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Wed, 02/06/2013 - 15:41 -- abc_admin

These are largely unconfirmed records published in recent Bulletins of the African Bird Club for information only.

from ABC Bulletin 25.1

Records in July–December 2017 include the following. The first Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius for South Africa was photographed at Tankatara, Eastern Cape, on 26–29 August; another or the same individual was found c.700 km further west at Vermont, Hermanus, Western Cape, on 11–12 September. South Africa’s first documented Malagasy Pond Heron Ardeola idae, found at Mziki, Greater Phinda Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, on 13 June, remained until at least 11 October. An Upcher’s Warbler Hippolais languida at Tankatara Salt Pans, near Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, from late August until 2 September, would be the first for southern Africa. An adult Rosy Starling Pastor roseus in Kruger National Park (=NP) on 19 October was the second for South Africa and the third for the southern African subregion; the first was found on 15 July 2005 near Mata Mata, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, and the second on 8 September 2007 in the Kasane region in Botswana. Noteworthy species seen in the waters south and west of Cape Point include Northern Royal Albatross Diomedea sanfordi (singles on 10 and 22 July, and 6 August), Southern Royal Albatross D. epomophora (one on 10 July), Wandering Albatross D. exulans (singles on 2 and 18 October; two on 21 October), Spectacled Petrel Procellaria conspicillata (one on 22 July; two on 2 October; singles on 21 October and 4 and 23 November) and Fleshfooted Shearwater Ardenna carneipes (two on 18 and 23 November). The following were reported in waters off Eastern Cape: Northern Royal Albatross (singles on 30 July and 22 October), Southern Royal Albatross (one on 21 July), Wandering Albatross (one on 30 July) and Grey-headed Albatross Thalassarche chrysostoma (one on 22 July). Species observed in KwaZuluNatal waters included Northern Royal Albatross (one on 11 November; first record for this region), Southern Giant Petrel Macronectes giganteus (one on 20Records in July–December 2017 include the following. The first Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius for South Africa was photographed at Tankatara, Eastern Cape, on 26–29 August; another or the same individual was found c.700 km further west at Vermont, Hermanus, Western Cape, on 11–12 September. South Africa’s first documented Malagasy Pond Heron Ardeola idae, found at Mziki, Greater Phinda Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, on 13 June, remained until at least 11 October. An Upcher’s Warbler Hippolais languida at Tankatara Salt Pans, near Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, from late August until 2 September, would be the first for southern Africa. An adult Rosy Starling Pastor roseus in Kruger National Park (=NP) on 19 October was the second for South Africa and the third for the southern African subregion; the first was found on 15 July 2005 near Mata Mata, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, and the second on 8 September 2007 in the Kasane region in Botswana. Noteworthy species seen in the waters south and west of Cape Point include Northern Royal Albatross Diomedea sanfordi (singles on 10 and 22 July, and 6 August), Southern Royal Albatross D. epomophora (one on 10 July), Wandering Albatross D. exulans (singles on 2 and 18 October; two on 21 October), Spectacled Petrel Procellaria conspicillata (one on 22 July; two on 2 October; singles on 21 October and 4 and 23 November) and Fleshfooted Shearwater Ardenna carneipes (two on 18 and 23 November). The following were reported in waters off Eastern Cape: Northern Royal Albatross (singles on 30 July and 22 October), Southern Royal Albatross (one on 21 July), Wandering Albatross (one on 30 July) and Grey-headed Albatross Thalassarche chrysostoma (one on 22 July). Species observed in KwaZuluNatal waters included Northern Royal Albatross (one on 11 November; first record for this region), Southern Giant Petrel Macronectes giganteus (one on 20 August), Grey Petrel Procellaria cinerea (one on 22 October), Barau’s Petrel Pterodroma baraui (one on 12 November), Great Shearwater Ardenna gravis (one on 22 October) and Sooty Tern Onychoprion fuscatus (at least six on 12 November). An influx of Harlequin Quails Coturnix delegorguei occurred in KwaZulu-Natal, with birds noted at numerous localities from 19 November onwards; a male was also observed south-west of Port St. Johns, Eastern Cape, on 19 November, whilst one was found dead in East London, also in Eastern Cape, on 26 November. In Western Cape, at least two Fulvous Whistling Ducks Dendrocygna bicolor were at Worcester Sewage Works on 29 July and 1 October, with one still present at Paarl Bird Sanctuary until at least 3 September (from 21 May). In the same province, Knob-billed Ducks Sarkidiornis melanotos were reported from Little Brak River (one still present on 15 July; from 18 June), Strandfontein Sewage Works (one on 6 July), Potsdam Waste Water Treatment Works (one on 21 July), Bredasdorp Sewage Works (one on 28 August–2 September) and near Bergsig Wine Estate (one on 13 September), whilst in Eastern Cape, one was at Kruisriver, in Uitenhage, on 20 July–2 August, with two west of Queenstown on 22 July. An adult Red-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon rubricauda flew over Port Alfred, Eastern Cape, on 27 July. An immature Greater Frigatebird Fregata minor was at the Kei River mouth, Eastern Cape, on 28 June, whilst juvenile Lesser Frigatebirds F. ariel were seen at Richards Bay on 15 July and along the Durban beachfront, KwaZulu-Natal, on 9 December. At least two Australasian Gannets Morus serrator were still present on Malgas Island, in Saldanha Bay, Western Cape, in late September–October. In Eastern Cape, an African Openbill Anastomus lamelligerus was reported from Ugie on 18 August, with another in the Maclear district on 12 September. In Gauteng, a Slaty Egret Egretta vinaceigula remained at Marievale Bird Sanctuary from 26 August until at least 8 October, with another at Muldersdrift from 5 September until the year-end. Single Black Herons E. ardesiaca stayed at Nature’s Rest camping resort, near East London Airport, Eastern Cape, from 5 September until at least 5 October, at Swartkops in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, on 4 October, and at Loch Athlone Bird Reserve in Bethlehem, Free State, on 17 December. An outof-range Allen’s Gallinule Porphyrio alleni remained around Mata Mata, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Northern Cape, from 29 November until at least 10 December. A Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus was at the Gamtoos River mouth, Eastern Cape, on 3 September, with another at the St. Lucia estuary, KwaZulu-Natal, on 21–27 October. A Black-winged Pratincole Glareola nordmanni was seen in Betty’s Bay, Western Cape, on 17 November. Single American Golden Plovers Pluvialis dominica were at De Mond Nature Reserve, Western Cape, on 11–15 November, and west of Polokwane, Limpopo, on 19–20 December. Pectoral Sandpipers Calidris melanotos were observed in Kruger NP on 25–26 October and 23 December (one), and at Strandfontein Sewage Works, Western Cape, on 11 November (one) and 12 November–late December (two). As usual, Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus were noted in October–December, with records from Kruger NP (several), Gauteng (two) and Free State (one). In Western Cape, Common Redshanks T. totanus were reported from West Coast NP on 14 September (one) and 24 October (two), and from the Berg River, just outside Velddrif, on 19 November (one), whilst a Rednecked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus remained at Kliphoek Salt Pans, Velddrif, from 20 July until late December. An immature Lesser Blackbacked Gull Larus fuscus was observed at Spitskop Dam, near Kimberley, Northern Cape, on 30 July, and an adult at Cape Recife, Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, on 14 September. A Sooty Tern was back at the St. Lucia estuary, KwaZulu-Natal, from early July until December, with another off Sodwana Bay on 13 July and one in Richards Bay harbour on 2 October; two adults and two immatures were seen 34 km east of Port Shepstone on 10 August. A Gull-billed Tern Gelochelidon nilotica was at the Foskor Mine dams, near Phalaborwa, Limpopo, on 4–12 August, whilst one was at St. Lucia estuary from 21 October until at least 11 December. Up to two Elegant Terns Thalasseus elegans were at Hermanus, Western Cape, on 3–18 December; presumably one of these was at Gansbaai harbour on 22 December. A pair of African Skimmers Rynchops flavirostris, first found near Letaba, Kruger NP, on 19 April, remained until at least October and bred there—only the second recent breeding record in South Africa; two juveniles were with the adults from 25 August onwards. Other African Skimmers were noted along the Sabie River at Elephant Point, Mpumalanga, on 30 July (one), at Tzaneen, Limpopo (two on 12 August), at the Foskor Mine dams, near Phalaborwa, Limpopo, on 30 July–4 November (up to seven; with four nests observed), on private property in the Letsitele / Letaba area (a pair with four chicks) and in Madikwe Game Reserve, North West Province (an immature on 6–18 December). As usual, many European Honey Buzzards Pernis apivorus were reported from late October onwards; a Finnish satellite-tracked female known as ‘Paivi’ arrived in South Africa around 10 November and was west of Delmas, Mpumalanga, on 13 November. An immature Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus stayed in Kruger NP throughout the period. A wideranging immature White-backed Vulture Gyps africanus was observed at various localities in Eastern and Western Cape in July–October; in Sibuya Game Reserve, Eastern Cape, it was joined by a second individual on 10 August. A Hooded Vulture Necrosyrtes monachus along Karwyderskraal Road, near Hermanus, on 28 December, appears to be the first for Western Cape. A young Bat Hawk Machieramphus alcinus was in Mkuze Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, on 13–31 July, and a juvenile Bateleur Terathopius ecaudatus in Sibuya Game Reserve, near Kenton-on-Sea, Eastern Cape, on 30 November. Single Brown Snake Eagles Circaetus cinereus were observed in Western Cape at Nature’s Valley on 11 November, near Stanford on 25 November and near Bredasdorp on 28 November–2 December; an immature circled over Colchester, Eastern Cape, on 24 November. A Long-crested Eagle Lophaetus occipitalis was reported from Western Cape (Swellendam, 14–22 November) and Eastern Cape (30 December). In KwaZulu-Natal, Ayres’s Hawk Eagles Hieraaetus ayresii were seen at Empangeni on 8 July, at Teza in July–August, and at Durban on 29–30 July and 2–3 September. A pair of Wahlberg’s Eagles H. wahlbergi was back at Table Farm near Grahamstown, Eastern Cape, and remained there until at least 1 September. A female Western Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus, first seen near Port Alfred, Eastern Cape, in June, remained there until at least 6 July; presumably the same individual was noted along the Boknes–Cannon Rocks Road on 6 August and along the Bushmans River, between Port Alfred and Boknes, on 3 September. A Pallid Harrier C. macrourus circled over Hogsback Pass, Eastern Cape, on 25 November, whilst another was at Bitterpan, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Northern Cape, on 7 December. Sooty Falcons Falco concolor were observed at Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, on 15 November, at Cannon Rocks, Eastern Cape, on 26 November, in Kruger NP on 3 December, and at Mbazwana, KwaZulu-Natal, on 5 December, with two there on 18 December. An Amur Falcon F. amurensis was at Cape St. Francis, Eastern Cape, on 20 December. A Great Spotted Cuckoo Clamator glandarius remained at Rondevlei, Wilderness, Western Cape, until at least 17 August; one was also observed at Amakhala Private Game Reserve, east of Addo NP, Eastern Cape, on 30 November and 12 December. A Thick-billed Cuckoo Pachycoccyx audeberti was noted in Kosi Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, on 3 October, and an immature Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus near Villiersdorp, Western Cape, on 15–18 October. Two African Palm Swifts Cypsiurus parvus were seen in the Woodstock area, Western Cape, on 11 October, and north of Park Island, Marina da Gama, Cape Town, on 29 December. A Mangrove Kingfisher Halcyon senegaloides was still present at the mouth of the Bushmans River, Eastern Cape, on 14 July; it was first seen there on 4 April. The first Grey-headed Bushshrike Malaconotus blanchoti for Western Cape was seen at Plettenberg Bay on 21 August; the second record for the province was also made in Plettenberg Bay, on 24 September–18 October. A xanthochroic Crimson-breasted Shrike Laniarius atrococcineus was noted at Loding, west of Mkhombo Dam, Mpumalanga, on 19–21 August. A Rudd’s Lark Heteromirafra ruddi was discovered near Idutywa, Eastern Cape, on 29 November, well south-west of its normal range. Also in Eastern Cape, Monotonous Larks Mirafra passerina were at Ezulu Private Game Reserve, north-west of Grahamstown, from 18 November until at least early December; this appears to be the first confirmed record for the province. The seventh Citrine Wagtail Motacilla citreola for southern Africa was at Tankatara Salt Pans, Eastern Cape, on 27–30 August. A Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis was observed near Avoca Bush Camp, Mpumalanga, on 26 November, and an out-of-range Yellow-breasted Pipit Hemimacronyx chloris near Grahamstown, Eastern Cape, on 28 September. A male Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla stayed at Vierlanden in Durbanville, Western Cape, on 16–21 July; this appears to be the 26th record for southern Africa, but the first for Western Cape. Another male was found at Forever Resorts, Loskopdam, Mpumalanga, on 13 November. Common Whitethroats S. communis were seen at Langebaan, Western Cape, on 21 November, near Seekoeivlei Nature Reserve, Free State, on 6 December, at Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal, on 12 December, at Loch Athlone Bird Reserve in Bethlehem, Free State, on 17 December, and at Midmar Dam, KwaZulu-Natal, on 18 December. A White-browed Scrub Robin Cercotrichas leucophrys remained at Rondevlei in Wilderness, Western Cape, until at least 17 August; it was subsequently seen again on 21 October. A Collared Flycatcher Ficedula albicollis was found north of Brits, North West Province, on 11 November. A Southern Pied Babbler Turdoides bicolor reported from Kings Camp in the Timbavati, Mpumalanga, on 7 October, was well out of its normal range. A Common Myna Acridotheres tristis was at Klopperfontein Dam, in Kruger NP, on 20 September. In Eastern Cape, up to six Green Twinspots Mandingoa nitidula were in Hogsback on 26 September–21 October. An out-of-range Lark-like Bunting Emberiza impetuani was observed at iSimangaliso Wetland Park, KwaZulu-Natal, on 22 November (per TH & MMa).

from ABC Bulletin 24.2

Records from January–June 2017, with a few from December 2016, include the following. The first documented Madagascar Pond Heron Ardeola idae for South Africa was at Mziki, Greater Phinda Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, from 13 June (Fig. 41); previously, there was just one unconfirmed record from Ndumu Game Reserve, KwaZuluNatal, on 20 April 2005. Noteworthy species seen in waters south and west of Cape Point include Northern Royal Albatross Diomedea sanfordi (one on 1 April; two on 14 May), Wandering Albatross D. exulans (one on 18 March; four on 25 March; one on 29 June), Sooty Albatross Phoebetria fusca (one on 29 June), Southern Giant Petrel Macronectes giganteus (a pale morph on 24 June), White-headed Petrel Pterodroma lessoni (two on 29 June), Spectacled Petrel Procellaria conspicillata (one on 5 February; two on 18 February; three on 25 March), Flesh-footed Shearwater Ardenna carneipes (singles on 24 January, 18 February and 1 April), Subantarctic Shearwater Puffinus elegans (three on 9 April) and Leach’s Storm-petrel Hydrobates leucorhous (one on 25 March). Species observed in waters south of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, on 24–25 June include Northern Giant Petrel Macronectes halli (three), Southern Giant Petrel (one), Cape Petrel Daption capense (one), Slender-billed Prion Pachyptila belcheri (one), Sooty Tern Onychoprion fuscatus (one) and Antarctic Tern Sterna vittata (three) (per TH). The ‘Flock at Sea AGAIN! 2017’ pelagic from Cape Town to the southern edge of the South African Exclusive Economic Zone and back, on 24–28 April, drew thousands of BirdLife South Africa supporters and observed some noteworthy species including Light-mantled Albatross Phoebetria palpebrata (two), Sooty Albatross (several), Grey Petrel Procellaria cinerea (two) and White-headed Petrel (several). Other seabirds seen included at least five additional species of albatross (Wandering, Atlantic Yellow-nosed Thalassarche chlororhynchos, Indian Yellow-nosed T. carteri, Blackbrowed T. melanophris and Shy T. cauta), five petrels (Northern Giant, Southern Giant, Whitechinned Procellaria aequinoctialis, Soft-plumaged Pterodroma mollis and Great-winged P. macroptera), four shearwaters (Cory’s Calonectris borealis, Sooty Ardenna grisea, Great A. gravis and Manx Puffinus puffinus), Antarctic Prion, Blackbellied Storm-petrel Fregetta tropica, European Storm-petrel Hydrobates pelagicus and Wilson’s Storm-petrel Oceanites oceanicus (per African Birdlife 5(5): 60–63). In Western Cape, at least two out-of-range Fulvous Whistling Ducks Dendrocygna bicolor remained intermittently at Strandfontein Sewage Works from 30 April to at least 24 May, whilst at least two were still at Paarl Bird Sanctuary from 21 May to at least 17 June. A Knob-billed Duck Sarkidiornis melanotos also visited Strandfontein Sewage Works, from 23 May until at least 22 June, with another near the Klein Brak River on 18–29 June. A male Northern Shoveler Spatula clypeata found in Tanqua Karoo National Park (=NP), Western Cape, on 1 April may have been a genuine vagrant; one (the same?) remained at Paarl Bird Sanctuary on 20 May– 24 June. In January, Spotted Crakes Porzana porzana were reported from several provinces, with one in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Northern Cape; one at Strandfontein Sewage Works and another at Rondevlei Nature Reserve, Western Cape; one at Nylsvlei Nature Reserve, Limpopo; and up to three at Sappi Stanger, KwaZulu-Natal (until at least 12 February). Several Striped Crakes Amaurornis marginalis were reported from the Zaagkuildrift area, Kgomo Kgomo, North West Province, in March, including four singles, a pair with a chick, and an adult with a chick at different sites on 10th–28th, whilst a female was found in Hluhluwe Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, on 11–13 June. What appears to be just the second African Crake Crex egregia for Western Cape was at Strandfontein Sewage Works on 21–27 May, whilst the third was seen at Dolphin Beach Pans on 3–4 June. Wandering African Crakes also reached Eastern Cape, where one was found in Port Elizabeth on 26 May, with another at Sleepy Hollow, near Port Elizabeth, on 10–24 June (Fig. 42), and a third between Kenton on Sea and Port Alfred on 15 June. A remarkable number of Corn Crakes C. crex was reported throughout the country, including Limpopo (one in northern Kruger NP on 8 January; one in Mapungubwe NP on 6 March), Mpumalanga (one on the border of Mala Mala and Cheetah Plains on 28 February), Gauteng (one at Delta Park, Johannesburg, until 15 January, with others at Northern Farm, Marievale and near Bronkhorstspruit, and some found dead), KwaZuluNatal (one found dead in Pinetown on 24 December; one at Sappi Stanger in early January) and Eastern Cape (one near East London on 7–8 February; one in the East London Industrial Development Zone on 7 March). An Allen’s Gallinule Porphyrio alleni was observed in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Northern Cape, in early January. Lesser Moorhens Gallinula angulata were seen at Sefudi Dam, North West Province, on 2 January, and in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (a juvenile) on 8 April. An exhausted Northern Rockhopper Penguin Eudyptes moseleyi was found in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, on 14 January, whilst another came ashore at Bosbokduin, Stilbaai, Western Cape, on 12 June; both were taken into care. A Southern Rockhopper Penguin E. chrysocome was found on the beach in Jeffrey’s Bay, Eastern Cape, in early March and was also taken into care. A moulting King Penguin Aptenodytes patagonicus came ashore on Hout Bay beach, Western Cape, on 27 April; this is just the ninth confirmed record for the subregion. Up to two Australasian Gannets Morus serrator were on Malgas Island, in Saldanha Bay, Western Cape, from January until at least 27 March. A Snowy Sheathbill Chionis albus was near Stilbaai, Western Cape, on 14 May; another was found at the mouth of the Hartenbos River on 16 May and what was probably the same bird was at Seal Island in Mossel Bay, Western Cape, on 10–21 June (Fig. 43). One was also found in Summerstrand, Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, on 10 May. Out-of-range African Openbills Anastomus lamelligerus were encountered near Harrismith, Free State, on 11 January and in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Northern Cape, on 15–16 June. In Western Cape, a Yellow-billed Stork Mycteria ibis remained in the Velddrif area until at least 1 March, whilst one (the same?) was near Porterville on 16 March and another near Clanwilliam on 6 May. In the same province, an Abdim’s Stork Ciconia abdimii flew over L’Agulhas on 1 May and two Marabou Storks Leptoptilos crumenifer were present near Klipheuwel until at least 5 February. A young Dwarf Bittern Ixobrychus sturmii in Madikwe Game Reserve, North West Province, on 4 June was an unusual record for the time of year and area. Black Herons Egretta ardesiaca were reported from Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Northern Cape, on 19 December (one), East London, Eastern Cape, on 14 January (one), and Rondevlei, Wilderness, Western Cape, from mid December to late April (up to two). Out-of-range Great White Pelicans Pelecanus onocrotalus in Eastern Cape included one still present near Boknes on 26 January, two at GraaffReinet Dam on 14 February, and a juvenile at Ngciyo Pans on 11–20 March. A Lesser Jacana Microparra capensis remained at Darvill Bird Sanctuary in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, until at least mid June (from July 2016). A Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus was at Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, in early January. Three Caspian Plovers Charadrius asiaticus in breeding plumage were at Kliphoek Salt Pans, Velddrif, on 8 January, while a remarkable 55 birds were counted in West Coast NP on 21 January. In North West Province, at least ten Caspian Plovers were in the floodplain area around Kgomo Kgomo on 8 March, with at least one still there on 12 March. Five Lesser Sand Plovers C. mongolus were at Richards Bay Southern Sanctuary, KwaZulu-Natal, in early January, whilst a Greater Sand Plover C. leschenaultii was again seen at the Fish River mouth, Eastern Cape, on 4 January. In Western Cape, an American Golden Plover Pluvialis dominica remained at Strandfontein Sewage Works until 8 April (from late November 2016), whilst a Pacific Golden Plover P. fulva was at De Mond Nature Reserve on 14 March. South Africa’s third Temminck’s Stint Calidris temminckii remained at Strandfontein Sewage Works until at least 22 January (from 26 November 2016). Pectoral Sandpipers C. melanotos were noted in Western Cape (up to two at Strandfontein throughout January until at least 4 March; one along the Hartenbos River on 9–12 January), Eastern Cape (one at lower Zwelitsha on 9 January) and KwaZulu-Natal (one at Sappi Stanger until 11 January). A Broad-billed Sandpiper C. falcinellus was in West Coast NP, Western Cape, on 16 March. A Common Redshank Tringa totanus was still along the Chatty River in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, on 8 January (first reported here on 16 October 2016), with another in West Coast NP on 22 March. In Western Cape, a Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus remained at Strandfontein from January until 2 March, whilst up to three were at Kliphoek Salt Pans, Velddrif, from January until late May, and up to seven at another private salt works at Velddrif from 22 January until late March. A Red Phalarope P. fulicarius was found c.10 km south of Graaff-Reinet, Eastern Cape, on 4–11 March. Temminck’s Coursers Cursorius temminckii were reported from KwaZulu-Natal (one north-east of Ladysmith on 6 February, with another at King Shaka Airport, Durban, on 8 February), Eastern Cape (seven in Mountain Zebra NP on 18 February and at least three in Shamwari Private Game Reserve on 3 April) and Western Cape (two c.10 km east of Beaufort West on 3 March and two along the Rietfontein gravel road on 23 May–1 June). A Collared Pratincole Glareola pratincola was seen at Kgomo Kgomo, North West Province, on 24 January, whilst single Black-winged Pratincoles G. nordmanni were still present at Graaf-Reinet Dam, Eastern Cape, on 26 January and at Kliprug, Western Cape, on 29 January. Large numbers of Sabine’s Gulls Xema sabini were seen in the Yzerfontein area, Western Cape, on 7 January. An adult Franklin’s Gull Leucophaeus pipixcan in breeding plumage was observed in Eastern Cape at Ngciyo Pans on 11–19 March and at the Xora River mouth on 24 April, and in Western Cape at Klein Brak River on 5–8 April. A Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus was present at Umgeni River mouth, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, until at least 4 January; in Eastern Cape, one was still at Cape Recife, Port Elizabeth on 30 January–4 February, whilst another remained at Orient Beach, East London, from 16 May to at least 4 June. A Sooty Tern Onychoprion fuscatus was still present at St. Lucia, KwaZulu-Natal, on 30 January (from 5 September 2016). The Gull-billed Tern Gelochelidon nilotica at Borakolalo Nature Reserve, North West Province, first noted in November 2016, was still present in early January; another was at the St. Lucia estuary, KwaZulu-Natal, on 21–28 January. In Western Cape, up to two Elegant Terns Thalasseus elegans moved along the coast from Hermanus to Strandfontein Sewage Works between late November and at least early April. A Lesser Crested Tern T. bengalensis was also at Strandfontein Sewage Works on 25–26 March and 18 April, and at Milnerton Lagoon, Western Cape, on 23 April. Unusual inland tern records concerned a Greater Crested Tern T. bergii along the Vaal River at Warrenton, Northern Cape, on 9 February, and a Common Tern Sterna hirundo in Sabi Sands Game Reserve, Mpumalanga, on 18 February. A pair of African Skimmers Rynchops flavirostris was rediscovered at Makuleke Dam, Limpopo, on 10 March after having been missing for some time; two remained along the Letaba River in Kruger NP on 19 April–18 June. As usual, many European Honey Buzzards Pernis apivorus were reported in the period January–mid April; one remained in the Stilfontein area, Gauteng, on 6–20 June, and another was noted at Potchefstroom, North West Province, on 12 June— few individuals remain during the southern winter. An immature Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus (possibly always the same bird) was intermittently seen in Kruger NP in January–June; an adult was soaring south-east of Hoedspruit, Limpopo, on 8 June. The second White-backed Vulture Gyps africanus for Western Cape, an immature, first observed south of Eland’s Bay on 18 August 2016, continued to roam widely throughout the period and was last seen between Atlantis and Philadelphia, on 23 June. Another wide-ranging individual was reported from the Port Alfred area, Eastern Cape, on 4–20 June, and one was soaring over Vaalpark, Free State, on 30 May. A Lappet-faced Vulture Torgos tracheliotos was reported from Nylsvlei Nature Reserve, Limpopo, on 18–19 February; one was seen at the vulture restaurant at VulPro, near Hartebeespoort Dam, North West Province, on 21 June, and two were feeding on a carcass at Koster, also in North West, on 24 June. Bateleurs Terathopius ecaudatus were seen at several sites in Eastern Cape (e.g. near Alexandria in early January; between Kleinemonde and the Fish River mouth in early January and on 16 April; c.5 km east the Fish River on 12 June). There were several reports of Brown Snake Eagles Circaetus cinereus from Eastern Cape in January–March, and two from Western Cape (one near Darling on 11–15 February and another in Somerset West, on 10 March). Long-crested Eagles Lophaetus occipitalis well west of their normal range, in Western Cape, were seen at Grootvadersbosch on 7 January and between Ashton and Swellendam on 18 June. Ayres’s Eagles Hieraaetus ayresii were reported from Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (an immature in early February), KwaZulu-Natal (one over Teza, Kwambonambi, on 11 February; one in Richards Bay on 4–16 March and 27 June; one north of Ballito on 19 March) and Eastern Cape (one over Kloof on 22–24 June). A pair of Wahlberg’s Eagles H. wahlbergi remained near Grahamstown, Eastern Cape, until at least mid March (from 22 August 2016); on 15 February there was a chick in the nest. A Western Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus remained near Port Alfred, Eastern Cape, on 16–27 June (but was probably present since at least 4 June); this a major rarity for the province with only a handful of previous records. Others were reported from Limpopo (Nylsvlei, 22 January), Mpumalanga (Wakkerstroom, 12–19 January), Gauteng (Marievale Bird Sanctuary, 10–29 January), Northern Cape (Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, 15 January) and KwaZulu-Natal (Sappi Stanger, 3 January). Pallid Harriers C. macrourus were observed in North West Province (Borakolalo Nature Reserve, 2 January, a male) and Northern Cape (Upington area, 4 February, a female; Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, 16 and 19 February, single females, and 28 February, two). South Africa’s second Red-necked Buzzard Buteo auguralis remained near Stil Bay, Western Cape, from mid December until at least 19 February. Up to three Sooty Falcons Falco concolor were at Mbazwana, KwaZulu-Natal, until at least 5 April (from late November 2016), with one in Plettenberg Bay, Western Cape, from February until at least 9 April, and another at Port Alfred, Eastern Cape, on 6 and 11 March. Red-footed Falcons F. vespertinus were reported from Limpopo (a female at Nylsvlei on 22 January), Gauteng (one near Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve on 19 February), Mpumalanga (a female in Kruger NP on 25 March), KwaZulu-Natal (a female on the lower Sani Pass road on 13 March) and Eastern Cape (a female in a flock of Amur Falcons F. amurensis north of Queenstown on 8 April). A female Amur Falcon in the Devon farmlands, Mpumalanga, on 14 June is an odd date; there are very few records of birds remaining during the austral winter. A male Yellow-throated Sandgrouse Pterocles gutturalis stayed near Centurion, Gauteng, from 9 January to at least 5 February; this is apparently the first for the province. At least two African Palm Swifts Cypsiurus parvus were intermittently seen on the west coast, mainly around Rietvlei Nature Reserve, from late January until at least mid April. Immature Common Cuckoos Cuculus canorus were observed in Western Cape at Gouritzmond on 11 January and near Stanford on 4 March. In Northern Cape, out-of-range Grey-headed Kingfishers Halcyon leucocephala were reported from Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Mokala NP and Tswalu Kalahari Reserve in April. A Mangrove Kingfisher H. senegaloides remained at the mouth of the Bushmans River, Eastern Cape, from 4 April until at least late June. Southern Africa’s 18th White-throated Beeeater Merops albicollis was seen in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park on 28 February, the 19th record was made in Hluhluwe Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, on 30 March (two individuals) and the 20th in Mkhuze Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, on 10 April (probably the same two). Up to eight Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters M. persicus remained in Agulhas NP, Western Cape, from January until at least mid April; in the same province, three were discovered c.40 km east of Clanwilliam on 18 February, whilst in Eastern Cape, one was found in the Cradock district on 9 January, with at least four at Tankatara, near Port Elizabeth, in February and one at Kap River Reserve on 25 April. A Lilac-breasted Roller Coracias caudatus near Bot River on 9 January, was apparently just the third for Western Cape. A Black-collared Barbet Lybius torquatus at Still Bay, Western Cape, on 5 February, was well west of the species’ normal range. A Dusky Lark Pinarocorys nigricans was at Giant’s Castle, KwaZulu-Natal, on 22 January, whilst one was at Barberspan Nature Reserve, North West Province, on 3 April and another was still present in Mokala NP, Northern Cape, on 10 April. At least three Chestnutbacked Sparrow Larks Eremopterix leucotis (two males and a female) were discovered at Mountain Zebra NP, Eastern Cape, on 20 May; a rather unusual species for the province. A Southern Hyliota Hyliota australis was seen in Mapungubwe NP, Limpopo, on 11 May. A Basra Reed Warbler Acrocephalus griseldis was sound-recorded along the Phongola River below Jozini Dam, KwaZuluNatal, on 25 March; this represents the first confirmed record in South Africa for several years. In KwaZuluNatal, a Common Whitethroat Sylvia communis had apparently returned for its second season to the Mooi River in early January; two were found in Manyoni Private Game Reserve on 17 February, with an Olive-tree Warbler Hippolais olivetorum also there. A Garden Warbler Sylvia borin was located at Wilderness, Western Cape, on 19 February. A Thrush Nightingale Luscinia luscinia was photographed c.40 km north of Carnarvon, Northern Cape, on 1 January, well outside this species’ known range. A Whitebrowed Scrub Robin Cercotrichas leucophrys was observed on the Robberg Peninsula, Plettenberg Bay, on 14 April; this is just the second sight record for Western Cape, all other records being of mist-netted birds (another was trapped in Nature’s Valley on 26 April). One was also reported from Rondevlei in Wilderness, Western Cape, on 15 May. A juvenile Violet-backed Starling Cinnyricinclus leucogaster was at Groot Brak River, Western Cape, on 29 June; this is a very unusual species for the province. The Common Myna Acridotheres tristis in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, first reported on 26 October 2016, was still present on 15 February. Single Red-billed Oxpeckers Buphagus erythrorhynchus in Western Cape were reported from Inverdoorn, near Cere, in early January and from Wedderwill Estate, near Sir Lowry’s Pass, on 13 February. A male Orange-winged Pytilia Pytilia afra was found at Karongwe Private Game Reserve, Limpopo, on 31 May—a very southerly record. Three Magpie Mannikins Spermestes fringilloides were found near Zeerust, North West Province, on 5 March. Southern Africa’s sixth Citrine Wagtail Motacilla citreola was discovered south-east of Melmoth, KwaZulu-Natal, on 19 April, only five days after the fifth individual in Swakopmund, Namibia; the bird could not be relocated on 20 April. A Grey Wagtail M. cinerea remained at Debegeni Falls in Magoebaskloof, Limpopo, until at least 13 February (from 23 November 2016); remarkably, one was near Machadadorp, Mpumalanga, on 1 June. A Golden Pipit Tmetothylacus tenellus was observed in Sabi Sands Game Reserve, Mpumalanga, in early January, whilst another male—the 17th record for southern Africa—was found in Hluhluwe Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, on 25 March (per TH).

