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KINGFISHER

April 2014

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IN THIS ISSUE Number 57 PAGE From the Editor’s Perch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Honorary President’s Address . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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The Chairman’s Report . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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The Treasurer’s Report . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Bird Sanctuary Report . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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The Kingfisher Award . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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BLSA News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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The Sharland’s Travels – Australia, Part 2. . . . . . . . . . . .

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M-WIG in 2014 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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BLPR Trip Summaries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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BLPR Trip Reports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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You Saw What? In YOUR Garden . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Indigobirds Explained . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Footprint Matters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Let’s Learn A Little . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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The Bird of the Year . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Let’s Go Indigenous . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Club Committee . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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FROM THE EDITOR’S PERCH There is much happening in your Club. So much that it is difficult to decide what to put in this edition of Kingfisher and what to leave out. An important development in the wider South African birding world is that BirdLife South Africa, (BLSA), is reviewing its membership requirements for its affiliates – we are an affiliate. There will be more from our Chairman John Human when the various alternatives have been agreed and then promulgated by BLSA. Suffice to say there will have to be a special meeting of the Club to agree the way forward for us if we are to remain associated with BLSA – or indeed if we go our own way. Our Bird Sanctuary has taken a pasting in the recent wet and windy weather and as many as 5 trees or parts of trees came down. Some we were glad to see go like the large Black Wattle up in the corner by Ile de Paradis. Others such as the Acacia Karoo planted in memory of Tania Summers who died in a car accident in Canada and was the daughter of Reinette Summers our first Club Secretary, we very much regret losing. It has taken several weeks of hard work by John and Celia Human, Errol Kilpatrick, the Sanctuary maintenance team, two or three labourers and a guy with two chain saws to get the bird sanctuary back into some sort of good order. It now remains for City Parks to come to the party and take away the cuttings, logs and general debris. The SASOL Birds and Birding Fair, which, up to know, has been held at the Johannesburg Zoo, will move this year to the Walter Sizulu Botanical Gardens over the weekend of the 7th and 8th of June. We think that maybe an event such as this is probably better suited to the Botanical Gardens where, while there may not be as many people as come to the Joburg Zoo at weekends, those that come to the Gardens will have more in common with the exhibitors at the Fair. We need volunteers to set up our stand on the Friday evening and to man it over the weekend. The two hour shift goes so quickly that many of us volunteer for at least four hours as there is so much interest in our Bird Sanctuary and our Club generally that we don’t have time to look at all the stuff on display on other stands. Please give your names to John or Celia at: 011 704 3196 or 083 287 6910 and we will see you there. We welcome Diane Lovell to the Committee. Diane has taken over as Minutes Secretary from me and the Network from Errol Kilpatrick. We wish her well. Diane and Jeremy are long standing members of our Club and in fact Diane was the Networker for a while. 2


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We are losing several faithful members of our Club. Both Chris and Jean Dell and Arthur and Lileen Baker are moving out of our area making it difficult for them to remain regular members of the Club. We wish them well in their new homes but hope that, from time to time we shall see them at one or other of our functions. And finally we send sympathy and commiseration to Gill Isaac upon the death of her beloved husband Jonathan. While comparatively new members, Jonathan had an enquiring mind and was always the one at an outing with more questions than answers! We send our love to Gill and hope to see her again at Club functions as and when she feels able. Paul Hardingham Editor HONORARY PRESIDENT’S ADDRESS – AGM 11 February 2014 Good evening fellow birders and members of our club. The Club had a very successful year and many projects and bird outings went very well. It always impresses me to see and read how active our club is. Projects like the SASOL bird hide, reed control and the Sanctuary clean up were some of the successes. The Committee again did a great job and served the members with enthusiasm. I am also very impressed with the new website and hope we will populate it with great photographs of birds, (some of mine!). I wish you every success for the New Birding Year. We will face the normal challenges again but I am convinced that the new Committee will handle them well as in the past. I believe that networking with local government, businesses like Sasol, other bird clubs, BLSA and others will guarantee you long term success Enjoy your birding and may our club go from strength to strength Regards - Jan Fourie

CERTIFICATES FOR SOUTHERN AFRICAN SPECIES SEEN WERE ISSUED TO: TIFFANY NAPIER FOR 200 (junior certificate)

AND CELIA HUMAN FOR 700

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CHAIRMAN’S REPORT to the AGM - 11th February 2014 Introduction: It is amazing how quickly the year has gone by. It has been a pleasure working with a positive and strong committee, supported by wonderful members. Our Club is just a bit different from the other clubs and has a warm and friendly feel about it with a lot of effort going into our 3 main activities, 1)birding, 2)events and 3) our Bird Sanctuary. The Club is run and managed by a mix of members and while the Committee consists of 7 people, there are a further 16 people actively involved in the club in some way and this I find special. To all 23 of you – thank you for your hard work and congratulations on a successful year. I would also like to thank our Honorary President – Jan Fourie, and our Honorary Auditor – Jack Cunningham for their continued support of the Club. Membership Our membership is around 102 families (last year 91) with 9 of these not subscribed to BirdLifeSA. Peter Mason has done a wonderful job in enduring the pain at BirdLifeSA, with their slow admin, to gain control and keep us up to date on who belongs and who is new. The system at BirdLifeSA remains a challenge – to be polite – and various alternatives will be discussed at the BirdLifeSA AGM in March 2014. Membership works closely with our Treasurer Errol Kilpatrick and with Dee Cuthbertson, our liaison lady, who strives to contact as many members as possible so as to avoid confusion in membership. Thank you Dee for the hard work. Programme: 2013 was a successful year for birding and many folk have increased their lifer lists. This was helped by excellent outings set up by the hard working Jane Irvine, Trina MacGregor, the programme secretary and all the outing organisers. Thank you. So where did we go this year, (I’m not going to tell you because you were either there or should have been)? Check the programme and attend lectures, where Paul Hardingham, with Pierre de Klerk’s technical help, gives us a good summary of forthcoming attractions. Also go to our website, (www.blpr.co.za), for information on events new and past. I will however mention the trip to Borakalalo Game Reserve, which is where 17 of our members participated in BBD. (Birding Big Day). The weekend was successful and fun with lifers for almost “everyone” – except Jane (she is just too good). We raised R1400 for conservation.

