10 February 2024

eBird Global Big Day - Autumn/Spring

14 October 2023 - Zaagkuilsdrift

The eBird Big Days are not ideal for us birders in the southern hemisphere in terms of spring timing, as it does better favour the US birders for their prime autumn migration in the northern hemisphere. Nevertheless, it is still fun to take part and contribute as a citizen scientist.

My son Jaden joined me - he needed a break after a hectic week of Uni exams in his final BCom year. We had an early start leaving at 4:45am to be at the start of the sand road by sunrise. We enjoyed the sunrise and the chilly 7 degrees start to our morning together. It was great to see some game on the road in - this Eland herd gave some nice photo opportunities in the golden light, with the brute of a male, sniffing us from where we were standing

Eland (Taurotragus oryx)

We racked up birds along the road, but not many photo opportunities until we got to the floodplain where we had marauding Pied Crow's being harassed by Crowned Lapwings who may have been on eggs. The Crow's seem to be increasing and are becoming a menace

Pied Crow (Corvus albus) and Crowned Lapwing (Vanellus coronatus)

We spent some time with a displaying Capped Wheatear

Capped Wheatear (Oenanthe pileata)

And a Black-chested Prinia in the Acacia's

Black-chested Prinia (Prinia flavicans)

Before turning to the bridge, a pair of Red-breasted Swallow's on the wire above the culvert where they are building a nest brought us to a quick stop

Red-breasted Swallow (Cecropis semirufa)

We tried our hand at some BIF photography with the Little Swift's at the bridge

Little Swift (Apus affinis)

Which is where Jaden spotted a Greater Spotted Cuckoo feeding on the ground below us - bird of the day, for sure!

Great Spotted Cuckoo (Clamator glandarius)

In one of the small pools, a Wood Sandpiper

Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola)

Further up the road, a Wahlberg's Eagle caught me by surprise flying over from behind me

Wahlberg's Eagle (Hieraaetus wahlbergi)

Near the village, we had a fairly obliging Kalahari Scrub Robin

Kalahari Scrub Robin (Cercotrichas paena)

By now we had flattened our snacks and the temperature had rocketed up to 31 degrees and the birds dropped off quickly, so we headed back home, to be in time for lunch. Once back on the tar, a quick tally and we had recorded 85 species which was acceptable for the effort expended. But today was more about quality time together.....

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