23 October 2011 – final Garden Route endeavours…

Up early this morning as there was some reasonable light, we decided to take a walk along the road that keeps close to the forest edge close to the camp. There weren’t lots of photographic opportunities, but we did find a few things anyway – a pair of Klaas’s Cuckoos mating, a Forest Buzzard overhead, African Dusky Flycatcher, Hadeda Ibises, etc and a number of calling Knysna Warblers, but not a single one would show itself for a photo! There were also a few butterfly distractions to keep us busy and, before long, we had to head back to camp for the group meeting and brunch. During the group meeting, they held a bird sound quiz (which Trevor was not allowed to take part in!) which Margaret ended up winning!! It seems like all these years of dragging her out into the field have finally start to rub off…:)

Klaas's Cuckoo

Forest Buzzard

African Dusky Flycatcher

Hadeda Ibis

Brimstone Canary

Forest White

Common Blue

Pearl Emperor

After a very leisurely brunch, it was time to say our good-byes and, by 11h00, we were in the car and on the road. We drove through to Mossel Bay and then just past the town, took a detour off towards Voelvlei and Gouritzmond. Arriving at Voelvlei in the middle of the day, the wind had already started pumping and the light was absolutely crap for photography, but we were hoping to catch up with another species for our challenge list, Whiskered Tern. We were not disappointed and found loads of them on the vlei along with a good number of other common water birds. This wetland is looking fantastic at the moment and, with regular watching, is almost certainly going to produce a rarity or three over the coming season. We would have loved to have spent more time there at a better time of the day with no wind – sometimes you just get that feeling that an area is going to produce something really good and that feeling was very strong here indeed.

Whiskered Tern

From here, we moved on to the bridge over the Gouritz River where we hoped to find Horus Swift. By now, the wind was howling, but it didn’t take too long to find the swifts – photographing them, however, was a completely different story and the shots are shocking. Hearing a Greater Honeyguide calling nearby, we moved over to get closer to the call as we still needed this for our challenge list. A short stint of playback had the bird instantly responding, but it was picked up by the wind and shot off into the distance with absolutely no chance of getting a photo of it! Oh well, guess it will just have to go on to the “seen only” list and the photo will have to wait for a later opportunity. Before too long, we were back in the car and drove the remaining few hundred kilometers back home without really stopping again. All in all, not a bad weekend, with a few new additions to our various lists which is always a good thing…

Horus Swift

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~ by hardakerwildlife on November 3, 2011.

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