhaan

Northern Black Korhaan (Afrotis afraoides)

Parachuting to land

There were good numbers of European Bee-eaters hawking from the fences and nearby trees

European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster) 

Behind the Stable Cottages there was quite a large dam and this held many birds, but all keeping low in the wind. Quite a few small waders including Kittlitz's and Three-banded Plover, along with Little Stints and Black-winged Stilts

Kittlitz's Plover (Charadrius pecuarius)

Little Stint (Calidris minuta) and Kittlitz's Plover (Charadrius pecuarius)

Three-banded Plover (Charadrius tricollaris)

All three in one image

There was also an impressive flock of Greater Flamingo on the far side of the dam against an impressive backdrop

Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus)

As well as good numbers of African Shelduck - love all these images against the dark and threatening sky

South African Shelduck (Tadorna cana)

Near the farmhouse, a couple of chubby Ground Squirrels were feeding in some sun

Cape Ground Squirrel (Geosciurus inauris)

Here a typical Karoo landscape from within the farm

Karoo landscape

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