09 June 2012 – a frustrating hobby…

An African Hobby had been reported from near Seeberg in the West Coast National Park earlier in the week. This is a mega record for the Western Cape and is only the second ever confirmed sighting of this species in the province, a species which is actually quite rare anywhere in the country. We had had terrible weather over the last couple of days with a huge storm hitting the area and no subsequent reports of the bird (not that any birder even attempted to look for it in that weather), so with the first decent weather out this morning, there was no doubt that we were going to give it a try. We joined Cliff and Suretha Dorse on a venture up to the park arriving fairly early.

We quickly stopped off at Abrahamskraal waterhole to see if anything was about, but just the usual common waterbirds were present. A Grey Rhebok close to the hide was a nice find and the first one we have actually ever seen in the park. A quick stop off at Geelbek Manor House to use the facilities and to check the stand of Blue Gums there in case the Hobby had decided to move there produced nothing out of the ordinary apart from a few common species that one would normally expect in the area…

Grey-winged Francolin

Rock Martin

Next stop was Seeberg. We positioned ourselves on a high vantage point and began scanning the area where the bird had been seen. The tree that it had been photographed in was actually quite obvious and we kept a scope trained on it permanently in case the bird turned up there. The rest of the time was spent just keeping an eye on all the surrounding available perches and also overhead for anything that might be flying in the general area. Given the fact that we were at the highest point in the area, our views were uninterrupted of anything that may come by. Lots of scanning, talking and drinking of coffee ensued, but after several hours, there had been no sign of anything that resembled an African Hobby unfortunately. Oh well, you win some, you lose some…

Not to make the day a complete loss, we made our way across to an area which is renowned for its reptiles. Being in winter already, we didn’t really expect too much, but it wasn’t actually too bad and gave us quite a few individuals of 9 species in total, so not a bad consolation prize. After enjoying the reptiles, it was off to lunch in Langebaan, then back into the park for one last Hobby scan before packing it in and heading back home having resigned ourselves to the fact that we had dipped on this one unfortunately…:(

Cape Legless Skink

Cross-marked Grass Snake

Karoo Sand Snake

Spotted Skaapsteker

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~ by hardakerwildlife on June 22, 2012.

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