Sunday, 19 August 2012

Terekeka road outing

Today Lesley, Laura, Richard, Andrew, Bosco and me went 18 kms along the Terekeka road, revisiting a site that some of us went to last weekend.  It takes you away from the main road and is easy walking (well, apart from some mud, after recent rains).

Among the many birds we found were Rufous Chatterers, Black-billed and Red-fronted Barbets, Buff-bellied Warbler, Speckle-fronted Weavers, Bateleurs, Wahlberg's Eagle, Black-headed Lapwings (near the airport), Superb Starlings, White-rumped Seed-eaters, Beautiful Sunbird, Grey-headed Kingfishers and Black-headed Gonoleks.  The big marsh a couple of kilometres out of town is so deeply flooded that most waterbirds seem to have abandoned it - though there must be vast areas of suitable wetland habitat to choose from, which may also be a factor.

Some of us had reasonable views of a White-headed Buffalo-Weaver, only glimpsed here last weekend.

White-headed Buffalo-Weaver

As last week, there were Namaqua Doves; indeed they seem to have increased in number.

Female Namaqua Dove

Viduas were much in evidence, with Eastern Paradise-Whydah males displaying to females and challenging other males.  There were also Pin-tailed Whydahs, Village Indigobirds and another indigobird species, as yet unidentified. 

Eastern Paradise-Whydah

Pin-tailed Whydah

unidentified indigobird

unidentified indigobird

We were lucky enough to find both the main local woodpeckers, Grey and Nubian, both giving extended views.

Female Grey Woodpecker

Female Nubian Woodpecker

There were several Diederik Cuckoos that showed themselves more than usual.

Male Diederik Cuckoo

Female Diederik Cuckoo

Chestnut Sparrows were much in evidence. The male and female are quite different in appearance.

Male Chestnut Sparrow

Female Chestnut Sparrow

We noticed that Chestnut Sparrow males were interacting with male Vitelline Masked Weavers where the latter were nesting. A quick check online confirms that, although Chestnut Sparrows sometimes build their own nests, they also usurp weaver nests. 

Vitelline Masked Weaver and Chestnut Sparrow disputing nest occupancy

By contrast, there appeared to be a more amicable arrangement at the bulky White-billed Buffalo-Weaver nest found last weekend, where a pair of Grey-headed Sparrows appeared to be nesting, or at least prospecting, in part of the nest.

On the way back, we had good views of a White-browed Coucal, whilst an adult African Fish Eagle rounded off a good morning outing.

White-browed Coucal

I doubt that all of us will manage a trip out together again, so here's a group photo.

Richard, Lesley, Mark, Laura, Andrew

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