Bokmakierie - Wits Bird Club



Bokmakierie - Wits Bird Club
Newsletter of the Witwatersrand Bird Club
No 242
April 2015
Giving Conservation Wings
Ernst Retief, Regional Conservation Manager BLSA, received
the beaded Bearded Vulture award at the 2015 AGM - photo
by Lia Steen
Barbi Forsyth receiving the Diamond award at the AGMphoto by Lia Steen
P O Box 641
Cresta 2118
Tel: 011 782 7267
Fax: 086 512 7696
Email: [email protected]
APRIL 2015
Inside this issue:
30 Birding in the Hawaan Forest by
Anthony Cavanagh
Letter from the Chair
A Murder of Crows by Arjan Amur
Pied Crows are Brill by Leslie
Jy kan help om aasvoëls van uitwissing te red deur VulPro
32 Rare pipits return following rat eradication on South Georgia – Wildlife
34 Birding by calls by Peter and Sandra
An Anecdote on Ringing by Arie Wlliams
A Nesting Log in Waverley by Freda
A Christmas Holiday in Germany by
Anthony Cavanagh
36 Nylsvley 2015 Woodland Census, 16th
Year by Warwick Tarboton
38 Rarities and unusual sightings report:
December 2014 compiled by André
2015 Committee:
South Africa’s Favourite Bird by
Mark Anderson
Counting Birds by Rolf Wiesler
Honorary President Lance Robinson
Andy Featherstone
Letter to the Editor and John Campbell’s Observations on Birds in 1820
by Desmond Cole
Lia Steen
Leanne Webster
Janice Isom
Lance Robinson
Evening Meetings
Lia Steen
Thinie v d Merwe
Ginny Mes
Club Secretary
Lauraine Leigh
20 Trackers show Vultures on decline
by Kamcilla Pillay
23 Carrion Crows in Spain thrive when
they have a cuckoo in the nest Wildlife Extra
25 Four Tswana bird tales by Desmond Cole
29 Extracts from the Korsman Conservancy Member’s Newsletter February 2015
Cover Photo: Blue Crane Chick by
Albert Froneman
Cover Design: Philip Tarboton
Lia Steen will be this year’s Vice-Chairman.
Murrie Slotar was given a warm farewell
at the Marievale outing and braai organised in her honour. As a parting gift
Murrie was given an original painting of a
Bokmakierie by Graeme Arnott. We wish
her all the best in her new life in Durban.
Thank you Barbi Forsyth, Ginny Mes and
Lance Robinson for all the hard work in organising and catering for the day.
Dear Members,
Although it seems a long time ago, I trust
everyone had a relaxing break over the
holiday period and perhaps managed to
fit in a little birding activity of some kind.
I had family visiting from the UK and we
spent a very enjoyable week in Cape
Town in early January with the obligatory
visit to the penguins for the visitors. Whilst at
the penguin colony in Betty’s Bay we witnessed the release of a number of young
fledglings that had been rescued from parents who had stopped feeding them due
to the onset of their moult. It seems that
when penguins breed late in the season
there is a danger of this happening and
these young birds would normally die.
As many of you are aware we decided to
try a new venue for our evening meetings
and held our first one at St Stithian’s School.
The security and parking are much supirior to Delta Park which has sadly been a
little neglected of late. There will be challenges to overcome at St Stithians but I
would like to urge you to come and try
the venue and see what it is like. It was not
ideal changing during the course of our first
Programme and this led to some people
going to the wrong venue despite it being
widely publisized in our Weekly Reminder.
For those of you who were affested by this,
please accept my apologies.
As our 2015 Calendar Competition proved
popular and the calendar well received,
we have decided to run another competition this year for a 2016 version. So all you
budding Albert Fronemans dust of your
cameras and start snapping!, Full details of
the competition will be circulated shortly.
It is always interesting to receive letters
and articles from our members and it was
a real pleasure to recieve two submissions
from one of our elder statesmen, Desmond
Cole. A recent new member to the club
is cartoonist Alastair Findlay who has sent
in an example of his humour. Keep them
coming everybody!
The AGM has been and gone and the 2015
Committee duly elected. Janice Isom and
Thinie van Der Mewre have joined the
Committee taking over the courses and
website portfolios respectively. Lance Robinson was duly elected as Honorary President taking over from Murrie Slotar and
Andy Featherstone
A Murder of Crows?
eating their defenceless chicks,” said study
co-author Dr Arjun Amar [note 2] from
the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African
Ornithology [note 3]. “Although this predation is entirely natural, these observations can be upsetting to witness and often
leave people wondering if these predators might be reducing bird numbers.”
By Dr Arjun Amar
“Our review suggests that we should be
cautious before jumping to conclusions over
the impacts these species may have. Just
because a predator eats something occasionally does not always mean that they
have an impact,” Dr Amar said. However,
he cautioned that there was no information for the southern hemisphere, where
songbirds raise fewer chicks each year.
Pied Crow
The Pied Crow population has increased
in many parts of South Africa, and with
this increase has come concern over their
potential impact on other native wildlife.
The study, the first of its kind, reviewed
all published evidence on whether predation by corvids actually reduces the
overall breeding performance of birds or,
more importantly from a conservation
perspective, reduces their numbers. Data
were collated from 42 studies of corvid predation conducted in Europe and
North America over the last sixty years.
A new study by researchers at the University of Cape Town suggests that,
at least for bird species, the unpopular
crow may not be as big a menace as
people think. Their review found that
crows – along with their avian cousins the Eurasian Magpie and Northern
Raven – have surprisingly little impact
on the abundance of other bird species.
Not only were corvids unlikely to have
any impact on their potential prey species, if there was an impact it most often affected the breeding success of
the prey species rather than their subsequent numbers. Half of cases found
that corvids reduced breeding success
whereas less than 10% found that they
reduced prey numbers in the long term.
Collectively known as corvids, these
birds are in fact being menaced by
mankind in the mistaken belief that removing them is good for conservation.
Published this week in the leading ornithological journal Ibis (note 1), the study
found that in the vast majority of cases (82 percent), corvids had no impact
at all on their potential prey species.
The review analysed the impact of six corvid species on prey species including gamebirds, songbirds, waders, herons, cranes, sea
birds, waterfowl and raptors. The 42 studies used in the review included 326 cases of
corvid–bird prey interaction The impacts
“Many nature lovers have been distressed
to witness a crow or magpie raiding the
nests of songbirds, stealing their eggs or
were determined partly by comparing
bird counts before and after corvids were
either removed or their numbers reduced.
3. The Percy FitzPatrick Institute
for African Ornithology is a research institute situated in the Biological Sciences Department of
Cape Town University. It is one of
the world’s leading ornithological
research institutes and is a South
African Department of Science
and Technology-National Research
Foundation Centre of Excellence.
Mistaken assumptions about corvid predation were possibly explained by the
birds’ diurnal nature and the fact that
they are conspicuous nest predators: “Their
importance in prey population regulation is often assumed prior to any assessment of the evidence,” the study warned.
4. Chrissie Madden is the lead author of the paper. The research was
undertaken as part of her Conservation Biology Masters research
at the University of Cape Town.
Chrissie Madden [note 4], the lead author on the paper, hoped that the review would challenge the perception
that all corvids were bad, thereby preventing needless killing: “Our results suggest that this is a mistaken belief and
that generally speaking people would
be wasting their time killing corvids to increase the numbers of other bird species”.
• The full paper is freely available via open access.The full reference for the paper is: Madden,
C.F., Arroyo, B. & Amar, A. (in
press) A review of the impact of
corvids on bird productivity and
abundance, Ibis. doi: 10.1111/ibi.12223
Editor’s notes:
1. The Ibis is a peer reviewed scientific journal published by the
British Ornithological Union. It has
been published since 1859 and is
one of the highest ranked international Ornithological journals in the
ISSUE - 1st JULY 2015
2. Dr Arjun Amar is a Senior Lecturer at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute
and was the lead supervisor of this
research project. Dr Amar has previously worked for both the Royal
Society for the Protection of Birds
(UK BirdLife partner), the Game
and Wildlife Conservation Trust (UK
NGO), and the US Fish and Wildlife
Service, where he worked on a critically endangered species of crow
(the Mariana Crow on the Pacific
island of Rota, CNMI). http://www.
Contributions, addressed to the Editor,
can be:
E-mailed to: [email protected]
Posted to: The Editor, Witwatersrand
Bird Club, P O Box 641, Cresta, 2118
Delivered to: Delta Environmental
Centre, Road No 3, Victory Park
Faxed to: 086 512 7696
Pied Crows are Brill!
Text and Photos by Leslie
Ignore the bad press that Pied Crows get
in that they eat passerine nestlings…. (well,
they do, but only a bit…) They are actually wonderful and exciting to watch.
When I was in Pilanesberg in December
2014, I saw a Pied Crow flapping about
somewhat clumsily fairly low in a tree. I
thought it was collecting nesting material
straight from the tree, as I have seen before in Pilanesberg. When I looked more
closely, I saw it was a young bird, because
it still had the pinkish gape, and also some
slight mottling in the plumage. Even more
interestingly, it had a twig in its bill, and as I
waited, it appeared to be using it to probe
on the bark. It seemed pretty dexterous in
this, although I did not see it actually catch
anything. Unfortunately, this did not continue for long, because one of the parents
arrived within a couple of minutes, and fed
it. I lost sight of what happened to the twig,
and the young crow was more interested
in food. Soon after, the other parent arrived, and also fed the youngster. I wanted to stay and watch more twig activity,
but alas, my radio called me and I had to
go and monitor a leopard sighting…. Now
was the crow just experimenting and was
what I saw just random? Or was it actually using a tool? It certainly looked like a
purposeful use of a twig, and since I could
only watch for a few minutes, it is probably
no surprise I did not see it actually spear a
grub. But then, how many people have
seen an Osprey or an African Fish Eagle
actually catch a fish?
The young Pied Crow was holding
the twig as though it means business.