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Forgive me for deviating here but I needed-to let you know that 4 of our members are participating in the 2014 Gauteng 100km Challenge …Henk Nel, Jane Irvine, Celia Human, Peter Sharland, (I just drive). These folk have worked up around 250-260 species seen in January already with some amazing species close to home – I know as I got 3 lifers in January already! Talk to them as to where you can see these birds and check out the website as well. Last year’s winner saw, (as is required in the rules), 434 species. The SASOL Birds and Birding Fair at the Joburg Zoo in May, was a success in terms of awareness for our Bird Sanctuary. 26 members were involved. Thank you and thanks to Celia for all the effort put into making our stand a magnet for visitors! This year’s Fair will be at the Walter Sizulu Botanical Gardens in June on the 7th and 8th and we shall be supporting it with our stall as usual. Publicity Paul Hardingham has done a wonderful job of communication with the public in general through the Randburg Sun – which has caused some loss of hair but with the new editor it appears to be improving. Thanks also to Paul for carrying out the secretarial duties – he does them so well, it is incredible how much he gets through and speedily as well. This is a position that the new Committee must fill without Paul in 2014. Club Website: I will mention here the exciting development of our own website, which was launched in December 2013. Huge efforts by Celia have been made here and the site is getting better by the day as we develop and introduce new articles and pictures. Currently a photo competition is running – so check it out! Address is www.blpr.co.za. In January our first full month we had 44 new visitors to the site and a total of 80 hits. Please support this new project by participating and visiting the website often. Among other things we shall be putting the Club magazine Kingfisher onto the site with its own web page. Network Errol Kilpatrick and his networkers have kept our members well informed of club and general events. Thank you to the volunteers and a big thank you to Errol. This network document is also included on the website. Roster Our Bird Sanctuary remains open for the public at its promised times and this is due to Peter Sharland’s co-ordination and Helen McNally’s chasing – thank you to you both. We have had a few misses this year where volunteers have struggled to get to the Sanctuary on time – the good thing is we have been phoned by the public to tell us “the gate is not open” and this shows 5


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increasing interest in our Bird Sanctuary and also the importance of these volunteers. We do need more volunteers so please come forward if you can help us once or twice a year to open the gate and unlock the hide. Sanctuary I will leave this to Gill Hardingham to report on. Thank you to Gill and her team, you do such a wonderful job and we do appreciate the effort. Finance Errol Kilpatrick will fill you in on the numbers shortly. Thank you Errol, for your efforts in running our financial affairs so diligently. Club Magazine The Kingfisher magazine has run to schedule and is as interesting as always – big thank you to Paul and Celia – who have kept us reading. Conclusion I hope that we as a committee have fulfilled the role that was expected of us and thank you for your participation in making 2013 a successful year. JOHN HUMAN – Chairman TREASURER’S REPORT TO THE AGM - 11 FEBRUARY 2014 Income Statement 1. Receipt of our proportion of subscription moneys from Birdlife South Africa has improved this past year. We still experience problems with their administration, such as members that have resigned reappearing on our lists, which Peter Mason corrects and then members not responding to e-mailed invoices timeously. The major change made by BLSA is to reduce the invoicing period of 3 months in advance to only 1 invoice at the beginning of the renewal month. 2. Advertising income improved over last year thanks to Paul Hardingham’s efforts. 3. We had a surplus on trips due mainly to the Botsalano trip where the expenses were included in 2012. The Birding Big Day Borokalalo trip did result in a small loss.

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4. In our expenses there are 2 major costs that need to be highlighted. 4.1 The Sanctuary at R 7304. The major cost for this was covered by a donation from Sasol of R 5412. This comes under ‘Donations’ in the income section. 4.2 The Club website worked on by Celia and John Human is now up and running. The major cost for this was paid by transferring funds from our Investment Account to the current account. Balance Sheet 1. For the second year we have shown a loss, R 2142 which is less than last year. 2. The Current Assets are still healthy, made up as follows:Investment Account R 21897 Current Account R 4419 Cash R 1235 Errol Kilpatrick Treasurer Birdlife President Ridge Late addition: The Chairman has set the new Committee a challenge, namely to make sure that the 2014/15 financial year ends in a profit for the Club.

BIRD SANCTUARY REPORT FOR THE AGM 11 February 2014 - updated April 2014 This year under review, your Committee has become increasingly concerned about the encroaching reeds in the Bird Sanctuary. Over the years, City Parks have cut and sprayed but because they lacked suitable equipment, they have had little success. Fortunately for us, the Nigel & Springs Group of WESSA, who look after Marievale Nature Reserve have been having the same problem and invested in a large pressure pump, spray and water tank on wheels. The spray can reach about twenty metres. They have had great success controlling some of the Marievale reeds and offered to spray ours. Sasol kindly sponsored the cost of the chemicals and the spraying date was 19th October 2013. Our Chairman John Human and his team, along with Stan Madden and friends, carried out the operation with military precision, starting with Jane checking that the day was breeze-free at 4am. Then we waited for results. The Bulrushes showed signs of dying back after only two or three weeks but the tall Phragmites in front of the Sasol hide only after two and a half months. 7


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Also the cut reeds in front of the hide were too short to absorb enough poison and will have to be sprayed again shortly. Already open patches of water are appearing improving viewing and the habitat for the birds. Maybe in time, a few waders will pay a visit. We are hoping to encourage photographic groups to sponsor natural wood perches in front of the SASOL Hide. City Parks, this summer, only cut the grass in November and again in January but they have cut it several times since the AGM. The large Black Wattle tree in the corner of the dam by Ile de Paradis, fell just before Christmas slightly damaging their fence. Then when we had all the rain, several other trees fell which, combined with the long grass, rendered the Bird Sanctuary a bit of a disaster area. John and his work party have cut up much of the wood and we await City Parks to remove the debris. John spent hours before Christmas cutting a path through the long grass with our trimmer from the gate down to the picnic site and all along the Ile de Paradis side and then cut branches from the fallen tree to make access to the dam wall easier. He was closely followed by Celia raking up grass and hopefully providing refreshments. Many thanks John and Celia. Clean up day in February was attended by a record 29 members and prepared the Sanctuary for Spring. Many thanks to all who assisted. Thank you also to Ian Cuthbertson who arranged for the bridges and gum poles round the hide to be creosoted, Lunn Steven who varnished the sills of the hide and Alex Ryall who fixed the sign on the entrance gate that was donated by our Chair, John Human. Jane Irvine guided a group of Unika Primary pupils round the Sanctuary for a nature walk and 26 Club members enjoyed the Sanctuary Breakfast. We are grateful for the sturdy plastic bench that was donated by Brian Ward in memory of his late wife Karin, who used to enjoy the peace of the Sanctuary from the balcony of her daughter Jenny’s flat in Ile de Paradis. And now a word about the birds. They seemed unfazed by the spraying and carried on breeding. No new species were recorded this year but some of the more unusual ones included a Black- Crowned Night-Heron, a Woodland Kingfisher and a Glossy Ibis. The Little Sparrow-Hawk once again harassed visitors walking over the dam wall during the breeding season. The maintenance team of Celia Human, Jane Irvine, Helen MacNally, Shirley Glover, Trina MacGregor and myself continue to labour, drink tea and coffee and chat on Thursday mornings. My special thanks to them for their help and company. 8