from ABC Bulletin 24.1

The following records are from July–December 2016. Highlights from the period, all recorded in Western Cape, include the following. Two species were firsts for the southern Africa subregion: Rufous Scrub Robin Cercotrichas galactotes (Zeekoeivlei, 17 July–22 September; Fig. 38) and European Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca (Bushmanskloof Wilderness Reserve, near Clanwilliam, 18–26 December; Fig. 39). South Africa’s second Red-necked Buzzard Buteo auguralis remained at Still Bay, from mid December (Fig. 40), whilst the country’s third Temminck’s Stint Calidris temminckii was at Strandfontein Sewage Works, from 26 November (Fig. 41); both were still present in January. South Africa’s third Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe was in Kruger National Park (= NP), Mpumalanga, from 26 November until 13 December (per TH). Concerted searches for Steppe Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus alboaxillaris resulted in the finding of at least three birds showing the characters of this form in Richards Bay, in October–December (Figs. 42–43; PR, DR, KWe); there is just one previous record of Steppe Whimbrel in South Africa, of two birds shot in Durban Bay in December 1961 (per GA). Noteworthy species seen in waters south and west of Cape Point include Northern Royal Albatross Diomedea sanfordi (two on 2 & 31 July; one on 17 July; several on 20 August; singles on 4 September and 7, 8 & 22 October), Southern Royal Albatross D. epomophora (one on 20 August; two on 4 & 18 September; singles on 1, 9, 15 & 30 October and 5–6 November), Wandering Albatross D. exulans (three on 16 July; one on 18 September; seven on 9 October; four on 12 October; five on 15 October; one on 25 October; two on 5–6 November), Tristan Albatross D. dabbenena (possibly two on 1, 8 & 9 October), Sooty Albatross Phoebetria fusca (one on 16 July), Grey-headed Albatross Thalassarche chrysostoma (singles on 2 & 27 July), white-morph Southern Giant Petrel Macronectes giganteus (singles on 2 July and 27 October), Southern Fulmar Fulmarus glacialoides (singles on 31 July and 8 October), Kerguelen Petrel Aphrodroma brevirostris (one on 16 July), Atlantic Petrel Pterodroma incerta (one on 16 July), White-headed Petrel P. lessoni (two on 16 July; one on 27 July), Grey Petrel Procellaria cinerea (one on 20 August), Spectacled Petrel P. conspicillata (one on 6 August; two on 24 September; singles on 12 October and 15 December), Fleshfooted Shearwater Ardenna carneipes (one on 18 September) and Little Shearwater Puffinus assimilis (one on 4 September). Approximately 170 nautical miles south-east of Port Alfred, Eastern Cape, an adult Sooty Albatross was seen on 11 July. A Wedge-tailed Shearwater Ardenna pacifica flew around Bird Island, in Algoa Bay, Eastern Cape, on 31 August–1 September; what is assumed to be the same individual has been returning annually to the island since 2005. Species observed in the waters south of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, include Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross Thalassarche chlororhynchus (one on 26 November), Northern Giant Petrel Macronectes halli (one on 27 November), Barau’s Petrel Pterodroma baraui (one on 16 October; four on 30 October; two on 27 November), Black-bellied Storm-petrel Fregetta tropica (at least two on 16 October; one on 25 November), European Storm-petrel Hydrobates pelagicus (one on 25 November), Sooty Tern Onychoprion fuscatus (at least three on 13 July; two on 17 July) and Antarctic Tern Sterna vittata (one on 13 July; two on 17 July). A Red-billed Tropicbird Phaethon aethereus flew west at Buffel’s Bay near Knysna, Western Cape, on 16 December. Two Australian Gannets Morus serrator remained on Malgas Island, in Saldahna Bay, Western Cape, from 10 August until at least early December, whilst one was at Bird Island, in Algoa Bay, Eastern Cape, until at least 8 November. A Lesser Frigatebird Fregata ariel was reported from Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, on 24 December. Out-of-range ducks included several Fulvous Whistling Ducks Dendrocygna bicolor at Paarl Bird Sanctuary, Western Cape, on 16 August–17 December, with one near East London Airport, Eastern Cape, on 24 September; a pair of African Pygmy Geese Nettapus auritus at Ottersvlei, Eastern Cape, on 1 August–10 September (with the male still present on 8 October); and a Knob-billed Duck Sarkidiornis melanotos at temporary wetlands at Philippi, Western Cape, on 14 August, with another near Bainskloof Pass on 29 September–23 October. Common Cuckoos Cuculus canorus, all immatures, were observed at Rietvlei Nature Reserve, Gauteng, on 22 October; at Breede River mouth, Western Cape, on 5 November (it flew into a window and died); and in Bushmanskloof Game Reserve, near Clanwilliam, Western Cape, from 3 December until at least 14 December. A Grey Go-away-bird Corythaixoides concolor south of Kimberley, Northern Cape, on 12 November was an unusual record for the area. In Free State, two African Finfoots Podica senegalensis, a female and a juvenile, were at President Brandt Park, on 25–30 September; this is the first record for the province in the SABAP2 (= Second Southern African Bird Atlas Project) database (cf. http://sabap2. adu.org.za/) and possibly only the third record for the Free State. One was seen intermittently in Rietvlei Nature Reserve, Gauteng, from mid October to early November. A Baillon’s Crake Zapornia pusilla was at Strandfontein, Western Cape, on 6 December, with another at Sappi Stanger, KwaZulu-Natal, later that month. From mid to late December, Spotted Crakes Porzana porzana were reported from Kruger NP, Mpumalanga; Sappi Stanger, KwaZulu-Natal; Ngciyo Pan, Eastern Cape; and Strandfontein Sewage Works, Western Cape. Out-of-range Marabou Storks Leptoptilos crumenifer were found in Tanqua Karoo NP, Western Cape, on 12 September, and near Molteno, Eastern Cape, on 22 December. In Eastern Cape, up to 11 Yellow-billed Storks Mycteria ibis were still present at Diaz Dam in July–October (with one still there on 17 December); others were noted throughout the period at several locations in the province, the largest number being eight at Ngciyo Pans on 10 July; one was also observed at Bethlehem, Free State, on 11 December. Single African Openbills Anastomus lamelligerus were reported from KwaZulu-Natal (Darvill Bird Sanctuary, until at least 13 August; Mount Edgecombe Estate, 30 December); Eastern Cape (Maclear, 7 September); and Mpumalanga (Mkhombo Dam, 20 November). In Eastern Cape, a Woolly-necked Stork Ciconia episcopus was located between NieuBethesda and Graaf-Reinet, on 16 December—an excellent record for the province. Great White Pelicans Pelecanus onocrotalus at unusual locations included one at Rockwall Dam, near Rustenburg, North West Province, on 27 November, and an immature at Diaz Dam, near Boknes, Eastern Cape, from 3 December until at least 17th. Pink-backed Pelicans P. rufescens were reported from Mpumalanga (one between Delmas and Benoni on 13 July; three near Malelane in mid August) and Gauteng (singles at Roodeplaat Dam on 14 October and at Bronkhorstspruit Dam in December). A Great Bittern Botaurus stellaris was booming at Sappi Stanger, KwaZulu-Natal, on 3 July. In Free State, a Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus in Harrismith on 25 August was apparently a first record for the area. Single Rufous-bellied Herons Ardeola rufiventris were recorded near Maclear, Eastern Cape, on 23–24 July; at the Sappi wetlands in Stanger, KwaZulu-Natal, on 10–23 October; at Eshlazi Dam, Eshowe, KwaZulu-Natal, on 1 November–1 December; in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Northern Cape, on 20 November; and c.35 km north-east of Graaff-Reinet, Eastern Cape, on 10 December. In Western Cape, single Squacco Herons A. ralloides were at Paarl Bird Sanctuary on 4 September and at Bloubergstrand on 21 October–5 November, whilst Goliath Herons Ardea goliath were observed at Paardevlei near Strand, on 1 August (one); at Verlorenvlei near Eland’s Bay until at least 18 September (up to two); and at Paarl Bird Sanctuary on 24 September (one). A Slaty Egret Egretta vinaceigula was noted near Dullstroom, Mpumalanga, on 20 October. Lesser Jacanas Microparra capensis were reported from Mpumalanga (Skukuza Golf Course, Kruger NP, 2 July–18 September), Limpopo (Goose Dam, near Vuwani, 7 August); Gauteng (Dinokeng Game Reserve, 27 December) and KwaZulu-Natal (Northern Waste Water Treatment Works, Durban, from 27 June until at least 6 July; Darvill Bird Sanctuary, Pietermaritzburg, July–December; Sappi Stanger, 26–27 July; and Eshowe Dam, from 31 October until at least 26 November). A Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus was at St. Lucia, KwaZulu-Natal, on 7–16 November. Caspian Plovers Charadrius asiaticus were found north-west of Ladysmith, KwaZuluNatal, on 26–27 September; at Mooiplaas waterhole, Kruger NP, on 9 October–16 November (two); at Mkhombo Dam, Mpumalanga, on 12 October and 21–26 November; at Rietvlei Nature Reserve, Gauteng, on 2 December; at Borakalalo Nature Reserve, North West Province, on 3 December (two); and at Kliphoek Salt Pans, Western Cape, on 30 December. A Lesser Sand Plover C. mongolus stayed in West Coast NP, Western Cape, on 7 August–18 September, with a Greater Sand Plover C. leschenaultii also there on 22 September–26 October; two other Greater Sand Plovers were at Fish River mouth, Eastern Cape, in late December. Vagrant inland Grey Plovers Pluvialis squatarola were noted in Limpopo (one in Olifants River Game Reserve on 3–14 December); Mpumalanga (up to three at Mkhombo Dam from 22 October until the end of December); KwaZulu-Natal (three at Darvill Bird Sanctuary on 20 November); North West Province (singles Borakalalo Nature Reserve on 27 November and 3 December; Rockwall Dam, near Rustenburg, on 26 November; and Koster Sewage Works on 3–10 December); and Free State (one at Sterkfontein Dam on 8 December). In Western Cape, an American Golden Plover P. dominica remained at Strandfontein Sewage Works from late November until late December; another was reported from de Mond Nature Reserve on 21 December. In Northern Cape, a Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata discovered near Hanover in late October was an interesting find for the central Karoo; another was in Durban Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, on 19 December. Inland records of vagrant Whimbrels N. phaeopus were reported from Gauteng (Roodeplaat Dam, 14–23 October), Mpumalanga (Mkhombo Dam, 16–22 October), Free State (near Harrismith, 8 November), and North West Province (Borakalalo Nature Reserve, 24 November). Bar-tailed Godwits Limosa lapponica—very rare inland—were noted in Mpumalanga (up to two at Mkhombo Dam on 2–8 October; one near Standerton on 7 November) and Gauteng (up to two at Blesbokspruit on 14–30 October; one at Marievale Bird Sanctuary on 22 October). A Black-tailed Godwit L. limosa was discovered at the Sappi wetlands in Stanger, KwaZulu-Natal, on 27–29 October, with another in Pilanesburg NP, North West Province, from 24 November to at least 4 December. Up to two Pectoral Sandpipers Calidris melanotos were at Strandfontein Sewage Works, Western Cape, from late November until at least the end of December, with another at Sappi Stanger, KwaZulu-Natal, from 18 December onwards. At Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, a Common Redshank Tringa totanus returned to the Swartkops estuary on 19 July after having disappeared for several months, and along the Chatty River on 16 October–20 November; one also stayed in West Coast NP, Western Cape, from 16 October to at least 5 November. The season’s first Green Sandpiper T. ochropus was noted in Mkuze Game Reserve, KwaZuluNatal, on 14 August and was still present in early December; several (with some remaining at the same location for several weeks or even months) were subsequently reported from Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and North West Province, with one also in Northern Cape (although the species is annual in small numbers in the eastern part of the country, it is very rare in the west). Ruddy Turnstones Arenaria interpres were found inland in Gauteng (Roodeplaat Dam, 9 October), Mpumalanga (Mkhombo Dam, 16 October and 17–21 November) and North West Province (Borakalalo Nature Reserve, 2 December). The long-staying Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus at Velddrif, Western Cape, remained there throughout the period, with a second on 16 December. Another stayed at Strandfontein Sewage Works from 26 November until the end of the year and was joined by a second individual on 1 December. Two Burchell’s Coursers Cursorius rufus were still near Heilbron, Free State, on 3–18 July. In Eastern Cape, up to at least four Temminck’s Coursers C. temminckii were still present between Humansdorp and Kareedouw on 19 July; two were noted in Mountain Zebra NP on 5–6 November. Collared Pratincoles Glareola pratincola were found in Limpopo (five at Makuleke Dam until at least 8 August), Mpumalanga (one at Mkhombo Dam on 16 October and at least three in Timbavati Private Game Reserve on 23 October) and KwaZulu-Natal (one in Darvill Bird Sanctuary on 16 November). Two Franklin’s Gulls Leucophaeus pipixcan were at the Umgeni River mouth in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, on 3 July; in late December, a Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus was also there, with another at Chrissiesmeer, Mpumalanga. A Bridled Tern Onychoprion anaethetus remained at Cape Recife, Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, from 5 August until at least 11 September; first discovered here on 6 April 2001, it has been returning to this site for the past 15 years. Sooty Terns were reported from Eastern Cape (Bird Island, Algoa Bay, 30 August–1 September; Cape Recife, Port Elizabeth, 4–14 September), Mpumalanga (an exhausted juvenile, Sabi Sands Game Reserve, 2 November; the nearest coast is at least 150 km distant) and KwaZulu-Natal (St. Lucia, from 5 September until at least mid December). Single Gull-billed Terns Gelochelidon nilotica were located in Mpumalanga (Mkhombo Dam, 20–27 November), North West Province (Borakalalo Nature Reserve, 23 November–31 December; Fig. 44) and KwaZulu-Natal (St. Lucia estuary, 19–22 December). In Western Cape, an Elegant Tern Thalasseus elegans was discovered in a tern roost at Buffels Bay near Cape Point, on 26 November, and (the same?) subsequently in Hermanus on 13–17 December. Two Roseate Terns Sterna dougallii, an adult and a first-year, were at Strand beach, Western Cape, on 25–27 July; the immature was ringed as a chick on Bird Island, Eastern Cape, in 2015. In Limpopo, two African Skimmers Rynchops flavirostris, reported from Makuleke Dam on 8 July–4 August, had apparently been present at the site for some time; two (the same?) were at Albasini Dam, c.100 km to the west, from 20 August until at least 20 November, with one at Vaalkop Dam, North West Province, on 1 November. The first European Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus of the season was reported in Grahamstown, Eastern Cape, on 26 August; subsequently individuals were reported throughout the period from Limpopo (six), North West Province (three), Gauteng (c.15), Mpumalanga (four), KwaZulu-Natal (>20), Free State (six), Eastern Cape (13) and Western Cape (eight). In Eastern Cape, an African Cuckoo Hawk Avecida cuculoides was at Nahoon Estuary Nature Reserve, East London, on 11–14 September, whilst a Bateleur Terathopius ecaudatus soared over the Shaw Park / Fish River Lighthouse area on 12 November and 14 December. A Brown Snake Eagle Circaetus cinereus flew over Somerset West, Western Cape, on 20 November, with another in Willem Pretorius Game Reserve, Free State, on 25 November. An adult Palm-nut Vulture Gypohierax angolensis at Loch Athlone Bird Reserve in Bethlehem, Free State, on 9 July, may represent the first record for the province. Other Palm-nut Vultures were seen in Limpopo (one at the vulture restaurant near Polokwane until at least 9 July); North West Province (a juvenile at VulPro on 18 November) and KwaZulu-Natal (an immature near San Lameer on 13 July), whilst the adult that has been at Swellendam, Western Cape, since at least August 2015, was again present in the area on 23 July–1 August. At least two Hooded Vultures Necrosyrtes monachus were seen in Zululand Rhino Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, on 3–4 September. The second White-backed Vulture Gyps africanus for Western Cape, a juvenile, was photographed south of Eland’s Bay on 18 August; what appears to be the same individual roamed widely and was last reported near Clanwilliam on 16 September. Another juvenile was at Waterfall Estate in Midrand, Gauteng, on 19 December. In Limpopo, a Rüppell’s Vulture G. rueppelli remained at the Cape Vulture G. coprotheres breeding cliffs in Blouberg Nature Reserve, near Vivo, from 13 August until at least late November. In Gauteng, a subadult Bat Hawk Macheirhamphus alcinus flew over Delta Park, Johannesburg, on 23–25 October, whilst a Crowned Eagle Stephanoaetus coronatus was observed in Wilge River Valley, on 20 August—possibly the first record for the province. A Lesser Spotted Eagle Clanga pomarina was near Caledon, Western Cape, on 30 December. Ayres’s Eagles Hieraaetus ayresii were reported from North West Province (Rustenburg, 17 September) and KwaZulu-Natal (Teza, 29 July; Kwambonambi Golf Course, 30 July; Richards Bay, 7 August; Empangeni, 24 September, with a pair there on 28 October). A pair of Wahlberg’s Eagles H. wahlbergi was present again near Grahamstown, Eastern Cape, from 22 August until at least late November; another pair nested near Oudtshoorn, Western Cape, and had a chick in early December— probably the first breeding record for the province. A female Western Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus was at Franklin Marsh, KwaZuluNatal, on 5 December and a juvenile Pallid Harrier C. macrourus near Plettenberg Bay, Western Cape, on 2 December. Montagu’s Harriers C. pygargus were seen at Matjiesfontein, Western Cape, on 4 December (two females) and near Humansdorp, Eastern Cape, on 14 December (a male). A juvenile Augur Buzzard Buteo augur was observed in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Northern Cape, on 11 December. A female Red-footed Falcon Falco vespertinus was near Verlorenkloof, Mpumalanga, on 4 November, whilst up to two Sooty Falcons F. concolor were at Mbazwana, KwaZulu-Natal, from 19 November until the end of the year, with seven there on 29 December. In Eastern Cape, an African Grass Owl Tyto capensis was seen east of Caledon on 20 December and a Verreaux’s Eagle Owl Bubo lacteus at Kleinemonde on 26 November. A Pearl-spotted Owlet Glaucidium perlatum reappeared at Beaufort West, Western Cape, on 18 August after months of absence. African Palm Swifts Cypsiurus parvus were reported from Western Cape, over Table View on 1 October and at Nuwerus on 13 November. Six Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters Merops persicus were at Ingula, Free State, on 26 November. A Crowned Hornbill Lophoceros alboterminatus was c.50 km north of Klaarstroom in the Little Karoo, Western Cape, from June until at least 1 September; this species normally only ranges as far west along the coast as Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape. In Gauteng, a Southern Red-billed Hornbill Tockus erythrorhynchus rufirostris was reported from Johannesburg on 1 August. What may be the first White-eared Barbet Stactolaema leucotis for Mpumalanga was reported from Tomahawk farm, between Malelane and Jeppe’s Reef, on 14–17 October. Another potential provincial first was an Olive Woodpecker Dendropicos griseocephalus in Wilge River Valley, Gauteng, on 2–25 July. In Eastern Cape, Crimsonbreasted Shrikes Laniarius atrococcineus, of which there are just a few records in the province, were located in Kariega Private Game Reserve on 16–17 July and at Kuzuko Lodge, Addo NP, on 17 November. A Lesser Grey Shrike Lanius minor was seen between Cannon Rocks and Alexandria, Eastern Cape, on 20 December. Monotonous Larks Mirafra passerina were in Manyoni Private Game Reserve (former Zululand Rhino Reserve) in mid December; there are only a few previous records for KwaZulu-Natal. A small group of Sclater’s Larks Spizocorys sclateri in the Vaalvlei / Oorlogspoort area, Eastern Cape, from 4 December until at least 11th, may represent just the second record for the province. Also unusual was a Dusky Lark Pinarocorys nigricans in Rietvlei Nature Reserve, Gauteng, on 21 December. Noteworthy warblers included a River Warbler Locustella fluviatilis just west of Loskop Dam, Mpumalanga, on 23 December; a Eurasian Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus mist-netted at Barberspan Nature Reserve, North West Province, on 14 December (a very rare visitor to the subregion); and a Garden Warbler Sylvia borin in Karoo NP, Western Cape, on 15 December. A Black Saw-wing Psalidoprocne holomelas south of Richmond, Northern Cape, on 28 September, was well out of range. One of the race orientalis, previously treated as a separate species, was photographed in Phinda Private Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, on 8 October, with a Mascarene Martin Phedina borbonica also there on the same day. A Thrush Nightingale Luscinia luscinia was at Sebayeng Wetland near Polokwane, Limpopo, on 26 December. A Collared Flycatcher Ficedula albicollis discovered at Cebe, on the Wild Coast, on 23 October was probably only the 11th record for South Africa and the first for Eastern Cape. In Gauteng, a Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris was once again reported at Rietvlei Nature Reserve on 19 July. Common Myna Acridotheres tristis appears to be spreading west: one stayed in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Northern Cape, from 26 October until at least late December. In Eastern Cape, a male Green-winged Pytlia Pytilia melba located in Camdeboo Conservancy near GraaffReinet on 18 September was well out of range and only the second record for the province. An African Pied Wagtail Motacilla aguimp frequented Strandfontein Sewage Works, Western Cape, on 3–26 August, with another in Plettenberg Bay on 11 October–1 November. A Yellow Wagtail M. flava remained at Sappi Stanger, KwaZulu-Natal, until at least 16 July; one was at Strandfontein Sewage Works, Western Cape, from 1 December until at least 18th. In Limpopo, a Grey Wagtail M. cinerea stayed in Magoebaskloof from 23 November until at least late December, with a second also there from 6 December. Tree Pipits Anthus trivialis were reported from Gauteng (Blue Hills Country Estate, Midrand, 23 October) and Limpopo (Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, 6 November). Southern Africa’s 16th Golden Pipit Tmetothylacus tenellus, a male, was in Ithala Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, on 26 November–1 December (per TH).

