08 September 2023

Birding with my good friend Markus Craig - Part 2

10 June 2023 - Deneysville

After a great evening with Markus and Cornelia, the alarm went off way too early. I picked up Markus from his B&B in Beaulieu and then we met my other good friends Richard Crawshaw and Selwyn Rautenbach for a trip south to Deneysville with a few targets in mind. Double-banded Courser had been in this area for sometime and this was one of the targets.

We left before sunrise and noted a lot of frost on the way, so it was going to be a cold start, despite the clear blue skies. We arrived just after sunrise and it was around 4 degrees and as the birds were still not active - had a welcome hot coffee. As it slowly warmed, so the birds started appearing - first up; Ant-eating Chat on the farm fences

Ant-eating Chat (Myrmecocichla formicivora)

We could hear Blue Korhaan calling in the fields, so went to look for them. They saw us long before we saw them and departed, unfortunately. However, there were many Northern Black Korhaan's in the same field and we got some great views, but not so great images as there was a lot of haze.

Male Northern Black Korhaan (Afrotis afraoides)

Female Northern Black Korhaan (Afrotis afraoides)

Driving slowly along the road, a few Spike-heeled Lark's were seen foraging on the verge

Spike-heeled Lark (Chersomanes albofasciata)

We then found a few Sickle-winged Chat one of the target species. This is a species that has eluded me at Suikerbosrand every year!

Sickle-winged Chat (Emarginata sinuata)

We then found the family of Double-banded Coursers trying to warm up in the sun and spent quite some time with them. Sitting low in the field, it was tough to get good images, as the foreground grass was often just in the way - but I persevered with the low angle and got some images I was happy with. They really are photogenic, so excuse the multitude of images

Double-banded Courser (Rhinoptilus africanus)

By now it was warming up nicely and Red-capped Lark's made their appearance

Red-capped Lark (Calandrella cinerea)

Continuing down the road along the farmland roads

Farm lands

We first had a lone Secretarybird and now heat haze was a real challenge

Secretarybird (Sagittarius serpentarius)

Followed by a Greater Kestrel

Greater Kestrel (Falco rupicoloides)

Also on the fence, Cape Longclaw

Cape Longclaw (Macronyx capensis)

and a Desert Cisticola

Desert Cisticola (Cisticola aridulus)

It had warmed up quite a lot, but it was also time to get Markus back home, as he had to finish packing and get ready to depart to the airport with Cornelia for their flights back home. It was really great to see them both again and was sad to say cheerio - but for sure, we will bird together again, sometime in the future

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