09/25/11

South Africa (ZA)   Finally, some Autumn Migration Birding  -  Categories: Photographs  -  @ 02:03:18 pm

Week 38 - 24 September 2011, Pivot Fields and SAANR

After a much enjoyed winter/spring break back to South Africa (see my post under the World Birds tab of this site) and getting back to Kuwait to settle into work and a new school year for my son, I was finally able to get out for some Autumn migration birding this past weekend. Images by Mike Pope


Unfortunately, we did not have a favourable NW migration wind to assist the birds today, as we did last weekend, but nevertheless it was still good to be out and Pivot Fields was my first stop. A Wood Sandpiper looked a little out of place, as I drove in through the gates

Wood Sandpiper


Hoopoes are normally one of the first species to arrive during Autumn migration, there were still a few around, but not quite as many as earlier in the season

Hoopoe


Yellow Wagtails are still present in large numbers

Yellow Wagtail


Spotted Flycatchers were seen in most areas of the farm

Spotted Flycatcher


Along the boundary I photographed this pale-throated Wheatear which we suspect to be Eastern Black-eared. However, if this is incorrect - please let me know.

Eastern Black-eared Wheatear


Eastern Black-eared Wheatear


The Alfalfa fields are in flower and are attracting hundreds of Clouded Yellow butterflies

Clouded Yellow


The first year Shrikes can be a little tricky at this time of year, I suspect this to be a Daurian Shrike

Daurian Shrike


I saw a few Orioles (but as always they remain elusive), but the Rollers that were present were a little more obliging

European Roller


Also seen on the Pivot Irrigation were a number of Cuckoo's

European Cuckoo


There were sporadic flocks of Short-toed Larks

Short-toed Lark


as well as small numbers of Pied Wheatears

Pied Wheatear


There were 4 Raptor species present; Black Kites, Pallid and Marsh Harriers and many Steppe Buzzards in a variety of plumages

Steppe Buzzard


The Marsh Harriers were the most prevalant of the two Harriers present. This one flew over me and a little later successfully caught a bird that it finished eating fairly quickly

Marsh Harrier


Marsh Harrier


Marsh Harrier


Even though the wind was not favourable, my next stop was SAANR in the hope that there would be a few Raptors. Unfortunately, none were seen while I was there (although Rashed had luck with Harriers later in the day). There were numbers of passerine stopping to drink, so sitting quietly was productive. There were at least 5 Grey Herons in the shade of the acacia, this one flying over to survey the pan below

Grey Heron


A single European Bee-eater that caught and devoured a particularly large dragonfly and then had a quick dip in the pond to cool off.

European Bee-eater


European Bee-eater


An Isabelline Wheatear stopped by for a drink

Isabelline Wheatear


Although Common Whitethroat, Barred Warbler, Thrush Nightingale and Blackcaps were seen; Lesser Whitethroat was the predominant passerine - this one dropping down from the top of the acacia and working toward the water level. After finding the right perch, really stretching for a drink

Lesser Whitethroat


Lesser Whitethroat


Lesser Whitethroat


I found this Turtle Dove sitting very quietly in the shade of an acacia before leaving Tuhla to head home for lunch only to later discover that I missed a lifer in the form of a Wood Warbler found by Rashed who waited patiently for it to return

Turtle Dove



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