from ABC Bulletin 23.2

The following records are from late December 2015–June 2016. Noteworthy species seen in the waters south and west of Cape Point include Wandering Albatross Diomedea exulans (one on 23 April; up to 12 in May; six on 22 June), Southern Royal Albatross D. epomophora (two on 23–24 April), Northern Royal Albatross D. (e.) sanfordi (one on 31 March; two on 23–24 April), Light-mantled Albatross Phoebetria palpebrata (one on 5–6 April; probably only the 14th record for southern Africa), Grey-headed Albatross Thalassarche chrysostoma (one on 12 June), Buller’s Albatross T. bulleri (one on 7 May; sixth record for southern Africa), Leach’s Storm-petrel Hydrobates leucorhous (c.12 on 31 March), Grey Petrel Procellaria cinerea (one on 7 May), Spectacled Petrel P. conspicillata (one on 6 February; at least three on 24 February and 31 March; one on 22 June) and Flesh-footed Shearwater Ardenna carneipes (one on 13 May). In the waters south of Port Alfred, Eastern Cape, a juvenile Wandering Albatross was seen on 16 May. Species observed in the waters south of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, include a Tropical Shearwater Puffinus bailloni on 21 February, and an immature Sooty Albatross Phoebetria fusca and two White-faced Stormpetrels Pelagodroma marina on 4 June. In KwaZulu-Natal, southern Africa’s eighth King Penguin Aptenodytes patagonicus was picked up at St. Lucia on 22 January (it died en route to a rehabilitation centre), whilst a freshly dead Whitetailed Tropicbird Phaethon lepturus was found at Empangeni on 20 March, and an exhausted Tropical Shearwater on North Beach, Durban, on 30 March. In Western Cape, a Southern Fulmar Fulmarus glacialoides was present around Seal Island in False Bay on 12 April, whilst up to two Australian Gannets Morus serrator remained on Malgas Island in Saldahna Bay from 21 December until at least 23 June. A Great Bittern Botaurus stellatus was seen near Sappi Stanger bird hide, KwaZulu-Natal, on 14 December and remained there for several days. A Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus was in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Northern Cape, on 26 December. No fewer than eight Goliath Herons Ardea goliath, including two juveniles, were counted at Verlorenvlei in Eland’s Bay, Western Cape, on 27 January, with 11 there on 5 May; the species has obviously become resident at this site. Three Goliath Herons were still present along the Berg River east of Velddrif on 22 May. A small irruption of African Openbills Anastomus lamelligerus occurred throughout the country, with birds reported from Mpumalanga (two in January– February), North West Province (up to six in January; one in April), Gauteng (at least six in December– January), KwaZulu-Natal (>100 in December–February; two in June), Free State (four in January–March), Eastern Cape (at least five in late December–February), Western Cape (c.5 in January–April) and Northern Cape (one in February). In Western Cape, single Marabou Storks Leptoptilos crumenifer were observed on Hermon Road on 23 December and in Plettenberg Bay in mid February. Up to two Yellow-billed Storks Mycteria ibis remained at Voelvlei, near Vleesbaai, Western Cape, from 7 December to at least 17 January. Single Abdim’s Storks Ciconia abdimii were observed near Underberg, KwaZuluNatal, on 12–13 December; near Stutterheim, Eastern Cape, on 25 January; and between Stanford and Napier, Western Cape, on 31 January. A Saddle-billed Stork Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis was at a dam in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands on 25 December, with another between Leandra and Kinross, Mpumalanga, on 14 April. European Honey Buzzards Pernis apivorus continued to be reported from all provinces, with >110 records in late December–April, in Limpopo (at least eight), Mpumalanga (two), KwaZulu-Natal (35), Gauteng (>40), North West Province (seven), Free State (six), Eastern Cape (five) and Western Cape (six). Single Palmnut Vultures Gypohierax angolensis were recorded in Northern Cape (an immature near Strydenberg on 13 December), Eastern Cape (north of Grahamstown on 17 February), Western Cape (an immature at Strandfontein Sewage Works on 24 April), North West Province (a juvenile at the vulture restaurant at VulPro on 19–22 May), KwaZulu-Natal (at Eshowe Environmental Education Centre on 13 June) and Limpopo (a longstaying adult regularly visiting the vulture restaurant on Mockford farm, Polokwane, throughout the period). An adult Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus was seen in Kruger National Park (=NP), Mpumalanga, between Numbi Gate and Pretoriuskop Rest Camp on 14 February. A pair of Bateleurs Terathopius ecaudatus was regularly reported over Kariega Game Reserve, Eastern Cape, in January, whilst a sub-adult was noted in Weenen Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, on 23–27 May. A Western Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus was present at Marievale Bird Sanctuary, Gauteng, until at least 8 February, with two there on 31 January; others were observed at Potchefstroom, North West Province, on 11 January; at Brackendowns, Gauteng, on 7 February; and at Sappi Stanger, KwaZulu-Natal, on 16 January–7 February. Montagu’s Harriers C. pygargus were reported from Eastern Cape (a sub-adult male in the St. Francis Bay area on 1–14 January; a male in Addo NP on 28 December; a female c.50 km north of Grahamstown on 13 February), Western Cape (a sub-adult male c.4 km north of Darling on 23–24 January), Northern Cape (one c.20 km south of Britstown in late January), Free State (one near Harrismith on 30 January) and KwaZulu-Natal (an immature near Himeville on 2 February). Out-of-range eagles included Brown Snake Eagle Circaetus cinereus (three records in Eastern Cape between 31 December and 23 January, and one in Western Cape, in the Stanford area, on 14 January); Lesser Spotted Eagle Clanga pomarina (in KwaZulu-Natal—one at Albert Falls Dam on 31 December; two at Hilton College Nature Reserve on 22 December; one near Pietermaritzburg on 30 January— and Gauteng—one at Roodeplaat Dam Nature Reserve on 30 January); Tawny Eagle Aquila rapax (singles at Marievale Bird Sanctuary, Gauteng, on 26 December; between Steynsburg and Middelburg, Eastern Cape, on 20 February; and west of Harrismith, Free State, on 14 June); Steppe Eagle A. nipalensis (juveniles west of Prieska, Northern Cape, in late January; and between Graaff-Reinet and Kendrew, Eastern Cape, on 9 April); Wahlberg’s Eagle Hieraaetus wahlbergi (two still present near Grahamstown, Eastern Cape, on 13 February; first seen there on 2 October 2015); Ayres’s Eagle H. ayresii (three records of singles in KwaZulu-Natal: near Manguzi on 21 March, at Empangeni on 13 May, and at Richards Bay on 27 May); and Long-crested Eagle Lophaetus occipitalis (one at Botlierskop Reserve, Western Cape, on 21 March; and one c.27 km north of Petrus Steyn, Free State, on 25 May). Red-footed Falcons Falco vespertinus were noted in Mpumalanga (a female between Leandra and Kinross on 24 February), KwaZulu-Natal (one west of Nqutu on 3 January; singles along the Sani Pass road on 28 December, 25 January and 22 February; a female near Winterton on 25 January; up to four near Himeville on 27–28 February), North West Province (a female along the Zaagkuilsdrift Road on 20 February) and Eastern Cape (one near Kei Mouth on 2 February). In Western Cape, up to six Amur Falcons F. amurensis were reported (one south of Ladysmith on 19 December; one in the Stanford area on 16 January; two c.60 km north of Beaufort West on 17 January; one at De Hoop Nature Reserve on 2 February; and one near Bredasdorp on 13 February). Single Sooty Falcons F. concolor were observed in Gauteng (between the Duiker Hide and Blesbokspruit bridge on 10 January), Kruger NP (near Kruger Gate on 1 February; near Numbi Gate on 4 February; near Skukuza on 14 February–16 April), Mpumalanga (at Charleston on 11 May), KwaZulu-Natal (at Tembe Elephant Park on 16 December; north of Mbazwana on 25–27 January, with two south of Mbazwana on 17 March–9 April; at oNgoye on 20 February; near Gingindlovu on 21 February) and Western Cape (near Plettenberg Bay from March until at least 10 April). An African Hobby F. cuvierii was reported in the Soutpansberg Mountains near Entabeni, Limpopo, on 19 December. A very westerly family of African Scops Owls Otus senegalensis was at Graaff-Reinet, Northern Cape, from at least 28 December until early January. An influx of Spotted Crakes Porzana porzana occurred, with birds being reported f Recent Reports Bull ABC Vol 23 No 2 (2016) – 247 24–31 January and one at Ngciyo Pans, near Kenton-on-Sea, on 27 February– 17 March) and Northern Cape (one in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park on 21 December). Out-of-range African Crakes Crex egregia were found at Witsand Nature Reserve, Northern Cape, on 25 December; c.70 km north of Vryburg, North West Province, in late December; and at Vredefort Dam, Free State, on 12 April. Corn Crakes C. crex were observed in North West Province (one c.8 km north of Potchefstroom on 8 January), KwaZulu-Natal (one at Esikhuma on 31 December; two at Sappi Stanger on 16–17 January; and one in iSimangaliso Wetland Park near Cape Vidal on 23 January), Eastern Cape (one near East London on 8 January) and Northern Cape (one in Tswalu Kalahari Reserve on 24 December). In December–February, Lesser Moorhens Gallinula angulata were reported from Gauteng (at Hamerkop Bird Sanctuary in Florida on 30 December–11 January; at Rondebult Bird Sanctuary on 2 January; at Glen Austin Pan on 10–27 January; and at Bullfrog Pan in Benoni on 17–24 January), North West Province (at Klerksdorp Dam on 20 December–1 February and in Pilanesberg NP on 6 February), KwaZulu-Natal (at Zimanga Private Game Reserve on 22 December; at Wakkerstroom on 29 December; up to two near Port Edward on 7–31 January; at Sappi Stanger on 27 December–11 February; at Muzi Pan on 15 February; and two in Weenen Game Reserve on 13–20 February) and Eastern Cape (at Zwelitsha Pans on 13–16 December and along the Umngazi River south of Port St. Johns on 26 January). The longstaying Wattled Crane Bugeranus carunculatus was still present near Devon, Mpumalanga, until at least early June, as usual within a flock of Blue Cranes Anthropoides paradiseus. Six Lesser Jacanas Microparra capensis were reported from Mpumalanga (up to five at Komatidraai Dam on 21 January and one at Skukuza in Kruger NP on 10 April–30 June), with another seven in KwaZulu-Natal (singles south of Midlands Saddle and at Mooi River on 4–14 February; one at Empangeni on 20 February; one at Darvill Bird Sanctuary, Pietermaritzburg, on 2 April–27 June; one at Umdloti River mouth on 29 April; and one at the Northern Waste Water Treatment Works, Durban, on 27 June). Two Eurasian Oystercatchers Haematopus ostralegus were south of Umlalazi River mouth in Mtunzini, KwaZulu-Natal, on 22 December. A Burchell’s Courser Cursorius rufus was in Eston, KwaZulu-Natal, on 9 February, and up to 13 Temminck’s Coursers C. temminckii between Humansdorp and Kareedow, Eastern Cape, on 18–27 June. Three Black-winged Pratincoles Glareola nordmanni were seen in the Humansdorp area, Eastern Cape, on 19 March. In KwaZulu-Natal, at least 15 Collared Pratincoles G. pratincola came to roost at Sappi Stanger on 23 May (with at least four there on 25 June), whilst one was at Darvill Bird Sanctuary, Pietermaritzburg, on 27 May. Caspian Plovers Charadrius asiaticus were observed from December to February in Limpopo (up to 12 in Kruger NP on 31 December–1 February), Mpumalanga (up to 18 at Mkhombo Dam in December–early February), KwaZulu-Natal (up to four in Phinda Private Game Reserve on 28 December), North West Province (up to seven on the Kgomo Kgomo floodplain on 13 December), Northern Cape (two near Strydenburg on 18 December; up to four between Hanover and Colesburg on 24 December–9 February) and Western Cape (two at Kliphoek Salt Pans, Velddrif, on 7 January–11 February). In Western Cape, the long-staying Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva was still present at Gouritzmond until at least 21 April (first seen there on 17 October 2015), with another at De Mond Nature Reserve near Arniston on 16 April. A Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanotos remained at Marievale Bird Sanctuary, Gauteng, until at least 31 January (from 23 November 2015). A Broad-billed Sandpiper C. falcinellus was at Kliphoek Salt Pans in Velddrif, Western Cape, on 22 January and a Great Snipe Gallinago media at Dullstroom, KwaZuluNatal, on 1 January. A Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa remained at Marievale Bird Sanctuary, Gauteng, from 26 December–24 January; up to two were still at Mkhombo Dam, Mpumalanga, on 28 February (from at least November 2015). A Common Redshank Tringa totanus was at the Swartkops estuary, Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, on 26 January–30 April. Green Sandpipers T. ochropus were observed in Mpumalanga (singles in Kruger NP on 16 January, on the Sabie River on 20–21 December, and at Sabi Sands on 29 January), North West Province (one in Pilanesberg NP on 23 February), Gauteng (one in Rietvlei Nature Reserve throughout January and one still at Modderfontein Nature Reserve on 14 April) and KwaZulu-Natal (up to three at Darvill Bird Sanctuary in December–January and one at Intaba Ingwe in December). A Red Phalarope Phalaropus fulicarius was at Mkhombo Dam, Mpumalanga, on 16–26 January (two were there on 23 January), with one near Himeville, KwaZulu-Natal, on 27 February–1 March, and another at Hartbeespoort Dam, Gauteng, on 12 March. A Red-necked Phalarope P. lobatus first located at Kliphoek Salt Pans, Velddrif, Western Cape, on 1 November 2014, remained at the site until at least late June (it was joined there by two other indviduals in early 2016); it thus stayed throughout 2015 when it moulted into breeding plumage, and it seemed set to spend another austral winter at Velddrif. A Franklin’s Gull Leucophaeus pipixcan was at Cape Recife near Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, on 12 December, whilst one in full breeding plumage was at St. Lucia, KwaZulu-Natal, on 23 December, with another in the Durban area, KwaZulu-Natal, from 11 January until at least 29 May, by which time it had also acquired full breeding plumage. A Hartlaub’s Gull Chroicocephalus hartlaubii was observed at Cannon Rocks, Eastern Cape, on 23 December, with another in Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, 248 – Bull ABC Vol 23 No 2 (2016) Recent Reports on 30 December. A Lesser Blackbacked Gull Larus fuscus first found at Mkhombo Dam, Mpumalanga, on 1 August 2015, remained until at least 28 February; another was at the mouth of the Great Fish River, Eastern Cape, on 21 February, whilst in the same province an immature was at Orient Beach in East London on 20 April, with an adult also there on 21 April–17 May. In KwaZuluNatal, a Sooty Tern Onychoprion fuscatus was seen in iSimangaliso Wetland Park on 27 December, whilst one remained, once again, at the St. Lucia estuary from 13 January until 3 May; an exhausted juvenile was picked up near Stanger on 5 April and taken into care. In Western Cape, single Elegant Terns Thalasseus elegans were in tern roosts at Laaiplek near Velddrif on 21–25 December and at Hermanus on 4–20 February. A Common Tern Sterna hirundo photographed at Kij Kij waterhole in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Northern Cape, on 15 May, looked rather out of place in the Kalahari Desert. An African Skimmer Rynchops flavirostris was present at Kosi Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, on 19 December–31 January, whilst another was photographed in Kruger NP on 25 June; since the last South African breeding record in 1944, the species has been only sporadically recorded across the country. Immature Great Spotted Cuckoos Clamator glandarius were recorded in Western Cape, in Table Bay Nature Reserve on 18–28 February and 70 km north of Beaufort West on 9 March. Single Common Cuckoos Cuculus canorus were noted in Western Cape (c.60 km north of Beaufort West on 17 January; in Karoo NP on 23 January; in Table Bay Nature Reserve on 28 January–2 February; and c.5 km east of Stanford on 28–30 January), Eastern Cape (in Jeffrey’s Bay on 22 January; along the Grahamstown– Riebeeck East road on 28–31 January; along the Cannon Rocks– Alexandria road on 7–8 February; and at Gamtoos River mouth on 19 February) and Gauteng (in Waterfall Estate in Midrand on 11–21 January and in Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve on 16 January). An African Palm Swift Cypsiurus parvus was reported over Paarl Bird Sanctuary, Western Cape, on 18 June. A Little Bee-Eater Merops pusillus was briefly in East London, Eastern Cape, on 16 May; this is a very rare species in the province. Quite out of range were a Whitefronted Bee-eater M. bullockoides on the Cape Peninsula on 3–7 and 20–21 May, with at least four near Calitzdorp, Western Cape, until at least 6 May; and a Bluecheeked Bee-eater M. persicus near Kei Mouth, Eastern Cape, on 6 February. A Swallow-tailed Beeeater M. hirundineus, a particularly rare species in KwaZulu-Natal, was at Umhlanga Lagoon Nature Reserve on 24–26 May. Southern Africa’s 17th White-throated Beeeater M. albicollis was discovered in Kruger NP, Mpumalanga, on 23 January. A Rufous-crowned (Purple) Roller Coracias naevius was in Mountain Zebra NP, Eastern Cape, on 8–12 April; there are very few, if any, previous records for the province. Also outside their usual range were a Woodland Kingfisher Halcyon senegalensis in Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, Northern Cape, on 23 December, a Greyheaded Kingfisher H. leucocephala at Amanzimtoti, KwaZulu-Natal, on 25 December, and two Common Scimitarbills Rhinopomastus cyanomelas c.5 km north-west of Alicedale, Eastern Cape, on 1 May. A Trumpeter Hornbill Bycanistes bucinator in Wilderness on 13–14 January was almost certainly the first for Western Cape. In Mpumalanga, up to two Red-fronted Tinkerbirds Pogoniulus pusillus near Mananga on 14–21 January appear also to be the first for the province. A Dusky Lark Pinarocorys nigricans was encountered in Imfolozi Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, on 24 April. Yellow Wagtails Motacilla flava were reported from Western Cape (up to five at Voelvlei near Vleesbaai, on 3–18 January; one at Moullie Point on 25–29 January; and one in Garden Route NP from late January–13 February), Eastern Cape (one in Addo NP on 15 February), Northern Cape (at least two at Spitskop Dam near Kimberley on 20 February) and KwaZuluNatal (one still present at Sappi Stanger until at least 27 June). A Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis was seen in the Wolkberg region, Limpopo, on 20 December, whist another remained at Wonderboom Nature Reserve near Pretoria, Gauteng, on 5 February–1 March. In Limpopo, two White-breasted Cuckooshrikes Coracina pectoralis were well out of range near Mabula on 11 April. A Thrush Nightingale Luscinia luscinia was observed along Zaagkuilsdrift Road, North West Province, on 23 January. A Sickle-winged Chat Emarginata (Cercomela) sinuata remained near Devon, Mpumalanga, on 30 April–20 June (with three there on 12 June); another was at Suikerbosrand, Gauteng, on 5 June. Two White-browed Scrub Robins Cercotrichas leucophrys were ringed in Nature’s Valley, Western Cape, on 19 April, with another on 17 May; 11 individuals have now been recorded in the province, of which nine were mist-netted. A Garden Warbler Sylvia borin mist-netted at Princess Vlei, Western Cape, on 6 February was a surprising find. A Bush Blackcap Lioptilus nigricapillus was noted at Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve, Gauteng, on 8 May and 5 June, in the area where the species was also present in 2015; another was at Governor’s Kop, near Grahamstown, Eastern Cape, on 5 June. At the latter site up to three Gurney’s Sugarbirds Promerops gurneyi remained from 5 June until at least 17th. An unusual record for Eastern Cape concerned a Brubru Nilaus afer in Oviston Nature Reserve on 19 February. In the same province, Violet-backed Starlings Cinnyricinclus leucogaster were seen at Mdumbi on 7 January (a male), in Kwandwe Private Game Reserve near Grahamstown on 2 February (a small flock), and near Berlin on 28 February (one) (all per TH).

from ABC Bulletin 23.1

The following records are mainly from the period July–December 2015. Noteworthy species seen in the waters south and west of Cape Point include Wandering Albatross Diomedea exulans (several in late June; one each in August and September; at least 12 in October; one in November), Tristan Albatross D. (e.) dabbenena (one on 6 October), Southern Royal Albatross D. epomophora (one in August), Northern Royal Albatross D. (e.) sanfordi (at least two in July; two in August; two in October), Southern Fulmar Fulmarus glacialoides (one in October), White-headed Petrel Pterodroma lessoni (one in late June), and Spectacled Petrel Procellaria conspicillata (one in August; three in October; two in November; one in December).

Species observed in the waters south of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, include Black-bellied Storm-petrel Fregeta tropica (seven in August; one in October), Soft-plumaged Petrel Pterodroma mollis (one in July), Barau’s Petrel P. baraui (one in September; two in October), Antarctic Prion Pachyptila desolata (several in July and August), Sooty Tern Onychoprion fuscatus (three in September) and Red Phalarope Phalaropus fulicarius (one on 8 November).

A Soft-plumaged Petrel with a broken wing was found on Shelley Beach, near Port Shepstone, KwaZulu-Natal, on 25 July and taken into care. A tropicbird seen from East Head Café in Knysna, Western Cape, on 15 November, was observed again on 22 November and identified as a Red-billed Tropicbird Phaethon aethereus, a very rare species in the subregion. An exhausted Red-tailed Tropicbird P. rubricauda was picked up in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, on 5 December and taken into care, whilst a White-tailed Tropicbird P. lepturus was located at Three Sisters, Eastern Cape, on 10 December. Australian Gannets Morus serrator were present on Bird Island in Algoa Bay, Eastern Cape, from mid August until at least early November (up to two) and on Malgas Island in Saldanha Bay, Western Cape, from mid August until at least late November. An immature Greater Frigatebird Fregata minor flew along Shelley Beach, KwaZulu-Natal, on 8 September.

A male Harlequin Quail Coturnix delegorguei was observed in Glenwood, KwaZulu-Natal, in mid September. Fulvous Whistling Ducks Dendrocygna bicolor were in Western Cape at Worcester Sewage Works on 26 September, and at Paarl Bird Sanctuary on 31 October—far west of the species’ normal range. A Great Bittern Botaurus stellatus was reported from Himeville, KwaZulu-Natal, on 11 November. In Northern Cape, a Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides was found near Twee Rivieren in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park on 26 August—a very unusual species for the area. Up to two Green-backed Herons Butorides striata stayed in the East London area, Eastern Cape, from 13 July until at least 16 August; this is an uncommon species in the area. In Mpumalanga, a Slaty Egret Egretta vinaceigula was reported along the Crocodile River at Malelane Gate on 5 October, and flying over Komatipoort on 15 October. Goliath Herons Ardea goliath were observed in Western Cape at Plettenberg Bay from 2 July until at least 10 November, at Wellington Waste Water Works on 14 July, along the Berg River, Velddrif, from 9 August until at least 5 September, and at Verlorenvlei, Elands Bay, on 10 September. In the same province, two Yellow-billed Storks Mycteria ibis were found at Voelvlei near Vleesbaai, on 7 December.

The first European Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus of the season was recorded in Pretoria, Gauteng, on 21 September; subsequently, individuals were reported throughout the period from Limpopo (two), North West Province (two), Gauteng (at least 13), Mpumalanga (one), KwaZulu-Natal (two) and Western Cape (four). A satellite tagged female that was in the Caprivi Strip, Namibia, in early November, crossed Botswana and remained south of Johannesburg, Gauteng, from 8 November until at least 16th. An immature White-backed Vulture Gyps africanus was with Cape Vultures G. coprotheres at a carcass near Kgomo Kgomo bridge, North West Province, on 22 August. Camera-trap images from Blouberg Nature Reserve, Limpopo, revealed that a Rüppell’s Vulture G. rueppelli again visited a waterhole on 21 July; probably the same individual subsequently bred (apparently with a Cape Vulture) and was observed at its nest until late November. An adult Palm-nut Vulture Gypohierax angolensis remained at Swellendam, Western Cape, from late August until at least early October. Out-of-range Brown Snake Eagles Circaetus cinereus were noted at Gondwana Game Reserve, near Mossel Bay, Western Cape, on 6 September, and at East London, Eastern Cape, on 4 December. Bateleurs Terathopius ecaudatus were seen south of Mooreesburg, Western Cape, on 17 November, at Kariega Game Reserve, Eastern Cape, on 24 and 27 November, and east of Bathurst, Eastern Cape, on 28 November. Pallid Harriers Circus macrourus were reported from North West Province (an immature male north of Faan Meintjies Nature Reserve, near Klerksdorp, on 3 November), Northern Cape (one in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park on 12 November) and on the border between Northern and Western Cape (a female flying towards Murraysburg on 22 November). A male Montagu’s Harrier C. pygargus was near Graaff-Reinet, Eastern Cape, on 23 November. At least two Western Marsh Harriers C. aeruginosus, an immature male and a female, remained at Marievale Bird Sanctuary, near Nigel, Gauteng, in November, with at least one still present in early December. Up to two Dark Chanting Goshawks Melierax metabates stayed in Zululand Rhino Reserve from late August until at least late November, with one in Mkhuze Game Reserve on 21 October; this is a rare species in KwaZulu-Natal with only c.20 previous records. Single Pale Chanting Goshawks M. canorus—also unusual for KwaZulu-Natal—were noted in Weenen Game Reserve on 12 July and 25 September. A Lesser Spotted Eagle Clanga pomarina was at Zaagkuilsdrift Road, North West Province, on 28 November. A pair of Wahlberg’s Eagles Hieraaetus wahlbergi on a farm c.15 km west of Grahamstown, Eastern Cape, on 2–6 October, is probably the first record for the province. Ayres’s Eagles H. ayresii were reported from Kruger National Park =(NP), Mpumalanga, on 27 August (one), the Weskoppies area of Pretoria, Gauteng, from late September until December (up to five), Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, on 5 December (one), and Empangeni, KwaZulu- Natal, on 8 December (one). At least three Long-crested Eagles Lophaetus occipitalis frequented the George area, Western Cape, from late July until at least late November, indicating that the species is probably resident. A Greater Kestrel Falco rupicoloides was observed in Kruger NP, Mpumalanga, on 25 July. Red-footed Falcons F. vespertinus were seen near Rust de Winter, Limpopo, on 3 November (a male) and 28 November (one), and at Midmar Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, on 14–15 November (a female), whilst Sooty Falcons F. concolor were near Bela Bela, Limpopo, on 21–22 November, in Sodwana, KwaZulu-Natal, on 28 November and in Phinda Private Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, on 4 December.

A Spotted Crake Porzana porzana was discovered at Franklin Marsh, near Kokstad, KwaZulu-Natal, on 29 November and a Baillon’s Crake Zapornia pusilla in De Hoop Nature Reserve, Western Cape, on 17 September. An African Crake Crex egregia was seen at Simbithi Estate, north of Ballito, KwaZulu-Natal, on 19 July—an interesting winter record of a species that is quite unusual in this part of the country. An adult Allen’s Gallinule Porphyrio alleni was picked up in Bellville, Western Cape, far from its known range, on 24 August, and taken into care; it was released at Strandfontein Sewage Works on 27 August and was last seen there on 12 October. Also out of range was a juvenile Allen’s Gallinule c.2 km from Urikaruss in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Northern Cape, on 6 September. A Lesser Moorhen Gallinula angulata remained at Darvill Bird Sanctuary, Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, until at least 4 July. A Wattled Crane Bugeranus carunculatus and a Grey Crowned Crane Balearica regulorum were with a flock of Blue Cranes Anthropoides paradiseus near Devon, Mpumalanga, on 19–28 July, whilst three Grey Crowned Cranes were at Ezemvelo Nature Reserve, Gauteng, on 10 October.

A female African Finfoot Podica senegalensis stayed at Rietvlei Nature Reserve, Gauteng, from mid October until December. Single Lesser Jacanas Microparra capensis were noted in KwaZulu-Natal, at the Illovo River Lagoon on 11 August and in Port Edward on 1–4 September, and Mpumalanga, at TSB Komatidraai sugarcane farm on 28–29 November, with at least two pairs near Lothair on 5–6 December. A Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus was still present near Centani, Eastern Cape, on 2 July. Two Temminck’s Coursers Cursorius temminckii were located west of Humansdorp, Eastern Cape, on 11 August—an unusual species for the province. Up to two Collared Pratincoles Glareola pratincola stayed at Mkhombo Dam, Mpumalanga, from 26 September until at least 4 October. In Western Cape, a Lesser Sand Plover Charadrius mongolus was at West Coast NP in July–August, whilst a Greater Sand Plover C. leschenaultii was located in Plettenberg Bay, Western Cape, on 10 November. Caspian Plovers C. asiaticus were reported from Mpumalanga (Mkhombo Dam, from 26 September until at least 7 December, with up to 11 on 7–11 October; at least five north of Satara in Kruger NP on 12 November), KwaZulu-Natal (two in Phinda Private Game Reserve on 26 October), Northern Cape (one c.80 km north-west of Loeriesfontein on 28 October), Western Cape (one at Velddrif on 10 November) and Limpopo (at least eight in Kruger NP on 18 November). In Western Cape, an American Golden Plover Pluvialis dominica was at De Mond Nature Reserve, near Arniston, on 12 November and a Pacific Golden Plover P. fulva at Gouritzmond from 17 October until early December. A Long-toed Lapwing Vanellus crassirostris was reported from Ngwenya Lodge, on the Crocodile River, Mpumalanga, in August; the last South African record may have been the individual in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in February 2006. Southern Africa’s 25th White-rumped Sandpiper Calidris fuscicollis was discovered at Strandfontein Sewage Works, Western Cape, on 1 October. Two Pectoral Sandpipers C. melanotos were at Marievale Bird Sanctuary, Gauteng, on 9–13 August, with another there from 23 November until at least 10 December. A Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa stayed at Mkhombo Dam, Mpumalanga, from July until at least 7 December; three were there on 8 November, and at least two until 7 December. In KwaZulu-Natal, a Common Redshank Tringa totanus was at St. Lucia estuary on 20 November. One of the first Green Sandpipers T. ochropus of the season was seen in Kruger NP, Mpumalanga, on 18 September; several were subsequently reported from KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and Limpopo, with some remaining at the same location for several weeks. Up to two Ruddy Turnstones Arenaria interpres stayed at Mkhombo Dam, Mpumalanga, from 26 September until at least 11 October; one was at Marievale Bird Sanctuary, Gauteng, on 9 November. A Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus remained at the Kliphoek Salt Pans in Velddrif, Western Cape, from 8 August until 3 December; it was joined by a second from 25 October onwards.

A Franklin’s Gull Leucophaeus pipixcan in full breeding plumage at St. Lucia estuary, KwaZulu-Natal, was still present on 4 July. A long staying Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus in Durban harbour, KwaZulu-Natal, was also still present in July and remained there until at least mid October; an immature stayed at Mkhombo Dam, Mpumalanga, from 1 August until at least 7 December, with another near Glen Austin Pan, Gauteng, on 13 September. A Gull-billed Tern Gelochelidon nilotica was photographed at Lake Shengeza, KwaZulu-Natal, on 28 July; this is still a rather rare species in southern Africa. An Elegant Tern Thalasseus elegans was found at the tern roost at Laaiplek near Velddrif, Western Cape, on 21 December. Also of interest was a Roseate Tern Sterna dougallii at the tern roost at St. Lucia estuary, KwaZulu-Natal, on 25–26 July. At least two Sooty Terns were on Bird Island in Algoa Bay, Eastern Cape, on 12 August, whilst another was, once again, present at St. Lucia estuary, from 29 August until at least 9 September. An African Skimmer Rynchops flavirostris was reported from Vaalkop Dam, North West Province, on 14–15 November.

