Saturday, May 28, 2011

Burchell's Starling at Disaneng Dam

Past two days had the temperatures dropping down drastically and birding was a bit uneasy.Spotting two Burchell's Starlings at Disaneng was a real bonus.

Hopping around on a cold chilly morning

Hopping around

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Red-billed Oxpecker at Disaneng Dam

My Birding today was quite an exciting one as I spotted a flock Red-billed Oxpeckers at the Disaneng village.I have never seen these birds around that area in the past six years of my birding there.

Large red bill and the bare yellow skin around the eye.

Scrambling over the animal's body to get ticks.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Southern Pale Chanting Goshawk at Disaneng Dam

Today while birding at Disaneng Dam near the village of Dibono I came across a pair of Southern Pale Chanting Goshawks. A first in the area.

One was a sub adult of the Southern Pale Chanting Goshawk

Adult Southern Pale Chanting Goshawk on a comfortable look-out post

Monday, May 9, 2011

White-breasted Cormorants nests decreasing in number at Modimola Dam and reason found.

With the Cormorants breeding period in full swing; the White-breasted Cormorants nests at Modimola Dam near Mahikeng in the North West Province have shown a significant decrease in number.

White-breasted Cormorants  breeding site
One of the dead trees providing platform to thirteen (13) nests

Last year, May 2010; I counted thirty four (34) nests at these breeding site.This year again, at the very same time, there are only twenty four (24) nests. My worst fear came to an abrupt end on Sunday the 8th May 2011, when I saw a man rowing his way on a makeshift rubber dhingy towards the nests. He was just about to bring down one of the nest with chicks when I interrupted him. Amidst the noise made by the frantic birds trying to protect their young he rowed his way to the other side of the dam and fled.

The bird trying to protect the nest with chicks
The alleged assailant rowing towards the nest. 

 I approached some of his friends and fishermen too; witnessing the spectacle, to find out what was he up to. They told me that the nesting material of the White-breasted Cormorant is highly sort by spiritual healers as it has some supernatural powers.

Female White-breasted Cormorant and chicks
Back with the chicks after the nest was rescued

The Modimola dam is part of the Molopo Wetlands and it is a home to five of the pelecaniform species. Great White Pelicans have started showing up in the dam in good numbers while the Pink-backed Pelicans are residents and increasing in number significantly. The Darter is in abundance. The Reed Cormorant numbers are almost equal to those of their counterparts, the White-breasted. Is this the new kind of poaching that will threaten these birds?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Larger birds with long legs in flight at Modimola Dam

The sky having cleared after several days of rain, I decided to go out for some birding at my favourite spot at Modimola Dam last Saturday morning. My day was rewarded with sight of larger birds with long legs scouring the shores of the dam. My highlites were the Great Egret, which is not common in the area and the Yellow-billed stock, an intra-African migrant.

Yellow-billed Stock
Taking off together with a juvenile
Taking a pause in the long grass along the shores of the dam
Great Egret
In full flight. Legs are all black 
Squeacky whines and screams after taking off.
Taking a pause in the long grass