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Finally a special thanks to those who make donations towards the work in the Sanctuary and to Peter Sharland who draws up the roster and to the roster team who open and close the Bird Sanctuary. Your assistance is a vital part of the Club and we value every one of you. I encourage more of you to join the roster team. You would be only required to be on duty, at the most, once every six months. LATE ADDITION – April 2014 We have been concerned at the state of collapse of the bank between us and Shanwood Lake. This was brought about early in the life of the Bird Sanctuary by the Shanwood developer building up their side of the bank with soil and grass so that they had a level playing field but a large drop at the edge down to our level. They recently replaced their mesh wire fence with a steel and plastic coated fence at great cost but in removing the old fence, their new fence is in imminent danger of falling into the Bird Sanctuary. They approached us for advice and we referred them to member Ian Cuthbertson, who did such a good job shoring up the bank behind the SASOL Hide. He has given them a quote to do a similar job and we await developments. GILL HARDINGHAM – Custodian

A duck walks into a pub and says to the barman: "Got any bread?" Barman says: "No." Duck says: "Got any bread?" Barman says: "No." Duck says: "Got any bread?" Barman says: "I said no, we have no bread." Duck says: "Got any bread?" Barman says: "No! What the hell is wrong with you? We haven't got any bread! Bugger off!" Duck says: "Got any bread?" Barman says: "Listen you dumb bird. We haven't got any bloody bread. Ask me again and I'll nail your stupid beak to the bar! Understand?" Duck hesitates for a moment and then says: "Got any nails?" Barman says: "No." Duck says: "Got any bread?

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THE KINGFISHER AWARD – 2014 It has been decided that BirdLife President Ridge should have an award to recognise the hard work of special individuals who have made a significant contribution over a long period to the benefit of the Club and to the environment in general. They have unselfishly assisted the development of fellow birders. This award will not be about how big the prize is but rather about recognition amongst peers and the community in general. It will take the form of a certificate, and most importantly the recipient’s name will appear on a roll of honour board in the SASOL hide at our Bird Sanctuary for all to see. Three members received this award at the AGM on 11 February 2014: Gill Hardingham, Jane Irvine and Paul Hardingham. The unveiling of the Honour Board in the Sasol Hide at our bird sanctuary was held in April at the Sanctuary Breakfast.

FOR MORE PICTURES AND OTHER NEWS PLEASE VISIT OUR WEB SITE: www.blpr.co.za

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BIRDLIFE SOUTH AFRICA NEWS

Italy put in hot spot as Commission calls to end live bird decoy use in hunting. Hunting practices in Italy have been put under fire recently by the European Commission due to the common hunting method involving the capture of wild birds to use as live decoys. Live decoys are illegal under EU law based on a number of reasons including the non-selectivity of trapping methods used, lack of controls and the lack of information on the number of birds caught. Due to this violation of the Birds and Habitats directive, BirdLife Partner in Italy, LIPU, is calling on the Italian government to urgently remedy the situation. Italy has defended its inaction by claiming that there are no alternatives to the practice so the decoys are included in the exemptions to the Directive. The European Commission disputes this claim on the grounds that birds can be successfully hunted without the use of live decoys and captive bred birds can be used instead of wild caught birds. The European Commission has made it clear that there is no future for this practice so Italy has the opportunity to minimise the adverse effects of a judgment from the European Court of Justice by providing an absolute prohibition of the use of birds as decoys. LIPU has been campaigning and gathering signatures to present to decision-makers in hopes that the government will avoid the embarrassment of a judgment and bring Italy in line with EU legislation and widely recognised good practice. New birdwatching guide shows best birding sites in Greece HOS, BirdLife in Greece, has just released a new guide designed for birdwatchers, photographers and naturalists to provide all information needed to see some of the most important birds of Greece. The country comprises a meeting point and bottleneck for birds’ passage from Europe, Asia and Africa, and is the only place in Europe where you can see some of the birds coming from other continents. So far, 449 species of birds have been recorded in Greece, a number expected to increase, as more people become involved in birdwatching. The new guide includes 33 of the most interesting birdwatching sites,covering all aspects of the exceptional habitat diversity found in the country; from alpine grasslands to river deltas and from maquis scrub to dense pristine woodland. Priority has been given to sites that hold populations of 11


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Mediterranean or rare and endangered species. The sites have been grouped in seven different regions, depending on their geographical location. Each site comes with a detailed text and map with birding hotspots. It also includes information on how to get to each site, the best time of year to visit, other fauna and flora present as well as a list of the highlight bird species. Useful contacts are also provided. The aim of this guide is to help birdwatchers add new species to their bird lists, as well as provide tourists with alternative activities that will allow them to enjoy Greek nature in a way that respects the incredible diversity that can be found throughout the country. Sand Martins return to CEMEX quarry homes As spring arrives Sand Martins are making their way from sub Saharan Africa to the UK in their annual migratory journey. Thanks to efforts beginning last year in the 2013 Sand Martin Awareness campaign, this year they will be returning to CEMEX quarry sites that have been specially prepared for their arrival. In 2013 approximately 200 birds made the journey to the Berkswell quarry where they found ideal nesting conditions. After their long migration, Sand Martins love finding steep-faced sandy banks where they can dig nest holes, sometimes up to 1m deep, which help protect them from predators. The quarries are also home to many insects which provide the necessary nourishment the Sand Martins look forward to after their tiring trip. This year, CEMEX is striving to build on last year’s campaign and provide an even more hospitable habitat for their returning guests. For 2014, the plan is for all quarries to have a specially prepared sand bank sensitively located such that day to day operations won’t disturb them. Tinhosas Islands – desert island, seabird paradise São Tomé e Príncipe is a small tropical country known amongst birdwatchers and conservationists for its endangered secondary forests, and high level of bird endemism. However, the country also holds the most impressive seabird colonies in the eastern tropical Atlantic Ocean - the Tinhosas Islands. These are two barren rocky islands around 12 km SW of Príncipe Island. They are named Tinhosa Grande, and Tinhosa Pequena, and are both remote and endowed with abundant seabird life. Three of five seabird species known to breed in São Tomé e Príncipe, namely Brown Booby Sula leucogaster, Sooty Tern Sterna fuscata, and Black Noddy Anous minutus, breed in Tinhosas, some in great numbers. The last assessment of the Tinhosas colony was completed in 1997, and since then accounts of exploitation of the birds for human consumption have raised concern about its conservation status. 12