The Pied Crow was trying to using
the twig to probe against the bark.
Distraction! A parent arrived
with food, and the twig was
apparently forgotten. the twig
to probe against the bark.
Jy kan help om aasvoëls van uitwissing
te red
tal plaas by die kleiner (11-22kV) houtpale
soos T-strukture, ‘Wish-bone’-Strukture
en ‘staggered-vertical’ pale. Eskom is veronderstel om die strukture te verander
as dit blyk dat dit wildlewe doodmaak,
maar omdat hierdie kragpale dikwels in
verafgeleë plekke voorkom word sulke
gevalle gewoonlik nie aangemeld nie en
die slagoffers se oorskot verdwyn voordat
iets agtergekom word. Dit word gesê dat
jakkalse geleer het om gereëld kragdrade
te patolleer vir karkasse. Grondeienaars
word aangemoedig om hulle oë oop te
hou naby kragdrade, selfs al is daar nie
noodwendig aasvoëls in hulle nabye omgewing nie. Personeel kan ook aangemoedig
word om bewus te raak van die probleem
en gevalle te rapporteer, wat hulle normaalweg dalk nie sou doen nie. Om sulke
gevalle direk by Eskom te rapporteer is
dikwels moeilik en oneffektief, maar as die
inligting deurgestuur word na Vulpro (of
een van hulle bewaringsvenote), kan hulle
die saak deur die regte kanale aanmeld
en positiewe reaksie kry.
Dit is soms moeilik vir ‘n grondeienaar om
te weet wat hy as individu kan doen om
‘n bedreigde spesie te help bewaar. Hier
is ‘n paar aanbevelings wat dalk net die
verskil kan maak tussen die uitwissing en
die oorlewing van aasvoëls in Afrika.
Aasvoëls speel ‘n wesenlike rol in die ekosisteem – selfs op moderne plase help hulle
om die omgewing skoon te hou, vry van
siektes en ‘n broeiplek vir vlieë te verhoed. Terselfdertyd bespaar grondeienaars deurdat dit nie nodig is om karkasse
van vee wat aan siektes of ander oorsake
dood is, te laat verwyder nie. Aasvoëls eet
kos wat andersins jakkalse en rondloperhonde na die plaas kon lok; dis dus ‘n wenwen situasie vir die boer.
Ongelukkig sal aasvoëls dalk nie baie
langer met ons wees nie; die baie bedreigings wat hulle deedae in die gesig staar het
tot ‘n drastiese vermindering in hulle getalle
Botsings met kragdrade word meer
algemeen aangetref by groter strukture
en medium- tot hoë-volt drade, veral as
daar grond-drade bokant die fase is. In
hoë-risiko gebiede kan Eskom flappe of
spirale aan die drade aanbring sodat die
voëls die drade makliker kan raaksien,
maar sulke plekke moet eers geϊdentifiseer word. Aasvoëls oorleef dikwels hierdie
botsings, maar kan dan nie weer vlieg nie,
as gevolg van ‘n gebreekte vlerk of ander
beenbreuk. Hulle kan selfs weke oorleeef
en etlike kilometers stap maar is natuurlik dan baie blootgestel aan predatore en
sterf uiteindelik as gevolg van hierdie predatore, beserings, en ‘n gebrek aan kos en
water. As sulke aasvoëls betyds opgespoor
word, kan hulle soms gerehabiliteer en
Die grootste probleme is:
Elektrokusie deur kragdrade
Hoe jy kan help:
Raak bewus - dink vooruit aan die
gevolge van handelinge wat skynbaar
skadeloos lyk.
Elektrokusie deur kragdrade vind mees6
is onlangs vervolg as gevolg van sulke optredes. Dit sal almal baat as alternatiewe
metodes gebruik word.
weer vrygelaat word. Wees dus altyd op
die uitkyk vir grondgebonde aasvoëls, veral as daar onlangs aasvoëls in die omgewing opgemerk is. Verskaf asb die inligting
dadelik aan Vulpro sodat hulle kan optree.
Opsetlike vergiftiging kom voor as stropers diere moedswillig vergiftig omdat hulle
nie wil hê hulle bedrywighede moet owerhede se aandag trek omdat aasvoëls na
die karkas gelok word nie. Moeti-handel
veroorsaak dat sulke dooie aasvoëls op
moeti-markte verkoop word vir ekstra
inkomste. Soms word aasvoëls direk vergifting vir moeti-handel.
Een van die belangrikste dinge wat gedoen kan word as‘n vee of wild karkas
naby ‘n kraglyn ontdek word, is om
die karkas sover as moontlik van die
kraglyn af te verwyder – ‘n oop stuk
veld, met ‘n boom naby vir die aasvoëls
om op te land, is ideal, en so kan die voels
veilig te werk gaan om die veld skoon te
Omdat aasvoëls elke dag water moet
drink soek hulle water na voedings. Hulle
verdrink dikwels in plaasdamme, veral as
damme nie tot bo vol is nie. Dit kan maklik
verhoed word deur ‘n struktuur in die dam
te plaas wat as leer gebruik kan word om
uit te klim as hulle in die water sou beland.
Die reservoir kan met ‘n net toegespan
word as ‘n ander waterpunt bereikbaar is
of verskaf kan word.
Toevallige vergiftiging
Daar is twee soorte toevallige vergiftiging:
Die een soort word veroorsaak deur
veeartseny-medikasie soos nie-steriode
anti-inflammatoriese middels (NSAIDs).
Aasvoëls is besonder sensitief vir NSAIDs en
selfs ‘n klein dosis kan ‘n aasvoëls binne ‘n
dag of twee laat doodgaan. Daar is tans
net een NSAID wat veilig is vir aasvoels, en
dit is dus belangrik om oor te skakel na die
veilige middel; Meloxicam ( ook bekend
as: Metacam, Petcam, Mobic, Coxflam,
Adco-Meloxicam, Arthrocox, Flexocam,
Loxiflam, M-cam, Melflam, Sandoz-Meloxicam en Zydus Meloxicam), eerder as om te
wonder of ‘n karkas veilig is of nie. Ander
skadelike middels is wild-vang- middels
soos M99, narkotiese middels (IV medikasie of gas) en kalmeermiddels wat gebruik
word om diere te vervoer
Vulpro is reeds vanaf 2007 aktief. Dit is ‘n
organisasie wat toegewy is aan die bewaring van aasvoëls in Afrika en oor die
wereld. Vulpro se basis is in Hartbeespoort,
maar hulle gee aandag aan vergiftigings,
kragdraadbeserings en ander probleme
oor die hele Suid-Afrika. Hulle sorg vir die
gaan haal, rehabilitasie en vrylating van
meer as vyftig aasvoëls jaarliks en behartig die enigste teelprogram van aasvoëls in
gevangenskap vir latere vrylating. Hulle
doen ook navorsing op wilde aasvoëlbevolkings en die effek van veeartsenymiddels
op sulke populasies.
Die ander soort toevallige vergiftiging is as
die teiken van die gif probleemdiere soos
jakklase, rondloperhonde, hiënas, ens. is. ‘n
Vergiftigde karkas kan meer as 600 aasvoëls op een slag doodmaak. Die gebruik
van gif om probleemdiere uit te roei is onwettig in Suid-Afrika en ‘n hele paar boere
Meer inligting is beskikbaar op VulPro se
Kontak Walter Neser by 076 593 9849
of email vir Kerri Wolter by [email protected]
An Anecdote on
A Nesting Log in
By Arie Wlliams
By Freda Kirschner
I have just spent a wonderful afternoon
with Steve Brains from Namibia,
I received a birthday gift of a Nesting Log
in January, which was put up in a prominent position in a Celtis Africana tree facing
our patio in Waverley.
He was one of the first to teach Lyn and
I how to Catch raptors . Here are a few
incidents to share with you.
A week later, Black collared barbets started pecking away , and it soon became
obvious that eggs had been laid in the hollowed nest.
There was a ringer on his own, (a big No
when you catch raptors) and he caught a
raptor on the Balchatri , He managed to
remove the raptor from the trap and was
busy putting a ring on the Tarsus when,
one of the raptors legs wriggled out of
his hand and lodged very firmly through
his palm . Not wanting to lose the bird,
legs in one hand, claw through the other,
what was he to do, birders have brains,
he bent down to the legs and decided to
remove the talon from his hand with his
teeth, the raptor was not going to put up
with this and latched onto his nose with his/
her beak, can you imagine this, nose and
hands well occupied with the raptor and
imagine eye to eye with an eagle.
We worked out the possible time of hatching, but long before that time, while sitting
and reading on the patio, I became aware
of a large bird flying across the lawn. I
grabbed my binoculars ,and raced across
the lawn to discover an immature African
Harrier Hawk in a Camphor tree. It stayed
there for a short while before flying off.
It was obvious that, while I was immersed
in my book ,it had taken the bird sitting
in the nesting log. The mate arrived briefly the following day and then flew away,
never to be seen again.
Happily, now weeks later, Crested Barbets
have taken over, and we are hoping for a
happy end, and the appearance of chicks
The outcome of the saga was eventually
the talons were released the bird was with
a ring in place, the ringer had a sore nose a
sore hand and a battered pride.
We were amazed to see the African Harrier Hawk, having seen one (a mature
adult) only once before in our garden
about two years ago. It landed in a tree
and almost immediately flew off.
What we do to capture data for the
Listen to all, plucking a feather from every passing goose,
but, follow no one absolutely.
(Chinese Proverb)
A Christmas Holiday
in Germany
where the Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas
market) stalls invitingly displayed a wide
variety of yuletide fare.
Sue and I were spending a week in Germany prior to visiting family in England
for Christmas, and were staying at a
very comfortable timeshare flat in Gemund, a small village in the Federal state
of North-Rhine Westphalia and not far
from the border with Belgium. Our timeshare unit overlooked green fields where
hikers could often be seen strolling across
the rural countryside and further afield
the dense woodlands of the Eifel National
Park stretched away into the far distance.
