29 March 2023

Back to the Highveld

05 February 2023 - De Kaap Conservancy and Kaapsehoop

Despite the two long previous days, Lex and I were up early again this morning for a walk in the forest below his house. I enjoyed the view from the patio over the valley whilst enjoying a coffee

Mist in the valley


I managed to catch this female Africa Paradise Flycatcher before we set off on our walk

African Paradise Flycatcher (Terpsiphone viridis)


As with most forests, we heard more than we saw which can be frustrating - but getting to know and learn the new calls is also a factor for me. Being the first to walk the forest trails, you have to navigate the many spiderwebs built in the night

Undisturbed


What a great location for a house

Life in the conservancy


It was a great walk, but we still had one last objective for the weekend which was to try and find Broad-tailed Warbler or now Fan-tailed Grassbird as it is called. I still prefer the old name, as it is much more descriptive of this difficult to find Warbler. On Friday, we had tried an area where Lex had last seen them with no luck, so this time we drove to the airstrip and searched this area of grassland. Lo and behold, Lex picked up a single bird on call and we enjoyed watching it call and display for the next 10-minutes - it is really a smart bird

Fan-tailed Grassbird/Broad-tailed Warbler (Catriscus brevirostris)








It was bombed once or twice by a territorial Croaking Cisticola

Croaking Cisticola (Cisticola natalensis)


Back to the house for a last celebratory coffee, before it was time to say cheers and for me to head back to the highveld. I managed a Yellow-throated Longclaw on the way to the conservancy gate

Yellow-throated Longclaw (Macronyx croceus)


From De Kaap, I took the road to Kaapsehoop where I had one more photographic target to get. The little village was pumping with visitors to the local stores as well as those wanting to walk the trail to the viewpoint which is where I was also headed. I was detoured by a fairly obliging Buff-streaked Chat, but the light was already quite harsh

Male Buff-streaked Chat (Campicoloides bifasciata)




I continued toward the viewpoint and found my target Drakensberg Prinia halfway. It was a pair with two fledged youngsters that had me getting in my steps as they flitted between the granite rocks - but I finally got the images I was hoping for..

Drakensberg Prinia (Prinia hypoxantha)







Adult and juvenile Drakensberg Prinia (Prinia hypoxantha)

Juvenile Drakensberg Prinia (Prinia hypoxantha)



Contented, it was back into the Hilux for the drive back to Gauteng after a most enjoyable birding weekend in the lowveld with my old school mate Lex.


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