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BirdLife International sponsored a two-day expedition to Tinhosas islands, in order to conduct a census of breeding birds, and assess trends and threats. When on the scene, and after two days of seabird census in intense tropical heat and a night spent amongst large numbers of land crabs, the results showed that while some species registered a slight increase, others, like Brown Booby evidenced a steep decrease from the 1997 census figures Tinhosas islands are an amazing wildlife spectacle, and a remote arid paradise for breeding seabirds, that deserve further investigation and safeguarding. As Dr Ross Wanless, (of BirdLife South Africa and team member and Africa Coordinator for the BirdLife International Marine Programme), explains “Although none of the species breeding there is globally threatened, this is the only seabird colony of any significance in the Gulf of Guinea, so assessing the populations’ health and protecting the colonies from human impacts is of great value." BirdLife International and the expedition team would like to thank Bom Bom Island Resort for logistical support for the expedition. Ross Wanless received some financial support for the expedition from the University of Cape Town.

SASOL BIRD FAIR Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 June 2014 Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens, Roodepoort Bring a picnic and flock to the fair Entry fee R35 for adults, kids 6 and under are free The Sasol Bird Fair is the ideal event at which to learn more about some of the measures being taken to conserve our country’s birdlife. The activities over the weekend will be: -

lectures and presentations by leading bird experts bird photography workshops bird Identification courses guided bird walks entertainment and educational activities for kids.

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THE SHARLAND’S TRAVELS - AUSTRALIA - Part 2 of 3 By Peter & Jenny Sharland SUMMARY: Number of days in Northern Australia: Number of lifers seen in this area :

4 67

The second part of our Australian adventure was spent in Northern Australia, via the gateway city of Darwin (without tropical cyclones!) and thence east to Kakadu National Park. There is only one word to describe Kakadu – supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!! Day 5: Thursday, 11 December Darwin, Fogg Dam and Aurora Kakadu (22 lifers) We flew from Perth to Darwin in the morning arriving at midday. We collected our car and immediately left for Aurora Kakadu where we had booked for the night. On the way through the outskirts of Darwin Jenny spotted a raptor flying - Brahminy Kite. The road from Darwin to Kakadu is quite similar to our country roads in RSA, with one surprising difference – a speed limit of 130 kph! Our first planned stop was Fogg Dam, so we only stopped when we saw our first Magpie Goose at the side of the road. We pulled off on the convenient side road to have a proper look and a leg stretch. In the trees bordering the field was a Whistling Kite and just as we were about to leave a soft twittering attracted our attention and a family group of Double-barred Finch flew up onto the fence giving us wonderful views of this really pretty bird. The road in to Fogg Dam is somewhat renowned for birdwatching and we spent a while checking the field guide for Masked Lapwing, Sulphurcrested Cockatoo, Forest Kingfisher and Yellow Oriole. On arrival at Fogg Dam at about 16:00 we parked in the carpark and donned long trousers and rain gear – more to fend off mosquitoes than to protect us from rain. However there was no sign of the expected swarms of mosquitoes (nor anywhere else on the trip) and the wetlands were still relatively dry. Walking across the dam wall we soon started picking up lifers: Whitethroated Honeyeater, Bar-breasted Honeyeater (Jenny only), Rufousbanded Honeyeater, Leaden Flycatcher (Pete only) and Cicadabird. While we were trying to identify one of the Honeyeaters a Landrover pulled up next to us and the fellow birdwatcher helped us with the ID. It transpired that he is a film producer specializing in nature filming and was in the area to film the life cycle of the Rainbow Pitta. He mentioned a spot in Darwin at East Point where he has often seen this jewel. Apart from a Rose-crowned Fruit Dove the walk through the forest was very quiet and it was only on the way back to the car that an Orange-footed Scrub-fowl ran across the path. In the car park there was a Pied Imperial Pigeon. 14


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It was now getting rather late so we headed off to Aurora Kakadu, only stopping very briefly to get a proper binocular view of the impressive Blacknecked (Jabiru) Stork. At the entrance to Aurora Kakadu we saw Redwinged Parrot, White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike and Bar-shouldered Dove. We checked in, dumped our bags and went for a short walk. In the gathering gloom we still managed to see Red-tailed Black Cockatoo, White-throated Gerygone, Little Corella, Rainbow Bee-eater, Willie Wagtail and Cattle Egret. The delicious supper and ice-cold beers went down like summer lightning. The Asian Black-necked Stork, commonly called the Jabiru in Australia. It is one of the few storks that is strongly territorial when feeding.

Day 6: Friday, 12 December (22 lifers) We got up really early in the morning and walked on the circular path at the rear of Aurora through the forest to the billabong and back. the billabong produced Green Pygmy Goose, Comb-crested Jacana, Rajah Shelduck, Black-necked Stork, Darter (Anhinga melanogaster), Little Pied Cormorant and Yellow Oriole. The birds in the forest were definitely awake by the time we left the billabong and started walking back towards Aurora. Bird parties abounded and we saw Olive-backed Oriole, Lemon-bellied Flycatcher, Rufous Whistler, Spangled Drongo, Varied Triller, Forest Kingfisher and Whistling Kite. A pair of energetic Common Koel chased each other through the trees. We also came across a roost of Flying Foxes, huge bats all hanging upside down and cackling at each other! After leaving Aurora Kakadu for Jabiru Town we pulled off at a picnic site for a bite of lunch. This proved to be a very successful stop with birds all around us. Red-tailed Black Cockatoo, Red-winged Parrot, Pied Imperial Pigeon, Bar-shouldered Dove, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Torresian Crow, Bar15


