01 April 2012 – The painted one remains “unchallenged”…
With a number of recent reports of Greater Painted Snipes coming through in the last few days from Paarl Bird Sanctuary, we decided that this would be a good target to set ourselves for the day as it is a species that we still needed for our challenge list and can be quite a tricky one to pin down, even although they are not really all that uncommon.
We headed out early to the sanctuary and went straight to the site where the snipes had been reported from. A little while spent scanning in the area only turned up glimpses of African Snipe, so not wanting to lose the good early morning light, we decided to explore the sanctuary a little further for photographic opportunities and come back to this spot again later. We had quite a bit of fun with a group of African Spoonbills that were feeding very close to us with many of them catching fish and spent quite some time taking photos of them.
The rest of the sanctuary produced a number of the common water birds and we even got a few passable photographs in the process.
Eventually, we headed back to the snipe spot and spent about another 30 minutes there. Once again, all we got was African Snipe and not a sniff of a Greater Painted Snipe. Always a little depressing when one dips on a target bird and, in this case, it would seem that this species is destined to become the “bogey bird” for the challenge since it is not the first time that we have specifically tried for it and missed it. Heading out of the sanctuary, we were distracted by a calling Black Sparrowhawk and stopped the car. We didn’t manage to actually see the bird in question, but instead, found a Spotted Flycatcher, a rather uncommon species this close to Cape Town and one that we would have expected to have left the area already on its way back north. Not great photographic opportunities on the bird at all, but a nice way to end the morning and a good addition to our atlas list as well!