Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Cape Longclaw: The bird with bright orange bib

My patience was rewarded this week when I managed to take a shot of the Cape Longclaw out of the grass. The bird is vey much illusive. It hides in the tall grass and occasionally peeps out to see any intruder. Instead of flushing it out of the grass I waited patienly for it to come out. The bird is endermic to Southern Africa.

Cape Longclaw out of the tall grass

Cape Longclaw with the bright orange bib

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Common Greenshank at Disaneng Dam

Following the Molopo River from the Modimola Dam down to the Disaneng Dam in search of more migrants was full of surprises. Just before the begining of the Disaneng Dam I came across a colony of cattle egrets and among them was this Common Greenshank; a first in the area of its group. At a glance I could not see it as it was totaly blended with the suroundings. What a camouflage.They breed in Northern Europe and migate to Africa.They are widespread in Southern Africa.

Common Greenshank

Common Greenshank

Common Greenshank taking a nap

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Another migrant turns up at Modimola Dam: Marsh Sandpiper

While scanning the tidal mudflats of the Modimola Dam which is gradually being invaded by algae; I saw this solitary wader. Looking closer it turned out to be the Marsh Sandpiper. I have been in the area a day before but it was not there. It breeds in South Eastern Europe, Central/South Russia and Mongolia. It migrates to Africa. It is widespread in Southern Africa.

Marsh Sandpiper in solitary

Marsh Sandpiper pecking for food

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Three-banded Plover: a very colourful waterside bird

While visiting the Lichtenburg Game Breeding Centre this morning; in search of more migrants, my attention was drawn to the Three-banded Plover pecking and probing in mud with rapid jabs. A common resident in Southern Africa and very colourful.

Three-banded Plover branding its two black bands separated by a white one

 Three-banded Plover with a beautiful red eyering running in short spurts

Three-banded Plover can be easily overlooked when standing still

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Latest arrival migrant at Modimola Dam: Ruff

Ruffs  arrived earlier this time at Modimola Dam than in previous years . Last year they only pitched up in October. Like the Wood Sandpiper they breed in Northern Europe and Northern Asia; migrating to Southern Africa for Summer. They are widespread in South  Africa.

Ruff just arrived

Walking around with diagnostic orange tinged legs

Walking and probing for food

Saturday, September 10, 2011

More migrants arrive at Modimola Dam: The Wood Sandpiper

The Wood Sandpiper breeds in Northern Europe and Asia migrating to Southern Africa to wetlands like  Modimola Dam for their annual winter break. Spring is in the air.

The Wood Sandpiper foraging on floating vegetation

The Wood Sandpiper just arrived

Friday, September 9, 2011

Migrants - The Stint was indeed a Little Stint

I received an overwhelming response to my quest to identify the mysterious Stint. The final verdict was in no doubt a Little Stint. I received responses from local birders and as far afield as Russia, China and Australia. Trevor Hardaker had this to say - "Both photos are of moulting Little Stints unfortunately – the legs, in particular the tibia, are too long for Red-necked Stint and the bill is also too long and finely tipped to consider that species" Niall Perrins had this to say- "They arrive back moulting out of their breeding plumage, looking very different to how we normally see them. I think your Stint is a Little Stint still in partly breeding plumage" Lastly Mark Young from Australia provided a link to some of his photos depicting a Red-necked Stint.Thanx to every one who took all the pains to assist. Thanx

 A Little Stint coming out of its breeding plumage

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Migrants have started arriving: Little or Red-necked Stint?

Differentiating between a Little Stint and Red-necked Stint has always been difficult for me. After spotting this bird with my binoculars at Modimola Dam on Saturday I was convinced that it was a Little Stint. It was only after studying  some photos I had taken of it that I started doubting my identification. The bird started looking more like a Red- necked Stint than a Little Stint. Little Stint is abundant in South Africa but not the Red-necked Stint. Have I seen a rare bird?

Help identify the Stint

Help idendtify the Stint

Friday, September 2, 2011

Black Crake: not so shy but adorable

I spend the past two days trying to get a shot of this shy bird. To my surprise it has always evaded me appearing at the most unexpeted places.

Black Crake

Black Crake