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breasted Honeyeater, Rufous-banded Honeyeater, White-throated Honeyeater, Masked Lapwing, Restless Flycatcher, Red-headed Honeyeater, Rainbow Bee-eater, Rainbow Lorikeet (rubritorquis) and Little Corella. Whew! The road to Jabiru is slightly raised and there are warnings the whole way along the road about flooding. Jenny spotted a head above the grass at one point and gave the call - Brolga! We screeched to a halt in the middle of the road in order to have a proper look. The Brolga were together with Intermediate Egret, Glossy Ibis (new for the Australian list) and Australian Grebe. Another very fortunate roadside encounter was a Pheasant Coucal, a rather fierce looking cuckoo that raises its own young. Jabiru Town is the HQ of Kakadu; we stayed at the Crocodile Holiday Inn. It is designed to look like a crocodile from the air and was a surprisingly practical design for a hotel. We didn’t hang around for long before heading off to Ubirr, where it was (unsurprisingly) fairly quiet from a birding point of view. We still ticked off Collared Sparrowhawk,Blue-winged Kookaburra, Blue-faced Honeyeater, White-gaped Honeyeater, Shining Flycatcher and Figbird. The climb up Ubirr is not difficult and is really worth it for the views over the floodplain. By now it was dusk and the light was fading fast but we still managed to watch Collared Sparrowhawks on the nest. Day 7: Saturday, 13 December (13 lifers) Two lifers were quickly ticked off at the local lake, Wandering Whistling Duck and Peaceful Dove. Then we headed south towards Cooinda and the famous Yellow Waters. We popped in at Mamukala Wetland as we wandered our way along. It was during the heat of the day so we didn’t see any birds on the walk to the bird hide, but the view from the hide made up for it – thousands and thousands of Magpie Geese, together with lots of Green Pygmy-Geese, Egrets, a couple of Cormorants, and Glossy Ibis. At one stage, something flushed the geese at the very far end of the billabong and wave upon wave of Magpie Geese rose from the water, making an incredible racket. Truly a sight to behold. Whatever you do, if you go to Kakadu you MUST visit Nourlangie Rock. The Aboriginal Rock Art is spectacular. We found it far more exciting than the Rock Art in South Africa and it provides an insight into Aboriginal history and folklore. The birding wasn’t bad either! Lifers included Silver-crowned Friarbird, Black-tailed Tree-creeper, Great Bowerbird, Sandstone Thrush, Dusky Honeyeater and Grey-crowned Babbler. The Bowerbird was the bird of the day. It is the largest species in the family, and the male builds this enormous bower on the ground in order to attract his lady. With time marching on, we popped into the deserted campsite at Muirella Billabong to see what it looked like, and came across a Partridge Pigeon. As usual on this trip, we pulled into our overnight accommodation at Cooinda just before sunset. Even in the last rays of light near the river we picked up some 16


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specials – Crimson Finch (a family group of these spectacular little birds), Brush Cuckoo calling loudly, Mistletoebird, Northern Fantail, Willie Wagtail, Spangled Drongo, Magpie-Lark, White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike, Yellow Oriole, Torresian Crow and Pied Imperial Pigeon. Supper that night was a simple burger and chips, but the chips were the best we have had anywhere in the world! While we were eating our dinner there was a massive downpour going on outside – a feature of Kakadu in the rainy season.

Aboriginal rock art from Nourlangie, Kakadu National Park. Nabulwinjbulwinj is considered as a dangerous spirit, eating females after killing them by striking them in yam. Jenny does not look frightened at all…

Day 8 – Sunday, 14 December (10 lifers) We had booked to go on the morning Yellow Water Cruise as it had been highly recommended in the guide books. It gave us a close look at many of the water-bird species and also crocodile and Water Buffalo. The guide was very knowledgeable and went out of her way to show us as many specials as possible, but she didn’t neglect the non-birders on board. Before going to catch the cruise, we did a small detour and saw Masked Finch, Partridge Pigeon, Peaceful Dove, Bar-Shouldered Dove Yellow Oriole, White-throated Honeybird, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Rainbow Lorikeet, Red-winged Parrot, Brush Cuckoo, Blue-winged Kookaburra and Rainbow Bee-eater. Whilst on the water we saw White-bellied Sea-eagle, Plumed Whistling Duck, Royal Spoonbill, Little Egret, Pied Heron, Whiskered Tern (new for the Australian list) and many other, by now familiar, species. These included close views of Comb-crested Jacana, Forest Kingfisher and Brolga. Then it was time to pack our bags for the long journey back to Darwin. We decided to pop in to Fogg Dam to try for the Rainbow Pitta again, despite it being completely the wrong time of the day. 17


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On the road we saw Black Falcon, Dollarbird and Long-tailed Finch. Once again we dipped on the Pitta at Fogg Dam, but the visit was just as enjoyable as the first one. We arrived in Darwin at about 16:30 and went huntinting Pittas at East point as recommended by the film producer. We started walking through the forest at about 17:15 and it was definitely starting to get dark! No Pitta! We were just about to give up at about 18:00 when Jenny spotted a dark bird hopping around about 15 metres away. And there it was, black in appearance with a flash of electric blue on its shoulder – a Rainbow Pitta. We watched it for about 10 minutes in the growing darkness as it disappeared in and out of the tree trunks and roots. We got it, a last-gasp success! The hire car seemed to do little jig back to the airport hotel. The next morning promised a very, very early flight to Cairns, for Part three of our Australian travels.

IS YOUR BOOKSHELF BRIMMING OVER WITH BOOKS YOU BOUGHT THAT YOU THOUGHT YOU WOULD READ BUT NEVER DO? HELP THE CLUB RAISE MONEY FOR SANCTUARY IMPROVEMENTS AND MAINTENANCE BY DONATING YOUR UNWANTED BOOKS

Our aim is to sell ‘pre-owned’ natural history (birds, mammals, trees, flowers etc), coffee table travel books, photographic books etc. at our stand during the Sasol Bird Fair in June. Please check your book shelves – if each family donates just we will have over

to sell.

We would need your books by the end of May – please contact Celia Human on 011 704 3196 or email: chuman@pitta.co.za Collection will be arranged.

