Monday, 8 August 2011

Johannesburg 22-23.07.11

With temperatures +40c with high humidity every day it's a little too hot and humid to do any photography in the UAE,  should start getting a little cooler from next month onwards and will coincide with the Autumn migration season, so should be out and about again then.   Before then I have a 3 week trip to visit my brother and sister-in-law in South Australia, so looking forward to that as I have never been there before.  Recently I was fortunate enough to have a business trip to Johannesburg and so decided I would take a couple of days to do some bird photography.  I had been advised to visit two locations,  namely Suikerbosrand and Marievale.  A colleague of mine was very kind enough to lend me his 4x4 for the weekend.  There is a small town between the two locations called Heidelberg so I chose to stay there at a lodge called Coeria Lodge.  It was adequate, with a nice bar and restaurant.  They were kind enough to pack me a breakfast the night before as I would be leaving each morning before scheduled breakfast.  I can definitely recommend the Burgers.

I spent Friday 22.07 at Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve a stunningly beautiful place with many different habitats. Although there is no real game there it is possible to see mammal species which include mountain reedbuck, common duiker and steenbok, grey duiker, baboon, oribi, eland, blesbok, springbok, red hartebeest, black wildebeest, kudu and zebra . Predators roaming this vast sanctuary are cheetah, brown hyena and other smaller species. There is a circular route that covers 67km and you can get out of the car anywhere at your leisure.   This was obviously mid-winter but still plenty of birds around, as I had not been before , everything was of interest to me !
The plan was to spend Saturday 23.07 at Marievale Bird Sanctuary but had difficulty finding the place.  I ended up birding a dam near the town of Nigel and knew I was close to the reserve,  however I had little time and did not want to waste it trying to find the reserve (by the way even though I was very close - no one I asked had ever heard of it !!) so after a couple of hours at Nigel Dam I headed back to Suikerbosrand.  I will head to Marievale as my first port-of-call the next time I get the opportunity.

The following are a selection of shots taken at Suikerbosrand and Nigel Dam :

Cape Robin-chat, (Cossypha caffra)

African Stonechat, (Saxicola torquatus)

Familiar Chat, (Cercomela familiaris)

Sentinel Rock Thrush, (Monticola explorator)

Village Weaver, (Ploceus cucullatus)

African Red-eyed Bulbul, (Pycnonotus nigricans)

Fiscal Flycatcher, (Sigelus silens)

Black-chested Prinia, (Prinia flavicans)

Crested Barbet, (Trachyphonus vaillantii)

Common Scimitarbill,  (Rhinopomastus cyanomelas)

 Blacksmith Lapwing, (Vanellus armatus)

 African Spoonbill (Platalea alba)

 Cloud Cisticola (Cisticola textrix)

 Levaiilant's Cisticola (Cisticola tinniens)

Cape Wagtail (Motacilla capensis)

 Cape Bunting, (Emberiza capensis)

 Brubru, (Nilaus afer)

 Common Scimitarbill,  (Rhinopomastus cyanomelas)

 Red Hartebeest (Alcelaphus caama)


Common Eland (Taurotragus oryx)