Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Black-bellied Korhaan in Hwange

The Black bellied Korhaan is not a species that we see much here in Hwange  whereas the performances of the Red-crested are quite a common sight. You will appreciate my excitement then when yesterday I went down the road to see if i could see a lion and there performing on an ant-hill was this plucky male.
They make a really beautiful sound described as "Wwwwhhhhhhhaaaaaoooppppp!!!! by a very good friend of mine
Black-bellied Korhaan performing in Hwange

Needless to say that I forgot all about the King of the beasts and took a few images of this guy. It must have been quite a sight in itself because my bean-bag has had a huge hole worn throught the side by the big 400mm lens and I couldn't switch off my truck's engine for fear that it wouldn't start again!!
with popcorn seeds pouring out of the bean-bag i had to open the lens to its max at 2.8 and in rather grey light try and get a fast enough shutter speed to not capture the vibration from the engine.....

A real challenge but I managed to pull it off!

A Hwange rarity

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Pelican Pete - Hwange

I have been touched by a tale of survival recently! The name of our hero is "Pelican Pete"
Pelican Pete arrived at a waterhole in Hwange several months ago, along with literally hundreds of others according to Hwange's own Santa....Mr B!
Pelican Pete not so much flying as plummeting!
To Mr B's surprise, the next day they had all flown away....well all but one! Pelican Pete had suffered an injury in the night and couldn't fly.

Well water was plentiful and "old Pete" was quite content until the dry season matured and his little pan was muddied up by hundreds of thirsty mammals. He was visited on several occasions by passing pelicans but they never stayed longer than a day or two before heading to some distant horizon!

Poor Pete has been seen running full-tap into gale-force winds with wings open in the hope that he too can head for the horizon but gravity has other ideas!

I spent a few days in that area and watched with dismay as his little pan dwindled!

His neighbours all want him too! but watch this space for news on
Pelican Pete!
Pelican Pete and his neighbours

                                                              The Hwange Birder

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Post Cecil-mania....back to birds!

A Martial eagle dominates a puddle in Hwange
 Well, for those of you that know me, you will realize that my absence from my birding blog has probably been due to the phenomenon now called "Cecil-mania". It has been a roller-coaster of interviews and emotions but it is finally settling down and I can start to catch up on those items and pastimes that have taken a back seat. Just in time mind you as the migrants are returning to Hwange.
I have seen YBKs already and watching out for the others.
An Orchestra of Trumpeters in my garden in Mabale communal lands
As we approach our driest park of the year we are seeing huge numbers of birds at our birdbaths and elsewhere in our rural garden in the mabale communal lands with the highlight being anything up to 50 trumpeter Hornbills in our pod-mahogany and Mukwa trees in the early hours!

Glad to be back.......
                                                          The Hwange Birder

Thursday, 2 July 2015

C212 again and more details of its movements

C212 - tagged Cape Griffon seen again at Ngamo
Yesterday I saw C212, the tagged Cape Griffon, again at Ngamo and this time all bloodied up from feeding on an elephant carcass with many other vultures.
I have sent this sighting in to add to the list of sightings that this bird is racking up!

Shortly before I saw it at Ngamo last week it as seen in the Limpopo region: This from their records

This bird was also spotted by Joseph Heymans 14/05/2015 248558.6 282124.3 On the sprinbok plains near Settlers in Limpopo Province.

We will keep you updated if we see it again

                                                                    The Hwange Birder 

Friday, 26 June 2015

Latest news on the tagged Cape Griffon in Hwange

This is the latest on the tagged Cape Griffon

Many thanks to Vulpro and the various people who responded.
David Pretorius8:13am Jun 26
C212 was ringed G31869 and tagged as a juvenile on 24/01/2014 at Blouberg Nature Reserve in the Limpopo Province as part of EWT vulture monitoring project.

There is a suggestion that the Cape Griffons we see here in Hwange are all dispersal aged birds exploring.

                   The Hwange Birder

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Another tagged "Capie" in Hwange

Just a day or so ago I was looking for lions in the Ngamo area of Hwange when a large vulture caught my eye. Its wing seemed to shine and when I put my bins on it I realised why......it had a tag!
I took a careful photograph from about 100m just in case i couldn't get closer but in hind sight I needn't have bothered because with a careful approach I managed to get underneath the tree it was in.
The 400mm lens did a superb job of getting me a shot clear enough to see the number on its yellow wing tags and as luck would have it.....I had 3G coverage on my cell. I Googled "Tagged Cape Vultures" and got a contact address and send in my re-capture sighting. Within an hour or two I had a reply from Kerri Wolter (Vulpro) to say that that bird had been rehabilitated and released from the Blouberg nature reserve in South Africa. More info is being collected for me on the other sightings but in the mean time I have looked back in my photos and found another Cape Griffon that I saw in Hwange with tags. That one too was a rehabilitated bird from the same area.
Cape Griffon (tag number C212) seen in Ngamo, Hwange

                                                                    The Hwange Birder

Friday, 22 May 2015

Perfect exposure!

Perfect exposure makes a happy photographer
Like a unicorn (or a pangolin for that matter) perfect exposure has been the object of my photographic search for ages now. I have looked high and low for situations where the light is strong and rich and the subject has that lovely soft feel. To capture that is a whole other story even when you do manage to find the situation. Well,  a couple of days ago I managed a series of shots that I just love. These birds were all roosting in the shallow pan at Ngamo in Hwange and I realised that if I was sitting with them as the sun rose...I would be onto something!

The photo above was taken with a Canon EOS 5D with a 400mm f 2.8. ISO 500 and 1/60sec for those of you who are interested.

                                                    The Hwange Birder