Many of the houses in the village were built
in a traditional style that resembled English
Tudor and the town square in the centre
of the village had numerous pubs and taverns decorated attractively for the festive
season. Needless to say we did our best
to sample the many different beers and
wines that Germany has to offer.
Text and Photos by Anthony Cavanagh
The temperature was a rather chilly 5dC
and underfoot the fallen leaves covered
the path through the forest, creating a
multifaceted brown-hued carpet that rustled with our every footstep. The bare oak
and beech trees, many with lichen on the
bark, grew straight and tall and although
densely wooded, the leafless foliage enabled us to see through the forest to the
village of Gemund situated a half kilometer away on the opposite bank of the Urft
river. We continued our walk through the
Eifel National Park for another kilometer
Walking in the Eifel Forest
and then made our way down to the
Urft, crossing it via one of the numerous
footbridges. A pair of Mallards paddled
their way quietly along the stream and
just ahead of us a Dipper suddenly flew
into sight and promptly dived into the water. It re-emerged a few seconds later a
little further upstream and continued diving and reappearing in its quest to find a
small morsel of food. We walked along the
riverbank almost to the end of the village
and then turned towards the main street
Monschau is a quaint medieval town some
twenty minutes by road from Gemund
and only five km from the Belgian border.
Sue and I drove there in our hired car, a
VW polo automatic, and parked in one
of the designated parking areas, as traffic
is restricted in the town centre. The narrow cobble stone streets of the old town
were decorated with Christmas lights and
of training selected party officials but is
now a conference venue and tourist attraction. The bullet riddled sculpture of the
torchbearer personifying the National Socialist ideal of the Herrenvolk stands as a
painful reminder of that tragic time.
lined on both sides by Tudor style three
story buildings. The ground floor shops displayed Christmas fare and German delicacies, and the whole scene had a Victorian
Dickens feel to it lacking only Tiny Tim. The
Weihnachtsmarkt stalls also added to the
festive spirit. The Rur river runs through the
town and a hotel and a number of houses
are built on an island formed where the
river splits near the main street. Some of
the houses extend by a meter over the
riverbank and look rather precarious but
have nevertheless stood firm for a few
hundred years. Footbridges connect these
dwellings to the town. We left Monschau
and drove past a field of wind driven
turbines their three bladed props turning
slowly but steadily, and made our way
back to Gemund.
Cologne Christmas market
The next day we drove from Gemund
on to the A1 highway (all the roads were
excellent) and north for approx. 100km to
Cologne. We followed the road signs to
the city centre and could see the cathedral clearly against the skyline. The Rhine
river came into view and barges and other watercraft plowed their way along its
very wide expanse. We were not sure of
the exact route to the cathedral but kept
it in sight and found our way to an underground car park. We walked up the
steps to ground level and came out on
the square immediately in front of the
Cathedral. This imposing structure was
for a time the tallest building in the world
when it was finally completed in 1880. (Initial work started in 1248 and was halted
in 1473) The Gothic style architecture, with
its intricate stonework and multiple arches,
is magnificent and the stained glass windows all depicting different biblical scenes
are true works of art. Outside the cathedral there were rows of gaily decorated
Weihnachtsmarkt stalls selling all sorts of
The fields adjacent to the forest in front
of our flat supported a variety of winter
birdlife and on our numerous walks we
noted flocks of Yellowhammers, Greenfinch, Tree Sparrows and Fieldfare, Great
Tits, Blackbirds, Woodpigeon, Jays, Crows
and Magpies by the dozen.
The Eifel National Park has one of the few
Nazi built complexes still standing. Vogelsang was built in 1937 for the sole purpose
confectioneries, meats, wines, breads and
Christmas gifts. Gluhwein was a popular
beverage and helped keep out the cold.
The superbly moulded stein ceramic mugs
depicting mainly the cathedral and the
Rhine river, came in all sizes and I bought a
medium sized one to add to my collection.
to car traffic and pedestrians strolled unconcerned around the very clean and tidy
pavements. Trees were decorated with
Christmas lights and the city was celebrating the festive season in typical German
tradition. The dozens of market stalls were
extremely busy, in particular the gluhwein
stalls that always had no shortage of patrons. Sue bought stollen the traditional
Christmas fruitcake and there were plenty of other items that we’d liked to have
bought but space and weight are always
a critical factor when one is flying.
The wildlife park at Hellenthal, a town
just south of Gemund has a bird of prey
compound and offers a daily raptor flight
show. Nothing compares with seeing birds
flying free in their natural habitat, however
the wildlife park does offer sanctuary to
injured birds and gives one the opportunity
of seeing close up, European birds that one
may never otherwise see. The Eagle Owl
and Golden Eagle were two of the birds
that demonstrated their impressive skills
during the flight show.
After a few hours strolling around the
Weihnachtsmarkt stalls and the nearby
shopping malls we caught the train back
to the airport for our London flight.
Christmas in Germany is a special time and
makes for a very memorable experience.
Dr PF Hawke
Snowy Owl - Hellenthal Bird
Christel Hengst
David Jenkins
Our week in Germany seemed to go by so
quickly and the time came for us to leave
Gemund and drive to Frankfurt about
three hours away, for our flight to London.
We arrived at the airport well in time for
our flight and after returning the hired car
we put our cases into storage and bought
day pass train tickets at the tourist information counter. The trains run every few
minutes and we boarded one into the
Frankfurt city centre. The area was closed
Brian Phillips
Howard Rayner
Billy van Eck
Photos by Martin Le-May
South Africa’s
Favourite Bird
rot, African Fish-Eagle, Woodland Kingfisher and African Penguin. The Marabou
Stork, perhaps not our prettiest bird, only
received nine votes. BirdLife South Africa
shortlisted 52 bird species, of the country’s
incredible 846, for this poll. A number of
celebrities, sportspeople and organisations
campaigned for their favourite birds. GardenShop campaigned for the Cape Robin-Chat.The chicken received no votes because, in this poll, “chickens did not count”.
By Mark Anderson
Mark Anderson
Dear friends and colleagues
South Africa’s Favourite Bird is the Cape
Robin-Chat. During the past three months,
in an online poll, almost 10 000 people voted for their favourite bird. 11.5% of the votes
were for the Cape Robin-Chat, a popular
garden bird. The other favourite birds, in
order of popularity, were the Cape Par-
Cape Robin-chat
Garden Shop
Cape Parrot
Cape Parrot Projects
African Fish-Eagle
John Robbie
Woodland Kingfisher Isak Pretorius & Warwick
African Penguin
Ofentse Makonya & Pamele
Chartered Secretaries Southern
Southern GroundMabula Ground Hornbill Project
African Hoopoe
Wandering AlbaTrevor Hardaker
Blue Crane
Endangered Wildlife Trust
Top 10 results only shown, for full results go to BirdLife SA’s website
Counting Birds
arranged by the Honorary Rangers. We
had to count all species seen in a radius of
50km around Punda Maria. We were divided into four teams and each team had
an expert - Christopher, Allan, Dylan and
Lance, to guide the formal activities.
Text by Rolf Wiesler, photos by
Karen Wiesler
February seemed to be our month for
counting birds….
The two “special sightings” around which
drives were arranged were both successful:
First we attended the 16th Nylsvley Woodland Bird Census, which is sponsored by
Wits Bird Club. On Saturday 14 February,
57 birders set out in drizzly weather for
the official census which ran from 06h00
until 08h00 along 18 set routs. Strangely
it rained on the way to our destinations,
stopped during the count and then started raining again after – a perfect example
how birders can arrange anything!
A total of 135 species was recorded in the
two hours, including four species recorded
for the first time in 16 years of censusing –
Lanner Falcon, Long-tailed Paradise Whydah, Cuckoo Finch and Pied Crow. Over
the same weekend there was a 24 hour
count which ran from Friday, 17h00 to Saturday, 17h00. A record breaking 219 species
were listed during this count.
A late afternoon/sunset drive
gave us views of Grey-headed Parrots
and Pennant-winged Nightjars.
A very early morning drive took
us to the Luvuvhu River Bridge for the
dawn chorus and views of a Pel’s Fishing
Owl. Although the Pel’s was very obliging
and we all got great views, it was sitting
with the rising sun directly behind him, so
was not as accommodating from a photographic point of view!
The highlight of my weekend was getting
a photographic “lifer” in the form of Bushveld Pipits.
Continuing with the “counting” month, on
20-22 February we joined members of
the Wits Bird Club at Punda Maria, Kruger National Park for a birding weekend
There were a number of carcases of zebra
and impala in the area which attracted a
lot of vultures (although they were so full
they were just hanging about in the trees).
The reason for all the deaths was due to
an outbreak of anthrax in the Pafuri area.
It was interesting to hear that although
anthrax is a serious and highly contagious
disease it is not considered all that serious in
the greater ecological expanse of the Kruger National Park.
Some of my highlights included a couple of
Arnot’s Chats and a Dickinson’s Kestrel as
well as a herd of elephants cavorting in a
Please pay your membership fees by Electronic
Transfer, or at the local branch of your bank, as
posted cheques are being intercepted in the post
and used for Cheque Fraud. If this happens to
you your membership payment is lost!
Overall and excellent weekend which was
very professionally organised and expertly
Letter to the Editor
but Naureen and I are unfortunately
no longer able to participate in field
outings nor evening meetings. I have
a few short Tswana folk-tales about
birds, with translations into English,
which I could send you if you are interested. Wishing you everything of the
best for yourself and all your assistants
for the New Year,
It’s always interesting to receive letters from
members whether supportive, critical or of
general interest. The follwoing letter was
received from Desmond Cole regarding
the late John Bunning and an article which
he had sent him for publication whilst John
was Editor of Bokmakierie. I am reproducing both letter and article and would
welcome answers to Desmond’s question
at the end of his letter:
Yours sincerely,
Desmond T. Cole
Dear Sir,
Professor Emeritus
I had hoped to write this note some
months ago, but my printer suddenly stopped working and it was two
months before I was informed that it
could not be repaired and that I needed to buy a new one.
