South Africa, A. O. S. tour; 4th - 12th March 2008.

Published by Lawson's Birding (leon AT lawsons-africa.co.za)

Participants: Army Ornitholocial Society members, tour conducted by Lawson's Birding & Wildlife Tours.

Comments

Day 1 and 2: Dullstroom.
We spent the first part of the trip in Dullstroom, birding on foot and in the vehicle in the surrounding countryside, notably the Valoren Valei Nature Reserve. This is a wondeful highveld grassland area, at over 2000 meters above sea level. Notable species seen here included Cape Vulture, Jackal Buzzard, Greater Kestrel, Denham's Bustard and Yellow-breasted Pipit.

Day 3; The Blyde River Canyon.
We left Dullstroom early and stopped for some forest birding at Mount Sheba. We saw a handful of nice forest specials, such as Knysna Turaco, Emerald Cuckoo, Olive Woodpecker, Yellow-throated Woodland-Warbler and Cape Batis, and rounded it all off with a superb breakfast before heading on to the canyon. Some afternoon birding in the resort grounds produced a wide variety of bushveld and rock / cliff species such as Cape Rock-Thrush, Striped Pipit and Lanner Falcon.

Days 4 to 8; The Kruger National Park.
After breakfast we left the canyon and headed on to the park, stopping to view the Taita Falcons at the Abel Erasmus Pass. The raptor trend continued over the next few days, and some highlights included hundreds of Amur Falcons and Lesser Kestrels as well as quite a few 'Montie's' (Montague's Harriers)in the arid Mavumbye plains region north of Satara, and a raptor-feast which included Martial Eagle, Steppe Eagle, African Cuckoo-Hawk and Black Sparrowhawk.

Day 9 and 10: Nelspruit and departure.
After the Kruger we drove through to Nelspruit for a final night. Early on the day of departure we headed up to Kaapsche Hoop to look for Blue Swallows, but unfortunatley were a bit late in the year and didn't see any. We did however see Red-winged Francolin among other species, and a final raptor in the form of a displaying Crowned Eagle to round off the list at no fewer than 34 species of birds of prey.

Species Lists

To see the full list and detailed report, written by Anne Nason of the AOS, see:

Lawson's Birding and Wildlife Tours; Trip Reports.

For photographs of some of the birds seen see Ian Nason's photographs on the African Bird Club website: African Bird Club