10 March 2013 – the elusive Brown Snake Eagle…
With a sighting yesterday of a Brown Snake Eagle near Kalbaskraal, a species that we still needed for our challenge list, we decided to head out that way this morning. After picking up a quick take-away breakfast en route, our first stop was at a small bridge over a river where we spent some time looking at and photographing the birds in the area. We had also started an atlas list for the pentad, so were keen to try and add as many species as possible to the list. Many common species were around, so we happily added them to the list and spent some time photographing them. Overhead, a mixed flock of Little, African Black and Alpine Swifts wheeled about, so we also spent a bit of time practicing our techniques with these – they remain one of the toughest groups of birds to get decent photos of.
Eventually, we started heading a little further north moving through a mosaic of farmlands all the while keeping our eyes peeled for anything interesting. Once again, most of the expected species were encountered along the way with various larks, pipits, cisticolas, etc as well as the other usual suspects like African Stonechat, Capped Wheatear, etc. Every raptor was checked carefully, but most of them were either Steppe or Jackal Buzzards and there was no sign of our target.
Our only sighting of any note during the morning was coming across a group of 11 White Storks at a farm dam, a species that is not seen all that regularly in this area.
After several hours of cruising around slowly, we headed back home only to get a call about an hour later from our friends, Cliff and Suretha Dorse, to say they had just seen a Brown Snake Eagle near Kalbaskraal…!!! Oh well, you win some, you lose some.