Note from Editor: Lauraine has obtained
copies of the Tswana folk-tales which we
have published later in this edition of Bokmakierie
John Campbell’s Observations on Birds in
Almost a year ago I received Bokmalderie, 239, April 2014, and noted
with sadness the obituary of L. John
Bunning. That reminded me that I had
submitted a few articles to John when
he was Editor, in June 2001. The one
that interested me particularly was
‘John Campbell’s observations on birds
in 1820’; for some reason John Bunning
published only the first page or a little
more of the article; the rest has never
By Desmond Cole
10 [2, 124], commencing ‘Near midnight a bird ...’.
Some five years ago I had occasion to read
the Rev. John Campbell’s two-volume
work on his Travels in South Africa, and
while doing so extracted his relatively few
but quite interesting references to birds. He
was a member of the London Missionary
Society and had been requested to journey to ‘Kurreechane’, known to birders
as ‘Kurrichane’, which in the Tswana language of Botswana, North West Province
and adjacent areas, is correctly Kaditshwene. He was one of the first Europeans
to visit that area, having been preceded
only by a few big-game hunters. The next
person of note to visit the area was Dr Andrew Smith, some fifteen years later.
Incidentally, at age 92+, I read all issues
of the Bokmalderie with great interest,
Campbell’s chronicle ofhis travels makes
very interesting reading, including some
I am now offering the article again with
this letter. I would be particularly interested if any readers of Bokmalderie
could suggest what bird is mentioned
in the penultimate paragraph enclosed
in my former journal. [This refers to his first
expedition to South Africa]. My Hottentot
driver, not having seen such nests before,
jumped from the waggon to examine
them. He soon returned, and said that one
ofthem had eighteen holes by which the
birds entered. [April 1820, Meribohwhey]’.
These were no doubt the nests of the Sociable Weaver, Philetairus socius, R800.
The place-name ‘Meribohwhey’ almost
certainly refers to the vicinity of Madibogo
[Tswana: Madibogo], midway between
Vryburg and Mafikeng on the present-day
English usages which seem today, nearly two hundred years later, to be rather
quaint. He had many pertinent comments
to offer on all aspects of the country, its
topography, fauna and flora. He was, for
example, one of the first explorers in southern Africa to note that there were two distinct species of rhinoceros. The large-scale
shooting of animals ‘for the pot’, not least,
of hippos, is, to say the least, horrifying for
wildlife-lovers today. However, it is his few
comments on birds which are of greatest
interest to us here. They are listed below
with relevant volume and page numbers
for those readers who may care to look up
the notes in the original publication.
1. [Vol. 1, p. 8]. ‘It is reported, that in this part
of the country the male of certain kinds of
birds alone builds the nest. When he has
finished the work, it is examined by the female; should it not please her, she tears it to
pieces, and her obedient mate builds another. [3 Feb 1820, north of the Hex River
Mountains]’. The reference is presumably to
the Southern Masked Weaver, Ploceus velatus, R814. To the best of my knowledge,
however, it is not the female which tears
the unsatisfactory nest to pieces, but the
male, before he sets about building another.
Sosiable Weaver - photo by Warwick
4. [1, 150-51]. ‘After breakfast I visited the
lake, which appeared to be about five
or six miles in circumference. The water
was as salt as the sea.... About a hundred
flamingoes stood in the water, near the
place where we were, and smaller parties
of them were scattered here and there,
over the lake. They had a very singular
appearance, as they remained almost
motionless; and, from the great length of
their legs, stood high out of the water. Occasionally they picked up something from
the water, or the bottom, but I could not
perceive what it was. They allowed us to
approach very near, without discovering
the smallest timidity. [April, Meribohwhey]’.
From this note it is not possible, of course,
2. [1, 16]. ‘Passing a cliff we observed a
projecting rock with a flat surface; on this
lay what appeared a cart-load of dung
carelessly tumbled down. My Hottentot
informed me it was a hawk’s nest, and
pointed out the entrance to it at the
bottom which hung over the cliff. [Gamka River]’. Pretty certainly this was not
a ‘hawk’s nest’ but that of a Hamerkop,
Scopus umbretta, R81.
3. [1, 135]. ‘We passed two great nests on a
tree similar to that which I have mentioned
The ‘Moloppo’ River is the Molopo, which
constitutes a major part of the southern
boundary between Botswana and South
to determine which species of Flamingo
Campbell saw there, the Greater, Phoenicopterus ruber, R96, or the Lesser, Phoeniconaias minor, R97. Possibly they were
both there. The salt lake is presumably
Madibogo Pan, to the west of south from
the present-day Madibogo station.
8. [2, 95]. ‘... and travelled over red sand,
amidst mimosas, on which we observed
many of those large nests formerly mentioned, inhabited by a considerable number of birds. The smallest of these nests
seemed larger than a sack of com. [June
1820, en route to Turreehey]’. Again the
Social Weaver, Philetairus socius. The ‘mimosas’ are presumably Camel-thorn trees,
Acacia erioloba, which are the trees preferred by Social Weavers in that part of
the country, and not Acacia karoo, which
are often misnamed ‘mimosa’ even today.
I have not been able to identify the placename ‘Turreehey’.
5. [1, 170-71]. ‘In the valley I listened to the
singing of a bird, whose notes resembled
those of the Blackbird in England. This
was a rare occurrence in southern Africa,
where the greatest part of the birds are
not musical, though clothed in the most
splendid attire. [April 1820, Mashow]’. The
bird may have been a thrush, either the
Kurrichane [Kaditshwene], Turdus libonyana , R576, or the Olive, Turdus olivaceus,
R577. I have not been able to identify the
place-name ‘Mashow’; it was, presumably,
to the north-east ofMadibogo.
9. [2, 96]. ‘... ascending a long rise between
hills, beautified by many mimosa and stopa-while thorn trees. I had only observed
the latter as bushes before, but here they
were as large as the mimosa.... Not having, on my former journey, examined the
inside of any ofthe large birds’ nests, and
an opportunity of doing so occurring, we
halted a short time for the purpose. We cut
down the limb of a tree on which one of
those nests was built. It was not suspended
from the branch, but firmly attached to it.
The nest was about the size of a hogshead,
composed of strong, coarse straw, regularly thatched, the ends of the straw pointing
downwards, so that no rain could possibly
enter. It had eight holes in the bottom for
admitting the birds; these did not lead to
one general chamber in the middle, but
each led to a distinct apartment which had
no communication with the others. They
were all lined with the soft downy heads of
a particular species of grass well suited for
the purpose. On dividing the nest across,
6. [1, 226]. ‘This morning only we learned
that the name of the city was Kurreechane,
and that Marootzee is the name of the
nation, not ofthe town. [5 May 1820, having arrived 4 May]’. Campbell estimated
the population of the ‘city ofKurreechane’
[Tswana: Kaditshwene] to be between
fifteen and twenty thousand; the people
there, the ‘Marootzee’, are the Bahurutshe,
traditionally and ritually regarded as the
‘senior tribe’ of the Tswana people.
7. [1, 282]. ‘There is a brown bird, about the
size of a thrush, called the rhinoceros’ bird,
from its perching upon those animals and
picking off the bush-lice which fix on him,
and from which he has no means to extricate himself. This little creature performs
the same kind service to the elephant.
[May 1820, near the Moloppo River]’. One
cannot be sure which species of Oxpecker
Campbell saw; probably it was the Redbilled, Buphagus erythrorhynchus, R772.
the large mass above was found to be a
solid body of straw, designed probably to
prevent the admission of serpents or other
noxious animals. [25 June 1820, approaching Turreehey]’. Campbell was clearly
fascinated by the apartment-house nests
of the Sociable Weavers - and who isn’t?
Unfortunately the ‘admission of serpents’ is
not always prevented by the design of the
nests! The ‘stop-a-while thorn trees’ were
no doubt Buffalo-thorn, Ziziphus mucronata, vide the Afrikaans common name
the Common [formerly: Kurrichane] Buttonquail, Turnix sylvatica , R205, the Kurrichane Thrush, Turdus libonyana, R576,
and the Rattling cisticola, Cisticola chiniana, R672, which are superbly depicted in
colour in his Illustrations of the Zoology of
South Africa. The specific name of the Cisticola, chiniana, is derived from the name
of the Tswenyane Hill, near Kaditshwene.
By this time, alas, the prosperous ‘city of
Kurreechane’ and its environs had been
sacked and pillaged by envious neighbouring Tswana tribes, and other invaders
from more distant areas to the south and
Boeyens, J.C.A. & D.T. Cole. 1995. Kaditshwene: What’s in a name? Nomina africana, 9 (1) 1-40. [This contains a very
extensive bibliography].
Sosiable Weaver Nest - photo by Warwick Tarboton
John Campbell. 1822. Travels in South Africa, undertaken at the request of the
London Missionary Society; being a narrative of a second journey in the interior
of that country. 2 vols. London: Francis
10. [2, 124]. ‘Near midnight a bird alighted
on a tree opposite the tent, whose cry so
much resembled the barking of a dog,
that even the dogs themselves seemed
deceived by it, and joined in full chorus.
[30 June 1820, near Chopo, north of River
Nokannan & Krooman]’. I am unable to
identify this, as a night bird in mid-winter,
and should be grateful for suggestions. The
place-name ‘Chopo’ does not appear on
any map available to me, nor is it possible to identify ‘Nokannan’ with any certainty, but they were possibly somewhere
between Vryburg and ‘Krooman’, that is,
Kuruman [Tswana: Kudumane].
Smith, Andrew. 1849. Illustrations of the
zoology of South Africa: Aves. London:
Smith, Elder & Co.
