Its worth a visit

Monday 7th November.Birding early evening till dark towards Kia West National Park

02/12/2010 15:49

Owing to the midday temperatures it was decided to rest up from around noon till about 1500 hours and then we make our way slowly to Kia West national Park slowly birding on the way.

We had heard reports that both Ground Hornbills and Coursers had been occurring in fields between Tendaba Camp and Kia West so we decided that area would be our first stop.

After the short drive to the Courser fields we alighted to be greeted by several youngsters playing football in thecorner of a small field.The fields were full of birds and after a brief exchange of information with the young boys we were directed to a field to our right which looked absolutely perfect for our purposes.

Our first sighting was of 2 African Golden Orioles calling in a large tree and as they flushed away our first African Cuckoo alighted into the same tree.In one corner of the first field a flock of some 250 Greater Blue Eared Glossy Starlings possibly gathering before going off to roost and were accompanied by some 35 Long Tailed Glossy Starlings.8 Red Billed Hornbills were sitting on the border fence of the next field and overhead around 55 European Bee Eaters were chasing a large swarm of Dragon Flies which were hawking.The sky was full of birds with 4 Pallid Swifts,45 Little Swifts and several raptors including single Whalberg Eagle,2 Booted Eagles and 3 African Harrier Hawks.

A pair of Fine Spotted Woodpeckers were chasing each other in the small hedgerow with 2 Fork Tailed Drongo  looking on.

After much intensive searching through several fields there was no sign of either Ground Hornbils or Temmincks Coursers so we decided to return to our vehicle and move on to our next port of call.

We were greeted at the entrance to Kia West with the sound of a Bru Bru Shrike calling in the bush were we parked our vehicle(see photogallery)Once again the sky was full of birds with European Bee Eaters being the most commonwith a party of around 45 birds hawking above the track,2 Yellow Fronted Tinkerbirds were calling and gave excellent views.Several Red Rumped Swallows were feeding overhead as 2 African Harrier Hawks(immature).

Our first walk along the Nightjar track produced many birds including 4 Senegal Coucals,single Emerald Cuckoo,18 Red Billed Firefinch,18 Bronze Winged Mannikin,3 Abbysinnian Rollers,single Grasshopper Buzzard,Several parties of European Bee Eaters resting in the many dead trees single Gabor Goshawk and 2 Dark Chanting Goshawk.

3 Stone Partridge ran across our path about 100 yards into our walk and single Bateluer Eagle was soaring overhead.1 Brown Snake Eagle was in the tallest tree of our walk and a large raptor we found perched in the middle of a large distant tree turned out to be a immature Martial Eagle(see photogallery).

Overhead around 45 Palm Swifts were circling with a single Afrcan Hawk Eagle.

As the light began to deteriorate we decided to make our way slowly back via the Nightjar track and we were not to be disapointed.Our first 2 Long tailed Nightjars appeared around 1920 hours and soon afterwards we came across our first Afrcan Spotted Eagle Owl which was tucking in to a small rodent it had just caught in the centre of the track.After the owl had departed we soon found 2 Nightjars sat on the track looking larger than the Long tailed Nightjars and with distinctly a large headed appearance.On closer inspection these showed all the characteristics of Red Necked Nighjars.

After locating another 3 Long Tailed Nightjars and a single second Spotted Eagle Owl which was perched on a small tree overlooking the track.We arrived back at Tendaba Camp at around 2015 hours.