26 May 2023

River Warbler - Take 1

18 March 2023 - Zaagkuilsdrift Road

There is a small window in March to try and track down the elusive and migratory River Warbler and the Zaagkuilsdrift Road adjacent to the Pienaars River is one of the better places to try and connect with this skulker.

Richard Crawshaw and I had an early start to be on-site before sunrise, meeting up with Selwyn Rautenbach on the road. We made our way to the pre-arranged location and set ourselves up on chairs in a designated spot. We could hear one bird calling quite deep in the bush and waited for it to move and hopefully show itself, even briefly. After 2-hours and brushing off the persistent and irritating Pepper Ticks we had to admit defeat and the bird had also stopped calling, so there was no way of tracking where it was moving or had moved to.

We did get a consolation prize of 3 Icterine Warbler which in itself is also a good species.

Icterine Warbler (Hippolais icterina)



We decided to drive toward Kgomo Kgomo village stopping for Red-backed

Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio)


and Lesser Grey Shrike, other migrants that would soon be departing

Lesser Grey Shrike (Lanius minor)


While stopping to chat to other birders, I had two distant Eurasian Hobby's overhead - no chance these will win any awards

Eurasian Hobby (Falco subbuteo)



At the bridge over the floodplain, we had a Lesser Moorhen in crap light

Lesser Moorhen (Paragallinula angulata)


Black-winged Pratincole's overhead

Black-winged Pratincole (Glareola nordmanni)



Blue-cheeked Bee-eater's fattening up before their departure

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater (Merops persicus)



A small flock of Black Heron's flew by

Black Heron (Egretta ardesiaca)


A Black-chested Prinia came to check us out

Black-chested Prinia (Prinia flavicans)


On our way back to the Pienaars River we stopped for a small flock of Marabou Storks thermalling overhead

Marabou Stork (Leptoptilos crumenifer)


We will need to try one more time, before the window closes for the Warbler and also because other birders had managed to see it today, but at other locations on the same road.






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