[email protected]
Some fifteen years after John Campbell
visited Kaditshwene, Dr Andrew Smith
travelled in that area and collected and
named a number of birds. These included
Trackers show
vultures on decline
Town’s Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, Dr Sonja Krüger, Dr Robert Simmons, and Dr Arjun Amar examined the trend relating to the ‘Drakensberg
By Kamcilla Pillay
Note: This article is reproduced by kind
permission of the Daily News
The birds earned the nickname because
of their habit of dropping bones from a
height to feed off the marrow inside.
Amar said that satellite trackers had been
attached to 18 Bearded Vultures, revealing
that collisions with power lines and poisoning were two major vulture hazards, killing half of the birds in the satellite tracking
Using aerospace technology to look at
dwindling bearded vulture populations
from afar has offered fresh perspectives on
the contribution of human beings to the
species’ steep decline.
“Once widespread throughout much of
Southern Africa, the species is now critically endangered, with a nearly 50 per cent
reduction in nesting sites since the 1960s.
(They are) now restricted to the Drakensberg mountains in Lesotho.
In an academic paper titled ‘Anthropogenic activities influence the abandonment
of Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) territories in southern Africa’ written
by bird experts at the University of Cape
Human factors have been pegged as the most harmful to the critically endangered
BeardedVulture-photo by Sonja Krüger
Photo by Francesco Veronesi
“But even in these isolated mountains the
population continues to decline, due to
human encroachment on nesting sites and
feeding territory.”
tus)’, also authored by Krüger, Amar and
Dr Timothy Reid, data from the satellite
trackers backed up the findings made in
the other paper.
Results, they said, also suggested that food
abundance might influence the bird’s overall distribution, and that supplementary
vulture-feeding schemes might be beneficial.
“The trackers... provided critical information on movement patterns and mortality.
“Tagging enabled dead birds to be recovered quickly and their cause of death
determined... The tracking data also provided new information about the birds’
ranging behaviour.”
The study concluded: “We recommend
that mitigation of existing power lines,
stricter scrutiny of development proposals,
and proactive engagement with developers to influence the placement of structures
is essential within the home range of a territorial pair.”
They said some young non-breeding birds
patrolled an area the size of Denmark,
and the average adult bird had a home
range of about 286km2.
“The range was much smaller for breeding
adults, at just 95km2.”
In a second study conducted between
2007 and 2014, titled ‘Differential Range
Use between Age Classes of Southern African Bearded Vultures (Gypaetus barba-
Researchers used meat lures to capture
the birds, which were then each fitted with
a 70g solar-powered tracker designed
to relay detailed information every hour
between 5am and 8pm, including GPS
co-ordinates and flight speed.
rates of the vultures in South Africa.”
She said at the time that vultures played
an important role in ecology, the economy
and in culture.
“The more they travel, the more they risk
colliding with power lines or falling prey to
poisoning,” said Amar.
“They are scavengers, and by disposing
of waste and carcasses they help control populations of other disease-carrying
scavengers and pests. In this way they help
protect human health, as well as that of
domesticated animals and wildlife.”
Plans for multiple wind farms in and
around the highland regions of Lesotho, he
explained, would likely place even more
pressure on this vulnerable species, and
might be “the final nail” in this species’ coffin.
Last year, Birdlife South Africa, custodian
of the International Union for Conservation
of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened
Bird Species, globally uplisted the species
from the ‘Least Concern’ category to ‘Near
We apolgize for the temporary
unavailability of the Wits Bird Club
website. Unfortunately due to a
maliceous hacking of the site we are
having to rebuild it.
The organisation said there were only 400
individuals and 100 breeding pairs remaining in the wild in South Africa (Free State,
KZN and the Eastern Cape) and Lesotho
(mainly restricted to the escarpment and
Lesotho highlands).
We recently received the news that
Tony Newey passed away over the
Christmasperiod.Manyofusremember him with great fondness as
being one of the colourful characters of Wits Bird Club. He had been
Kruger Park for some time and had
not been an active member of WBC
for quite a few years. If anybody
has a photograph or two of Tony
taken over the years and / or would
like to relate any stories about the
old days with Tony, please send the
information to Lauraine, or directly
to the Editor, and we will have a
page or two in his honour in the
August Bokmakierie.
Dr Hanneline Smit-Robinson, terrestrial
bird manager at the organisation, said
South Africa and Lesotho shared the responsibility of safeguarding the populations
of Bearded Vultures in the Lesotho Highlands and the surrounding escarpment of
South Africa.
“Birds do not observe political boundaries,
and the populations span South Africa and
Lesotho. Significant impacts on the birds in
one country will spill over to its neighbour.
We therefore believe that the project has
a responsibility to respond to the threat
that the proposed Letseng Wind Farm
poses to populations of Bearded Vultures,
as further declines of birds in Lesotho will
severely impact the viability and survival
Carrion Crows in
Spain thrive when
they have a cuckoo in
the nest
olid in Spain, who led a study into the pros
and cons associated with this particular
parasitic relationship.
Bolopo’s team filmed seven parasitised
crow nests and six uninvaded ones in
Northern Spain from the 2004 to the 2007
breeding seasons.
A study in Spain has uncovered an interesting relationship between Carrion Crows
and Great Spotted Cuckoos, reports
Springer’s journal Behavioral Ecology and
Carrion Crow chicks derive benefits
from having to share their nest, researchers have found
When the cuckoos lay up to three eggs in
the nests of the larger crows, the chicks of
both species are often raised together successfully, with the young crows ultimately
growing bigger than the cuckoos.
They observed how intensely the various
chicks begged for food, and how adult
Carrion Crows responded to these hunger
cries when deciding which chick to feed
So it’s not so bad for crow chicks as it can
be for other species of birds who find their
nests taken over by a cuckoo youngster.
The sampled parasitised nests contained
between one to five crow chicks, as well as
one cuckoo chick.
When our Common Cuckoos utilise the
nests of Reed Warblers, the growing cuckoo chick will push other eggs and chicks
out of the nest.
The observations revealed that the cuckoo chicks raised alongside the crow chicks
were not able to monopolise the food being brought to the nest.
When Great Spotted Cuckoos parasitise
and take over Magpie nests, they do not
evict the host’s young from the nest. They
do, however, succeed in out-competing the
magpie chicks for food, which often leads
to the latter’s death.
It appears that crow caregivers prefer to
feed crow nestlings rather than cuckoo
The fact that cuckoo chicks begged more
intensely than crow chicks balanced matters out so that the young ones of each
species ultimately received an equal
amount of food.
Carrion Crow chicks, by contrast, sit back
and wait for food to arrive while the cuckoo chick does all the begging, discovered
Diana Bolopo of the University of Vallad23
“Despite a higher begging intensity, Great
Spotted Cuckoos do not out-compete bigger Carrion Crow nestlings,” says Bolopo.
She speculates that the cuckoo’s begging
strategies are part of how it has evolved
and adapted to a parasitic life in which it
has to compete with either similar or larger-sized nest mates.
“It might actually be advantageous to
crow chicks to share the nest with a cuckoo, because the crow chicks do not have
to waste so much energy on begging intensely for food on their own.”
Four Tswana bird
maces, etc., which unfortunately cannot be
reflected in writing. Needless to say, much
of the richness of expression of the original
Tswana versions is lost in the translations.
By Desmond Cole
1. Tôntôbane, King of the birds
The Tswana people have a wealth of
folktales, most of them relating to wild animals. The essential themes for most of these
stories can be traced throughout sub-Saharan Africa and perhaps even further
afield. They provided the basis for Aesop’s
fables, i.e. the tales of ‘Aethiopia’, which
were disseminated all over Europe. Much
later they were taken across the Atlantic
by the slaves, whose stories of’Brer Rabbit’
and ‘Brer Wolf (mmutla lepholwje, ‘the
hare and the jackal’) were so thoroughly
exploited and expanded upon and reproduced in ‘glorious technicolor’ by Walt
Disney. All these tales were conveyed from
person to person and from generation to
generation by word of mouth, so they
vary considerably in detail from one narrator to another. The first of the stories below I heard as a child, and in that version
it was on the back of the Vulture, Lenông,
that Tôntôbane rode but I was delighted
to have the version involving the Bateleur
presented to me several years ago while
researching bird names.
Bogologolo tala, dinônyane disantse
dibua .... A very very long time ago,
when the birds still spoke, a dispute
arose in the kingdom of the birds
about who should be their King.There
was much discussion in the tribal meeting-place (kgotla) as to how the King
should be chosen. Eventually it was
agreed that the one who could fly the
highest should be made King. On the
appointed day everyone took off into
the air. Of course, poor old Ntšhe, the
Ostrich, who had submitted a claim
on the grounds of his size, was eliminated immediately, and so were all his
terrestrial kinsmen like Tlhangwê, the
Secretary Bird, Kgôri, the Kori Bustard.
Kgaka, the Guineafowl, Tlatlagwê, the
Northern Black Korhaan, and many
others. LeJcôlôlwane, the White Stork
acquitted himself well, so did Lenông,
the Vulture, Ntsu, the Eagle, and many
of their kinsmen.
Eventually it was Makgoane (from:
-goa ‘shout’), the Bateleur, who remained in the sky, high above all the
others. Makgoane, is of course, the
Shouter, the one whose voice is heard
so clearly high in the sky, and his aerobatic expertise is known to everyone.
When he saw that there was no one
above him or even at the same Jevel,
he exerted himself to still greater efforts
and soared higher, to ensure that there
could be no doubt whatsoever about
his victory. At last he reached his peak
and called loudly to all those below,
The second tale is of relatively recent origin,
for two of the three participants have not
been in the Tswana area for much more
than a hundred years, nor were trading
stores and the ‘shilling’ known before that.
The last two, again, are of indeterminate,
but no doubt ancient origin -possibly as
much as a thousand years or more. Traditionally these tales were narrated around
the fireside, in the evenings, with all sorts of
vocal nuances and physical sound effects,
band clapping, finger snapping, facial gri25
characterized by distinctive appearance, patterns of behaviour and, perhaps more significantly, by their calls.
