Saturday, May 19, 2012

Birding in winter: is still fun

It's already winter time down here in South Africa. All migrants are gone and some of the locals are really wonderful and keep the spirit of birding alive. Here are some of the locals.

Bokmakierie - a near endemic resident

Temminck's Courser - a fairly common resident

Marico Flycatcher - a common near endemic resident
Capped Wheatear - common localised resident

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Ticks on birds: a common sight or not

While birding I came across this tick infested Short-clawed Lark. At a glance one would not notice the ticks around its neck and crown. It looked quite healthy, but it was only after realizing that it was infested with ticks that I took interest in the bird.

 The Short-clawed Lark being “near-threatened” according to the Red Data List; was this not going to be one of the contributory factors towards its extinction? How vulnerable are birds towards this blood sucking parasites?
Tick -infested Short-clawed Lark
At a glance all looked funny to identify

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Short-clawed Lark: near threatened

I was amazed by a discovery of several pairs (three in number) of Short-clawed Larks while  birding this morning near the village of Moletsamongwe, North-west of Mahikeng in the  North West Province. That was within an area of 2.3 ha in fallow land adjoining the village.
According to the Red Data List, they are Near-threatened.  We need to protect them.

Short-clawed Lark calling from on top of a bush

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

"Dive-bombing" the enemy: why do birds do it?
I spend three days at the Bird Atlass Bash at Vaalboskraal near Mareetsane in the North West Province. This was for SABAP2 (South African Bird Atlass Project ) It was real fun.
While atlassing pentad 2600_2535 and 2605_2535, I  witness a spectacle where a Southern Pale Chanting Goshawk was being mobbed by Pied Crow at first, then a Black Shouldered Kite.
Birds normally mob an intruder who enters their territory by harrasing, intimidating and chasing off using the "dive-bombing"  or "sally attacks" techniques. Protection of a territory. Here is the story

The Pale Chanting Goshawk just perched on a power line
(being in a wrong territory)

Along came a Black-shouldered Kite

Dive bombing

Moved to another location for its own safety

But along came a Pied Crow this time