YOUR CLUB NEEDS YOU !! 18


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M+WIG IN 2014 We started early in in the year with a second visit to Northern Farm in February. Once again led by Jane Irvine, it was a Wednesday and there were no cyclists! The Yellow Wagtail was the target and we saw quite a few of them. We saw about 6 raptors of which the Little Sparrowhawk was the most exciting. Jane had us all out of our cars and chasing after her as she called out, “Honey Buzzard” but sadly she was the only one who saw it this time. Other raptors included a Steppe Buzzard, a Fish Eagle and a Long-crested Eagle. Also an Amur Falcon. ‘Only one?’ I hear you cry. Yes, I reply, so it would seem. There were all the usual nice things around and about and an addition to our pleasure, were the two new hides now open. It was at one of these that we saw a really quite big Leguaan happily sharing a fallen tree trunk with a pair of Egyptian Geese. We finished the morning at the new picnic site. In April we visited the Van Gaalen Kaasmakerij. This was a most worthwhile visit if only because the cheese they produce – only Gouda, but what Gouda! – is excellent. After a talk from the Dutch cheesemaker, we had a tour of the dairy area and then got to taste the cheeses – some 2 months, some 10 months old, some plain and some with herbs or mustard added. Very tasty! After tea or coffee and some apple cake, we were turned loose in the shop for some retail therapy. Needless to say we all came home with………..you’ve guessed it, cheese! Tuesday, 20 May There is a ‘blockbuster’ exhibition of photographs from the apartheid days at the Museum Africa in Newtown. The exhibition is titled “The Rise and Fall of Apartheid: Photography and Bureaucracy of Everyday Life”. The exhibition features 800 works. I will have more details in due course – cost, guides, open hours, parking etc, but if you are interested please book now. On June 4 we make a return visit to Lindfield house, the Herbert Baker mine management house in Auckland Park. Still in its original splendour, this is well worth coming to see. The present owner, Miss Katherine Love shows us round dressed as a Victorian parlour maid. We will have tea served before the tour and after we will adjourn to a private home around the corner for lunch. More of this in due course. We have 8 booked and it must close at 13, so don’t delay. For bookings and if you would like to be put on the M+WIG mailing list, contact: Paul Hardingham: 011 462 9682 / 082 445 5413 or e-mail zoomers@mweb.co.za 19


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BLPR OUTINGS SUMMARIES The Club has enjoyed the following additional outings not mentioned elsewhere in the magazine for 2014: Sunday 26 January – CWAC Summer Count. This was supported by the usual large contingent from our Club and we have become the stalwarts in both summer and winter counts. After counting and seeing some special waterbirds, a pleasant chat and braai was enjoyed by all. Henk produced a list for the day which amounted to 78 species identified for the Club on the day. Saturday 8 February – Amur Falcon Roost: This was a new venue and started with 19 of us meeting at Suikerbosrand for lunch and a few hours of afternoon birding before heading off to Heidelberg to meet in the car park behind the local Spar. The locals find it amusing that we set up chairs, eats and drinks in their local parking lot to observe something that they are so accustomed to. They hardly notice the collecting of Amur falcons overhead until there are an estimated 2000 plus individual birds circling and preparing to literally fall out of the sky into nearby trees to settle for the night. The trees behind the Spar proved to not be the chosen landing and in fact the birds settled a few hundred metres away from our waiting area. This should be remembered for next time and there is a closer position, which is not a shopping mall, but a park where one could comfortably await the arrival of the roosters…I mean falcons. Sunday 16 March – Vaalkop Dam Nature Reserve: This outing was cancelled as flooding caused the closing of Vaalkop for the weekend. I am sure the programme committee will reschedule the event for next season. Sunday 30 March – Hoogland Health Hydro: It was a pleasant if not cool morning’s birding with a low bird count on the 5km walking route. The road to Hoogland is STILL under construction and not very good at all. We had very good sightings of the Short Toed Rock Thrush, which was easily identified by Eric and Jackie – really good to have these good birders around! Tuesday 8 April – Grass Owl lecture by Matt Pretorious: Sorry if you missed this, 43 of us found it absolutely amazing and Matt is a dedicated Officer and a strong speaker. Saturday 12 April – Breakfast at our Bird Sanctuary: This was enjoyed by over 20 of us and after a walk around and a short unveiling of the Kingfisher Award plaque in the SASOL hide where the first 3 recipients names are now on display, it was down to good food and banter. 20


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BLPR CLUB OUTING REPORTS MONAGHAN FARM – 19 JANUARY 2014 by Carol Funston The first outing of the year – after wonderful sunny summer days we awoke to rain - great for the gardens but not for birding. Braving the weather we all duly met at the impressive entrance gates of Monaghan Farm Estate where Dave McLean had kindly arranged our visit. What a privilege to live on a wonderful estate and have the river and countryside at your doorstep. We were entertained and much discussion took place before identifying the swifts and swallows enjoying their bug breakfasts at the wonderful bird hide overlooking the river. We saw large numbers of Greater and Lesser Striped Swallows, Barn Swallows, White-rumped Swifts, African Palm Swifts and Common House Martins. The highlight of the day was witnessing the attack on a Lesser Honeyguide – a lifer for 2 members – by two Black-collared Barbets who probably were nesting in the vicinity. The Lesser Honeyguide is a brood parasite of the Black-Collared Barbets and they were defending their territory – not something we birders see often. Despite the inclement weather our walk through the trees alongside the Jukskei River and coffee break at the bird hide yielded an impressive count of 64 species.

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BARBERSPAN – 28 February to 2 March 2014 by Gill and Paul Hardingham 17 of us went for a long weekend at Barberspan. This is a large area of water and wetland on the N14 on the way to Kuruman and Uppington. The nearest town is Sannieshof, which happens to be the birthplace of the current Bishop of Johannesburg, (we thought you would like to know that!). It is a Ramsar Site which, if you remember, is an area of wetland protected by the signatories of the Ramsar Convention – Ramsar being a city in Iran where the convention was signed. And the reason it is protected is because it has a wide range of water birds that live, visit and breed there. Hence our visit. In just an hour you can see hundreds if not thousands of Flamingos, both Greater and Lesser. The Greater has the light pink bill with a black tip and is generally taller, that is if you have the two standing together! The Lesser has a dark almost orange bill with an almost total lack of black on it. There were Pink-backed Pelicans by the hundreds all flocking together in the centre of the pan. African Fish Eagles were common. There were also hundreds of Black-winged Stilts on the edges. Ducks in great number – Cape Teal, Cape Shoveler with its spade-like bill, Egyptian Geese, which is a duck really, it’s not a goose at all. Red-billed Teal, South African Shelduck, the male with its dark grey head, light orange throat, darker orange belly, brown back and a spectacular flash of luminous green in its primary feathers. Southern Pochard and dozens of White-faced and Yellow-billed ducks. The piéce-de-resistance was an Osprey standing atop a pylon eating a freshly caught fish. This particular afternoon, those who stayed in camp spotted another Osprey not 100 metres from the camp. There is an Osprey regularly seen at Mankwe Lake in the Pilansberg and in February we saw him drop 30 or 40 metres straight into the water, to emerge seconds later clutching a huge fish in its talons and it then had great difficulty taking off again still carrying it.

