Yesterday I took a very nice and very knowledgeable lady from “up north” on a guided birding trip around the wheatbelt dirt roads in the Napier region.
We started out with a trip around the sewage works, where we picked up most of the usual suspects…Cape and Red-billed Teal, Yellow-billed Ducks and Little Grebes were aplenty. Black-winged Stilts screamed at us from above and Sacred Ibis moved regally to one side. Spur-winged and Egyptian Geese were sighted, and heard, but not seen in the reed beds was the Lesser Swamp-Warbler…
So it was then onwards along the Klipdale dirt road, and bingo within five minutes we spotted a pair of Karoo Korhaan! A lifer for my guest!
A slow drive onwards and we were treated to Capped Wheatear, Stonechats, African Pipits and Large-billed Larks sitting on the poles…Red-capped Larks all around and Steppe Buzzards high above us or sitting watching as we passed.
Special sightings were numerous Blue Cranes with babies (most had 2 chicks) with them, and a lone Spoonbill standing in a dried up dam!
Immature Capped Wheatear
Levaillant’s and Zitting Cisticolas were ticked off along with a Familiar Chats and Pied Starlings… a mystery raptor was then spotted on a kill in the straw stubble…later it was confirmed (by Anton) as a Booted Eagle (pale morph).
So just over 60 species and a lifer in the bag as we drove the last bit of the dirt and road when “bingo” a second lifer ….an Agulhas Long-billed Lark was seen, right next to the car….and not just one, we counted six different ones in a space of about 50m….wow!!
So a great trip was had, two lifers…a mystery raptor and some great conversation and birding…not bad for little old Napier!