A Madagascar Cuckoo Cuculus rochii was calling c.8 km west of Biyamithi, Kruger NP, on 28 November—possibly the same individual that has returned to this area for several successive seasons. Another was photographed at Korongwe Private Game Reserve near Hoedspruit, Limpopo, on 16 December. A juvenile Common Cuckoo C. canorus was at Zaagkuilsdrift Road, North West Province, on 28 November, whilst another was killed in Western Cape when it flew into a window in Knysna, on 9 December. A Pel’s Fishing Owl Scotopelia peli was located at Groot Krokodil Resort, c.70 km north of Brits, Limpopo, on 19 July, well outside its normal range. In the Karoo region, a Verreaux’s Eagle Owl Bubo lacteus stayed for its fourth year on a farm near Murraysburg, Western Cape (reported on 1 November). A Pearl-spotted Owlet Glaucidium perlatum remained at Beaufort West, Western Cape, from September until at least early November; another was reported from Hamerkop Bird Sanctuary, Florida, Gauteng, on 7 November. A Marsh Owl Asio capensis was photographed at Kieliekrankie in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Northern Cape, on 11 July. A Pennant-winged Nightjar Caprimulgus vexillarius was observed just west of Tau Lodge in Madikwe Game Reserve, North West Province, on 19 October. In Western Cape, an African Palm Swift Cypsiurus parvus was reported from Harold Porter Botanical Gardens, in Betty’s Bay, on 17 October, whilst two were investigating palm trees in Plattekloof on 24–27 October.

A Half-collared Kingfisher Alcedo semitorquata on a farm near Robertson on 1–5 July is a remarkable record so close to Cape Town. An African Pygmy Kingfisher Ispidina picta in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Northern Cape, on 21 October, was well outside its normal range. In early September, White-fronted Bee-eaters Merops bullockoides were located in Western Cape near Three Sisters and Calitzdorp. Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters M. persicus were found in Western Cape, at Stillbaai Sewage Ponds on 24 November (three), and in Eastern Cape, near Colchester on 28 November (three) and in Nahoon Estuary Reserve, East London, from 28 November until at least 6 December (one). A Broad-billed Roller Eurystomus glaucurus was in Kenneth Stainbank Nature Reserve, Durban, KwaZulu- Natal, on 11 October, with another in Madikwe Game Reserve, North West Province, on 5 December— apparently the first for the reserve in at least five years. A Common Scimitarbill Rhinopomastus cyanomelas was seen between East London and Stutterheim, Eastern Cape, on 29 October, well outside its usual range. A Southern Ground Hornbill Bucorvus leadbeateri at Kwandwe Private Game Reserve, Eastern Cape, on 5 October was a quite westerly record. Also of interest were three African Grey Hornbills Tockus nasutus reported from Zululand Rhino Reserve, near Mkhuze, KwaZulu-Natal, on 7 July, with one around Orania, Northern Cape, on 14 July; this species appears to be spreading south-westwards. A Bennett’s Woodpecker Campethera bennettii was at Zululand Rhino Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, on 12 September—an unusual southerly record.

An immature Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica was mist-netted north of Lephalale, Limpopo, on 16 December; this is a very rare vagrant to the southern African subregion, with just a few previous records, all from Zimbabwe. In Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Northern Cape, a Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava was noted on 20 October and a Long-billed Pipit Anthus similis on 12 November. Short-tailed Pipits A. brachyurus were on view again near Verena, Gauteng, on 13 November; this species is hard to find anywhere. A Tree Pipit A. trivialis at Perdekloof Reserve, near Cape Point, on 3–12 August, was the first for Western Cape, with the nearest known records from Lüderitz, in Namibia, at least 1,000 km to the north.

A Collared Palm Thrush Cichladusa arquata first seen south of Lower Sabie in Kruger NP, Mpumalanga, on 20 May—well south of its normal range—was present until at least 30 July. A Thrush Nightingale Luscinia luscinia was reported c.25 km outside Hoedspruit, Limpopo, on 15–31 August—an unusual time of the year: most arrive from late December and depart in late March. A Sickle-winged Chat Cercomela sinuata was located at Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve, Gauteng, on 10 August. A Common Whitethroat Sylvia communis was between Williston and Van Wyksvlei, Northern Cape, on 7 December—an unusual record for the area. In Northern Cape, a Grey Tit Flycatcher Myioparus plumbeus in Augrabies NP, on 24 November, is a very westerly record. A Bush Blackcap Lioptilus nigricapillus was at Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve, Gauteng, on 1–8 August. A Gurney’s Sugarbird Promerops gurneyi c.10 km south of Grahamstown, Eastern Cape, on 12–13 September, was well out of range. A pair of Scarlet-chested Sunbirds Chalcomitra senegalensis stayed in a garden in Bulugha, c.40 km north-east of East London, from 26 September until at least mid October—a remarkable record for Eastern Cape.

A Lesser Grey Shrike Lanius minor was c.5 km east of Riversdale, Western Cape, on 31 July. Two Cape Glossy Starlings Lamprotornis nitens were observed in Karoo NP, Western Cape, on 8 August, whilst single Violet-backed Starlings Cinnyricinclus leucogaster were reported from Eastern Cape in Beacon Bay, East London, on 18 July, Grahamstown on 31 October, Bushman Sands Game Reserve, Alicedale, on 7 December, and Queenstown on 8 December. Two Common Mynas Acridotheres tristis at Orania, Northern Cape, on 14 July, showed that this species is still spreading. In KwaZulu-Natal, a Red-billed Buffalo Weaver Bubalornis niger was reported from Pongola Nature Reserve on 21 October, with another in Zululand Rhino Reserve on 2 December. Also well outside their normal range were a female Violet-eared Waxbill Granatina granatina at Imfolozi Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, on 2 August, a Black-headed Canary Serinus alario at Sani Pass, KwaZulu-Natal, on 7 September and 13 November, and a Cinnamon-breasted Bunting Emberiza tahapisi on Table Mountain, Western Cape, on 10–12 July.    

from ABC Bulletin 22.2

The following records are from the period January - June 2015, with one from late December 2014. The first Ortolan Bunting Emberiza hortulana for South Africa was photographed in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park on 29 December 2014; the only other record in the subregion was from 13 November 2013 in Namibia. Southern Africa’s second Snowy Egret Egretta thula was discovered along the Black River, Western Cape, on 8 June and was still present at the end of the month. 

Noteworthy species seen in the waters up to 150 nautical miles south and west of Cape Point include Wandering Albatross Diomedea exulans (a juvenile on 17 January; an adult and a juvenile on 19–20 April; a juvenile on 17 May), Chatham Albatross Thallassarche (cauta) eremita (singles on 21 April and in early May, the seventh and eighth for southern Africa), Salvin’s Albatross T. (c.) salvini (one in early May), Sooty Albatross Phoebetria fusca (one on 13 May), Light-mantled Albatross P. palpebrata (one on 20 February), Southern Giant Petrel Macronectes giganteus (a white morph in early May), Southern Fulmar Fulmarus glacialoides (five in late May), Slender-billed Prion Pachyptila belcheri (one on 6 June), White-headed Petrel Pterodroma lessoni (one on 28 April; two on 13 May), Spectacled Petrel Procellaria conspicillata (several in January; three in March; two in April; two in May), Flesh-footed Shearwater Ardenna (=Puffinus) carneipes (singles on 17 - 18 and 24 January), Franklin’s Gull Leucophaeus pipixcan (one in breeding plumage in early May), and Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis (two far offshore in early May).

Species observed in the waters south of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, include Wandering Albatross (one on 7 June), Black-bellied Storm-petrel Fregeta tropica (a few on 17 May), European Storm-petrel Hydrobates pelagicus (one on 10 January), Barau’s Petrel Pterodroma baraui (at least one in mid April), Antarctic Prion Pachyptila desolata (30 on 7 June; at least six on 20 June), Red-footed Booby Sula sula (singles on 8 and 10 January), Long-tailed Skua Stercorarius longicaudus (one on 10 January), Sabine’s Gull Xema sabini (one on 10 January), and Sooty Tern Onychoprion fuscatus (several flocks in mid April). 

A moulting Northern Rockhopper Penguin Eudyptes moseleyi was found weakened between Brenton and Buffels Bay, Western Cape, in late January and taken into care. Also in Western Cape, a Broad-billed Prion Pachyptila vittata was briefly resting ashore at Scarborough on 30 May; this is a very rare species in the subregion with few recent records. Single Red-tailed Tropicbirds Phaethon rubricauda were noted near Cape Point on 18 February and at Port Edward, KwaZulu-Natal, on 1 April. At least one Australasian Gannet Morus serrator remained on Malgas Island in Saldahna Bay, Western Cape, on 11 March, with another on Bird Island in Algoa Bay, Eastern Cape, in late March. An immature Red-footed Booby was at Cape Recife, near Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, on 6 April. 

Fulvous Whistling Ducks Dendrocygna bicolor were found at Grahamstown, Eastern Cape, on 25 January (one) and 4 - 11 February (a pair), and at Paarl Bird Sanctuary, Western Cape, in April (three)—far west of the species’ normal range. A Green-backed Heron Butorides striata at Port Alfred, Eastern Cape, on 26 May, was a remarkable provincial find; it was seen again on 24 June. In KwaZulu-Natal, a Rufous-bellied Heron Ardeola rufiventris was at Cape Vidal on 15 January, with another at Stanger on 1 April - rather southerly records. A Slaty Egret Egretta vinaceigula remained at Gnu Valley, Gauteng, in January - February, with another in southern Kruger National Park (=NP), Mpumulanga, in March. Several Goliath Herons Ardea goliath were reported from Western Cape, with an adult east of Velddrif on 7 February and 7 - 15 March, and an immature also there on 15 March; up to five at Verlorensvlei, near Elands Bay, on 23 March - 22 April; one in the Overberg on 25 April, with another along the Breede River at the base of Bainskloof Pass. Also in Western Cape, a Marabou Stork Leptoptilos crumenifer was seen near Gansbaai on 25 January and six Abdim’s Storks Ciconia abdimii between Worcester and Wolseley on 23 February, with one near Table View on 2 - 4 May. 

Similar to 2014, an influx of European Honey Buzzards Pernis apivorus occurred throughout South Africa, with >120 records in January - April, from Limpopo (at least 11), Mpumalanga (c.10), KwaZulu-Natal (22), Gauteng (35), North West Province (five), Free State (ten), Northern Cape (one), Eastern Cape (eight) and Western Cape (15); there was also one from 24 May, east of Winburg, Free State. A Bateleur Terathopius ecaudatus was seen between Piketberg and Koringberg, Western Cape, on 6 January. Notable vulture sightings included a juvenile Bearded Vulture Gypaetus barbatus at Springs, Gauteng, on 11 January; a White-backed Vulture Gyps africanus along Zaagkuilsdrift Road, Limpopo Province, on 7 February; four Cape Vultures G. coprotheres west of Middelburg, Eastern Cape, on 7 February, with one in the Murraysburg district, Western Cape, on 11 April, and two between Mossel Bay and George, Western Cape, on 12 May; and a Lappet-faced Vulture Torgos tracheliotos at Hekpoort, Gauteng, on 10 February. In Western Cape, Brown Snake Eagles Circaetus cinereus were reported from Robertson on 18 January, Caledon on 8 February, Paarl Mountain on 28 February, Darling on 1 March (two), north of Silverstroomstrand on 3 March, and between Darling and the R27 on 5 March, whilst in Eastern Cape, singles were at Kariega Game Reserve on 8 January and near Port Alfred on 19 March. Montagu’s Harriers Circus pygargus were seen near Plettenberg Bay, Western Cape, on 12 January, at Pongola Nature Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, on 26 January (at least two), east of Tweeling, Free State, in late January, and west of Bredasdorp, Western Cape, on 11 March. A Western Marsh Harrier C. aeruginosus was noted near Vogelfontein, Limpopo Province, on 27 January and another at Marievale Bird Sanctuary, Gauteng, on 3 March. In Northern Cape, a well out of range Little Sparrowhawk Accipiter minullus was located c.10 km east of Noupoort on 20 June. A Lesser Spotted Eagle Clanga pomarina was observed at Darvill Bird Sanctuary, Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, on 7 February, with another at Hilton College Nature Reserve on 14 March. A Tawny Eagle Aquila rapax was west of Middelburg, Eastern Cape, on 9 February, a pale-morph Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus at Zululand Rhino Reserve, KwaZulu- Natal, on 1 January, and an Ayres’s Hawk Eagle H. ayresii in a Cowie’s Hill garden, KwaZulu-Natal, on 15 February. In North West Province, Long-crested Eagle Lophaetus occipitalis appears to be expanding its range west, with birds reported at Kgaswane Mountain Reserve near Rustenburg and near The Cradle of Humankind in January, and near Potchefstroom on 29 March. Records in Western Cape included one between Hopefield and Malmesbury on 3 January, a pair flying over Hoekwil on 3 March, singles in the George area on 22 March, 9 April and 27 May, one near Harkerville on 23 March, and singles at Witfontein Nature Reserve and near Voorbrug on 11 April.

In January - March, several Amur Falcons Falco amurensis were reported from various localities in Western Cape, the largest flock being one of 25 north of Mossel Bay on 24 March. In the same period, an influx of Red-footed Falcons F. vespertinus occurred, with at least 100 individuals being recorded in almost all provinces, the majority in February in Gauteng (at least 19), Mpumalanga (26) and Eastern Cape (26); the last were reported from Western Cape in mid March (two) and Limpopo Province on 29 March (one). Sooty Falcons F. concolor were located near Paul Kruger gate, Kruger NP, Mpumalanga, on 5 February (one) and in Mbazwana, KwaZulu- Natal, on 28 February (two), whilst one arrived at Emily Moon Resort in Plettenberg Bay, Western Cape, on 4 March and remained until at least 11 April, visiting this site for its fourth consecutive season. In Northern Cape, a Eurasian Hobby F. subbuteo was observed near Mokala NP on 16 January - an unusual record for this part of the country.

A dead male Harlequin Quail Coturnix delegorguei was found outside of the species’ normal range in Kingsmead, KwaZulu-Natal, in February. A Common Buttonquail Turnix sylvaticus was picked up after it had flown into a roof in Westcliff, Johannesburg, Gauteng, on 2 February, but subsequently died. In Memel, Free State, a White-winged Flufftail Sarothrura ayresi was put up during a ‘flufftail flush’ on 25 February - an unusual record for the area. A Baillon’s Crake Zapornia (=Porzana) pusilla was at Rondevlei Nature Reserve, Western Cape, on 24 - 27 January, and an African Crake Crex egregia east of Tweeling, Free State, also in late January. An adult and an immature Allen’s Gallinule Porphyrio alleni stayed at Zwelitsha Pans, near King Williamstown, Eastern Cape, on 22 February - 9 March. In Free State, a pair of Lesser Moorhens Gallinula angulata was located at a wetland near Sasolburg on 7 January, with one also present there on 25 January - 26 February.

Single Lesser Jacanas Microparra capensis were observed at Mkhombo Dam, Mpumalanga, on 22 March - 9 April and Darvill Bird Sanctuary in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, on 18 - 27 April. A Bronze-winged Courser Rhinoptilus chalcopterus was seen west of Sasolburg, Free State, on 2 February. In Western Cape, a Black-winged Pratincole Glareola nordmanni remained at a dam between Malmesbury and Hopefield on 21 February - 27 March; this is a very rare species in the province, with the last record from December 2006 at Rocherpan. Another was found near Kenton, Eastern Cape, on 23 - 28 May; this is apparently the first for the province. Up to 21 Caspian Plovers Charadrius asiaticus were at the Kliphoek Salt Pans in Velddrif, Western Cape, on 14 January - 10 February. A Lesser Sand Plover C. mongolus was seen intermittently in West Coast National Park, Western Cape, from 5 April until at least 24 June. Also in Western Cape, a Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva was discovered at De Mond Nature Reserve, near Arniston, on 6 January, whilst another remained at Olifantsbos in Table Mountain NP on 26 February - 26 April; one was at Mpempe Pan, KwaZulu-Natal, on 9 - 12 April. Single American Golden Plovers P. dominica were reported at De Mond Nature Reserve on 14 February and 6 April.

​Single Pectoral Sandpipers Calidris melanotos were at the Gamtoos River, Eastern Cape, on 6 January, at Krugersdrift Dam near Bloemfontein, Free State, on 6 - 24 January, and at Mkhombo Dam, Mpumalanga, on 24 February and 29 March - 5 April. The first Broad-billed Sandpiper C. falcinellus for 2015 was in West Coast NP, Western Cape, on 5 April. A Great Snipe Gallinago media was found at the Sappi wetlands in Stanger, KwaZulu-Natal, on 12 January. A Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa stayed at Mkhombo Dam, Mpumalanga, on 29 March - 1 May. A Common Redshank Tringa totanus was still present in West Coast NP, Western Cape, throughout January and (the same individual?) on 25 March - 23 May. A few Green Sandpipers T. ochropus were reported in January - March from Kruger NP, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. Red-necked Phalaropes Phalaropus lobatus frequented saltpans in Western Cape near Velddrif throughout January until at least 10 February (one) and on 8 March (one), and south of Dwarskersbos on 13 February - 5 March (at least three). A Red Phalarope P. fulicarius was at Marakele NP near Thabazimbi, North West Province, on 18 February.

Single Franklin’s Gulls were found in Western Cape, between Gansbaai and Dyer Island on 22 April (one in breeding plumage) and at Great Brak River on 1 May, and in KwaZulu-Natal, at St. Lucia estuary until at least 30 April, at Bayhead in Durban on 1 May, and in Umtentweni, Port Shepstone on 22 June (one in breeding plumage). A Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus was at Spitskop Dam near Kimberley, Northern Cape, on 20 January, and another was in Durban Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, on 6 March–7 April. A Lesser Crested Tern Thalasseus bengalensis was discovered at Nahoon Point in East London, Eastern Cape, on 11 May; this is a rare species in the province, with the last confirmed record from March 2009. At least two Sooty Terns were present at St. Lucia estuary, KwaZulu-Natal, on 2 - 10 April. In North West Province, an African Skimmer Rynchops flavirostris was located at Vaalkop Dam on 30 April. An African Green Pigeon Treron calvus in the Sasolburg region, Free State, on 1 February, is perhaps the first record for the province. A Grey Go-away-bird Corythaixoides concolor visited a garden in Kimberley, Northern Cape, on 5 February. A Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus stayed near St. Francis Bay, Eastern Cape, for a few days in January, whilst another remained near Riebeek West, Western Cape, on 7 - 22 March. In Northern Cape, a Pearl-spotted Owlet Glaucidium perlatum in a garden between Hanover and Colesburg on 21 - 22 February was a rather surprising find. Also unusual were a female Pennant-winged Nightjar Caprimulgus vexillarius between Melkrivier and Marken, in the Waterberg, Limpopo Province, on 5 January, and an African Palm Swift Cypsiurus parvus at Kommetjie, Western Cape, on 8 February. Southern Africa’s 16th White-throated Bee-eater Merops albicollis was seen in Kruger NP on 27 January, whilst the 17th record involved three at Thornybush Game Reserve, Limpopo Province, on 22 April. Two Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters M. persicus were observed in Agulhas NP, Western Cape, on 11 March. In Eastern Cape, two Southern Yellow-billed Hornbills Tockus leucomelas in Addo NP on 10 May were several hundred km south of the species’ normal distribution.

Up to three Dusky Larks Pinarocorys nigricans were at Mavela Game Lodge, KwaZulu-Natal, in late January - April, with two in Ndumo Game Reserve on 4 May; one was still present at Kgomo Kgomo, North West Province, on 2 March. Tree Pipits Anthus trivialis, not frequently encountered in South Africa, were located at Kgaswane Nature Reserve, North West Province, on 8 - 22 February (up to three) and at Afguns, Limpopo Province, on 11 April. Southern Africa’s fourth Citrine Wagtail Motacilla citreola was at Strandfontein Sewage Works, Western Cape, on 25 - 28 April. The long-staying Mountain Wagtail M. clara at Groenkloof Nature Reserve, Gauteng, was still present on 19 January, whilst the African Pied Wagtail M. aguimp at Jonkershoek, Western Cape, was also still there on 6 April - 24 May.

A Collared Palm Thrush Cichladusa arquata seen south of Lower Sabie in Kruger NP, Mpumalanga, on 20 May was unusually far south. A River Warbler Locustella fluviatilis was ringed in a garden in Morningside, Sandton, Gauteng, on 5 January, and at least two were observed in the Kgomo Kgomo area, North West Province, on 24 January. A Eurasian Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus was mist-netted in Moreletakloof Nature Reserve near Pretoria, Gauteng, on 7 February, and a Marsh Warbler A. palustris was frequently heard singing near Scarborough on the Cape Peninsula on 22 March - 6 April. A Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla was reported from Zaagkuildrift Road, Limpopo Province, on 20 March, Nyaru Game Lodge, near Mossel Bay, Western Cape, on 10 - 15 March, and an Icterine Warbler Hippolais icterina in Karoo NP, near Beaufort West, Western Cape, on 16 May. A Collared Flycatcher Ficedula albicollis - a very rare species in South Africa - was recorded in Waterberg Game Park, Melkrivier, Limpopo Province, on 4 March. A Eurasian Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus was found dead in a garden in Oudtshoorn, Western Cape, on 6 February, whilst two were observed in East London, Eastern Cape, on 20 February. In Western Cape, up to two Red-backed Shrikes Lanius collurio remained east of Velddrif on 2 - 19 March; another was located near Rondevlei on 7 March. 

from ABC Bulletin 22.1

The following records are from the period July–December 2014. Noteworthy species seen in the waters up to 200 nautical miles south and west of Cape Point include Wandering Albatrosses Diomedea exulans (ten in August; at least three in September; 38 in October); Tristan Albatross D. (e.) dabbenena (a ringed individual in early October); Southern Royal Albatross D. epomophora (at least two in September; six in October); Northern Royal Albatrosses D. (e.) sanfordi (at least five in August; three in September; 11 in October); Salvin’s Albatross Thalassarche (cauta) salvini (a possible juvenile on 7 September); Southern Giant Petrel Macronectes giganteus (a white morph on 9 August); Spectacled Petrel Procellaria conspicillata (three in August; one in November; two in December); Leach’s Storm-petrel Hydrobates leucorhous (=Oceanodroma leucorhoa; one on 7 December); and Flesh-footed Shearwater Ardenna (=Puffinus) carneipes (one in September; one in October).

During a pelagic trip out of Kenton-on-Sea, Eastern Cape, on 22 December, a Flesh-footed Shearwater and a Sabine’s Gull Xema sabini were observed. Pelagics out of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, produced several Antarctic Prions Pachyptila desolata and at least two Soft-plumaged Petrels Pterodroma mollis on 10 August; a Barau’s Petrel P. baraui and several Sooty Terns Onychoprion fuscatus on 25 October; and a Tropical Shearwater Puffinus bailloni, a Grey Petrel Procellaria cinerea, a Northern Giant Petrel Macronectes halli and a European Storm-petrel Hydrobates pelagicus on 22 November.

Two Red-tailed Tropicbirds Phaethon rubricauda flew over Kleinbrak, Western Cape, on 4 October. Three Australian Gannets Morus serrator, among them a new, unringed individual, were present on Bird Island in Algoa Bay, Eastern Cape, on 13 November. A Red-footed Booby Sula sula was on Bird Island in Lambert’s Bay, Western Cape, on 10–12 December; this species is very rare off South Africa’s west coast. Another individual, found in a garden at Uvongo, KwaZulu- Natal, on 31 December, appeared to have an infection in its wing joint and was taken into care. A major influx of Cape Cormorants Phalacrocorax capensis into Durban Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, took place, with up to 70 counted on 11 August, the highest number in 15 years of monthly counts. A Pink-backed Pelican Pelecanus rufescens was seen in Camdeboo National Park (=NP), Eastern Cape, on 19 December.

Single Rufous-bellied Herons Ardeola rufiventris were reported from KwaZulu-Natal (at Tembe Elephant Park on 1–2 September and Phinda Private Game Reserve on 12 October), Mpumalanga (at Eden Nature Reserve, near Nelspruit, in October and Londolozi Game Reserve on 14 November), and Limpopo (near Polokwane on 27 December). A Black Heron Egretta ardesiaca was near Redhouse, Eastern Cape, on 29–30 November. In Gauteng, a Slaty Egret E. vinaceigula remained near Muldersdrift on 11–30 December, whilst another flew over Diepsloot Sewerage Works on 14 December. In Western Cape, Goliath Herons Ardea goliath were observed at Verlorenvlei, Eland’s Bay, on 6–10 August (three); Sanbona Wildlife Reserve in mid October (from April 2014); the Berg River, east of Velddrif, on 1 November; and near Arniston on 9 November. An immature Yellow-billed Stork Mycteria ibis flew over Macassar, Western Cape, on 10 December. In September–December, reports involving at least 60 European Honey Buzzards Pernis apivorus were received from Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Gauteng, KwaZulu- Natal, North West Province, Free State, Eastern Cape and Western Cape. A Palm-nut Vulture Gypohierax angolensis was reported from the vulture restaurant near Polokwane, Limpopo, on 26 November—an unusual record for this area. A juvenile Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus, first seen in Northern Tuli Game Reserve in Botswana on 26 November, eventually crossed the South African border; another immature was located at Klaserie, Limpopo, on 30 November. A Lappet-faced Vulture Torgos tracheliotos was observed at Hekpoort, Gauteng, on 2 August; yet another (or the same?) was at De Tweedespruit, north of Cullinan, on 7 August. A well out-of- range subadult Brown Snake Eagle Circaetus cinereus was seen near Caledon, Western Cape, on 13 December. Up to two Western Marsh Harriers Circus aeruginosus were at Marievale Bird Sanctuary, Gauteng, on 8 November–30 December. In Western Cape, a Pallid Harrier C. macrourus was seen in Plettenberg Bay Nature Reserve, on 28 December; this species is very rarely recorded in the province. A Shikra Accipiter badius was located at Kwandwe Private Game Reserve, near Grahamstown, Eastern Cape, on 6 August; this is well outside the species’ usual range and is apparently a new record for the province. A Rufous-breasted Sparrowhawk A. rufiventris was located near Hekpoort, Gauteng, on 10 August— the first record from the west of the province. Single Lesser Spotted Eagles Clanga pomarina were observed at Marievale Bird Sanctuary, Gauteng, on 26 October, and south of Hluhluwe, KwaZulu-Natal, and near Sasolburg, Free State, on 25 November. In Western Cape, Long-crested Eagles Lophaetus occipitalis were reported from George on 11 August; Covie on 27 September; near Wellington on 1 November; near Porterville on 3 November; near Nature’s Valley on 25 November; and Hoekwil, near Wilderness, on 11 December—the species is becoming more regular along the Garden Route. In December, single Amur Falcons Falco amurensis were seen north of Wittedrif, Western Cape; north-west of Olifantshoek, Northern Cape (where there was also a Eurasian Hobby F. subbuteo); and in Karoo NP, Western Cape.

A Common Buttonquail Turnix sylvaticus in Tanqua Karoo NP, Northern Cape, on 12 September was far from its known range. Also out of range were male and female Black-rumped Buttonquails T. hottentottus near Verena, in western Mpumalanga, on 15–17 November; one was observed again on 16 December. In the Free State, at least one Red-chested Flufftail Sarothrura rufa was seen at Echopark, between Sasolburg and Vaalpark, in mid October; there are very few records for the province. The long-staying Wattled Crane Grus carunculata with a flock of Blue Cranes G. paradisaea near Devon, Gauteng, was still present until at least 10 August. A Grey Crowned Crane Balearica regulorum flew east over Gauteng on 14 September, also in the company of Blue Cranes.

A Crab-plover Dromas ardeola was at Kosi Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, in late October. A Temminck’s Courser Cursorius temminckii near Memel, Free State, on 5 October was an unusual record for this area. No fewer than 12 Caspian Plovers Charadrius asiaticus were counted at Mpempe Pan, KwaZulu-Natal, on 25 November; six were still there on 6 December, with another six on the Nibela Peninsula. In Western Cape, a Lesser Sand Plover C. mongolus was located in West Coast NP on 8 October, and a Greater Sand Plover C. leschenaultii at De Mond Nature Reserve on 9 November, with an American Golden Plover Pluvialis dominica also there on 21 October–9 November. A Pacific Golden Plover P. fulva was in Borakalalo Game Reserve, North West Province, on 19–29 October. Pectoral Sandpipers Calidris melanotos were recorded at Marievale Bird Sanctuary, Gauteng, on 26–28 October; St. Lucia, KwaZulu-Natal, on 26 October; and Marakele NP, Limpopo, during the last week of December (two). In Western Cape, up to two Common Redshanks Tringa totanus remained in West Coast NP from late August until the end of December; two were also seen at Strandfontein Sewage Works on 31 August. In September–December, at least 15 Green Sandpipers T. ochropus were reported from Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape. A Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres was in Borakalalo Game Reserve, North West Province, on 24 October. A Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus stayed at Velddrif, Western Cape, on 1 November–31 December, with another near Dwarskersbos in early November and a third at Tankatara Salt Pans in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, until at least 15–22 November. A Red Phalarope P. fulicarius was found between Alberton and Nigel, Gauteng, on 29 November.