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Around the edges of the water, there were Terns, Darters, Jacanas, a Purple Swamphen, a Black Heron mantling in the shallows, Wagtails, Coots, Moorhens, Sandpipers, Lapwings, Glossy Ibis, a gigantic Goliath Heron, Grey Herons, Gulls, (there is just one inland Gull, the rest are at the seaside), Dabchicks, (Little Grebes), Marabou and Yellow-billed Storks, Cormorants, Ruffs, Sandpipers, and many Squacco Herons. There were all the usual bushveld birds around the camp but we particularly liked the Red-eyed Bulbul, the western variety of our Black-capped Bulbul. Apart from Fish Eagles and the Osprey, other raptors included Amur Falcons, a Lesser Kestrel and a Pale Chanting Goshawk. A Spotted Eagle Owl and a Barn Owl were seen after dark around the camp. So, a tremendous birding weekend even though the ‘top’ half of the pan was unreachable due to high water levels. We were camping in a nice shady camp site with shabby but adequate facilities. Why is it that, when they have an international birder’s mecca under their control, the ‘Authorities’ can’t make the effort to keep it up to international standards?

FOR MORE PICTURES AND OTHER NEWS PLEASE VISIT OUR WEB SITE: www.blpr.co.za

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YOU SAW WHAT?

in YOUR garden

NOT BAD FOR AN HOUR by Jane and Joe Irvine On Sunday morning we usually have breakfast on the veranda. In an hour we recorded – Speckled Mousebird Thick-billed Weaver Cape Robin Southern-masked Weaver Red Bishop Cape Sparrow Grey-headed Sparrow Speckled Pigeon Karoo Thrush Rock Dove (Pigeon) Common Myna Go Away Bird Dark capped Bulbul Cape White-eye Laughing Dove Plus our resident Slender Mongoose I DIDN’T BELIEVE THEM by Celia Human Not quite in MY garden, but in seen in a friends garden 4 houses from mine. I received a message from said friend telling me that they had an African Harrier Hawk in their palm tree. Just the week before they phoned me to say they had Red-headed Quelea on the seed feeder, these turned out to be Red-headed Finch! So you can imagine, with this latest sighting, I was skeptical on the ID but I went over (unfortunately without my camera) and wow, an adult and a juvenile African Harrier-Hawk. In a garden setting they looked so huge, the juvenile still rather awkward getting from branch to branch. Next time these neighbours phone I won’t leave my camera behind. In my garden, the African Olive Pigeons have become quite tame and are often seen in the Buffalo Thorn in our driveway. The Fork-tailed Drongo also makes a regular appearance as did the Paradise Flycatchers but these only in Jan and Feb. It is quite noticeable that the Cape Wagtail only visits our garden in the cooler months, starting now in April. I wonder why? 24


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Over the Easter weekend, the Grey-headed Bush-Shrike lived up to its Afrikaans name of ‘spookvoël’. It favoured the dense foliage of the conifer trees which hid it from view, despite my very determined efforts to get a visual. For me to list it on the Gauteng 100km Challenge it has to be seen – all I need is a glimpse – but it’s not that easy.

SURPRISE SIGHTING by Trina McGreggor I had just locked up my complex house and was on my way to the Sanctuary when I spotted a strange bird on the road outside my garage. I rushed back into the house to fetch my camera and what a surprise I got. It was a beautiful Little Sparrowhawk with a Sparrow in his talons which he had just started eating and was not about to give it up. It just stared at me and started pulling out feathers and eating again. After taking the photos I got in the car and started to move nearer to get past him but he just stared and started eating again and only flew away with the sparrow when I got to within about three meters of him. Made my day.

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COMMENT FROM ANDRE MARX SEEN ON THE GAUTENG 100 KM CHALLENGE FACEBOOK PAGE The indigobirds have provided an ID conundrum for several years in our region. We have had to deal with this when vetting SABAP2 records where Dusky Indigobird is listed as a regional rarity in our region. After some debate about this with valuable input from Etienne Marais and Faansie Peacock and others we have come to the conclusion that Dusky Indigobird is uncommon in the Greater Gauteng region and may even be absent and that our more common indigobirds are Purple and Village. One cannot only concentrate on the bill and leg colour and try to ID the species on that basis, as easy as that may seem, as the legs of Purple can vary from white to pink and this is often enhanced by the light conditions that the bird is viewed in. You need a clear view of the bill and legs to see this properly. Attention should be given to the host species of the indigobirds. Faansie had this to say: "As you know, species limits in viduines are rather fluid, being defined primarily by mimicry of the host by the male, and selection of the right species of male by the female. As such, about 10% of pairing is with the �wrong� species. Hybridisation is something one can barely comprehend with such a difficult group of birds but it probably does occur and illustrates how important it is to look at other factors such as the call. The three firefinch species in our region - African, Red-billed and Jameson's have similar calls, but with practice you can tell the difference between them. Certainly African Firefinch, the host of Dusky Indigobird, is virtually absent in our region. I have yet to see one in the Pretoria/Joburg area although I understand they occur in riverine thickets on the Zaagkuildrift Road. Furthermore, the red in the legs of Dusky and Village Indigobirds is very red with orange rather than pink overtones. A Village Indigobird in our region will not show a light bill and pinkish red legs and Dusky Indigobird should not show pinkish legs.

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FOOTPRINT MATTERS South Africans increase their glass Recycling rate to 40.6% The Glass Recycling Company announced that over one billion bottles were recycled in the past year. About 222 000 tonnes of carbon emissions were reduced through glass recycling. Since the company began its campaign to increase recycling, there has been a 230% increase in just seven years. As the recycling rate has now reached 40.6%, this means that almost every new glass bottle and jar made in our country contains 40% recycled glass. Burning and grazing for grassland bird conservation With funding from the WWF Nedbank Green Trust, BLSA has developed birdfriendly burning and grazing best-practice for grasslands in recognition of the need for habitat management recommendations for bird conservation in our grasslands. These guidelines are intended to promote awareness and conservation of threatened grassland bird species, primarily in the agricultural (red meat production) sector. The take home message is that it is necessary to manage for variability by applying different frequencies, timing and intensities of fire, through grazing regimes that avoid the extremes of high or low-intensity grazing; and complete rest for at least one growing season every four years, taking veld conditions into consideration. Victory for grasslands A major milestone for the conservation of South Africa’s grasslands and wetlands was reached on 22 January 2014 when the MEC for Economic Development, Environment and Tourism, Ms Pinky Phosa declared five new protected areas in Mpumalanga. The new areas are: - The Chrissiesmeer Protected Environment (60 203 ha) - The Kwamandlangampisi Protected Environment, near Wakkerstroom, which is extended by 3 094 ha - The Mabola Protected Environment (8 772 ha), also near Wakkerstroom - The Tafelkop Nature Reserve (1 208 ha) - The first community-owned protected environment in Mpumalanga, known as the Mndawe Trust Protect Environment (826 ha), near Lydenburg

(Footprint Matters extracted from Footprint Limited Jan/Feb 2014 edition) 27


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LET’S LEARN A LITTLE

Orbital-ring

A fleshy wattle or ring of feathers immediately surrounding the eye.

