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2011-09-20

South Africa (ZA)   Zaagkuildrift and Seringveld  -  Categories: South Africa  -  @ 01:09:10 pm

Winter Birding - Zaagkuidrift and Seringveld, Gauteng - August 2011

Whilst on our break in South Africa, I had arranged to meet up with my good friend Simon Price who I had met in Kuwait, but had since re-located back to South Africa. We spent a productive and enjoyable morning together and chose the Zaagkuildrfit to Kgomo-Kgomo route north of Pretoria - in my opinion, one of the best birding roads in Gauteng. Images by Mike Pope


We were at the start of the route, not too long after sun-up and spent some quality time at one of the small pans. There was definitely a feeling of Spring in the air, with early buds showing on trees and birds actively starting to show breeding behaviour. Walking slowly through the bush, we came across a rather obliging Southern Boubou

Southern Boubou

Southern Boubou

With a Rattling Cisticola calling nearby

Rattling Cisticola

moving slowly toward the edge of the pan, we observed African Jacana's as they foraged on the floating vegetation - easily done with those extremely long toes

African Jacana

African Jacana

African Jacana

A few duck species were seen on the dam, but only this flock of Red-billed Teals came close enough for a photograph

Red-billed Teal

Red-billed Teal

A single White-winged Tern was also observed hawking over the water

White-winged Tern

Walking back to the car, we flushed a Chestnut-vented Tit-Babbler

Chestnut-vented Tit-Babbler

Driving westward along the dirt road with frequent stops also produced Crimson Boubou; a really striking bird in the drab winter bush with a call to match it's appearance

Crimson Boubou

a couple of Kalahari Scrub Robins

Kalahari Scrub Robin

and a pair of Marsh Owls flying back to find a roost for the day

Marsh Owl

Some Waxbills were seen foraging on the edge of the road, one of them this female Violet-eared Waxbill. Unfortunately the spectacular male didnt stay long enough for his picture

Violet-eared Waxbill

Just before the Kgomo-Kgomo floodplain (still dry at this time of year), we finally managed to get onto a Magpie Shrike that didnt fly off when we stopped

Magpie Shrike

Magpie Shrike

On and around the floodplain we ticked, African Pipit

African Pipit

a striking Capped Wheatear, which normally disappear after winter

Capped Wheatear

Kitlitz Plover

Kitlitz Plover

Lilac-breasted Roller, probably one of the most photographed birds in the Kruger National Park

Lilac-breasted Roller

and an Ovambo Sparrowhawk that had stopped for a drink

Ovambo Sparrowhawk

Viewing the floodplain from the bridge produced White-throated Swallow

White-throated Swallow

As it happens in birding, time does get away from you so we drove slowly eastward back to the main road, finding a wing-tagged Cape Vulture that was being harrassed by a flock of Pied Crows

Cape Vulture

Cape Vulture

On the way back to Midrand, we decided to stop at the Seringveld, a unique broad-leave woodland habitat on the outskirts of Pretoria that holds some key species. Unfortunately, we were only able to find one of them (perhaps a little too early in the season for the others) - but Green-capped Eremomela is still a good bird, albeit a very busy bird gleening quickly through the foliage. After exhausting this patch, we reluctantly headed back and I truly appreciated the variety, calls and numbers seen this morning, in comparison to the barreness of Kuwait

Green-capped Eremomela

Green-capped Eremomela

Green-capped Eremomela

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