An Arctic Skua Stercorarius parasiticus at Borakalalo Game Reserve, North West Province, on 30 November was a very unusual inland record. Up to two Franklin’s Gulls Leucophaeus pipixcan remained at Strandfontein Sewage Works, Western Cape, until at least 27 October. A Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus was in Durban Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, on 11–12 August. The Bridled Tern Onychoprion anaethetus that returned to the roost at Cape Recife in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, for its 13th season on 28 April, was still visiting the area in August; this bird is one of the longest-staying rarities ever recorded in southern Africa. Up to two Sooty Terns were still present at the St. Lucia estuary, KwaZulu-Natal, until at least mid November; two were also reported from Cape Recife, Eastern Cape, on 3 September. A freshly dead Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea found at Mooi River, KwaZulu-Natal, c.110 km inland, in August was ringed on 20 June 2011 on Wooden Ball Island, Maine, USA, when one year old; in southern Africa, this is an almost exclusively pelagic species recorded during the austral summer and it is very unusual that a bird in its fifth year should still be in the subregion during the austral winter. A Black Tern Chlidonias niger at Tankatara Salt Pans in Port Elizabeth on 22–26 November is the first record in Eastern Cape for many years. Two African Skimmers Rynchops flavirostris were seen along the Limpopo River in Kruger NP in early September; this species is now very localised and regarded as Endangered in the subregion.

A European Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur, a very rare vagrant in southern Africa, was at Phinda Private Nature Reserve, KwaZulu- Natal, on 14–15 December. The first photographic evidence for the existence of a dark morph of Burchell’s Coucal Centropus burchellii was obtained at Port Alfred, Eastern Cape, on 28–29 October. The following were reported far from their normal range: a Levaillant’s Cuckoo Clamator levaillantii at Zululand Rhino Reserve near Mkuze, KwaZulu-Natal, on 30 November; a Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus at Harkerville, Western Cape, on 16 November; and a Klaas’s Cuckoo Chrysococcyx klaas north-west of Olifantshoek, Northern Cape, in late December. A Marsh Owl Asio capensis north of Twee Rivieren in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Northern Cape, in early October, was a remarkable find. A Narina’s Trogon Apaloderma narina at Tinmyne, just northwest of Mokopane, Limpopo, on 20–21 September was well west of its normal range. At Rondevlei Nature Reserve, Western Cape, a Brown-hooded Kingfisher Halcyon albiventris was reported on 21 September—an extremely unusual species for the Cape Peninsula. An African Pygmy Kingfisher Ispidina picta was found north of Middelburg, Eastern Cape, on 26 October. Several White-fronted Bee-eaters Merops bullockoides were still present near Calitzdorp, Western Cape, on 31 August. An immature Blue-cheeked Bee-eater M. persicus was in George, Western Cape, on 1 November; the last known record in the province was in December 2011. In Eastern Cape, two were observed between Marsh Strand and Haga Haga in mid November. A Broad-billed Roller Eurystomus glaucurus around Emmarentia Dam in Johannesburg, Gauteng, on 21–28 November is the third record for the province in the last five years. In KwaZulu-Natal, one was seen at Amatikulu Nature Reserve, north of Durban, on 22 December. In Eastern Cape, outof- range Common Scimitarbills Rhinopomastus cyanomelas were noted upstream of Jansenville on 21 September (one) and north-west of Bedford on 19 October (two). In Gauteng, the xanthochroic (where red is replaced by yellow) Black-collared Barbet Lybius torquatus found in Helderkruin, Roodepoort, in 2013, was back in the same area in early September; another xanthochroic individual, paired with a normal-coloured bird, was found in Krugersdorp. Black-collared Barbets seem to be moving into Western Cape, with another record of two birds near Nature’s Valley on 29 October.

The African Pied Wagtail Motacilla aguimp in Jonkershoek, Western Cape, which first arrived at this site in December 2011, was still present on 31 October, whilst the Mountain Wagtail M. clara at Groenkloof Nature Reserve, Pretoria, Gauteng, remained throughout the period. A Grey Wagtail M. cinerea was found in the St. Lucia area, KwaZulu-Natal, on 20 October. Yet another White-browed Scrub Robin Cercotrichas leucophrys was mist-netted near Nature’s Valley in late August, probably the fifth or sixth to have been caught in this area. A Bush Blackcap Lioptilus nigricapillus visited a garden in Melville, Gauteng, from late August until at least 12 September. A Knysna Warbler Bradypterus sylvaticus in Doreen Clark Nature Reserve, Hilton, KwaZulu- Natal, on 13–25 November, was possibly the northernmost record. A Garden Warbler Sylvia borin was seen in Graaff-Reinet, Eastern Cape on 12–27 November and a Common Whitethroat S. communis near Tongaat, KwaZulu-Natal, on 24 December. Single Olive-tree Warblers Hippolais olivetorum were found in Northern Cape in late December: one north-west of Olifantshoek, with another near Hartswater. Wailing Cisticola Cisticola lais and Wing-snapping Cisticola C. ayresii c.5 km north of Wittedrif, Western Cape, on 15 December and Grey Tit Flycatchers Myioparus plumbeus at Augrabies Falls NP, Northern Cape, on 9 November, are unusually westerly records.

Lesser Grey Shrikes Lanius minor were reported west of Bredasdorp, Western Cape, on 28 October and west of Aberdeen, Eastern Cape, on 7 December. A Southern White-crowned Shrike Eurocephalus anguitimens at Standerton, Mpumalanga, in early September may be one of the southernmost records. An out-of-range Retz’s Helmetshrike Prionops retzii was observed in the Magaliesburg area, Gauteng, on 18–19 October. A pair of Red-headed Weavers Anaplectes melanotis returned for the fourth year to build a nest at Leopard Mountain Game Lodge, Mkhuze, KwaZulu-Natal, in November. A flock of Red-billed Queleas Quelea quelea was between Witsand and Swellendam, Western Cape, on 14 September; this species has expanded its range in recent years and is being increasingly reported from the province. In Limpopo, a group of at least five Red-headed Finches Amadina erythrocephala was located south of Shingwedzi in Kruger NP on 8 December, continuing the species’ recent eastward expansion. A pair of Grey Waxbills Estrilda perreini at Longmere Dam, north of White River, on 5 December, is a very unusual species for Mpumalanga and far from previous records.  

from ABC Bulletin 21.2

The following records are from the period January - June 2014. The first Trindade Petrel Pterodroma arminjoniana for the southern African subregion was photographed c.30 nautical miles south-east of Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, on 7 January. Southern Africa’s third Grey-backed Storm-petrel Garrodia nereis was recorded c.40 nautical miles south-west of Hout Bay, Western Cape, on 11 January; previous records are from 14 April 2007 and 27 December 2009.

A juvenile Tristan Albatross Diomedea (exulans) dabbenena was satellite-tracked into Western Cape waters in early January. Other noteworthy species seen south and west of Cape Point include Wandering Albatross D. exulans (one on 20 February; several in April; 1–2 on 28 June), Northern Royal Albatross D. (epomophora) sanfordi (one on 28 June), Sooty Albatross Phoebetria fusca (one on 3 April), Chatham Albatross Thalassarche (cauta) eremita (one on 12 April; sixth record for southern Africa), Salvin’s Albatross T. (cauta) salvini (an adult on 20 April), White-headed Petrel Pterodroma lessonii (one on 3 April), Spectacled Petrel Procellaria conspicillata (several in late January; four in February; one on 29 March; one on 12 April; one on 28 June), Flesh-footed Shearwater Puffinus carneipes (one on 8 February) and Red Phalarope Phalaropus fulicarius (several on 8 February). A trawler trip into the waters c.30 nautical miles southeast of Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, produced an Atlantic Petrel Pterodroma incerta and a juvenile Wandering Albatross on 7 January. In Eastern Cape, a dead Barau’s Petrel P. baraui was found ashore at Morgan’s Bay on 26 April and a dead Tropical Shearwater Puffinus bailloni at Cannon Rocks two days later.

Pelagic trips out of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, produced a White-faced Storm-petrel Pelagodroma marina, with several Sooty Terns Onychoprion fuscatus on 3 May and a Slender-billed Prion Pachyptila belcheri - a rare species in southern African waters and especially unusual so far north - on 7 June. A prion photographed near Dyer Island, Western Cape, on 21 June was very probably a Salvin’s Prion P. salvini, but with the discovery of a small-billed population of Broad-billed Prion P. vittata on Gough Island (perhaps representing a separate species), the bird could not be positively identified. A Northern Rockhopper Penguin Eudyptes moseleyi was discovered in Plettenberg Bay, Western Cape, on 21 June; the last record of this species concerned a bird that spent five days ashore at Soetwater in late January - early February 2013. Up to two Australian Gannets Morus serrator were on Malgas Island in Saldahna Bay, Western Cape, during the period, whilst one was also on Bird Island in Algoa Bay, Eastern Cape, in January - March. At the latter locality, a Red-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon rubricauda was located in mid March. In KwaZulu-Natal, a Greater Frigatebird Fregata minor was seen briefly in Richards Bay on 27 April, with another in the Nibela Peninsula / Lake St. Lucia area on 14 May.

In Eastern Cape, a Great White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus was observed c.20 km from Kei River mouth on 1 March. A Rufous-bellied Heron Ardeola rufiventris on the Kgomo-Kgomo floodplain, North West Province, was seen again on 5 January. In Western Cape, a Black Heron Egretta ardesiaca first seen in Knysna in December 2013 was still present in early March. Single Yellow-billed Storks Mycteria ibis were reported from Brits, North West Province, on 15 January; Camdeboo National Park (=NP), near Graaff-Reinet, Eastern Cape, on 18 - 19 January; and East London, Eastern Cape, on 15 March. The African Openbill Anastomus lamelligerus reported near Devon, Mpumalanga, in mid January was relocated in the same area on 15 - 16 February; in Limpopo Province, at least three were present at Die Eiland from 16 June. Abdim’s Storks Ciconia abdimii were observed in Western Cape (near Plettenberg Bay on 24 - 25 January; between Vredenburg and Paternoster on 16 February; at Drie Kuilen Nature Reserve on 24 April) and Eastern Cape (near Oyster Bay on 2 May; two near Tsitsikamma NP on 22 May; at St. Francis Bay on 27 May; two at St. Francis Bay on 31 May - 1 June; near Kei River mouth on 1 June). An immature Saddle-billed Stork Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis was at Kgomo-Kgomo, North West Province, on 30 January - 6 February at least; another was reported between Mokopane and Mokgopong, Limpopo, on 12 April. A Southern Bald Ibis Geronticus calvus was seen near Bronkhorstspruit, Gauteng, on 20 March. In Northern Cape, a group of seven Fulvous Whistling Ducks Dendrocygna bicolor was located in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park on 21 April, well out of range. A Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula returned for its second season to Rondevlei in Wilderness, Western Cape, in late June; the status of this species in South Africa is still debated, but it may be a genuine vagrant.

An influx of European Honey Buzzards Pernis apivorus occurred throughout South Africa, with >120 records in January - April, from Limpopo (at least 11), Mpumalanga (15), KwaZulu-Natal (29), Gauteng (30), North West Province (seven), Free State (five), Northern Cape (one), Eastern Cape (four) and Western Cape (18); there was also one from 5 June, near Delmas, Mpumalanga (see also Mozambique and Namibia). A Lappet-faced Vulture Torgos tracheliotos c.60 km north of Loeriesfontein, Northern Cape, on 19 February was well south of its normal range. There were at least eight reports of single Brown Snake Eagles Circaetus cinereus from Western Cape and four from Eastern Cape in late January - March. A female Bateleur Terathopius ecaudatus was seen near Swellendam, Western Cape, in late May; the species is occasionally reported from the province, but is very rare. At least two Montagu’s Harriers Circus pygargus were east of Tweeling, Free State, on 14 January. In Western Cape, a ‘ringtail’, probably a Pallid Harrier C. macrourus, was reported west of Napier, on 2 March, with another, either Pallid or Montagu’s, at Vleesbaai on 29 March; both species are exceptional in the province. At least two Western Marsh Harriers C. aeruginosus were at Nylsvlei Nature Reserve, Limpopo, on 3 March. In KwaZulu-Natal, single Dark Chanting Goshawks Melierax metabates were observed in Mkhuze Game Reserve on 14 February and Zululand Rhino Reserve on 23 February. Well outside of their normal range were a Tawny Eagle Aquila rapax at Giant’s Castle, KwaZulu-Natal, in early January, and a juvenile African Hawk Eagle A. spilogaster in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Northern Cape, on 29 April. Reports of Ayres’s Eagles Hieraaetus ayersii appear to be increasing, with one over Morningside in Johannesburg, Gauteng, on 16 February, and another over Rustenburg, North West Province, on 17 February. Several Long-crested Eagles Lophaetus occipitalis were reported from Western Cape during the period, with one from Pienaarsrivier, North West Province, on 30 January.

In January - March, several Amur Falcons Falco amurensis were reported from various localities in Western Cape, whilst a flock was also seen south of Cathcart, Eastern Cape, on 25 January, with another near Reitz, Free State, on 21 March. Single Red-footed Falcons F. vespertinus were observed in Eastern Cape (south of Cathcart on 25 January; south of Graaff-Reinet on 9 February; west of Port Alfred on 10 February; near Grahamstown on 15 February), Free State (near Reitz on 21 March), Mpumalanga (near Wakkerstroom on 30 January) and Gauteng (Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve, 28 February). In Limpopo Province, a Sooty Falcon F. concolor was located near Letaba, Kruger NP, on 2 March - a very rare bird in this area. For the third consecutive season, one was present in Plettenberg Bay, Western Cape, on 1 - 21 April. An African Hobby F. cuvierii photographed in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park on 2 February appears to be only the second record for Northern Cape.

A Striped Crake Aenigmatolimnas marginalis was observed at Kube Yini Private Game Reserve, near Mkhuze, on 7 March; this is only the sixth or seventh record for KwaZulu-Natal. A Lesser Moorhen Gallinula angulata foraging in a low tree near the Sani Pass border post, KwaZulu-Natal, in January, was a surprising sight. A White-winged Flufftail Sarothrura ayresi was mist-netted at Wakkerstroom, Mpumalanga, on 18 January, and another was flushed from marshy grassland at Makalali Private Nature Reserve, near Gravelotte, Limpopo, on 9 March. A Wattled Crane Grus carunculatus first seen with a flock of 13 Blue Cranes G. paradisea south of Devon, Mpumalanga, on 6 April, was still present on 14 June.

A Crab Plover Dromas ardeola appeared irregularly at the Gamtoos estuary, Eastern Cape, from December 2013 until at least mid February, whilst an immature was found in Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, on 27 February. Two African Oystercatchers Haematopus moquini at the Mfolozi River mouth, KwaZulu-Natal, on 1 - 2 February were rather unexpected. A Black-winged Pratincole Glareola nordmanni at Beaufort West dam, in the Great Karoo, in early February, is one of only a handful records in Western Cape. In Eastern Cape, two Temminck’s Coursers Cursorius temminckii were found near Oyster Bay on 20 June (with seven there two days later) and up to five Burchell’s Coursers C. rufus at Middelburg Airfield on 21 - 29 June; the former appears in the area in small numbers almost annually now, but there are no previous records for the latter anywhere near this region. A Bronze-winged Courser Rhinoptilus chalcopterus was observed at Shamwari Game Reserve, Eastern Cape, on 27 April; there are few records in the province. In Western Cape, up to four Pacific Golden Plovers Pluvialis fulva were reported in late February - March, mainly at De Mond Nature Reserve, with one American Golden Plover P. dominica also there during the same period and, probably the same individual, on 16 June. At the same reserve, a White-rumped Sandpiper Calidris fuscicollis - very rare in southern Africa - was discovered on 22 February. A Pectoral Sandpiper C. melanotos was at Muzi Pan, KwaZulu-Natal, on 31 January and up to three at Strandfontein Sewage Works, Western Cape, from 23 February to 1 March. In Western Cape, a Broad-billed Sandpiper C. falcinellus was found in West Coast NP on 8 - 10 February and again on 5 - 7 April, with up to three at De Mond Nature Reserve on 23 February - 29 March. In Barberspan Nature Reserve, North West Province, at least two Eurasian Curlews Numenius arquata were still present on 19 January. Southern Africa’s eighth Hudsonian Godwit Limosa haemastica was at the Krom River in St. Francis Bay, Eastern Cape, on 5 February - 6 March. In West Coast NP, Western Cape, two Common Redshanks Tringa totanus were present throughout the period (from late October 2013), with three there on 30 March and at least four in early June. At least two Green Sandpipers T. ochropus were in Kruger NP, Mpumalanga, in January - February. A Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus was reported from Spitskop Dam, North West Province, on 28 February. A Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus was observed at Strandfontein Sewage Works, Western Cape, on 2 - 10 February, and a Red Phalarope P. fulicarius a few miles offshore from Kleinsee, Northern Cape, on 4 February.

A Franklin’s Gull Leucophaeus pipixcan was at Cape Recife, Eastern Cape, on 9 May. Lesser Black-backed Gulls Larus fuscus were reported from Eastern Cape (an adult at Cape Recife, Port Elizabeth, from 25 February until at least 1 March), North West Province (an immature at Spitskop Dam on 28 February) and Gauteng (one at Korsmans Bird Sanctuary, Benoni, on 30 May - 24 June). A Gull-billed Tern Gelochelidon nilotica flew around Malgas Island in Saldahna Bay, Western Cape, on 18 February. Southern Africa’s sixth Elegant Tern Sterna elegans was at the roost on Bird Island in Lambert’s Bay, Western Cape, on 6 - 9 February; it was later joined by a second individual and both remained until at least 16 February. A Bridled Tern Onychoprion anaethetus returned to the roost at Cape Recife, Eastern Cape, for its 13th season on 28 April and was still visiting the area on 22 June; it was first located there on 10 April 2001. During a pelagic trip out of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, on 9 March, c.200 Sooty Terns were recorded, at least two-thirds of them immatures. No fewer than 30 were offshore from Richards Bay on 4 April, whilst one remained at the St. Lucia estuary, KwaZulu-Natal, in May - early June. A Black Tern Chlidonias niger was found in the roost at Bird Island in Lambert’s Bay, Western Cape, on 27 February. In Limpopo Province, four African Skimmers Rynchops flavirostris were at the Samaria wetlands on 12 April.

An African Mourning Dove Streptopelia decipiens reported near Brits, North West Province, on 12 January was rather out of range. In Northern Cape, a Grey Go-away-bird Corythaixoides concolor near Reivilo on 4 March was unusual; there are only a handful of records for the province. A Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus remained along the Swartrivier Road in the Overberg, Western Cape, on 12 - 17 January. In mid January, a Black Cuckoo C. clamosus and a Great Spotted Cuckoo Clamator glandarius were reported from the Ashkam area, Northern Cape. An interesting record from the same province was a dead European Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus along the road c.20 km south of Philipstown in January. In KwaZulu-Natal, a male Pennant-winged Nightjar C. vexillarius was seen on a night drive at Mkhuze on 18 February, with another in Zululand Rhino Reserve in early March. Curiously, a female African Pygmy Kingfisher Ispidina picta containing an egg about to be laid, was mist-netted in arid karoo-type vegetation in the Kommadagga area, Eastern Cape, on 19 January. In KwaZulu-Natal, a Grey-headed Kingfisher Halcyon leucocephala was located in the northern Drakensberg on 14 March, well out of range. Also out of range was a Little Bee-eater Merops pusillus on the Western Cape peninsula on 28 April - apparently the first at this site. White-fronted Bee-eaters M. bullockoides were reported from Western Cape (one near Uniondale on 28 January; a few west of Ladysmith on 1 February; at least seven near Calitzdorp on 5 February) and Eastern Cape (one near Cradock on 14 - 15 June); there are more regular recent reports outside of the species’ known range. Up to three White-throated Bee-eaters M. albicollis stayed near Crocodile Bridge in Kruger NP, Mpumalanga, in February; this is only the 15th record for southern Africa. A Black-collared Barbet Lybius torquatus along the Orange River in Upington, Northern Cape, in late May, and a Crested Barbet Trachyphonus vailantii near Cradock, Eastern Cape, on 11 January, were remarkable provincial records. Other out-of-range species around Ashkam, Northern Cape, in mid January include Green Wood-hoopoe Phoeniculus purpureus, Grey-backed Camaroptera Camaroptera brevicaudata, Garden Warbler Sylvia borin, Southern Pied Babbler Turdoides bicolor and Southern White-crowned Shrike Eurocephalus anguitimens

A Dusky Lark Pinarocorys nigricans was seen near Devon, on the Mpumalanga - Gauteng border, on 14 January, with another in Phinda Private Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, on 22 January. An African Pied Wagtail Motacilla aguimp remained at Jonkershoek, near Stellenbosch, Western Cape, from November 2012 until May at least. Southern Africa’s third Citrine Wagtail M. citreola was found in Kgalagadi NP on 3 - 4 May. At Mabusa Nature Reserve, Mpumalanga, several Short-tailed Pipits Anthus brachyurus were still present on 25 January. A Yellow-throated Longclaw Macronyx croceus at East London, Eastern Cape, on 3 April, is the southernmost and westernmost record to date. Yellow-bellied Greenbuls Chlorocichla flaviventris were reported from North West Province, in Borakalalo Nature Reserve and Sun City Resort, in early March. A Thrush Nightingale Luscinia luscinia at Adendorp, Eastern Cape, on 1 - 16 February, is the first for the province and the south-westernmost record for the subregion. Several remained in the Zaagkuilsdrift / Kgomo-Kgomo area, North West Province, in January - early March, with two also reported from Kruger NP, Limpopo, on 23 February.

Wing-snapping (=Ayres’s) Cisticolas Cisticola ayresii calling near Plettenberg Bay on 26 January are probably only the second record for Western Cape. In March, up to ten River Warblers Locustella fluviatilis were recorded from the Zaagkuilsdrift area, North West Province, and up to seven at Rust de Winter Nature Reserve, Limpopo; on 5 - 6 April, a few were also encountered in Kruger NP. A Great Reed Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus in Augrabies Falls NP, Northern Cape, in mid March was a very westerly record. A Sedge Warbler A. schoenobaenus - a very rare species in Western Cape - stayed at Vermont Pan from 1 January until at least 16 March. Another was was located near Kei River mouth, Eastern Cape, on 1 - 3 April; there appear to be only two previous records for the province. An Olive-tree Warbler Hippolais olivetorum was in Madikwe Game Reserve, North West Province, in early March. In Eastern Cape, a Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla was located in a Graaff-Reinet garden on 14 January, whilst a Garden Warbler was mist-netted at Port Alfred on 16 March. 

A Lesser Grey Shrike Lanius minor was discovered in the Overberg, Western Cape, on 25 January, with another (the same?) at Swellendam a few days earlier. A xanthocroic Crimson-breasted Shrike Laniarius atrococcineus was observed in Mokala NP, Northern Cape, on 19 February. Five White-crested Helmetshrikes Prionops plumatus were encountered in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Northern Cape, on 30 January, well west of the species’ normal range. Remarkable records of Red-billed Oxpeckers Buphagus erythrorhynchus were made in Eastern Cape (three near Bathurst on 17 February) and Northern Cape (six along Askham road and four along Olifantshoek road from Van Zylsrus on 16 March). A Chestnut Weaver Ploceus rubiginosus was nest building in a Southern Masked Weaver P. velatus colony in Spitskop Nature Reserve, Upington, Northern Cape, in mid March; this is only the sixth record for South Africa. In Mpumalanga, at least one Southern Brown-throated Weaver P. xanthopterus was still present at Crocodile Bridge, Kruger NP, on 1 - 2 March. A nest of Pink-throated Twinspot Hypargos margaritatus was found at Phinda Private Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, in April; according to the literature, only two nests have been reported previously. On Marion Island, a small South African territory in the Indian Ocean, a Great Reed Warbler was noted on 12 June; this appears to be the first record for the island.

from ABC Bulletin 21.1

The following records are from the period July - December 2013. Noteworthy species seen in the waters south and west of Cape Point include the Critically Endangered Amsterdam Albatross Diomedea (exulans) amsterdamensis (photographed c.6 nautical miles south-west of Cape Point on 13 July), Wandering Albatross D. exulans (one in July; three in August; at least ten in September; six in October; one in November), Southern Royal Albatross D. epomophora (one in July; three in August; at least eight in September; three in October), Northern Royal Albatross D. (e.) sanfordi (one in July; three in August; at least seven in September; four in October; one in November), Salvin’s Albatross Thalassarche (cauta) salvini (one on 18 August; one in October), Spectacled Petrel Procellaria conspicillata (one in October), Slender-billed Prion Pachyptila belcheri (one on 20 July), White-bellied Storm-petrel Fregetta grallaria (one in October), Leach’s Storm-petrel Oceanodroma leucorhoa (one on 21 July) and Red Phalarope Phalaropus fulicarius (two on 29 September; at least 20 in October; one in November).

In Northern Cape, a Wandering Albatross was seen just south of the Orange River from a fishing vessel on 22 October. A Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus was observed in the waters south of Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, on 13 July. Pelagic trips out of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, produced Wandering Albatross (one on 22 November; the first for the province in c.10 years), Northern Giant Petrel Macronectes halli (one on 5 October; first record for the province), Barau’s Petrel Pterodroma baraui (one on 5 October; nine on 22 - 24 November) and Sooty Tern Onychoprion fuscatus (at least two on 22 - 24 November). Sooty Phoebetria fusca and Light-mantled Albatrosses P. palpebrata were satellite-tracked into the waters of Western and Eastern Cape in August.

Species observed from a fishing vessel in August - September in the waters 160 nautical miles south of Cape Agulhas, 60 nautical miles south of Port Elizabeth and 100 nautical miles south-east of Durban included Wandering Albatross (>100), Southern Royal Albatross (35), Northern Royal Albatross (40), Tristan Albatross Diomedea (exulans) dabbenena (5 - 6), Sooty Albatross (three), Blue Petrel Halobaena caerulea (four), Atlantic Petrel Pterodroma incerta (one), Spectacled Petrel (two) and South Polar Skua Stercorarius maccormicki (one).

A Southern Giant Petrel Macronectes giganteus in the tern roost at the St Lucia estuary, KwaZulu-Natal, on 12 October was an interesting find. In Eastern Cape, a Wedge-tailed Shearwater Puffinus pacificus was again present on Bird Island in Algoa Bay on 15 August; almost certainly the same individual was seen there on 3 December. An Australian Gannet Morus serrator was also on the island from 11 November until at least early December. Another Australian Gannet was on Malgas Island in Saldahna Bay, Western Cape, on 19 October. A frigatebird, probably Greater Frigatebird Fregata minor soaring over Hartbeespoort Dam, Gauteng, on 7 December, was a surprising record.

A Green-backed Heron Butorides striata was reported east of Graaff-Reinett, Eastern Cape, on 19 August. In Western Cape, a Black Heron Egretta ardesiaca, which is very rare in the province, was at Thesen Island, Knysna, on 3 - 8 December, whilst a Goliath Heron Ardea goliath remained at Rondevlei Nature Reserve throughout the period. An Abdim’s Stork Ciconia abdimii was located between Cannon Rocks and Woody Cape, Eastern Cape, on 27 July.

In October - December, reports involving at least 30 European Honey Buzzards Pernis apivorus were received from Limpopo, North West Province, Gauteng, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape. In KwaZulu-Natal, an adult Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus soared over the Ixopo - Highflats road on 6 December, whilst at least six Hooded Vultures Necrosyrtes monachus were at Zimanga Private Game Reserve, north of Mkuze, on 7 July. A Rüppell’s Vulture Gyps rueppelli was repeatedly photographed by camera traps at Blouberg Nature Reserve, Limpopo, during the period. A rather out-of-range juvenile Steppe Eagle Aquila nipalensis was observed at the Giant’s Castle vulture hide, KwaZulu-Natal, on 17 November. Ayres’s Eagles Hieraaetus ayresii were seen in KwaZulu-Natal at Durban on 9 October, Hluhluwe Game Reserve on 18 November and near Reitvlei on 23 November, with one at Groenkloof Nature Reserve, Gauteng, on 29 October. In Western Cape, a Long-crested Eagle Lophaetus occipitalis was observed at Plettenberg Bay on 2 November and near George Airport on 9 November . A Corncrake Crex crex was in the wetlands south of Pienaars River in Buffesdrift, Gauteng, on 5 November, and a Baillon’s Crake Porzana pusilla at Ghio Pans, Eastern Cape, on 21 November. A surprising record for Northern Cape was an adult and a juvenile Lesser Moorhen Gallinula angulata in Augrabies Falls National Park (=NP) on 9 December, well south and west of the species’ usual range. On 5 September, a White-winged Flufftail Sarothrura ayresi was located at King Shaka International Airport, KwaZulu-Natal. In Mpumalanga, a Wattled Crane Grus carunculatus was still present near Devon in July. A remarkable record concerned 14 Blue Cranes G. paradisea at Sandpan in Benoni, Gauteng, on 29 - 30 November.