Order

A taxonomic classification that groups a selection of closely related Families – found in the hierarchy between Class and Family.

Ossuary

Open rocky area used by some vultures and eagles to smash prey or bone by dropping these items onto rocks; also describes the midden of bone and other waste material that accumulates at the nest of some ground-nesting birds.

Oviduct

The section of the reproductive tract in which the egg is formed.

Overwintering

A bird that remains in the subregion instead of migrating to its breeding grounds.

How does Moses make his tea? Hebrews it. Venison for dinner again? Oh deer! A cartoonist was found dead in his home. Details are sketchy. England has no kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool. They told me I had type-A blood, but it was a Type-O. Jokes about German sausages are the wurst. I know a guy who's addicted to brake fluid, but he says he can stop any time. I stayed up all night to see where the sun went, and then it dawned on me. I'm reading a book about anti-gravity. I just can't put it down. I didn't like my beard at first. Then it grew on me. Did you hear about the cross-eyed teacher who lost her job because she couldn't control her pupils? When you get a bladder infection you know urine trouble. Broken pencils are pretty much pointless. What do you call a dinosaur with an extensive vocabulary? A thesaurus 28


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THE BIRD OF THE YEAR FOR 2014 - THE TRISTAN ALBATROSS

Identification The Tristan Albatross is a large bird (100-110 cm), weighing between 6-7 kg with a wingspan of 2.8-2.9 m. Sexes differ slightly in plumage coloration; the male acquires whiter plumage than the female. It is very similar in plumage to Wandering Albatross and almost indistinguishable in field. The plumage of the Tristan Albatross is generally darker and Wandering Albatross are larger with a longer bill. Population Population justification: Breeding populations are essentially restricted to Gough Island, with a single pair nesting intermittently on Inaccessible Island (ACAP 2009). The annual breeding population is currently estimated to be 1,698 pairs (2010), equivalent to a total population of 7,100 individuals for this biennially breeding species (RSPB unpublished data). This roughly equates to 4,700 mature individuals. Behaviour Solitary, but aggregates behind ships close to breeding colonies. The Tristan Albatross is a colonial, biennially breeding species. It catches prey by surface-seizing, and studies suggest that they may often feed at night.

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Breeding It nests at 400-700 m (rarely to 300 m) (P. G. Ryan in litt. 1999), primarily in wet heath where it is open enough for take-off and landings. Diet It feeds on cephalopods and fish (J. Cooper in litt. 1999), and probably follows ships and trawlers for offal and galley refuse. Conservation Status The 2013 IUCN Red List reveals that the Tristan Albatross is the one of two Critically Endangered species that occurs annually in South Africa (including territorial waters). The listing is a result of the bird’s extremely small breeding range (it is essentially a single-island endemic) and an exceptionally rapid projected population decline over three generations (70 years). Threats The population is decreasing through a combination of unsustainable deaths from tuna longline fishing and the incredible damage done by predatory, introduced mice at Gough Island, which are laying waste to around half the chicks produced every season. Conservation Actions Currently BirdLife South Africa is collaborating with the Percy FitzPatrick Institute at the University of Cape Town, tracking juvenile birds. One of them recently entered South African waters, near Cape Town, and perhaps lucky birders on a pelagic trip could even see this individual in future!

All images Š Ross Wanless 30


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LET’S GO INDIGENOUS Plant indigenous, water wise Clivias this month and allow their vibrant spring blooms to brighten up the shady areas of your garden. The vivid orange blooms of the indigenous bush lily or clivia (Clivia miniata) are a welcome spring sight in local gardens. Once the flowering season is over in mid October, the clump-like shape of the evergreen arching dark green leaves of the Clivia remain an attractive feature in their own right and by autumn, they display a mass of red berries. Given the regal quality of the plant, a Clivia is surprisingly easy to grow. Clivia are hardy, low maintenance, shade-loving plants. They don’t like wet feet and need to be well-drained, may tolerate a little early morning sun, but prefer full shade, and are frost tender. Cover the plump roots with just a thin layer of soil. The white part of the stem should be almost buried. Clivias need to be watered and fertilized regularly while in active growth. Afterward, water sparingly. If growing Clivias in containers, avoid disturbing them. Try to divide them only when they become overcrowded. Six species of Clivia are endemic to South Africa, the most commonly grown being Clivia miniata, which is now cultivated all around the world. They grow naturally in the forests and bush lands of the subtropical regions from the Eastern Cape Province to Mpumalanga Province in the northeast. Species in this genus include, Clivia miniata and C. robusta being the most variable and commonly grown. Clivia robusta is probably one of the tallest members of the genus as it can grow to a height of 1.6 m in ideal conditions. It is a strong grower and thrives in swamp conditions. The flowers are pendulous and range from various shades of orange to yellow with green tips.

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CLUB COMMITTEE PRESIDENT CHAIRPERSON VICE CHAIR TREASURER MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY NETWORK SANCTUARY ROSTER MINUTES SECRETARY PUBLICITY/KINGFISHER PROGRAMME SUBCOMMITTEE  Co-ordinator  Programme Secretary  Outing Organisers MEMBERSHIP LIAISON

Jan Fourie John Human Paul Hardingham Errol Kilpatrick Peter Mason Diane Lovell Gill Hardingham Peter Sharland Diane Lovell Paul Hardingham

044 384-0295 011 704-3196 011 462-9682 082 326-9278 011 478-0865 011 478-2452 011 462-9682 011 782-8600 011 478-2452 011 462-9682

Jane Irvine Trina MacGregor Errol Kilpatrick Ian Cuthbertson Dee Cuthbertson

011 782-9923 082 587-4863 082 326-9278 011 447-8602 011 447-8602

JUNIOR CERTIFICATES BirdLife President Ridge has set in place a scheme to award pupils and scholars, ages 0 to 18 years, JUNIOR CERTIFICATES for sighting a minimum of 150 Southern African bird species. Further certificates will be awarded (increments of 50) as the young peoples’ life lists increase. Encourage your children to start their life lists now! Apply to Celia Human for more details: 011 704 3196

FOR MORE PICTURES AND OTHER NEWS PLEASE VISIT OUR WEB SITE: www.blpr.co.za

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