‘Here I am, I am King!’ At that moment
little Tôntôbane, the Black-chested
Prinia, who had sneaked into and
been comfortably nestled in the feathers on Makgoane’s back, took off into
the air and flew up, far above Makgoane, who was by that time quite
exhausted. Up and up Tôntôbane flew,
until he was well above Ma.kgoane,
then he annqunced his victory to all
those below him. And so it was that
Tôntôbane, the smallest.of the birds,
became their King and he remains so
to this day.
The Bateleur has a number of names.
One of them, Kgôsi yamanông, ‘King of
the vultures’ (which he shares with the
Lappet-faced Vulture), reflects his reputation for robbing vultures or usually
being the first to find a dead animal.
His taste for carrion leads, incidentally, to his being regarded as a vulture
rather than as an eagle. Having found
a dead animal, he is reputed first to
remove the eyes, hence kgônyaitlhô‘
pluck out eye’, a name attributed also
to the Egyptian Vulture. However, the
most widespread names are probably
pêtlêkê, referring to the magnificent
sweep of his wings (from: -pêtlêka
‘spread out’), as he soars majestically
in the Kalahari skies, and makgoane
(from: -goa ‘shout, call loudly’), referring to his loud, challenging call.
2. Nearly all warblers, including cisticolas and prinias, are lumped together in
Tswana taxonomy. The few exceptions
include the Rattling Cisticola and the
Black-chested Prinia. The former has
several names referring to his abusive
scolding of any intruder into his territory, kgwêrêkgwêtlhane (little scolder),
perhaps being the most widely used.
The Black-chested Prinia also has a
number of names, including Kgôsi yadinônyane ‘King of the birds’, but he is
probably best known as tôntôbane.
Black-chested Prinia - photo by Warwick Tarboton
NOTES: 1. In Tswana. ornithological taxonomy, a distinction is made between
three majoi groups of raptors, of which
two concern us here: /enông, ‘vulture’
and ntsu or ntswi ‘eagle’. However,
very few species within these groups
are consistently identified by specific
names. A few may be distinguished,
sometimes, by descriptive names, e.g.
disôane ‘white one’, i.e. Cape Griffon; /
enông lêletuba ‘dun vulture’, i.e. Whitebacked Vulture; and ntsu êphatshwa
‘black-and-white eagle’, i.e. Verreaux’s
Eagle. However, two eagles, the Fish
Eagle and the Bateleur, are consistently
recognized by specific names. Both are
the Turkey
Many years ago, when money was still
money, and one could hear it ring if
one dropped a coin on the floor, Pidipidi, the Muscovy Duck, Mokoko, the
Rooster, and Kalakunu (from Afrikaans
‘kalkoen’), the Turkey, decided to take
a walk in the country. Suddenly, look,
there was a shilling piece lying in the
road! They debated as to what they
should do with it; soon it was decided that one of them should go to the
trading store some distance away and
buy some mealies for their lunch. It
was agreed that Mokoko, the Rooster,
should go to do the shopping, so off he
went at a rapid trot.
(mabêlê), in the cultivated fields. Much
time must be spent by the boleti, the
bird-scarers, trying to reduce the depredation of the ripening sorghum by
shouting and banging tin cans and
drums. Tsôkwane, however, bas little respect, in fact only contempt, for
the bird-scarers. As he struts up and
down he bows, coos and boasts to his
mate, Mo/eti kemotshwara kakobô ....
Mo/eti kemotshwara kakobô ...... The
bird-scarer, I grab her by her blanket
....... The bird-scarer, I grab her by her
blanket ........’
Having bought the mealies, Mokoko
found himself a quiet comer, carefully opened the packet and conswned
well over half the contents; then he
sealed it carefully again before trotting off to rejoin his companions. On
his arrival they viewed hls purchase
with consternation and incredulity. Ha
ha ha ha ...! said Pidipidi, the Muscovy
Duck, in a hoarse whisper of shock and
amazement. Kalakunu, the Turkey,
strutted round and roWld the packet
of mealies, contemptuously dragging
the tip of one wing along the ground,
and calling out loudly, KaModimo gasemmidi washêlêng-ô! ‘By God, this is
not a shilling’s worth of mealies!’ KaModimo gasemmidi washêlêng-ô! But
Mokoko, the Rooster, was quick to respond, clapping his wings to demand
attention and calling in his high-pitched
voice: Mme kana mmidi! ‘But
for goodness sake mealies are expe..
nsive!’ Mme kana mmidi!
Laughing Dove - photo by Warwick
NOTE: The name Tsôkwane, derived
from letsôku, ‘red ochre’, refers to the
reddish blush on the Laughing Dove’s
back and breast
4. The renowned case of Rex vs Tlatlagwê
Bogo/ogo/o tala, majwê asantse ale
mêtsi, dimônyane disantse dibua ........
A very, very long time ago, when the
rocks were still soft and the birds could
still speak, there was a great furore in
the land of King Kgôri, the Kori Bustard.
He was, of course, the paramount King
of all the terrestrial birds, a wealthy
tribe of pastoralists who owned vast
tracts of grazing land. They included
3. Tsôkwane, the Laughing Dove
As everyone knows, Tsôkwane, the
Laughing Dove, and other members of the dove family, plus those of
the weaver and sparrow families, are
the greatest thieves of sorghum grain
Tlatlagwê, the Northern Black Korhaan, Kegamakalo, the White bellied
Korhaan, Molcgwêba, the Red-crested
Korhaan, Mongwangwa, the Spotted Thick-knee, Lethêêtsane, the
Crowned Lapwing, Segolagolane, the
Double-banded Courser, Sebotha,
the Lark, Lekutukubii, the Namaqua Sandgrouse, Mokgwarakgwara,
Burchell’s Sandgrouse, Lephurrwane,
the Kurrichane Buttonquail, and many
boundaries.’ By that time, Tlatlagwê
was very excited and rather angry.
A! he shouted again as he leapt up
and started flying around a large tract
of country, Kenê kaya kwa karêka
kwa, kaba kaya kakwa, karêka kwa,
kaba katla kafa, karêka fa, gapê katla kafa, karêka fa, karêka kwa, karêka .kwa ......., lekafa ....... lekafa ....... lefa
....... lefa ....... lefa ....... ‘I went there and I
bought there, then I went over there
and bought there, then I came around
here and I bought here, furthermore I
came around here and bought here,
and bought there, and I bought there,
......... and around here ......... and around
here ......... and here ....... and here .......
and here ........’
King Kgôri charged Tlatlagwê with
trespassing on his land. He had spoken
to Tiatlagwê and warned him, but to
no avail, and so now all the tribesmen
were there, foregathered in the tribal meeting place (kgotla). King Kgôri
presented his case while the assembled
multitude listened with shock and disapproval. Eventually the King completed his statement and Tlatlagwê
was caJled upon to present his defence.
He jumped up onto a termite mound,
the better to be seen and heard. ‘A!’
he exclaimed, ‘I bought all that land!
It is mine!’
Now Kgôri was a very wise old King,
and also very much impressed by the
way in which Tlatlagwê had presented his case. So he appointed Tiatlagwê
henceforth to be the guardian of all
his lands, with the instruction that he
should carry out regular inspections.
And so it is that to this day, from early
morning until after sunset, you will see
Tlatlagwê fly up periodically to inspect
King Kgôri’s lands, calling out loudly,
Kenê kaya kwa karêka kwa, kaba
kaya kakwa, karêka kwa, kaba katla kafa, karêka fa, gapê katla kafa,
karêka fa, karêka kwa, karêka .kwa
......., lekafa ....... lekafa ....... lefa ....... lefa
....... lefa .......
There were murmurs and gasps of
amazement from the assembly; Mokgwêba, the Red-aested Korhaan, shot
up into the air and came tumbling
back to earth, whistling repeatedly
to express his surprise. Over and over
again Mongwangwa, the Thick-knee,
lamented this display of arrogance
with mournful whistles, while Kegamak:alo, the White-bellied Korhaan, was
so shocked that he could only reiterate hoarsely, A kgakgamatsô! A kgakgê! A kgakgê! ..... ‘What an amazing
thing! Incredible! Incredible! ......’ ‘Well’,
said King Kgôri craftily, ‘if you bought
the land you had better show us its
God gives every bird his
worm, but he does not throw
it into the nest. (Swedish
Extracts from the
Korsman Conservancy Member’s Newsletter February 2015
Special sightings included a Little Bittern
and two African Jacanas.
Stevie Sea-gull
Patrick and Sasha Harvey found a fuffy
ball of feathers on a busy road, saved it
from the traffc, and hand-reared the
Grey-headed gull for three months. When
Stevie’s squawking grew in intensity they
contacted us to ask if he/she could join
Korsman’s gull community. At the water’s
edge, Stevie took the frst few faps to a
new phase of life. Curious gulls few around
us at the release.
Note: This article is reproduced by kind
permission of the Pauline Kaufmann, National Sectretary, National Association of
Conservancies South Africa
Patrick returned the next day to check
on Stevie, who although in the company of other gulls, recognised him with a
SQUAWK! which brought a lump to Patrick’s throat.
Not a misspelled duck noise! CWAC is a
Co- ordinated Waterbird count, an ongoing worldwide programme to keep
track of a specifc list of waterbird species.
A count should be accomplished twice a
year at least, in summer and winter.
On 21 February, Werner van Goethem assisted by Ken Malherbe counted 28 species
and 844 birds from various vantage points
around the Sanctuary, although it is very
diffcult to estimate how many birds there
are on the central reed island.
Birding in the
Hawaan Forest
landward side.
Sue and I had booked a weeks timeshare
at Breakers in Umhlanga Rocks on the
KZN north coast, primarily to see family
and friends still living in the Durban area.
Sadly those numbers had dwindled over
the years due to migration to pastures
greener. Nevertheless Breakers resort is
superb and the view from our apartment
of palm trees surrounding the gleaming
blue swimming pool with the ocean in the
background, reminded us of previous holidays spent in the Indian Ocean islands. The
paved promenade is ideal for jogging or
for just taking a leisurely stroll, and on one
of our daily 5km jogs past the lighthouse
and back, we observed a school of dolphins breaking the surface of the waves in
their familiar arched swimming style.