A Snowy (Greater) Sheathbill Chionis albus at Mazeppa Bay, Eastern Cape, on 20 June, was still present on 2 July. Single Lesser Jacanas Microparra capensis were reported near Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal, in early July, and near Komatipoort, Mpumalanga, on 9 December. In KwaZulu-Natal, an immature Crab Plover Dromas ardeola was at Umlalazi River mouth, Mtunzini, on 17 - 20 November; probably the same individual was at Umfolozi River mouth on 23 November and at the St Lucia estuary from 30 November until at least 6 December. In Eastern Cape, Crab Plovers were reported from Kei River mouth in November and at the Gamtoos estuary in December. A Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus was at Langebaan Lagoon, Western Cape, on 4 August. A Bronze-winged Courser Rhinoptilus chalcopterus was found at Hauser Park, Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal, on 13 December. Chestnut-banded Plovers Charadrius pallidus were observed at Mkhombo Dam (two) and Leeupan near Leandra (two), both in Mpumalanga, on 15 September, and at Barberspan Nature Reserve, North West Province, on 5 October, whilst Caspian Plovers C. asiaticus were at Mooiplaas waterhole, northern Kruger NP, Limpopo, in mid October (five) and at Gariep Dam, Free State, on 23 October (two). In Western Cape, a Lesser Sand Plover C. mongolus was at Seeberg on 26 November, and up to three Greater Sand Plovers C. leschenaultii at De Mond Nature Reserve on 2 November - 4 December.

Single Pectoral Sandpipers Calidris melanotos were recorded at Fish River mouth, Eastern Cape, in late September; at Cannon Rocks, Eastern Cape, on 12 October; in Phinda Private Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, on 17 October; and at Barberspan Nature Reserve, North West Province, on 28 November. Up to two Common Redshanks Tringa totanus were at West Coast NP, Western Cape, from late October until December. In October - December, at least 12 Green Sandpipers T. ochropus were reported from Limpopo, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal. A Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus was at Borakalalo Nature Reserve, North West Province, on 13 - 16 December, and two Red-necked Phalaropes Phalaropus lobatus were at Strandfontein Sewage Works, Western Cape, on 9 - 19 November.

A Franklin’s Gull Leucophaeus pipixcan was reported from Dyer Island in Gansbaai on 17 July and from Strandfontein Sewage Works, Western Cape, on 13 - 21 October. In Eastern Cape, at least one Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus was still present at Orient Beach, East London, on 7 July; an immature was at Mazeppa Bay on 19 November. In KwaZulu-Natal, a Gull-billed Tern Gelochelidon nilotica was seen in Kosi Bay on 24 October. In the same province, a Sooty Tern Onichoprion fuscatus was again present at St Lucia from August until at least early December. In Eastern Cape, a Sooty Tern was present on Bird Island in Algoa Bay, Port Elizabeth, at the end of September and on 23 October; one was found dead at Mazeppa Bay on 19 November. An out-of-range Damara Tern Sternula balaenarum was at the St. Lucia estuary, KwaZulu-Natal, on 27 September - 12 October, whilst a Black Tern Chlidonias niger was noted at De Mond Nature Reserve, Western Cape, on 8 December. In Limpopo Province, an African Skimmer Rynchops flavirostris was reported from the Samaria Pans, near Mapungubwe NP, on 7 October.

In Gauteng, a male Namaqua Sandgrouse Pterocles namaqua was seen in Rietvlei Nature Reserve on 18 September - the first record for the greater Pretoria area. A Levaillant’s Cuckoo Clamator levaillantii at Mavela Game Lodge, KwaZulu-Natal, on 6 October was an interesting find. A surprising record concerned an immature Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus in West Coast NP, Western Cape, on 16 November. Another immature was observed at Jeffrey’s Bay, Eastern Cape, on 17 November, following a record near Queenstown the week before. Southern Africa’s ninth Madagascar Cuckoo C. rochi remained near Biyamithi, Kruger NP, Mpumalanga, on 22 November - 1 December. In Western Cape, a group of 12 - 20 White-fronted Bee-eaters Merops bullockoides bred at Matjiesvlei near Calitzdorp in July - August; some were still there in early December. A Common Scimitarbill Rhinopomastus cyanomelas was present at the same farm. A small group of White-fronted Bee-eaters was also reported near Jansenville, Eastern Cape, on 17 November. A Black-collared Barbet Lybius torquatus was at Wilderness, Western Cape, on 11 July; this species appears to be expanding its range westwards. 

A small group of Melodious Larks Mirafra cheniana was discovered in the Moletsi area, 20 km north-west of Polokwane, Limpopo, on 3 July; this is apparently only the second confirmed record for the province. Well out of the species’ respective ranges were a Stark’s Lark Spizocorys starki in Mountain Zebra NP, Eastern Cape, on 15 June, and a Black Saw-wing Psalidoprocne holomelas at Roodekoppies Dam, north of Brits, North West Province, on 17 August. An irruption of Grey-backed Sparrow Larks Eremopterix verticalis occurred in Kruger NP in July - November. In Mpumalanga, two Grey Wagtails Motacilla cinerea were observed at the Blue Swallow Natural Heritage Site in Kaapschehoop on 14 December. A small population of Short-tailed Pipits Anthus brachyurus was found in Mabusa Nature Reserve, Mpumalanga, in December. Southern Africa’s 15th Golden Pipit Tmetothylacus tenellus was discovered in Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, on 8 November. In Gauteng, a White-breasted Cuckooshrike Coracina pectoralis was reported from Groenkloof Nature Reserve, Pretoria, on 7 July and was seen again between mid October and early November. Also there during the same period was a Mountain Wagtail Motacilla clara.

The first Bush Blackcap Lioptilus nigricapillus for Western Cape stayed at Harold Porter Botanical Gardens, Betty’s Bay, on 7 - 11 September; the westernmost limits of the species’ distribution lie c.720 km to the east. Other out-of-range Bush Blackcaps were reported at St. Lucia, KwaZulu-Natal, on 30 September - 24 October (one), and at Randburg, Gauteng, on 7 October - 3 November (two). A Whinchat Saxicola rubetra near Percy Fyfe Nature Reserve, Limpopo, on 14 December, appears to be the 19th for southern Africa. A Red-capped Robin Chat Cossypha natalensis was still present in Sedgefield, Western Cape, in August, with another at Sasolburg, Free State, on 3 October. A Collared Palm Thrush Cichladusa arquata at Hoedspruit, Limpopo, on 25 August - 2 September, may represent the southernmost record. An Olive-tree Warbler Hippolais olivetorum was at Augrabies Falls NP, Northern Cape, on 12 December - possibly South Africa’s westernmost record. A Spotted Creeper Salpornis spilonotus was at Mabula Game Reserve, Limpopo, in September; this is the first photographically confirmed record in South Africa. In Eastern Cape, a pair of Violet-backed Starlings Cinnyricinclus leucogaster was reported near Queenstown, with another individual outside of East London, on 7 - 8 December. In Northern Cape, a Yellow-billed Oxpecker Buphagus africanus was seen on an African Buffalo Syncerus caffer at Tswalu Kalahari Reserve on 30 July. The influx of Lark-like Buntings Emberiza impetuani, which commenced earlier in the year continued throughout July - November, with significant numbers being reported from Kruger NP and Limpopo.

from ABC Bulletin 20.2

Records from January - June 2013 include the following. The most popular vagrant of the period was a Northern Rockhopper Penguin Eudyptes moseleyi which stayed at Soetwater Resort, near Kommetjie, Western Cape, on 30 January - 3 February; what was almost certainly the same bird was discovered at Onrus on 19 February, but it had disappeared the next day. Another major rarity was a Snowy (Greater) Sheathbill Chionis albus found at Mazeppa Bay, Eastern Cape, on 20 June, which remained there until at least the end of the month; like its few predecessors, this was almost certainly a ship-assisted bird.

Noteworthy species seen in the waters south and west of Cape Point included Southern Royal Albatross Diomedea epomophora (singles on 12 May and 29 June), Northern Royal Albatross D. (e.) sanfordi (one on 16 March), Wandering Albatross D. exulans (singles on 6 April and 14 May), Sooty Albatross Phoebetria fusca (one on 14 May), Salvin's Albatross Thalassarche (canto) salvini (one on 25 May), Chatham Albatross T. (c.) eremita (one in early May; fifth record for the subregion), Spectacled Petrel Procellaria conspicillata (singles on 30 December, 6 April and 29 June) and Flesh-footed Shearwater Puffinus carneipes (one on 23 February). South of St. Francis Bay, Eastern Cape, at least two Wandering Albatrosses were reported in early March and a Barau's Petrel Pterodroma baraui in late January. A Spectacled Petrel was observed offshore from Hondeklip Bay, Northern Cape, on 3 March.

A Red-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon rubricauda was found near the entrance to Cape Town harbour on 22 March. At least two Australian Gannets Morus serrator were still present on Malgas Island in Saldanha Bay, Western Cape, in January - February. A Eurasian Bittern Botaurus stellaris was seen on the Nibela Peninsula, KwaZulu-Natal, on 2 - 10 February, whilst another was heard at Nysvlei Nature Reserve, Limpopo, on 16 February. There was a report of a Black Heron Egretta ardesiaca from Kwandwe Game Reserve, Eastern Cape, on 15 February. In Western Cape, Goliath Herons Ardea goliath were recorded at Rondevlei Nature Reserve (1 - 2), Zandvlei (one) and Berg River near Velddrif (at least three) in late January - early February, and near Plettenberg Bay on 21 April (one). An African Openbill Stork Anastomus lamelligerus was observed near Caledon, Western Cape, on 26 April. The Abdim's Stork Ciconia abdimii first seen in Western Cape in October 2012 was occasionally reported from different locations in the province until mid May. One was also reported from Graaff-Reinett, Eastern Cape, on 11 March and at St. Francis Bay, in the same province, on 20 May. A Marabou Stork Leptoptilos crumenifer remained in the Bredasdorp area, Western Cape, from late January until at least early May.

In January - early April, reports involving at least 43 European Honey Buzzards Pernis apivorus were received from Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, Eastern Cape and Western Cape. An immature Palm-nut Vulture Gypohierax angolensis was feeding on a carcass near Mossel Bay, Western Cape, on 21 February. An Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus was observed in the south of Kruger National Park (=NP), Mpumalanga, on 13 - 15 May. Records of Brown Snake Eagle Circaetus cinereus in Western Cape included one c.70 km east of Beaufort West on 16 January, one in Tulbagh on 19 February, one c.30 km east of Beaufort West on 6 March, one between the N7 and Kalbaskraal on 9 - 10 March, and one near Agulhas on 24 March. Up to three Bateleurs Terathopius ecaudatus were in Western Cape in February - March, whilst in Eastern Cape singles were reported from Addo NP in early January, Humansdorp on 20 January, and Grahamstown on 12 February. Single Western Marsh Harriers Circus aeruginosus were reported from Limpopo (Nysvlei Nature Reserve, 16 February and 17 March), Gauteng (Marievale Bird Sanctuary, 13 - 16 January), North West Province (Kgomo Kgomo area, early March), Mpumalanga (Wakkerstroom, 20 February) and Free State (Seekoeivlei Nature Reserve near Memel, 11 February; apparently the third successive season that it has returned to this site). A Lesser Spotted Eagle Aquila pomarina was observed near Devon, Gauteng, on 13 January and a Long-crested Eagle Lophaetus occipitalis near Mossel Bay, Western Cape, on 3 April. A large flock of Amur Falcons Falco amurensis was feeding in fields near Bontebok NP, Western Cape, on 6 February; elsewhere in the province, 30 were near Wilderness and six near Karatara on 7 March, and several along the Garden Route on 24 March. Also in Western Cape, a Sooty Falcon F. concolor was still present in Plettenberg Bay in March - early April and an African Hobby F. cuvierii was seen near Kliprand, in the north, on 30 March.

A Baillon's Crake Porzana pusilla stayed at Intaka Island Wetland Reserve, Century City, Western Cape, on 19 January - 3 February. In Mpumalanga, a Grey Crowned Crane Balearica regulorum was at Nsemani Dam in Kruger NP on 26 May; it seems that there is only one relatively recent confirmed record for the park, from 1972. Single Eurasian Oystercatchers Haematopus ostralegus were seen in West Coast NP, Western Cape, on 17 February and 23 June. A Greater Sand Plover Charadrius leschenaultii was found at Voelvlei near Vleesbaai, Western Cape, on 30 December. At Mpempe Pan, north of Hluhluwe, KwaZulu-Natal, 8 - 10 Caspian Plovers C. asiaticus were present on 14 January, whilst a Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva was present on 3 - 13 January. In January - early April, reports involving at least 18 Pectoral Sandpipers Calidris melanotos were received from Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Gauteng, North West Province, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, Eastern Cape and Western Cape. In Gauteng, single Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa were noted at Marievale Bird Sanctuary in January and Dicken's Pan in February. Up to two Common Redshanks Tringa totanus stayed in West Coast NP, Western Cape, from 7 January - 19 May. Single Green Sandpipers T. ochropus were reported from North West Province (Kgomo Kgomo, 29 January), Mpumalanga (Kruger NP, 7 February), Gauteng (Waterfall Estate, Midrand, 27 January - 3 February) and KwaZulu-Natal (Thula Thula Private Game Reserve, near Empangeni, 16 January). At least one Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus was at the Velddrif salt pans, Western Cape, on 1 March. A Red Phalarope P. fulicarius was at Kwena Dam, Mpumalanga, on 24 January, with another on a dam in Weenen Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, on 24 March.

In Western Cape, sightings at different locations of adult Franklin's Gulls Leucophaeus pipixcan, reported in the period 29 March - 30 April, possibly concern the same individual. Up to two were present in Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, on 3 - 12 May, with one at Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, on 4 June. An immature Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus was claimed from Strand, Western Cape, on 16 June. A Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus stayed at Glen Austin Pan, Midrand, Gauteng, on 18 - 27 January; another was seen at Nahoon estuary, Eastern Cape, on 3 April, whilst up to two were present at East London, Eastern Cape, on 14 April - 28 June. In Northern Cape, a juvenile Kelp Gull L. dominicanus at a dam c.50 km north of Upington, c.450 km from the nearest coast, on 19 March is a rather odd record. A pelagic trip out of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, produced two Sooty Terns Onychoprion fuscatus on 23 June. A Black Tern Chlidonias niger remained at Strandfontein Sewage Works, Western Cape, on 5 January - 24 February. In North West Province, an African Skimmer Rynchops flavirostris was reported from Vaalkop Dam on 22 April, with up to four there from 26 April until at least 11 May. In neighbouring Limpopo, one (possibly one of the individuals from Vaalkop Dam) was located at Rust de Winter Nature Reserve on 4 May.

A Verreaux's Eagle Owl Bubo lacteus was still present in Thula Thula Private Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, on 13 January. A Blue-cheeked Bee-eater Merops persicus was seen at Jeffrey's Bay, Eastern Cape, on 6 January, with another in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Northern Cape, on 22 March. A Crested Barbel Trachyphonus vaillantii in Maclear, Eastern Cape, in late January, was well out of range.

A Black-eared Sparrow Lark Eremopterix australis was discovered c.40 km north-east of Grahamstown, Eastern Cape, on 5 May; this is apparently the species' south-easternmost sighting, c.230 km from the nearest record. Two Grey Wagtails Motacilla cinerea were at Debegeni Falls in Magoebaskloof, Limpopo, on 24 February - yet another season that this rarity returns to this site. A Yellow-breasted Pipit Anthus chloris was located at Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve, Gauteng, on 18 May, with at least three there on 26 May - 20 June. A River Warbler Locustella fluviatilis was mist-netted at Buffelsdrift, Gauteng, on 12 January. Marsh Warblers Acrocephalus palustris were recorded in George, Western Cape, on 16 January (one) and along the Garden Route on 24 March (several). The Groundscraper Thrush Psophocichla litsitsirupa that was first reported from Bredasdorp, Western Cape, in November 2011 was apparently still present in February. A White-browed Scrub Robin Cercotrichas leucophrys ringed near Nature's Valley on 17 April is a remarkable record for Western Cape; a second was mist-netted on 19 May, near Plettenberg Bay airport, c.40 km away, and a third on 22 May again at Nature's Valley. A Crimson-breasted Shrike Laniarius atrococcineus near Graaff-Reinet, Eastern Cape, in late January, was far outside its usual range. An Eastern Black-headed Oriole Oriolus larvatus was reported from a garden in Kimberley on 15 June; this appears to be the first record for Northern Cape. A Yellow-billed Oxpecker Buphagus africanus was photographed on a Giraffe Giraffa camelopardalis in Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, Northern Cape, on 27 January; this is c.700 km south of its range in Botswana and may represent the first province record. An influx of Lark-like Buntings Emberiza impetuani occurred in January - May, with birds being recorded in Western Cape in January and subsequently moving east to North West Province, Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Free State and KwaZulu-Natal.   

from ABC Bulletin 20.1

Records from July - December 2012 include the following. The most unexpected report for the period is that of an adult Black Skimmer Rynchops niger, photographed at Rietvlei, near Milnerton, Western Cape, on 4 - 5 October it was apparently of the North American nominate race and is the first record for Africa (an adult Black Skimmer flying south past County Mayo, Ireland, on 30 August, will be the first for the Western Palearctic if accepted).

Noteworthy species seen in the waters south and west of Cape Point include Wandering Albatross Diomedea exulans (one in August; at least seven in September; at least four in October; one on 10 November), Southern Royal Albatross D. epomophora (one in August; at least two in September), Northern Royal Albatross D. (epomophora) sanfordi (two in July; three in August; at least one in September), Sooty Albatross Phoebetria fusca (three on 10 July), Southern Fulmar Fulmarus glacialoides (one on 4 August; at least five in September), Spectacled Petrel Procellaria (aequinoctialis) conspicillata (singles in late October and late November), White-headed Petrel Pterodroma lessonii (singles on 10 July and 7 September), Atlantic Petrel P. incerta (one on 10 July), Blue Petrel Halobaena caerulea (one on 2 September), White-bellied Storm-petrel Fregetta grallaria (two at 160–190 nautical miles west of Cape Town on 11 October) and Red Phalarope Phalaropus fulicarius (at least one in mid September; several in October). Seawatches from Cape Point produced an Atlantic Petrel on 3 July and two Little Shearwaters Puffinus assimilis on 7 July.

Species observed in the waters south of Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, on 1 August include Wandering Albatross (four; with several in early December), Southern Royal Albatross (one), Northern Royal Albatross (two), Sooty Albatross (one) and Grey Petrel Procellaria cinerea (at least two); a Spectacled Petrel was seen in early December. In the Eastern Cape, a Wedge-tailed Shearwater Puffinus pacificus was again present on Bird Island, Algoa Bay, in late October; it has been visiting the area for several seasons.

Two Australian Gannets Morus serrator remained on Malgas Island, in Saldahna Bay, Western Cape, from late October until at least early December, with a third individual on 15 November. In KwaZulu-Natal, single Rufous-bellied Herons Ardeola rufiventris were reported from Mtunzini on 24 August and Cape Vidal from 26 September until at least 28 October. An immature Striated (Green-backed) Heron Butorides striata was found at Helderberg Nature Reserve, Somerset West, on 7 July; this is a rare species in Western Cape. In the same province, a Black Heron Egretta ardesiaca was at Goose Valley Golf Course, on the Garden Route, on 18 August. An exceptional record for Western Cape was an Abdim’s Stork Ciconia abdimii that remained near Arniston from 26 September until at least 13 October; another was present between Springbok and Goegap Nature Reserve, Northern Cape, on 7 November. A Marabou Stork Leptoptilos crumenifer stayed at George and the Knysna area, Western Cape, throughout July. Greater Flamingos Phoenicopterus (ruber) roseus were reported from Limpopo (one north of Letaba, Kruger National Park [=NP], on 14 July), KwaZulu-Natal (one at the Umzumbe River mouth in early July; at least eight near Bergville in mid July; a juvenile at Umvoti Vlei, south of Greytown, in late August; 24 in Stanger on 30 August), Eastern Cape (eight immatures at Boknes Lagoon, East London, on 8 July) and Western Cape (one at Prince Albert on 31 October). A juvenile Lesser Flamingo Phoeniconaias minor was at Sunset Dam, Kruger NP, Mpumalanga, in early August. A Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula at Rondevlei, Western Cape, was still present in early July.

In November - December, at least 17 reports were received of European Honey Buzzards Pernis apivorus, mainly from Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, with one from Western Cape. In KwaZulu-Natal, an immature Hooded Vulture Necrosyrtes monachus was observed in Thula Thula Private Game Reserve, near Empangeni, on 3 August (a noteworthy record for the province) and three Lappet-faced Vultures Torgos tracheliotus near Winterton, outside their normal range, on 20 July. Single Brown Snake Eagles Circaetus cinereus were reported from Eastern Cape (at Lawrence de Lange Nature Reserve, north of Queenstown, on 9 October, and at Port Elizabeth on 8 November) and Western Cape (one photographed in Karoo NP on 29 December - first record for the park). Bateleurs Terathopius ecaudatus were seen near De Hoop Nature Reserve (an adult on 29 October) and in Wilderness (a juvenile in early November), both in Western Cape. In the same province, a large brown eagle first reported from Helderberg Nature Reserve on 7 September and tentatively identified as a Tawny Eagle Aquila rapax, was photographed on 25 September. In KwaZulu-Natal, an Ayres’s Hawk Eagle Hieraaetus ayresii was at Mtunzini in early July, with another (or the same) in Amatikulu Nature Reserve. In Western Cape, two Long-crested Eagles Lophaetus occipitalis were reported for several months from the George / Mossel Bay and Somerset West areas, respectively; the latter was almost certainly the same individual that remained at Helderberg College from November 2010 into early 2011. Another was seen between Van Zylsrus and Askham, in the Kalahari, Northern Cape, on 29 November.

Baillon’s Crakes Porzana pusilla were observed in Augrabies NP, Northern Cape, in early October; at Nqweba Dam near Graaff-Reinet, Eastern Cape, on 4 November; and at Kgomo Kgomo, North West Province, on 28 November. An African Crake Crex egregia was photographed at Mata Mata Camp, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Northern Cape, on 22 December; there are no atlas records anywhere near this area.

A Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus remained in West Coast NP, Western Cape, from early August until at least 11 September; another was at the Umfolozi River estuary, KwaZulu-Natal, on 20 November. Temminck’s Coursers Cursorius temminckii were noted c.40 km south of Pofadder, Northern Cape (three in early July), c.20 km south of Vioolsdrif, Northern Cape (five in mid August), and at Olifantsbos near Cape Point, Western Cape (one on 1 December). A Lesser Sand Plover Charadrius mongolus was located in West Coast NP, Western Cape, on 30 September. In KwaZulu-Natal, a Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva was found at Lake St. Lucia on 23 December. A Dunlin Calidris alpina in breeding plumage at Geelbek, West Coast NP, on 20 October, was a remarkable record; there are very few confirmed reports in Southern Africa. Pectoral Sandpipers C. melanotos were observed in Mpumalanga (up to three at Mkhombo Dam in late September - December; one at Nsemani Dam, west of Satara, Kruger NP, on 17 November), North West Province (one in the Kgomo Kgomo area in early November - December), KwaZulu-Natal (two in Phinda Private Game Reserve on 3–4 November), Eastern Cape (one at Tankatara Salt Pans, Port Elizabeth, on 30 November - 1 December) and Western Cape (two at Vleesbaai, on the Garden Route, in late December). A Buff-breasted Sandpiper C. (=Tryngites) subruficollis was discovered at Waterfall Estate in Midrand, Gauteng, on 8 September. Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa were reported from KwaZulu-Natal (one in Umfolozi Game Reserve in early October, with another in the Durban Bay area on 28 October) and Gauteng (one at Marievale Bird Sanctuary on 23 December). Inland records of Bar-tailed Godwits L. lapponica included two at Mkhombo Dam, Mpumalanga, from 30 September until at least 28 October; two at Midmar Dam, near Howick, KwaZulu-Natal, in October; and one at Victoria West Dam, Northern Cape, on 28 November. Up to two Common Redshanks Tringa totanus were present in West Coast NP, Western Cape, in September - December. Green Sandpipers T. ochropus were reported from Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal in late September - December. A Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus was in Addo National Park, Eastern Cape, on 25 November and a Red Phalarope near Belfast, Mpumalanga, on 6 - 7 October.

In KwaZulu-Natal, a Franklin’s Gull Larus pipixcan was reported from St. Lucia on 7 - 11 July, with another, in partial breeding plumage, near the Illovo River estuary on 20 July. The Bridled Tern Onychoprion anaethetus at Cape Recife, Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, was seen again from 20 July until at least mid August; it was assumed to be the same individual that has been visiting this site for more than ten years. In KwaZulu-Natal, an adult Sooty Tern O. fuscatus was intermittently observed between the Umfolozi and St. Lucia estuaries throughout the period. An African Skimmer Rynchops flavirostris was foraging at Kosi Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, in early October.

A Great Spotted Cuckoo Clamator glandarius was near Klipheuwel Western Cape, on 3 - 13 July, with a pair in Camdeboo NP, Eastern Cape, in early November. An African Cuckoo Cuculus gularis was c.50 km north-east of Graaff-Reinet, Eastern Cape, well outside its normal range, on 28 September, with another near De Hoop Nature Reserve, Bredasdorp, Western Cape, on 11 November. A Madagascar Cuckoo C. rochii remained near Biyamiti, in southern Kruger NP, on 16 November - 9 December; this is apparently only the eighth confirmed record for the Southern African subregion. A Pel’s Fishing Owl Scotopelia peli in Newlands, Western Cape, on 14 October (apparently first seen there on 10 September) is the first photographically confirmed record for the province; the bird was rediscovered in Constantia on 5 November. An African Wood Owl Strix woodfordii, observed near Madikwe Game Reserve, North West Province, in late November, was c.300 km out of range.

In Northern Cape, a female Narina’s Trogon Apaloderma narina was seen at Groenriver, in Namaqua NP, in late July, far from this species’ normal habitat. A White-fronted Bee-eater Merops bullockoides first noted at Plettenberg Bay, Western Cape, in late June, was still there on 8 July. A small group was reported near Winterton, KwaZulu-Natal, on 7 - 14 July. Also of interest is a report of a Madagascar Bee-eater M. superciliosus in KwaZulu-Natal on 5 November - a remarkable record for the province. A Southern Carmine Bee-eater M. nubicoides just outside Gansbaai, Western Cape, on 23 December, was >1,000 km outside its normal range.

In Northern Cape, a Lesser Striped Swallow Cecropis abyssinica was reported in a flock of Greater Striped C. cucullata and South African Cliff Swallows Petrochelidon spilodera c.30 km south-east of De Aar on 10 November, well outside the known range. A Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea was located at Riviersonderend Sewage Works, Western Cape, on 3 August, with another at Magoebaskloof, Limpopo, on 29 November. A Groundscraper Thrush Psophocichla litsitsirupa was relocated in Bredasdorp, Western Cape, on 14 July. In late December, a small population of Wing-snapping (Ayres’s) Cisticolas Cisticola ayresii was discovered in the Harkersville area, near Plettenberg Bay, Western Cape, c.250 km east of the nearest known locality in the Port Elizabeth area. A Grey Tit-Flycatcher Myioparus plumbeus at Augrabies Falls NP, Northern Cape, on 16 November, was a surprising record for the area. In Gauteng, a Collared Flycatcher Ficedula albicollis in a Johannesburg garden on 4 - 5 December, attracted c.500 birders; it was apparently only the ninth record for South Africa. In the same province, a far out of range ruddy morph Olive Bushshrike Telophorus olivaceus was encountered in Florauna, Pretoria North, on 14 September. Noteworthy was a Crimson-breasted Shrike Laniarius atrococcineus of the rare yellow morph in Mokala NP, Northern Cape, on 27 December. Also of interest is a report of a Common Myna Acridotheres tristis at Lower Sabie camp, Mpumalanga, on 12 August. A male Black-headed Canary Serinus alario observed near Creighton, KwaZulu-Natal, on 30 October, is a new record for the province.

from ABC Bulletin 19.2

Records from January - June 2012 include the following. The most remarkable record for the period is that of a female Little Crake Porzana parva, which stayed at a small wetland at Clovelly, near Cape Town, from 21 March until 2 April; more than 600 birders went to see this first for southern Africa. There is only one previous, single-observer, report south of the equator, from Ndola, Zambia, of a male seen on three dates in March 1980. 

Noteworthy species seen in the waters south of Cape Point include Wandering Albatross Diomedea exulans (singles in February, April, May and early June, with seven in mid June), Salvin’s Albatross Thallasarche (cauta) salvini (singles in early and mid June), Grey-headed Albatross T. chrysostoma (singles in early and mid June), Sooty Albatross Phoebetria fusca (singles in late January and mid June), Southern Fulmar Fulmarus glacialoides (one in mid June), Spectacled Petrel Procellaria (aequinoctialis) conspicillata (singles in late January, mid May and mid June, with two in early March), Flesh-footed Shearwater Puffinus carneipes (singles on 20 February, and 18 and 26 March), Little Shearwater P. assimilis of the race tunneyi (one on 27 March), and Red Phalarope Phalaropus fulicarius (two on 12 February).

