The Black Harriers of the Coastal FYNBOS: Cape Town Birding

October 14th, 2014 by avianleisure

While the charismatic Cape Rockjumper is arguably the jewel in the south western Cape birding crown, the Black Harrier for me is the one bird that gets the adrenaline surging every time I see one!

Black Harrier, by Patrick Cardwell

Black Harrier, lucky to see her perched!

Read the rest of this entry »

The Red Larks of the Koa River Valley in the Northern Cape

October 3rd, 2014 by avianleisure

While not the most melodious of the endemic larks in Southern Africa it is, for me, the most endearing of the collective suite of larks we have on offer to visiting birders.

Red Lark, Northern Cape by Patrick Cardwell

Red Lark , a Kalahari ‘special’

Read the rest of this entry »

A Super Abundance of Cape Cormorants…

October 3rd, 2014 by avianleisure

Aggregations of Cape Cormorants in False Bay are not unusual events with hundreds and sometimes thousands of birds roosting along the sheltered boulder strewn shore line during westerly gale periods.

Cormorants in False Bay

Cormorants amassed in False Bay

Read the rest of this entry »

The Quest for Barlow’s Lark on the Diamond Coast

October 3rd, 2014 by avianleisure

Another of the more challenging lark species to find in Southern Africa is the recently recognised Barlow’s Lark found only along the narrow coastal dune belt north of Port Nolloth and into Namibia.

Barlow's Lark, Port Nolloth, by Patrick Cardwell

Barlow’s Lark, Port Nolloth

Read the rest of this entry »

The Happy Clappers of the Western Cape

October 3rd, 2014 by avianleisure

One of the most audible and characteristic sounds of the outdoor associated with the spring wild flower season are the flight displays and plaintive calls of the Cape Clapper Larks found in coastal fynbos habitats and the more undulating scrublands of the Great Karoo.

Cape Clapper Lark

Cape Clapper Lark, on the South Peninsula in Cape Town

Read the rest of this entry »

Bushmanland birding: the search for Sclater’s Lark

October 3rd, 2014 by avianleisure

Of all the local lark species the most enigmatic and challenging to find is the highly nomadic Sclater’s Lark of the shale strewn scrublands of Bushmanland in the Northern Cape.

Habitat for Sclater's Lark

Sclater’s Lark Country, harsh, arid, inhospitable!

Read the rest of this entry »

The Western and Northern Cape suite of Long-billed Larks: telling them apart

October 3rd, 2014 by avianleisure

Three species of the long-billed lark complex occur within the winter rainfall area and the arid north west of the country, with only the Eastern Long-billed Lark resident in the east in the summer rainfall area, and the Benguella Long-billed Lark to the north of the Brandberg Mountains of Namibia.

Karoo Long-billed Lark, by Patrick Cardwell

Karoo Long-billed Lark

Read the rest of this entry »

Black Eagles of the Great Karoo

October 3rd, 2014 by avianleisure

While the opinions vary as to iconic wildlife preferences, it is for me the Black Eagle, previously known as Verreaux’s Eagle, that represents the true spirit of the vast scrublands and dolerite-capped mountain ranges of the Great Karoo.

Black Eagle

Black Eagle in an azure Karoo sky

Read the rest of this entry »

Of Honeyguides & Woodpeckers: the struggle for survival

October 2nd, 2014 by avianleisure

Home-life for a Cardinal Woodpecker is far from easy starting with a 2 to 3 week tree-hole excavation by both sexes before the first egg can be laid.

Cardinal Woodpeckers nest

Cardinal Woodpeckers nest

Read the rest of this entry »

NORTHERN TANZANIA BIRDING & WILDLIFE SAFARI – TRIP REPORT

April 9th, 2014 by avianleisure

Private Guided Birding & Wildlife Safari to Northern Tanzania: A medley of incredible wildlife experiences in an ancient arena of topographical wonders’; Tour for Danish clients Kim Frost and Sunneva Restorff, guided by Patrick Cardwell 9th to 21st February 2014

Beautiful Sunbird

Beautiful Sunbird: that is actually it’s name!

Read the rest of this entry »

BLACK-WINGED PRATINCOLE SIGHTING

February 3rd, 2014 by avianleisure

On a birding tour on 16th January, Paul Matson and I came across a recently ploughed field, some 36 kms west of Volksrust on the R23, with some 50 plus Black-winged Pratincoles in constant circulation.

Black-winged Pratincoles

Black-winged Pratincoles, ‘near threatened’ Palearctic migrant

Read the rest of this entry »

PELAGIC BIRDING CAPE TOWN: LEUCISTIC WHITE-CHINNED AND SPECTACLED PETRELS – points of distinction

January 7th, 2014 by avianleisure

Every now and then on a deep-sea pelagic trip out of Cape Town the shout goes out for a ‘spectacled petrel’ as an obviously white-headed petrel careens past within the melee of seabirds wheeling about a working trawler.

Spectacled Petrel, another view

Spectacled Petrel

Read the rest of this entry »

BIRDING IN CAPE TOWN: CAPE PENDULINE TITS – DIMINUTIVE AND DELIGHTFUL in THE WEST COAST

December 2nd, 2013 by avianleisure

One of the key birds in the West Coast ‘suite’ of target sightings is the acrobatic and warbler-like Cape Penduline Tit, usually found in family groups foraging energetically  in tangles of low scrub while maintaining constant vocal contact with one another.

Cape Penduline Tit, Adult, seen in West Coast

Cape Penduline Tit

Read the rest of this entry »

BIRDING IN CAPE TOWN : KNYSNA SCRUB WARBLER – DELIGHTFUL SKULKER OF NOTE…

November 18th, 2013 by avianleisure

Variously described in the literature, ‘as a shy and secretive denizen of dense tangles of forest growth and thick impenetrable bracken and bramble patches     Read the rest of this entry »

BIRDING IN THE CAPE PENINSULA: CLAPPER LARKS

November 7th, 2013 by avianleisure

Local birders seem surprised when mention is made of ‘larks’ occurring on the Cape Peninsula. This is indeed a valid reaction as most of our south-western Cape lark species occur either up the West Coast or in the Tanqua Karoo lying within the rain shadow of the Cederberg mountain range.

Clapper Lark, singing on his perch

Clapper Lark

Read the rest of this entry »

INNER SOUTH WESTERN CAPE BIRDING TRIP REPORT

November 2nd, 2013 by avianleisure

A detailed trip itinerary was specifically tailored in response to a target-related species list for a group of four highly enthusiastic  Norwegian birders  comprising of Rune Botnermyr, Arild Hansen, Birger Olsen and Rune Wiggen. Read the rest of this entry »