Text and Photos by Anthony Cavanagh
Breakers Pool Area and Hawaan
The start of the trail led us under the canopy of the dune forest and onto the primary dune where the natural vegetation
surrounded us all sides. The sound of the
waves could still be heard crashing onto the
shoreline only a few meters away but the
dense foliage allowed only glimpses of the
sparkling blue waters of the Indian Ocean.
The humidity level, already rather uncomfortable, rose a few percentage points
higher as we made our way slowly along
the trail. We descended to the first boardwalk across the southern most reaches of
the Umhlanga lagoon and scanned for
any movement. A Wooly necked Stork
had perched in the highest point of the
canopy and could be seen clearly against
the cloudless sky, while a Malachite kingfisher flew rapidly across the reed beds and
settled quickly onto a new vantage point.
Little Bee-eaters hawked for flying insects,
returning a few seconds later to the same
tree branch. We walked over the wooden
boards and crossed the still waters of the
lagoon before re-entering the forest on the
We re-entered the forest and walked
slowly along the trail. Forest birding is
difficult at the best of times and one is
more likely to hear a bird before one
sees it. Calls heard almost immediately
were the pop-pop-pop-pop of the Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, the bleating of
Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird
the Green-backed Cameroptera, and the
unmistakable calls of the Sombre and Yellow-bellied Greenbuls. A slight rustle in the
leaf litter a few metres away revealed a
waters. We spotted a Giant Kingfisher
in the overhanging trees and a juvenile
Green-backed Heron on the mud flats in
its typical hunched stance. A Purple-crested Turaco uttered its raucous call and the
Spectacled weaver’s descending five-note
call could often be heard. Across the logoon and back on the primary dune one
climbs up to a more elevated position and
consequently we had excellent sightings of
Southern Boubou, Black Flycatcher, Kurrichane Thrush, Puffback, Bronze Mannikin, and the Golden-rumped Tinkerbird.
The northernmost section of the trail ends
on the beach adjacent to the mouth of
the lagoon. On the forest fringes and from
the beach we had excellent sightings of the
Grey Sunbird. Sue and I strolled through
the forest a number of times and saw
something new on each occasion, and
each time admiring the flora and fauna of
these unique and interesting few kilometers of the KZN coast.
Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird
pair of Crested Guineafowl, and we also
caught sight of a Red-capped Robin-chat,
more familiar to me as the Natal Robin.
One of the highlights for us was the sighting
of a pair of Black-throated Wattle-eyes
which we’d seen only once before. A Red
Duiker came into view and froze for a
few seconds on catching sight of us, before
darting off into the tangled undergrowth.
The trail led back to the lagoon and onto
the northern boardwalk of some sixty meters stretching across the tranquil lagoon
No one is sure how the Hawaan forest acquired its name but it is known that the
forest grows on a dune that dates back
over 18,000 years. It is the remnant of a
much larger dry coastal dune forest and
unfortunately the last of its kind. It is under the guardianship of the Wildlife and
Environmental Society of S.A. (WESSA) but
the land is owned by the Tongaat Hulett
Primary Dune Hawaan Forest
Bokmakierie is published three times annually. Contributions may be in Afrikaans or English. English names of birds should be those used in Roberts VII. Views expressed are not
necessarily those of the Editor, Club, the Committee, Members or those of BirdLife South
Africa. The Editors reserve the right to edit articles as necessary.
This issue of Bokmakierie has been produced and edited by Andy Featherstone and
Lance Robinson.
Rare pipits return following rat eradication
on South Georgia
nest of five South Georgia Pipit chicks had
been found in an area previously overrun
by rats.
The South Georgia Pipit is only found on
South Georgia and its numbers had been
decimated by the invasive rat populations
on the island. Its survival as a species was
under threat before the eradication work
The discovery of the pipit nest was made
at Schlieper Bay near the western end of
the island by a former member of the rat
eradication team, Sally Poncet, an expert
on South Georgia’s wildlife and this year a
recipient of the Polar Medal in recognition
of service to the United Kingdom in the
field of polar research.
Poncet was a member of what has been
nicknamed Team Rat during its Phase 1
operations. She discovered the nest while
on a Cheesemans’ Ecology Safaris expedition (in collaboration with the Government
of South Georgia) to survey Wandering Albatrosses.
Alison Neil, Chief Executive of South Georgia Heritage Trust says, “The discovery of
pipit chicks is thrilling news and shows the
rapid beneficial effect of the Habitat Restoration Project on this threatened species.
The rare South Georgia Pipit is
making a comeback - photo by
Ingo Arndt
“People had spotted pipits exhibiting
breeding behaviour following the baiting
work, but this is the first firm proof that
they are nesting in areas from which they
were previously excluded by rodents.
The world’s most southerly song bird, the
South Georgia Pipit, is fighting back from
extinction thanks to work carried out by
an 18-strong international team to eradicate rats from its island home in Antarctica.
“Pipits cannot breed when rats are present, so this discovery is confirmation that
birds are quickly responding to their absence.
Just as the final phase of the world’s largest
rodent eradication project was being undertaken by UK charity, the South Georgia
Heritage Trust (SGHT), news came that a
“We are confident that when South Georgia is once again free of rodents, it will
regain its former status as home to the
greatest concentration of seabirds in the
chicks of many of the native birds.
The aim of SGHT’s project is to eradicate
these invasive rodents and allow millions of
birds to reclaim their ancestral home.
South Georgia is one of the world’s last
great wilderness areas and amongst the
wildlife on the island are 90 per cent of
the world’s Antarctic fur seals and half the
world’s elephant seals.
A successful trial phase in 2011 was followed
by a second phase conducted in 2013. The
results have been signs of rodents having
been eliminated rats from almost twothirds of South Georgia.
Four species of penguin nest on the island, including King Penguins with around
400,000 breeding pairs. The island’s
birdlife includes albatross, skuas and petrels, as well as the endemic South Georgia
Pipit, and the South Georgia Pintail.
Phase 3 began on 18 January. The challenge is to complete the baiting of the entire island during the brief sub-Antarctic
summer months and this will be followed
by two further years of monitoring by the
South Georgia Heritage Trust and the
South Georgia Government.
However, although the wildlife is impressive, it is a shadow of the numbers Captain
Cook encountered when he discovered
and named South Georgia in 1775.
Assuming no signs of rodents have been
discovered by 2017, South Georgia will be
declared free of rodents for the first time
since humans first came to the island.
Rats and mice, arriving in the ships of sealers and whalers, have spread over much
of the island, predating on the eggs and
Birding by calls
Many of the more experienced birders will
not bother to look for Black-collared or
Crested Barbet as we know the call and
have seen and heard them so often that
we tick the bird without searching too
hard for it. However the trend to use bird
calls as a cell phone notification is becoming
very common and I no longer simply tick
Red-chested Cuckoo when I hear it as it
could easily be a phone. This reminds me of
the tale of Mr Lydekker who wrote to the
Times of England over 100 years ago to
advise that he had heard a Cuckoo calling
in London in February and claimed that
Yardley’s “Birds of Britain” was wrong in its
statement that the Cuckoo does not arrive in England until late April. When he recanted a few days later with the acknowledgment that he had heard a bricklayer’s
assistant imitating the call he started a
tradition which survives today of writing to
the Times to record the earliest call of the
Common /European Cuckoo in England.
By Peter and Sandra Greaves
On a recent Sunday morning a walk
through Walter Sisulu seemed a good idea
so my wife and I put our Bins around our
necks and off we went. An excellent and
beautiful morning even if rather quiet, due
perhaps to the rain of the previous night
rather than to the often large number
of visitors. Not a lot of birds to be seen or
heard until we walked to the bird hide
where there was quite a bit of action. Sandra picked up a lifer to creep ever closer to
400 in Southern Africa and I picked up a
new species for my Walter Sisulu list.
But the reason for the title is two bird calls
we heard while in the vicinity of the hide. I
was talking to a young boy of 14 who is just
starting his career as a birder with 165 species but is limited to the local area around
Johannesburg as his parents are not keen
to take him to Marievale and Nylsvlei. This
raises a scenario in which the established
birders amongst us with cars can help the
youngsters by taking them with us when
we go to the not so local spots. The BIG
question for Wits Bird Club is “HOW do we
get to contact these young people and
invite them to join us when their parents
are not interested in birding and certainly will not take the youngsters to the bird
club meetings?” A thought well worth the
attention of all BIRD club committees. We
are always complaining about lack of
youngsters in our clubs but here is a classic
case of a very keen youngster who is limited to his local patch and is desperate to
be old enough to drive! Surely we can help
through schools and their environmental
Common Cuckoo - photo by Warwick
But back again to my story. On this Sunday
morning in mid March I heard a Red-chested Cuckoo and the young lad rushed off
to see it but I said to him “I doubt it as most
have left already and it is probably a cell
phone ringtone.” He returned 2 minutes
later to say he had seen the bird fly. We
then met a couple who reckoned they
But back to the question of bird calls.
had just heard a Red-eyed Bulbul calling
to which I again expressed doubt and the
couple produced the new book with calls.
The map in the guide book clearly shows
the bird occurring in the area and the couple were adamant the call sounded like
the book. A quick check on BIRP shows
the bird to have been seen once in May
and once in September so although possible not to be ticked on call alone. A few
minutes later we heard a loud and clear
African Fish Eagle calling and promptly realised it was the field guide with calls as this
bird has never been recorded at Walter
So the debate on counting birds purely on
the call being heard rears its head again.