In Western Cape, a juvenile Wandering Albatross was just off Robben Island and a Southern Fulmar at Seal Island, in False Bay, on 16 June. In Eastern Cape, a Wedge-tailed Shearwater Puffinus pacificus was found on Bird Island in Algoa Bay, Eastern Cape, on 10 January; this is almost certainly the same individual that has returned to the island for several consecutive seasons. In the same province, a Flesh-footed Shearwater was reported fairly close inshore at Kenton on 7 April. In KwaZulu-Natal, a Barau’s Petrel Pterodroma baraui was seen near a tuna longliner c.50 km east of Durban in early May, whilst a Cory’s Shearwater Calonectris diomedea and the third Great Shearwater Puffinus gravis for the province were seen on 5 June. Following severe storms in late January, some unusual seabirds were reported from Limpopo Province, including a European Storm-petrel Hydrobates pelagicus at Shimuvini Camp, Kruger National Park (=NP), a Red-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon rubricauda at Rankin’s Pass (both birds subsequently died), and single Sooty Terns Onychoprion fuscata at Letaba, Kruger NP, Hoedspruit, and near Kanniedood Dam, with another at Renosterkoppies, in the Mpumalanga section of Kruger NP.

A moulting juvenile Western Rockhopper Penguin Eudyptes chrysocome was photographed at Cape Agulhas, Western Cape, on 14 January. A Red-tailed Tropicbird that has returned to the St. Francis Bay area, Eastern Cape, over the last few seasons, was back again on 20 - 22 January. At least two Australasian Gannets Morus serrator were still lingering on Malgas Island, in Saldahna Bay, Western Cape, on 25 January; one was seen there again around 22 March. A Greater Frigatebird Fregata minor was reported from Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, on 5 March. 

Approximately 30 reports were received of European Honey Buzzards Pernis apivorus throughout the country until at least early April. On 22 June, one was reported from Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Western Cape. In Limpopo Province, an immature Rüppell’s Vulture Gyps rueppellii, seen in Thornybush Game Reserve on 7 January, and two Palmnut Vultures Gypohierax angolensis in Kapama Game Reserve on 24 June, represent unusual records for the province. In Western Cape, an immature Brown Snake Eagle Circaetus cinereus was observed near Wellington on 10 February, with a single at Rooisand Nature Reserve on 25 February. A juvenile Bateleur Terathopius ecaudatus discovered in Sibuya Game Park, just outside Kenton-on-Sea, Eastern Cape, was still present on 1 - 7 January; this species has not been recorded from the province in recent times and the current record is a few hundred kilometres from the nearest known population in northern KwaZulu-Natal. A Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus was observed again near Harrismith, Free State, on 3 January. Single Western Marsh Harriers C. aeruginosus were seen at Marievale, Gauteng, on 7 - 10 January; near Kenton-on-Sea, Eastern Cape, on 7 January (no previous records for the province); Pongola, KwaZulu-Natal, on 13 February; and from the vicinity of the Amersfoort road bridge, Mpumalanga, on 20 February.

Small groups of Amur Falcons Falco amurensis were reported from the eastern part of Western Cape, from late January until late March, with one still present in the Karatara area near Sedgefield on 7 April; largest numbers were up to 50 near Wilderness on 21 February and 92 near Knysna on 15 March. In Eastern Cape, at least five were also present near Oyster Bay in late January. The first Sooty Falcon F. concolor for Western Cape stayed at Plettenberg Bay from 2 March until 16 April; this is at least 300 km west of the previous westernmost record. Still in the same province, an immature African Hobby F. cuvierii was photographed in West Coast NP on 6 June; this appears to be the second record for the province.
 
A Spotted Crake Porzana porzana remained at Marievale Bird Sanctuary, Gauteng, from 19 January until 15 February. Two Crab-plovers Dromas ardeola were present at Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, for some time; one was photographed on 4 January. Other long-staying birds include a Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus in West Coast NP, Western Cape, on 7 January - 9 February; what was almost certainly the same individual was seen again on 15 June. Bronze-winged Coursers Rhinoptilus chalcopterus were reported from Addo NP, Eastern Cape, on 21 January (still present on 6 February); Empangeni, KwaZulu-Natal, on 10 February (with a Sooty Falcon also there); Thula Thula Private Game Reserve,
KwaZulu-Natal, on 15 February; and on the Saasveld Campus in George, Western Cape, on 1 - 2 May (apparently only one previous record for the province). The identity of a moulting golden plover Pluvialis sp. that stayed at Cape Recife, near Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, from 9 February until 24 March, was the subject of much debate; available evidence eventually suggested it was an American Golden Plover P. dominica. On 5 January, 11 Caspian Plovers Charadrius asiaticus were present at Spitskop Dam, Northern Cape, with four Black-winged Pratincoles Glareola nordmanni. Pectoral Sandpipers Calidris melanotos were reported from Western Cape (seven at Langvlei, near Vleesbaai, on 8 - 14 January; a single at Strandfontein Sewage Works from 2 January until at least 3 March), KwaZulu-Natal (one at Cezwana Pan, near Mkhuze Game Reserve, on 26 March), Mpumalanga (two at Mkhombo Dam on 1 - 15 January, with at least one still present on 25 March) and Limpopo (one at the MPCA Dam, Zaagkuildrift, on 21 January). A Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa was seen at Langvlei, near Vleesbaai, Western Cape, on 8 January. A Hudsonian Godwit L. haemastica stayed at Langvlei, near Vleesbaai, Western Cape, on 12 - 31 January; this represents only the seventh record for southern Africa; the first was near Port Elizabeth in March 1987. A Common Redshank Tringa totanus was at De Hoop Vlei, Western Cape, on 1 February. Single Terek Sandpipers Xenus cinereus were at De Pan, north of Carltonville, Gauteng, on 14 January; Spitskop Dam, Northern Cape, around 20 January; and near Goose Marsh, on the Bitou River, Western Cape, on 8 February; the latter was still present on 12 February with a second individual. In Western Cape, a Wilson’s Phalarope Phalaropus tricolor was at Vleesbaai in early January, and a Red-necked Phalarope P. lobatus at Strandfontein Sewage Works on 30 January. A Red Phalarope was reported in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Northern Cape, on 6 March, whilst two were near Bloemhof Dam, Free State, on 5 - 9 April.

In Western Cape, a Franklin’s Gull Larus pipixcan was observed at Strandfontein Sewage Works on 25 March and at Dyer Island, near Gansbaai, on 2 May. A Hartlaub’s Gull L. hartlaubii was located at the mouth of the Illovo River, KwaZulu-Natal, on 13 January; in the same province, one was in Richards Bay on 1 March, joined by a second on 4 March. An immature Lesser Black-backed Gull L. fuscus was again at East London, Eastern Cape, on 30 January; a third-year remained at Leeupan, near Evander, Mpumalanga, from 24 March until at least 29 April. In KwaZulu-Natal, a Sooty Tern that was regularly observed at the Umfolozi River mouth from 7 October 2011, was still present in early January; an exhausted juvenile was picked up at the Tugela River mouth on 7 January and taken into care. A Black Tern Chlidonias niger was seen at Loch Athlone, Bethlehem, Free State, on 25 January; there are few inland records in the subregion. An African Skimmer Rynchops flavirostris at De Pan, north of Carltonville, Gauteng, on 14 January was the first record for South Africa in c.15 years.

In Limpopo Province, a pair of Senegal Coucals Centropus senegalensis was discovered breeding in the north of Kruger NP in early February; this is apparently the first confirmed breeding for the park and may also represent the first for South Africa. In late June, a White-fronted Bee-eater Merops bullockoides stayed in Plettenberg Bay, Western Cape. A Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea was seen near Blougat Nature Reserve, Gauteng, on 23 January, with another in Madikwe Game Reserve, North West Province, on 5 June. A Golden Pipit Tmetothylacus tenellus was discovered near Biyamithi Weir, Kruger NP, Mpumalanga, on 26 February; this represents only the 13th record for southern Africa.

from ABC Bulletin 19.1

Records from June - December 2011 include the following. Noteworthy species seen in the waters south of Cape Point include Wandering Albatross Diomedea exulans (singles throughout the period; two on 1 October), Southern Royal Albatross D. epomophora (1 - 2 in June - early November), Northern Royal Albatross D. (epomophora) sanfordi (singles on 30 July, in late September and early December; two on 15 October), Salvin’s Albatross Thalassarche (cauta) salvini (sightings of an adult from 26 June until late September probably refer to the same individual), Grey-headed Albatross T. chrysostoma (one on 6 - 7 August), Sooty Albatross Phoebetria fusca (singles on 5 June and 3 July), Southern Giant Petrel Macronectes giganteus (a white morph in late September), Southern Fulmar Fulmarus glacialoides (singles on five occasions between 25 June and 15 October), Kerguelen Petrel Aphrodroma brevirostris (one on 12 November), Spectacled Petrel Procellaria (aequinoctialis) conspicillata (singles on seven occasions between 30 July and 17 December), and Flesh-footed Shearwater Puffinus carneipes (two on 1 October).

In the Eastern Cape, a Wedge-tailed Shearwater P. pacificus was again present on Bird Island, Algoa Bay, in late September. A pelagic trip from Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, on 9 July produced a Great Shearwater P. gravis - apparently the second record for the province (the first being on 31 March 1990).

The long-staying Great Crested Grebes Podiceps cristatus (a pair with a juvenile) were still present on a dam south of Vryheid, KwaZulu-Natal, on 26 June. A White-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon lepturus flew towards Paarl, Western Cape, on 15 October. An unringed Australasian Gannet Morus serrator was located on Malgas Island in Saldanha Bay, Western Cape, on 29 November and again on 7 December; on 14 December, two were there, as well as a hybrid Australasian × Cape Gannet M. capensis. Another Australasian Gannet was on Bird Island in Algoa Bay, Eastern Cape, on 7 December. In Northern Cape, a Pink-backed Pelican Pelecanus rufescens was at Spitskop Dam, north of Kimberley, in late December, whilst an unexpected juvenile White-backed Night Heron Gorsachius leuconotus was in Augrabies Falls National Park (=NP) on 16 July. In Eastern Cape, a Black Heron Egretta ardesiaca was found near Addo on 12 July, with another at the Bulungula estuary, on the Wild Coast, on 6 September. A Slaty Egret E. vinaceigula was at Muzi Pan, KwaZulu-Natal, on 14 October. An African Openbill Anastomus lamelligerus was reported at Oyster Bay, Eastern Cape, on 12 September. A Woolly-necked Stork Ciconia episcopus, which stayed in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park from 5 to 20 December at least, may be a new record for Northern Cape. A Saddle-billed Stork Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis just outside Klaarstroom near Meiringspoort, Western Cape, on 22 November would be the first for the province. A Knob-billed Duck Sarkidiornis melanotos, a rare species in Eastern Cape, was located near Barkley Bridge, on 21 July.

In Western Cape, a European Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus stayed briefly at Wetton in late September; several others were observed in the east of the country, where the species is more regular. A surprising record was received of a Lesser Spotted Eagle Aquila pomarina on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain on 16 December. A Long-crested Eagle Lophaetus occipitalis was observed near Orkney, North West Province, on 22 June; in Western Cape, two were reported for several months from the George and Somerset West areas, respectively.

An African Crake Crex egregia was observed at Cape Vidal, KwaZulu-Natal, on 28 June. In Free State, 1 - 2 Baillon’s Crakes Porzana pusilla were at Soutpan, near Bloemfontein, on 16–17 July, with one still present on 30 July. In Mpumalanga, a Lesser Jacana Microparra capensis was seen near Ermelo in late September - probably the same bird that was found there in February. A Crab Plover Dromas ardeola was in the Southern Sanctuary area of Richard’s Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, on 6 November; from 15 November until the end of the year it was accompanied by a second individual. A Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus was reported from West Coast NP, Western Cape, from late August until December. A few Black-winged Pratincoles Glareola nordmanni were at Spitskop Dam, north of Kimberley, Northern Cape, in late December.

A Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva stayed at Den Staat wetlands, Limpopo, on 9 - 19 November; possibly the same individual has been present at this site for at least the last three summers. Pectoral Sandpipers Calidris melanotos were unusually frequent, with records from KwaZulu-Natal (two at Cape Vidal on 19 August; one at Sappi wetlands, Stanger, on 13 November), Mpumalanga (one at Mkhombo Dam on 17 - 19 November, joined by a second from 20 November until 12 December at least), Eastern Cape (one at East London on 29 - 30 November), Western Cape (two near Cape Point on 8 - 10 December; one at Strandfontein Sewage Works on 29 December), and North West Province (two in Barberspan Nature Reserve on 13 December). In Northern Cape, 1 - 6 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa stayed at Spitskop Dam from 23 October until late December; one was also at Strandfontein Sewage Works, Western Cape, on 11 December. An overwintering Common Redshank Tringa totanus was found in West Coast NP on 9 July; whilst this species regularly overwinters in Namibia, it rarely does so in Western Cape. One (the same?) remained at the same site from 17 August until late November, whilst another was seen at Woodbourne Pan in Knysna on 2 November. Green Sandpiper T. ochropus records include singles near Twee Rivieren, Northern Cape, on 25 - 26 September, and in Ndumo Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, on 10 November. Ruddy Turnstones Arenaria interpres were reported from Limpopo (one at Flag Boshielo Dam in late September; one at Kanniedood Dam, Kruger NP, on 18 October), Gauteng (one at Leeupan on 10 October), Northern Cape (one at Spitskop Dam on 23 October - 18 December, with a second on 11 - 18 December), Mpumalanga (one at Mkhombo Dam on 17 - 27 November) and Free State (two at Krugersdrift Dam, north-west of Bloemfontein, on 19 November). A Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus stayed at the Fish River mouth, Eastern Cape, on 9 - 23 July; two were at Strandfontein Sewage Works, Western Cape, on 11 December.

A Franklin’s Gull Larus pipixcan in full breeding plumage was photographed at the mouth of the Illovo River, KwaZulu-Natal, on 22 June. Another was seen at Wildevoelvlei Sewage Works near Kommetjie, Western Cape, on 30 June - 1 July; this may refer to the same individual that was at Strandfontein Sewage Works on 18 June. At least one Lesser Black-backed Gull L. fuscus was still at East London, Eastern Cape, on 17 July. In Western Cape, a Gull-billed Tern Sterna nilotica flew past Robben Island on 19 August, whilst a Lesser Crested Tern S. bengalensis was at Cerebos Salt Works on 16 October. The Bridled Tern S. anaethetus at Cape Recife, Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, was seen again 30 July. A Sooty Tern S. fuscata, present at the St. Lucia estuary, KwaZulu-Natal, from 26 July until late September, was regularly observed at the Umfolozi River mouth from 7 October until the end of December; another was in the tern roost on Dassen Island, Western Cape, in early November.

In KwaZulu-Natal, an African Barred Owlet Glaucidium capense was reported from Mkhuze Game Reserve on 22–23 October. A White-throated Bee-eater Merops albicollis, a rare vagrant in southern Africa, was seen in Kruger NP on 17 November. A Racket-tailed Roller Coracias spatulatus, first reported at Thornybush Game Reserve, Limpopo, on 3 July, was still present in mid August; this is a very southerly record for this species. In Northern Cape, a Wahlberg’s (=Brown-backed) Honeybird Prodotiscus regulus was observed near Hartswater on 10 June.

A Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava photographed in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Northern Cape, on 16 November, was still present in December; a few were also at Spitskop Dam near Kimberley in December. In KwaZulu-Natal, a male White-headed Black Chat Myrmecocichla arnoti was at Zinkwazi from 8 August until 9 October at least; it subsequently appeared to move south and was reported at Blythedale on 23 October and (presumably the same individual) in a Durban garden at the end of October. This is the first record for the province, with the closest-known populations in north-eastern South Africa. Also worthy of note were a Groundscraper Thrush Psophocichla litsitsirupa in Bredasdorp, Western Cape, on 7–25 November, and two Red-billed Queleas Quelea quelea at Jeffrey’s Bay, Eastern Cape, on 9 July.

from ABC Bulletin 18.2

Records from late December 2010 - early June 2011 include the following. Cruise trips between Cape Town and Walvis Bay reported several Bulwer’s Petrels Bulweria bulwerii and large numbers of Red Phalaropes Phalaropus fulicarius in January, and several Leach’s Storm-petrels Oceanodroma leucorhoa and Red Phalaropes in early March. A trawler operating north-west of Cape Columbine in early March produced an adult Salvin’s Albatross Thalassarche (cauta) salvini, a young Southern Royal Albatross Diomedea (e.) epomophora, a Leach’s Storm-petrel and two Flesh-footed Shearwaters Puffinus carneipes. Also in early March, two Wandering Albatrosses D. exulans were reported c.150 nautical miles south of Agulhas, with two more on 25 May; whilst on 8 March a Sooty Albatross Phoebetria fusca was seen c.32 nautical miles south-west of Hout Bay. On 8 April, a Chatham Albatross Thalassarche (cauta) eremita was photographed south of Cape Point; this is apparently only the fourth record in southern Africa. A White-headed Petrel Pterodroma lessonii, and Sooty and Wandering Albatrosses, were observed inside the 200 nautical mile zone from a boat returning from Tristan da Cunha in early May. Noteworthy species seen during pelagic trips out of the Cape Town area include single Flesh-footed Shearwaters on 5, 14 and 26 March; a Spectacled Petrel Procellaria (aequinoctialis) conspicillata on 14 March; a Wandering Albatross on 15 May; and a Little Shearwater Puffinus assimilis and a South Polar Skua Catharacta maccormicki on 12 June. Single Leach’s Storm-petrels were seen c.17 and c.75 nautical miles south of Cape Point in early April. In the Eastern Cape, a Grey Petrel Procellaria cinerea was found on the beach at St. Francis Bay on 3 February; it subsequently died. A Broad-billed Prion Pachyptila vittata was found dead at Camps Bay, Western Cape, on 11 May.

Around mid January a Red-footed Booby Sula sula was seen c.70 nautical miles offshore close to Mozambique waters. Another landed briefly on a boat c.40 nautical miles south-east of Cape Agulhas, Western Cape, on 29 March; this constitutes only the second record for the province. Also in Western Cape, an adult Brown Booby S. leucogaster, discovered on Malgas Island in Saldanha Bay on 27 January, is the first record for the province and one of only a handful for the sub-region. A Greater Frigatebird Fregata minor stayed in the Durban harbour area, KwaZulu-Natal, from 16 January until 6 March at least; in early May, two were reported from the same area, with one off Richards Bay.

Following the influx of African Openbills Anastomus lamelligerus throughout the country in late 2009, a few were still being reported in Western Cape, including 1–2 in Vermont, west of Hermanus, in late December - February; two in the Koue Bokkeveld area on 1 February; one at Verlorenvlei, Eland’s Bay, on 18 March; one between Malagas and the N2 on 21 March; and one at Kingswood Golf Estate, George, in early May. Western Cape’s first Woolly-necked Stork Ciconia episcopus was located in the grounds of Somerset College near Somerset West on 1 February.

About 30 reports were received of European Honey Buzzards Pernis apivorus throughout the country until early April at least. A Rüppell’s Vulture Gyps rueppellii was at a ‘vulture restaurant’ at Shelanti Game Ranch, Limpopo, on 13 - 19 March. A male Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus was at Sterkfontein Dam near Harrismith, Free State, in late January - possibly the same individual was present in 2010. An adult male Montagu’s Harrier C. pygargus was reported from Entabeni Nature Reserve, Limpopo, on 4 January, whilst an immature was in West Coast National Park (=NP), Western Cape, on 5 February. Single Western Marsh Harriers C. aeruginosus were reported from three locations in KwaZulu-Natal - Ntsikeni Nature Reserve on 13 January, Darvill Bird Sanctuary on on 3 February - as well as at Nylsvlei, Limpopo, on 6 February, and Kgomo-Kgomo / Zaagkuildrift, North West Province, on 13 March.
 
Records of Amur Falcons Falco amurensis include a male at Lombardini Game Farm, Eastern Cape, on 4 January; 12 west of Knysna, Western Cape, on 15 - 16 January; nine at the Kalahari Game Reserve, Northern Cape, on 10 February; a female south of George, Western Cape, on 15 February; at least 18 at Barrington, Western Cape, on 3 March; a female near Bontebok NP, Western Cape, on 6 March; and at least 15 between Barrington and Karatara on the same date. A female Red-footed Falcon F. vespertinus was photographed at Mkambati Reserve on the northern Transkei coast, Eastern Cape, on 13 February; this seems to be only the second record in the province. In Limpopo, a Red-footed Falcon was seen at Wolfhuiskraal on 27 March. A Sooty Falcon F. concolor stayed near Phalaborwa, Limpopo, on 3 - 7 February.

It was apparently a good season for Striped Crakes Aenigmatolimnas marginalis, which were reported from Kgomo-Kgomo (one on 20 February); southern Kruger NP (a pair with at least two chicks in late February); Mkhombo Dam, Mpumalanga (one on 6 March); Manyeleti Private Game Reserve, Mpumalanga (one on 11–12 March); and again Kruger NP (one on 14 March). In North West Province, a Spotted Crake Porzana porzana was reported from the Kgomo-Kgomo area on 6 February.

In Mpumalanga, a Lesser Jacana Microparra capensis was present near Ermelo in February, with another at Manyeleti Private Game Reserve on 11–12 March. Bronze-winged Coursers Rhinoptilus chalcopterus were reported c.12 km north of Potchefstroom, North West Province, on 3 January (a pair); at Southport, KwaZulu-Natal, in mid February (one); and c.40 km from East London, Eastern Cape, on 10 March. In North West Province, a Collared Pratincole Glareola pratincola stayed at Kgomo-Kgomo from 22 March until 9 April at least. In Western Cape, a Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus was reported in West Coast NP on 25 January and, possibly the same individual, at Velddrif on 29 January; one was on Langebaan lagoon on 3 April. An American Golden Plover Pluvialis dominica stayed at Cape Point in late December.

The Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanotos at Woodbourne Pan in Knysna, Western Cape, remained from mid December until the end of the month at least; it was present again on 4 March. Another stayed at Rocher Pan in March, while on 3 April one was reported from Langebaan lagoon. Single Buff-breasted Sandpipers Tryngites subruficollis were present in Eastern Cape near St. Francis Bay on 24 December and at the Kei River mouth on 11 - 21 April at least. A Common Redshank Tringa totanus was at West Coast NP in February. Green Sandpipers T. ochropus were reported from the Mapone River at Ngala Safari Lodge on 29 December; in KwaZulu-Natal in early January; near the Malalane Gate, Kruger NP, on 28 January; and in the Kgomo-Kgomo area, North West Province, on 29 January. On 2 February, a Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus was at Sovermyndam, Northern Cape - a rather unusual inland location for this species. A Wilson’s Phalarope Phalaropus tricolor was at Tankatara Salt Pans, Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, on 6 - 7 March. Also at Port Elizabeth, single Red-necked Phalaropes P. lobatus were present on the Marina Salt Pans on 5 February and Tankatara Salt Pans on 7 - 8 March. Three Red Phalaropes were reported at sea c.35 nautical miles west of Cape Columbine, Western Cape, on 3 February, with eight seen c.24 nautical miles west of Cape Point on 12 March. One stayed on a dam c.20 km north-east of Harrismith, Free State, on 13 - 26 February.

A Franklin’s Gull Larus pipixcan was observed around Dyer Island, Western Cape, on 11 March; what was almost certainly the same individual was reported again on 7 May. In the same province, another was at Yzerfontein on 20 - 21 March. One in full breeding plumage stayed at Cape Recife, Port Elizabeth, from 19 April until 6 May at least, whilst on 18 June one was reported at Strandfontein Sewage Works, Western Cape. An adult Lesser Black-backed Gull L. fuscus stayed at East London, Eastern Cape, from 9 February until 18 May at least; on 17 April two were present. The Bridled Tern Sterna anaethetus that has been visiting Cape Recife, Port Elizabeth, for some ten years was back in late April and remained until late May at least.

A Black Coucal Centropus grillii was near Umzumbe, KwaZulu-Natal, on 29 December. At least two African Palm Swifts Cypsiurus parvus were still present in Beaufort West, Western Cape, on 14 May. In Northern Cape, a Grey-hooded Kingfisher Halcyon albiventris was at Tswalu Kalahari Reserve on 6 January and one was photographed at Kathu on 26 February; these may be the first province records. On 29 January, a White-throated Bee-eater Merops albicollis was in Kruger NP; this is only the 12th sighting in southern Africa. A Southern Carmine Bee-eater M. nubicoides discovered on 30 March in Nature’s Valley and still present on 2 April is apparently only the second record for Western Cape. In Western, Eastern and Northern Cape an influx of European Rollers Coracias garrulus occurred in late December - early April, with tens being reported. Single Lilac-breasted Rollers C. caudatus were near Kenhardt, Northern Cape, on 26 January (a juvenile) and near Paul Roux, Free State, on 27 January. Probably the first for Western Cape stayed near Merweville from 23 February until 20 March at least. In Eastern Cape, one was near the Kei River mouth in March.

In January, single Dusky Larks Pinarocorys nigricans were seen in Mokala NP, south-west of Kimberley, and at Ophathe Nature Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal. Both Grey Wagtails Motacilla cinerea at Debegeni Falls, Limpopo, were still present on 20 February, with at least one on 8 March. One stayed at Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens, Gauteng, from 27 January until 1 March and another at Boulders Camp, Kruger NP, on 21 - 22 February. Several Marsh Warblers Acrocephalus palustris were calling in the Wilderness area on the Garden Route on 20 March - a very rare species in the Western Cape. In Northern Cape, an influx of Chestnut Weavers Ploceus rubiginosus occurred with some being seen until April. A Purple Indigobird Vidua purpurascens was at Klein Baai near Gansbay, Western Cape, on 31 December. A flock of Black-headed Canaries Serinus alario, including several of the ‘Damara’ race, were present south of Eland’s Bay, Western Cape, on 12 March.

_______________________

Records from late June - late December 2010 include the following. Noteworthy species seen during pelagic trips out of the Cape Town area include Wandering Albatross Diomedea exulans (singles on 4 July, 10, 16 and 23 October, 2 and 6 November, Southern Royal Albatross D. epomophora (one on 15 August, four on 25 September, a juvenile on 23 October), Northern Royal Albatross D. epomophora) sanfordi (one on 15 August, two on 28 August, one on 30 August), Southern Fulmar Fulmarius glacialoides (singles on 26 September and 6 November), Spectacled Petrel Procellaria (aequinoctialis) conspicillata (two on 6 November, one on 29 November), Flesh-footed Shearwater Puffinus carneipes (singles on 25 September and 4 December), Little Shearwater P. assimilis (singles on 1 and 23 August), and Red Phalarope Phalaropus fulicarius (one on 30 August, and small groups on 17 October and 6 November). A trip that returned to Cape Town on 1 September after an extended period south of Cape Agulhas reported many Wandering, Northern and Southern Royal Albatrosses as well as a few Little Shearwaters and a single Grey Petrel Procellaria cinerea. An adult Sooty Albatross Phoebetria fusca was seen during a seawatch from Kommetjie lighthouse, Western Cape, on 23 August. On 25 October, southern Africa's fifth Buller's Albatross Thalassarche bulleri was seen from a trawler operating c.160 nautical miles south of Cape Agulhas.

A Red-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon rubricauda visited the Kromme River estuary near St. Francis Bay, Eastern Cape, from late October until early December at least. An Australian Gannet Morus serrator was present on Malgas Island in Saldahna Bay, Western Cape, until at least 14 September. Another, found on Bird Island in Lambert's Bay on 18 November, was unringed and thus a new arrival in South Africa (all previous birds in the subregion have been ringed); it stayed until early December at least and was seen copulating with a Cape Gannet M. capensis. Southern Africa's second Masked Booby Sula dactylatra was reported c.80 nautical miles east of Kosi Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, on 4 November; also seen were at least four Greater Frigatebirds Fregata minor, a Grey Petrel and at least 11 Barau's Petrels Pterodroma baraui. An all-dark storm-petrel photographed at sea east of Richards Bay in November was identified as southern Africa's first Swinhoe's Storm-petrel Oceanodroma monorhis. In early December, another two Barau's Petrels and at least four Red-tailed Tropicbirds were reported at 80 - 200 nautical miles off Richards Bay. A Greater Frigatebird was seen near Hermanus, Western Cape, on 6 November; one was harassing terns at North Beach, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, on 24 November; and one flew over St. Lucia, KwaZulu-Natal, on 13 December.

A Striated (Green-backed) Heron Butorides striata stayed at Paarl Bird Sanctuary, Western Cape, from 27 September until 3 October; there are only a handful of previous records in the province. In Gauteng, a Slaty Egret Egretta vinaceigula was at Marievale Bird Sanctuary on 31 October. The long-staying Goliath Heron Ardea goliath at Rondevlei Nature Reserve, Western Cape, was still present throughout the period. Following the influx of African Openbills Anastomus lamelligerus throughout the country in November - December 2009, a few were still being seen during the period. Most records involved singles, a few of small groups of 2 - 3 birds, with the largest group being reported from the Western Cape, where 13 were still present in the Grabouw area in mid July and six at Vermont Salt Pan on 9 November. In KwaZulu-Natal, a slightly out of range and unseasonal White Stork Ciconia ciconia was near Ixopo on 14 July.

