18 November 2012 – a morning close to home…
An early start this morning to get out while the light was still good, we headed to an area not too far from home which is a mosaic of farmlands with the odd patch of natural vegetation and river courses. We would be atlassing the pentad as well, so the listing started in earnest as soon as we arrived in the area.
We spent some time at a bridge over a small river first off practicing our swift and swallow photography to start with. These little critters are generally very difficult to photograph because of their very fast and often erratic flight, but we managed to get a handful of acceptable shots out of the exercise.
The area also had many other common species buzzing around and it was good to see the likes of various bishops, weavers, warblers, sparrows, etc being added to our atlas list. After a little while we bumped into Patrick Embury and Stephen Mostert there who told us about a Cape Fox den with 2 pups not too far from where we were that they had just seen 30 minutes or so before. They had apparently been watching it for the last 3 weeks and the animals had been active in the early mornings. Naturally, we jumped in the car and rushed off there, but unfortunately, by the time we eventually got to the site, it was already too late and the animals had climbed into their underground den and disappeared for the day. Despite hanging around for a while, we saw nothing, so decided to make a plan to come back as soon as we could as it was still an animal that we needed for our challenge list.
We then hit some of the other farm roads in the area picking up most of the regular larks and pipits of the area as well as some rather confiding Capped Wheatears that actually posed rather nicely for a change.
Over the course of a couple of hours, we collected a reasonable list of species for the pentad and, just before we decided to head back home, our last sighting of the morning was a wonderful interaction between a Yellow-billed Kite and a juvenile Black Sparrowhawk obviously trying to chase each other out of what they considered to be their territories, a great end to an enjoyable morning in the field.