When you hear and want to tick a bird
you must be very sure of your calls and
be sure that nobody in the vicinity is using
either the field guide or a bird calls mp3
player to call up a bird or just checking
to see if the call sounds about right. And
make sure nobody has just answered their
Jacklyn Cock
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Steven Gunn
Bryan Horner
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Felicity Kitchin
John Parks
Elizabeth Livesey
New Stock
Fleeces with Club logo — all sizes R190
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Special Offer — Terry Oatley & Graeme Arnott’s “Robins of Africa” book R55
Nylsvley 2015 Woodland Census, 16th
all species (9 versus an average of 35) is a
reflection of this. However, if quelea numbers are excluded, this year achieved the
highest number of birds counted (3256) in
16 years. As usual, numbers in the Acacia
(1311 birds, 93 species) were highest, then
Combretum (1123/104 species), then Burkea
(821/86 species). Queleas (1115 counted)
were again very numerous in Nylsvley this
year and there has only been one higher
count of Cattle Egrets (371) made previously - in both these species numbers fluctuate
widely from year to year.
By Warwick Tarboton
The 16th annual census of woodland birds
in Nylsvley Nature Reserve was done on
14 February 2015. It was, as always, well
supported, with 57 people participating in
counting birds along the 18 set routes. After an initial threat of early-morning rain,
the weather relented and conditions for
counting remained good for the allotted
06h00-08h00 censusing period.
The regulars in the “top 10” were mostly
the usuals: Cape Turtle Dove (196); European Bee-eater (187, the most yet counted), Barn Swallow (141), Grey Lourie
(127), Neddicky (114), Rattling Cisticola
(110), Cape Glossy Starling (103), Arrow-marked Babbler (87), Spotted Flycatcher (70) and Burchell’s Starling (83, a
newcomer to the top 10).
A total of 135 species was recorded in the
two hours, four species recorded for the
first time in 16 years of censusing – Lanner
Falcon, Long-tailed Paradise Whydah,
Cuckoo Finch and, a most surprising omission in the previous 15 years, a Pied Crow.
European Honey Buzzard and European
Hobby, both recorded last year for the first
time were again encountered this year.
Two species included in the lists, Tawny
Eagle and Wing-snapping Cisticola, were
not included, pending confirmation. The
number of woodland species recorded
during all censuses has now reached 205,
but about 100 of these are rare visitors or
vagrants, having ever been recorded only
once or twice. As always, it is interesting to
see that, on average, individual teams recorded 42 species per route while the combined total (135) is more than three times
The attached graphs show fairly conclusively that over the past 16 years numbers
have been increasing for Red-eyed Dove
(doubling from about 20 to about 45),
Cape Turtle Dove (150 to 200), Woodland
Kingfisher (25 to 50), Dark-capped Bulbul
(10 to 35) and Grey-backed Camaroptera
(30 to 50). By contrast, at least five species
have declined in numbers over the years:
Willow Warbler (numbers have halved),
Blue Waxbill, Fork-tailed Drongo, Whitebrowed Sparrow-Weaver and Blackbacked Puffback. It would be interesting
to explore these changes further. Willow
Warbler is one of three common Palearctic
migrants to Nylsvley and, while it has declined, the numbers of the other two, Spotted Flycatcher and Red-backed Shrike,
have remained steady over the years.
This year’s count was a couple of weeks
later than usual – we aim to always pitch
the census during the last weekend in January but booking glitches sometimes prevent this – and the low count of cuckoos of
The table attached here lists the top 100
species recorded in 2015, sorted in their
order of abundance and showing proportionately in which woodland types they
were recorded.
continued support is much appreciated.
Everyone who participated in this years
woodland bird monitoring, from the
organisers, to the cooks, to the dawn
patrol, to the people who assisted in
number-crunching afterwards, are most
sincerely thanked for their time and effort.
We hope to see you all again next year!
This year’s count by Friends of Nylsvley was again very well supported by
members of the Bosveld Voëlklub, the
Naboomspruit Voëlklub, BirdLife Polokwane and the Wits Bird Club and their
Rarities and unusual
sightings report:
December 2014
Compiled by André Marx
There were a few cracking rarities to start
off the summer months, none more noteworthy than two species that have not
been seen in our region for a number of
years; Pacific Golden Plover and Slaty
Egret. A number of local birders were able
to see both these species as they remained
at their respective localities for a few
weeks. Other interesting birds that wandered into Gauteng was a Broad-billed
Roller at Emmarentia of all places and a
lost Parasitic Jaeger, a pelagic species that
cannot be expected to survive at an inland locality. This report was compiled in
mid-December when local rarities were
still being reported. There are certain to be
more this summer! My thanks to all who
submit sightings and photos to me or via
SABAP2 and the various Internet forums.
WesternMarshHarrier- photo by
Mark Tittley
Plover,PacificGolden.Strandkiewiet, Asiatiese Goue: a single bird was
present on the shoreline at Borakalalo
GR for at least 2 weeks when many
birders were able to see it, 19 Oct 2014
(EM). This species is seldom recorded at
inland localities and this is the first record for the greater Gauteng region
for a number of years.
National Rarities/ Nasionalerariteite
Egret, Slaty. Reier, Rooikeel-: a
remarkable sighting of one bird at
Walkhaven, north-west of Johannesburg in pentad 2555_2750, is the first
record of this rare species in the region
for at least 10 years, 11 Dec 2014 (RM).
PacificGoldenPlover- photo by
Tony Archer
Harrier, Western Marsh. Vleivalk,
Europese: one bird was present at
Marievale Bird Sanctuary, 8 Nov 2014
(Gbird). In the following weeks at least
two birds were present, when photographs showed that one was probably
an adult female and the other an immature male, (Gbird).
Regional Rarities/ Streeksrariteite
Blackcap, Bush. Tiptol, Rooibek-:
one bird was observed on a few occasions in a garden in Melville, Johannesburg, 15 Aug 2014 (SC). This is the
third record for Gauteng in recent
years of this uncommon bird. It should
be looked for in areas of dense forest
cover and in well-treed gardens.
Roller, Broad-billed. Troupant,
Geelbek-: a surprise sighting was of
one bird at Emmarentia Dam in Johannesburg on 22 Nov 2014 (CT); in
the ensuing weeks many local birders
managed to view the bird at this locality. This is only the third record of this
species in the greater Gauteng area in
the last 10 years.
Bush Blackcap - photo by
Shashi Cook
Buzzard, European Honey. Wespedief: one bird was in Waverley,
Pretoria, 2 Nov 2014 (FdP). Another
sighting was of one bird at Leeufontein
Estate, near Roodeplaat Dam, 8 Nov
2014 (LG).
Broad-billed Roller - photo by
Warren Ingram
Crane, Wattled. Kraanvoël, Lel-: 16
Aug 2014 in company of Blue Cranes,
Devon area…..
Sanderling. Strandloper, Drietoon-:
one bird was at Leeupan in the East
Rand in pentad 2610_2815, 22 Nov 2014
Jaeger, Parasitic (Arctic Skua). Roofmeeu, Arktiese: a wandering bird
was found at Borakalalo GR on 30
Nov 2014 (NP), before unfortunately
being found dead on 2 Dec.
Sandpiper, Green. Ruiter, Witgat-:
at least one bird was at Rietvlei NR,
south of Pretoria, 4 Nov 2014 (JdW).
Sandpiper, Pectoral. Strandloper,
Geelpoot-: one bird was at Marievale
Bird Sanctuary, 26 Oct 2014 (DH).
the bird at Groenkloof NR was still on
show in the general area of the stream
in the reserve 5 Oct 2014 (GBird).
Other Interesting Observations/ Ander
Interessante Waarnemings
Parasitic Jaeger - photo by
Niall Perrins
Bee-eater, Blue-cheeked. Byvreter,
Blouwang-: two immature birds were
in Midrand, 5 Oct 2014 (DH).
Turnstone, Ruddy. Steenloper: one
bird was located at Borakalalo GR, 24
Oct 2014 (Gbird).
Observers/ Waarnemers
Dirk Human (DH)
Etienne Marais (EM)
Francois du Plessis (FdP)
Gauteng birders (GBird)
Geoff Lockwood (GL)
Hayley Steinberg (HS)
Jan de Wagenaar (JdW)
Lance Robinson (LR)
Lizet Grobbelaar (LG)
Madeleen van Schalkwyk (MvS)
Niall Perrins (NP)
Philip Tarboton (PT)
Russell Munro (RM)
Shashi Cook (SC)
Pectoral Sandpiper - photo by
Dirk Human
an unusual sighting for Rietvlei NR on
2 Nov 2014, considerably south of this
species’ usual range (MvS).
Eagle, Ayres’ Hawk. Arend, Kleinjag-: a sighting of one bird at the Union Buildings in Pretoria once again is
further evidence of the species’ presence at this locality in summer, 27 Nov
2014 (DH).
This column is mainly concerned with observations of rarities and interesting sightings made in the greater Gauteng region,
defined as 100km from the centre of both
Johannesburg and Pretoria, however observations made further afield are also
welcome. While the majority of records
are included it is sometimes necessary to
exclude some depending on whether the
subject matter has already been well reported. Occasionally records are sourced
from the Internet and from SABAP2 records. Members are invited to submit details of sightings to André Marx at e-mail
[email protected] or 083 4117674.
Eagle, Lesser Spotted. Arend, Gevlekte: a sighting of one bird at Marievale,
that was subsequently photographed,
is somewhat out of range for this species, 26 Oct 2014 (DH).
Eagle, Wahlberg’s. Arend, Bruin-: a
record of one bird in the Klipriviersberg
NR in pentad 2615_2800, south of Johannesburg, is an unusual sighting for
that locality, as this is a species normally
associated with bush country north of
Gauteng, 29 Nov 2014 (LR & PT).
Owl, Southern White-faced. Uil,
Witwang-: one bird was a surprise find
in a garden in Atholl in the northern
suburbs of Johannesburg, 21 Aug 2014
(HS). These birds are known to occasionally wander into suburbia.
Snipe, Greater Painted. Snip, Goud: a single bird was at Glen Austin Pan
Tim Appleton gave an excellent talk at UNISA on Rutland Water and the Bird Fair