In North West Province, single Ospreys Pandion haliaetus were present at Mankwe Dam, Pilanesberg National Park (=NP), from late June until early September at least, and at Vaalkop Dam Nature Reserve on 1 August. European Honey Buzzards Pernis apivorus were reported from Benoni, Gauteng, on 24 August; Swadini, Limpopo, on 16 October; Ongoye Forest, KwaZulu-Natal, on 22 October; near Hazyview on the road to Kruger gate, Mpumalanga, on 12 November; Roodeplaat Dam Nature Reserve, Gauteng, on 15 November; Randburg, Gauteng, on 5 December; Phinda Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, in early December (several); in Simangaliso Wetland Park, KwaZulu-Natal, on 12 December (two); and in Keimoes, Northern Cape, on 16 December. In Eastern Cape, an adult Bat Hawk Machaerhamphus alcinus remained near the Wavecrest Hotel, on the southern Wild Coast, from 24 July until mid October at least. A Black-chested Snake Eagle Circaetus pectoralis was reported near Darling, Western Cape, on 3 July, and in Wilderness on 8 December. An African Marsh Harrier Circus ranivorus was near Espagsdrif, Northern Cape, on 22 August. An immature Lesser Spotted Eagle Aquila pomarina was located between Pietermaritzburg and Greytown, KwaZulu-Natal, on 8 December. An Ayres's Hawk Eagle Hieraaetus ayresii stayed at Empangeni, KwaZulu-Natal, from 29 June until mid August and in November, in Western Cape, a Long-crested Eagle Somerset West from late October until December. A surprisingly westerly sighting was a female Amur Falcon Falco amurensis at Langebaan, Western Cape, on 13 August.

In Eastern Cape, a Baillon's Crake Porzana pusilla was at Mayfield Dam, Grahamstown, from 20 September until early November at least, with two there on 4 November 2010; another two were found at a small dam in the Free State. Mkhombo Dam, Mpumalanga, hosted a Spotted Crake P. porzana on 2 - 12 December. An Allen's Gallinule Porphyrio alleni, reported in mid June from Seekoei Lagoon near Aston Bay, Eastern Cape, was still present in mid July. A juvenile Lesser Moorhen Gallinula angulata was seen in Hluhluwe Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, on 7 July. An out-of-range male Denham's Bustard Neotis denhami was located south of Voelvlei Dam, Western Cape, in July. A small west and southward influx of Ludwig's Bustards N. ludwigii took place in Western Cape between late September and the end of October at least; although most sightings were of singles or small groups (of up to eight), larger groups of up to 20 (flying over Britannia Bay in the direction of Paternoster on 28 October) or even 30 (along the R27 south of Veldrif on 13 October) were recorded.

A Lesser Jacana Microparra capensis stayed near Lydenburg, Mpumalanga, on 3 - 8 October. In September - December, up to three Crab-plovers Dromas ardeola were present in Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal. Eight Pied Avocets Recurvirostra avosetta were at Singita Private Game Reserve, Mpumalanga, in early July. In Limpopo, a pair of Three-banded Coursers Cursorius cinctus was incubating two eggs near Ngala Tented Camp in September - early October; this may well be the southernmost breeding record. In West Coast NP, two Lesser Sand Plovers Charadrius mongolus were found on 17 September, with up to three still present on 9 - 14 November and one on 14 December. A Greater Sand Plover C. leschenaultii was at Barberspan Nature Reserve, North West Province, on 9 November; this constitutes the first record for the province and the first inland record in South Africa. In Limpopo, a Caspian Plover C. asiaticus was reported between Letaba and Olifants camps in Kruger NP on 17 October, with eight in Mapungubwe NP on 28 November. A Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva was discovered at Den Staat wetlands, near Mapungubwe NP, Limpopo, on 29 November. A Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanotos was reported from the Sappi wetlands at Stanger, KwaZulu-Natal, on 25 September; another was at Mkhombo Dam, Mpumalanga, on 27 November, with two there on 30 November - 12 December at least. Singles were also at Woodbourne Pan in Knysna, Western Cape, and Muzi Pan, KwaZulu-Natal, in mid December. A Buff-breasted Sandpiper Tryngites subruficollis was at Muzi Pan, KwaZulu-Natal, from 13 December In Mpumalanga, a Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa was reported from the sandbanks in front of Lower Sabie camp, Kruger NP, on 9 - 10 October; this may represent the first record for the park. A Bar-tailed Godwit L. lapponica at the Vaal River in the Free State on 27 November was a rather surprising find. A Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus at Marievale Bird Sanctuary, Gauteng, on 22 August, is an interesting inland record. A Common Redshank Tringa totanus was in West Coast NP on 14 November, whilst a Lesser Yellowlegs T. flavipes, discovered at Woodbourne Pan in Knysna, Western Cape, on 29 November, may constitute the sixth record in southern Africa. Green Sandpipers T. ochropus were reported from near Bronkhorstspruit, Gauteng, on 14 November; near Malelane, Kruger NP, Mpumalanga, on 26 November; Ndumo Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, on 30 November; and Northern Farms, Gauteng, on 5 December. A Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus was on the Goukamma River estuary near Sedgefield, Western Cape, on 22 July. A female Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus in breeding plumage was located at Chatty Pan, near Marina Salt Works, Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, on 18–19 July; an adult in non-breeding plumage was at the Tankatara Salt Pans near Port Elizabeth on 21 November. A Red Phalarope P. fulicarius was at Spitskop Dam near Kimberley, Northern Cape, on 6 September, with another at Nyamithi Pan in Ndumo Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, on 2 October.

On a fishing trip out of Richards Bay, two South Polar Skuas Catharacta maccormicki were seen c.80 nautical miles offshore in July. A Common Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus was in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, on 14 June, with one at Cape Vidal, KwaZulu-Natal, associating with the local Grey-headed Gulls L. cirrocephalus, on 25 July. The long-staying adult and immature Lesser Black-backed Gulls L. fuscus at Orient Beach, East London, Eastern Cape, were still present in early September. In Western Cape, the fourth Elegant Tern Sterna elegans for southern Africa was discovered at Laaiplek, Veldrif, on 5 December, whilst a Lesser Crested Tern S. bengalensis was at Yzerfontein on 12 December. The Bridled Tern S. anaethetus that has been visiting Cape Recife, Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, for ten years, was still there in July. Presumably the same individual was on Bird Island, Algoa Bay, on 14 July, when there was also a Sooty Tern S. fuscata; the latter was also seen at Cape Recife on 23 September, and another was at the mouth of the Olifants River near Papendorp, Western Cape, on 15 December.

No fewer than 24 Namaqua Sandgrouse Pterocles namaqua were at a dam in North West Province near the border with Gauteng on 7 August; the distribution of this species is apparently shifting east. In Eastern Cape, an out-of-range flock of 18 was reported in the South Seas area, north of Fort D'Acre Nature Reserve, on 14 September. A Thick-billed Cuckoo Pachycoccyx audeberti was seen along the Sabie River in Kruger NP, Mpumalanga, on 24 July; although this is not an unusual location for the species, the time of year certainly is. In November, two other records of Thick-billed Cuckoo were made in Kruger NP, one at Ingwe Donga on 6th, and another at Lake Panic, also near Skukuza, on 7th.

A White-fronted Bee-eater Merops bullockoides found at Matjesvlei near Calitzdorp, Western Cape, on 7 September, was still in the area in December. Six Blue-Cheeked Bee-eaters M. persicus in St. Francis Bay, Eastern Cape, on 10 November, were well outside their normal range. A Madagascar (Olive) Bee-eater M. superciliosus reported from Lake Bhangazi, Eastern Cape, on 5 November, is only the third record for the province and the fourth for South Africa. A Rufous-crowned (Purple) Roller Coracias naevius originally reported in early April from Rooipoort Nature Reserve, near Kimberley, Northern Cape, was still present in October. A pair of Crested Barbets Trachyphonus vaillantii was photographed at a nest c.80 km south of Upington, Northern Cape, in early July; this fits into the trend of the species' continued westward expansion, with birds being reported regularly from Augrabies Falls NP in recent times.

In KwaZulu-Natal, a Fawn-coloured Lark Calendulauda africanoides of the race vincenti, known to occur sporadically as far south as Maputo, Mozambique, was reported from Tembe Elephant Park in late July. A Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea, which remained at Debegeni Falls, Magoebaskloof, Limpopo, from 27 November until late December at least, was presumed to be the same individual that has returned to this site for the last few seasons (the species was first recorded here on 25 December 2003); from 8 December, two were present for some time and another was located in the Tugela River gorge, Royal Natal NP, KwaZulu-Natal, on 1 December. Also in December, a male Golden Pipit Tmetothylacus tenellus in Pongola Nature Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, was one of the rarity highlights of the period. In Northern Cape, an out-of-range Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis in Nossob, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, in late November, probably represents the first record for the province.

In KwaZulu-Natal, an adult Capped Wheatear Oenanthe pileata was reported from Cedara Agricultural College on 4 - 6 July. A Sickle-winged Chat Cercomela sinuata was observed between Velverdiend and Klerkskraal Dam, North West Province, on 7 August; the distribution of this species is apparently also moving east. A Common Whitethroat Sylvia communis was ringed in Darvill Bird Sanctuary, KwaZulu-Natal, on 11 December; this species is very rarely recorded in the province. Several Collared Sunbirds Hedydipna collaris were present on the edge of Kruisfontein Indigenous Forest, Western Cape, on 6 July; this is yet another record west of the traditional western limit of the species' range at Nature's Valley. In Kruger NP, a male Purple-banded Sunbird Cinnyris bifasciatus was located at Mlondozi Picnic Site, north of Lower Sabie, on 17 October; this appears to be the first certain record from the park in many years. In September - December, a southerly influx of Black-headed Canaries Serinus alario occurred in Western Cape, with flocks of up to 50 birds, mainly along the west coast, but also further east, around Oudtshoorn and George; both the black-headed and the more strikingly patterned 'Damara' forms were present.

Records from December 2009 - June 2010 include the following. A Grey-backed Storm-petrel Garrodia nereis observed 16 nautical miles south-west of Cape Point on 27 December was only the second record for southern Africa and the African continent. Other noteworthy records made at sea south-west of Cape Town include a Wandering Albatross Diomedea exulans c.20 nautical miles off St. Helena Bay on 20 May, with another on 25 May, a young Grey-headed Albatross Thalassarche chrysostoma on 15 May, with an adult on 25 May, and single Spectacled Petrels Procellaria (aequinoctialis) conspicillata on 10 April and 5 June. In May, a Grey Petrel P. cinerea and a Slender-billed Prion Pachyptila belcheri were seen in southern African waters from a vessel returning from Marion Island. A pelagic trip c.50 km off Richards Bay, KwaZulu- Natal, on 10–12 June produced a Light-mantled Albatross Phoebetria palpebrata, two Greater Frigatebirds Fregata minor, 300+ Sooty Terns Sterna fuscata and a Grey-headed Kingfisher Halcyon leucocephala that rested on the boat for a few hours on 12th.

An immature Greater Frigatebird stayed in the Durban area, KwaZulu- Natal, from December 2009 until at least late May. An Australian Gannet Morus serrator was seen on Malgas Island, Western Cape, on 31 March and 31 May. Following the influx of African Openbills Anastomus lamelligerus throughout the country in November - December 2009, birds were being seen during the entire period. Most records involved singles or small groups, but in Western Cape a flock of 27 was at Elgin on 24 March (second largest for the province), whilst 11 were near Sedgefield on 9 June. In Eastern Cape, 48 stayed at Mooiplaas in March - April and 20 were present at a small dam near the St. Francis Links Golf Estate on 29 April. In North West Province, 15 birds stayed at Potchefstroom until at least 10 May, whilst in KwaZulu-Natal at least 12 were near Ixopo on 31 May. Marabou Storks Leptoptilos crumeniferus were seen in Western Cape west of Heidelberg on 4 March (one with a flock of White Storks Ciconia ciconia), at the N7 / M19 junction on 18 March (one), and at Brandvlei Dam, near Worcester, in late May (two).

An Osprey Pandion haliaetus in Pilanesberg National Park, North West, on 5 June was an unusual record. Eurasian Honey Buzzards Pernis apivorus were reported, in Western Cape, near the top of Kloof Nek Road on 27 February, at Stellenbosch on 13 March, in the Banghoek Valley near Stellenbosch on 4 April and at Kenilworth on 3 May; in KwaZulu-Natal, one was north of Durban on 3 April. A Bat Hawk Machieramphus alcinus was seen near Vogelfontein, Limpopo, on 2 - 3 April, a Black-chested Snake Eagle Circaetus pectoralis near King Williamstown, Eastern Cape, on 7 March and a Brown Snake Eagle C. cinereus at the Blaauwberg Hill Conservation Area, Western Cape, in early March. A Western Marsh Harrier C. aeruginosus was photographed at Marievale Bird Sanctuary, Gauteng, on 8 January, whilst a male Pallid Harrier C. macrourus was observed near Harrismith, Free State, in late February. A Tawny Eagle Aquila rapax was present in the Imfolozi Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, on 30 May. A female Amur Falcon Falco amurensis was seen near Bredasdorp, Western Cape, on 27 February and a Sooty Falcon F. concolor near the Afsaal Tea Room in Kruger National Park, Mpumalanga, on 9 April.

An African Crake Crex egregia was found west of Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, on 16 May and a Spotted Crake Porzana porzana at the Sappi Stanger wetlands, KwaZulu-Natal, on 27 February. In Limpopo, there were reports of Striped Crake Aenigmatolimnas marginalis from the Nylsvlei area on 21 March and 2–3 April. Four Black Crakes Amaurornis flavirostra reported along the Orange River at De Hoop, Northern Cape, on 21 April, were well out of range. In Gauteng, a Wattled Crane Bugeranus carunculatus was in a flock of 150+ Blue Cranes Anthropoides paradiseus in farmland south of Devon on 1–23 May.

At least four Crab Plovers Dromas ardeola stayed in the Southern Sanctuary Area, Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, from August 2009 until at least mid May. A Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus was at Bot River Lagoon, Western Cape, from 11 March until at least 24th. African Black Oystercatchers H. moquini were noted near Durban, KwaZulu- Natal, on 29 May and 23 June. In Western Cape, a Chestnut-banded Plover Charadrius pallidus was seen on the edge of Langvlei, Wilderness National Park, on 12 June. A Lesser Sand Plover C. mongolus was present at Seeberg in West Coast National Park, Western Cape, on 11–13 March, with at least two there on 14 - 25 March and a Broad-billed Sandpiper Limicola falcinellus on 14 March and 3 April. At the same site, the sixth Hudsonian Godwit Limosa haemastica for southern Africa was found on 10 March and still present on 25th. In KwaZulu-Natal, Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus were reported in the period mid December - mid February, including one at Darvill Bird Sanctuary, Pietermaritzburg, another at the Sappi Stanger wetlands and a third near Nyala Game Ranch.

A fishing trip in Western Cape produced an adult Franklin's Gull Larus pipixcan a few miles off Sea Point on 22 May; another was seen feeding on emerging alates near the Nxaxo estuary at Wavecrest, Eastern Cape, on 10 June. An immature Lesser Black-backed Gull L. fuscus stayed at Orient Beach, East London, Eastern Cape, throughout the period; it was joined by an adult on 23 April. In Western Cape, a Roseate Tern Sterna dougallii was located in a roost of mostly Greater Crested Terns S. bergii at Kommetjie on 10 March, whilst one in full breeding plumage was found on Malgas Island on 31 May. For the tenth consecutive year, a Bridled Tern S. anaethetus returned to Cape Recife, near Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, in May; it was still there in late June. In KwaZulu-Natal, south-east of Mtunzini and c.13 km offshore, a Brown Noddy Anous stolidus landed on a fishing boat on 2 April.

A Jacobin Cuckoo Clamator jacobinus at Jakkelsfontein, south of Yzerfontein, Western Cape, on 4 March, was an interesting record. Also of interest was a Black Coucal Centropus grillii on the western shore of Lake St. Lucia, KwaZulu-Natal, on 24 March. A European Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus was reported near Rondevlei in Wilderness National Park, Western Cape, on 18 May; this is an extremely uncommon bird in the province. Two Swallow-tailed Bee-eaters Merops hirundineus were at Simon's Town, on 2 June; there are only a few previous records from Western Cape. Two White-fronted Bee-eaters M. bullockoides stayed around the Tsitsikamma Coastal Golf Estate, Eastern Cape, in the early part of June. In Limpopo, two White-throated Bee-eaters M. albicollis in a group of European Bee-eaters M. apiaster were photographed at Balule Nature Reserve, on 18 March. In the Western Cape, four Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters M. persicus stayed near Sedgefield from late February until early April. In the same province, a Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill Tockus leucomelas reported from a farm c.50 km north of Beaufort West, in May, appeared to have been in the area for about a year.

A male Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava was at Strandfontein Sewage Works, Western Cape, on 11 - 18 March. In North West Province, Tree Pipits Anthus trivialis stayed at Kgaswane Nature Reserve near Rustenburg from February; two were still there on 2 March, with at least one until 7 March. In Eastern Cape, a vagrant Red-capped Robin Chat Cossypha natalensis flew into a window in St. Francis Bay on 2 May, whilst one was caught by a cat in Kimberley around the same time. A Bush Blackcap Lioptilus nigricapillus was reported from a Durban garden on 13 June. A House Crow Corvus splendens was noted in East London, Eastern Cape, on 15 June. A Red-billed Oxpecker Buphagus erythrorhynchus was reported from Keurbooms River Game Trails, Western Cape, in May; local rangers apparently have been seeing oxpeckers there since February. The area near Cofimvaba, in the former Transkei, Eastern Cape, produced a Black-chested Prinia Prinia flavicans and a Scaly-feathered Finch Sporopipes squamifrons in early March; both species were well south-east of their known ranges. In Mpumalanga, a male Red-headed Finch Amadina erythrocephala was reported from the Lower Sabie camp, Kruger National Park, on 21 March.

Records from July - December 2009 include the following. During pelagic trips south-west of Cape Point, 1–2 Wandering Albatrosses Diomedea exulans, 1–3 Southern Royal Albatrosses D. epomophora and 1–2 Northern Royal Albatrosse D. (epomophora) sanfordi were regularly seen in August–October, single Grey-headed Albatrosses Thalassarche chrysostoma in July, single white-morph Southern Giant Petrels Macronectes giganteus in July–September, 1–2 Southern Fulmars Fulmarus glacialoides in August–October, and single Flesh-footed Shearwaters Puffinus carneipes in October. Also observed were an adult Salvin’s Albatross Thalassarche (cauta) salvini c.30 nautical miles south-west of Hout Bay on 9 August, a Spectacled Petrel Procellaria (aequinoctialis) conspicillata on 14 July and another in October, a Little Shearwater Puffinis assimilis a few miles off Cape Point on 1 August, a Red Phalarope Phalaropus fulicarius in September, and a pale-morph South Polar Skua Catharacta maccormicki on 25 July.

The most interesting species seen within Western Cape waters during a 36-day fishing trip which returned to Cape Town on 8 September included Wandering, Northern Royal andSouthern Royal Albatrosses (almost daily), 20 Grey-headed Albatrosses, c.10 Sooty Albatrosses Phoebetria fusca, four Light-mantled Albatrosses P. palpebrata, 20 Blue Petrels Halobaena caerulea, c.50 Grey Petrels Procellaria cinerea, a few Little Shearwaters (races tunneyi and elegans), a few probable Salvin’s Prions Pachyptila salvini, several Slender-billed Prions P. belcheri and, best of all, at least one Fairy Prion P. turtur. A two-week trip in September 60–90 nautical miles south-west of Cape Point produced at least 35 Wandering Albatrosses, 12 Northern and six Southern Royal Albatrosses, a Grey-headed Albatross, two Grey Petrels, a Blue Petrel and a White-headed Petrel Pterodroma lessonii.

A juvenile Northern Rockhopper Penguin Eudyptes chrysocome moseleyi came ashore at Struisbaai in early August; the bird was weak and wounded, and was taken into care. Two tropicbirds seen briefly at St. Francis Bay, Eastern Cape, on 25 December, were suspected to be Red-tailed Tropicbirds Phaethon rubricauda. An Australian Gannet Morus serrator was on Malgas Island, Western Cape, on 24 August and from mid November until mid December at least. A Cape Cormorant Phalacrocorax capensis influx into coastal KwaZulu-Natal continued with an unprecedented count of 14 birds in Durban Bay on 6 August. In Eastern Cape, a Crowned Cormorant P. coronatus was on Bird Island in Algoa Bay in early August; this is at least 350 km further east than usual. An immature Greater Frigatebird Fregata minor soared over the Illovo River near Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, on 21 December and, probably the same bird, over the Umgeni River mouth the next day.

In Northern Cape, four Black Herons Egretta ardesiaca were reported at Twee Rivieren in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in July. An influx of African Openbills Anastomus lamelligerus occurred throughout the country in November - December; most records involved singles, but a group of over 20 was seen in Potchefstroom, North West. Sightings within the species’ normal range suggest a marked increase, with reports of a flock of 200 - 300 at St. Lucia and over 1,000 near Skukuza, Kruger National Park (=NP). Records of regional interest include a Black Stork Ciconia nigra at Grootvadersbosch Farm, Western Cape, in late August and single Marabou Storks Leptoptilos crumeniferus in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, on 12 August, and near Kimberley, Northern Cape, on 12 December. A pair of African Pygmy Geese Nettapus auritus was east of Letaba, Kruger NP, on 11 October. In Mpumalanga, a male Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula was found at Dullstroom Nature Reserve on 11 November.

Eurasian Honey Buzzards Pernis apivorus were reported from Phinda Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, on 8 November; Irene, Gauteng, in mid November; Swadini Resort, Limpopo, on 29 November; Newlands, Western Cape; on 2 December, Witwatersberg Mountain Range; Gauteng, on 10 December; Mokala NP, Northern Cape, on 13 December; and Mkhuze Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, on 16 December. Single Palm-nut Vultures Gypohierax angolensis were seen along the Mphongolo Loop, Kruger NP, on 27 August, and near Plettenberg Bay, Western Cape, on 13 December, where, according to a local farmer, the bird has been present for at least two years. In Western Cape, an adult Black-chested Snake Eagle Circaetus pectoralis was located south of the Vredenberg - Paternoster road on 5 July and a Brown Snake Eagle C. cinereus at Vergelegen on 19 November. An African Harrier Hawk Polyboroides typus at Kimberley, Northern Cape, in July is of regional interest. Single Pallid Harriers Circus macrourus were seen west of Kimberley in early October, and west of Alexandria, Eastern Cape, on 11 December. Western Marsh Harriers C. aeruginosus were reported from Phinda Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, in early October, and Marievale Bird Sanctuary, Gauteng, on 22 November and 19 December, with a further two records from Vogelfontein on the same day and the Kgomo-Kgomo floodplain on 20 December. A female Amur Falcon Falco amurensis was near Plettenberg Bay, Western Cape, on 13 December.

An unseasonal Lesser Moorhen Gallinula angulata was near Ellisras, Limpopo, in late July; one at Stanger, KwaZulu-Natal, on 30 August is a rather early record. A female African Finfoot Podica senegalensis was at Northern Farm, Gauteng, on 6 July; a sighting of this species at what is effectively a sewage works is rather unusual. In Western Cape, a Kori Bustard Ardeotis kori was reported at Cape Agulhas from 9 September, whilst a pair was found in Bontebok NP in November. In KwaZulu-Natal, a Red-crested Bustard Lophotis ruficrista was in Nambiti Game Reserve, near Ladysmith, in November.

A Crab Plover Dromas ardeola was at Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, from 2 October until 11 October at least. A Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus occurred in the Sundays River mouth area, Eastern Cape, in November. Of regional interest are African Black Oystercatcher H. moquini records from KwaZulu-Natal, in Durban on 8–9 August (one), Mpenjati estuary on 22 August (one) and Isipingo on 23 August (two). In the same province, a Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta was at the Umzumbe River estuary on 17–19 October. In Kruger NP, a pair of Three-banded Coursers Rhinoptilus cinctus was found breeding near Pafuri in August; there are few breeding records in South Africa. A Three-banded Courser near Ngala Lodge, Limpopo, was present in mid December. A Collared Pratincole Glareola pratincola at Mkhombo Dam, Mpumalanga, on 13 December, was several hundred kilometres west of the species’ normal distribution.

In West Coast NP, Western Cape, up to five Lesser Sand Plovers Charadrius mongolus were present in August; at least one stayed until late November. Also there in August were three Greater Sand Plovers C. leschenaultii,with another three at Swartvlei, on the Garden Route, Western Cape, on 27 October. Caspian Plovers C. asiaticus were located in the Viljoenskroon area, Free State, on 13 September (one) and east of Nigel, Gauteng, on 14–29 November (up to nine). In Western Cape, a Common Redshank Tringa totanus found at Velddrif on 12 August was still present on 24 September. Single Green Sandpipers T. ochropus were recorded in Kruger NP in late September - mid October, on 7 and 19 November, and 9 December; others were seen in Ndumo Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, on 21 November, and at Ngala, Limpopo, on 18 December. A Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus was at Rondevlei, near Wildernis, Western Cape, on 18 October. In the same province, a Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres at Beaufort West sewage works on 11 October was a rather interesting find. A Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus was at Soutvlei, Eastern Cape, on 13–19 November, and a Red Phalarope at Haarlem, in the Langkloof area, Western Cape, on 13 November.

An adult Common Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus in full breeding plumage was observed in West Coast NP, Western Cape, on 12 November and, probably the same bird, at Velddrif on 27–29 November. A Lesser Black-backed Gull L. fuscus was reported from a small wetland north-east of Kriel, Mpumalanga, on 31 July, whilst another, which was relocated at Orient Beach in East London, Eastern Cape, on 20 August after a nearly two-month absence, remained until early September at least. A group of 15–20 Roseate Terns Sterna dougallii was reported in a tern roost near Gansbaai, Western Cape, on 8–9 August. In the Eastern Cape, at least one Antarctic Tern S. vittata was still present in a tern roost near Gonubie Point, East London, on 14 August. The Bridled Tern S. anaethetus at Cape Recife in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, was relocated on 7 July and still present a week later. A Sooty Tern S. fuscata first reported from Bird Island, Algoa Bay, Eastern Cape, in early June was still present on 4 August; on 3 November one was on Dyer Island near Gansbaai, Western Cape.

A Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo Cercococcyx montanus was reported from Ndumo Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, on 21 November. In Northern Cape, up to four Little Bee-eaters Merops pusillus were in Rooipoort Nature Reserve, near Kimberley, in July. In Mpumalanga, an out-of-range Swallow-tailed Bee-eater M. hirundineus was discovered in the Beerlaagte area, north of Villiers, on 12 September; another was in Western Cape, where the species is rarely recorded, near Wildernis on 29 September. Two White-fronted Bee-eaters M. bullockoides in Augrabies Falls NP, Northern Cape, on 30 June, were probably the same two found there on 22 March; another out-of-range pair was reported near Aliwal North, Eastern Cape, in August. Crested Barbets Trachyphonus vaillantii were still in Augrabies in late October - a considerable westward range extension.

An African Pitta Pitta angolensis in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, on 13 October, is a remarkable record. In North West, a Mountain Wagtail Motacilla clara was in Tonqani Gorge, east of Rustenburg, on 26 October. Southern Africa’s tenth Golden Pipit Tmetothylacus tenellus was at Futululu Park, near St. Lucia, KwaZulu-Natal, on 12 August, and the 11th was at Mkuze Game Reserve, also in KwaZulu-Natal, on 3–4 October. In early August, a Long-tailed Pipit Anthus longicaudatus was observed west of Christiana, North West, with another at Garingboom, Free State. On 23 October, a male Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla was claimed from the Pafuri picnic site, Kruger NP. A Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus and a moulting male Long-tailed Paradise Whydah Vidua paradisaea at Nossob, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Northern Cape, in mid December, were well out of range. A Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata in West Coast NP, Western Cape, on 16 December, is probably the same individual that has returned to this site for several successive seasons. The immature Bush Blackcap Lioptilus nigricapillus first found in a Heidelberg garden, south-east of Johannesburg, Gauteng, in June was still present in mid July. A Malachite Sunbird Nectarinia famosa at Kimberley, Northern Cape, in July, is of regional interest.

In Western Cape, a juvenile Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio was in West Coast NP on 22 November and an adult near Beaufort West on 20 December. A yellow-morph Crimson-breasted Shrike Laniarius atrococcineus has been regularly seen at Klipfontein Lodge, c.45 km from Klerksdorp, North West; this unusual form is normally quite difficult to find. A Fork-tailed Drongo Dicrurus adsimilis in Darling in October probably represents the first record on the west coast north of Cape Town. In Mpumalanga, an out-of-range a pair of Yellow Weavers Ploceus subaureus was found near Tonga on 20 August; this is the first record in the province since the mid-1970s. Red-headed Finch Amadina erythrocephala, recorded for the first time in Kruger NP in 2009, were still present in large numbers north of Satara in October. In Western Cape, a male Village Indigobird Vidua chalybeata was coming to a garden in Melkbos in late November–December. An eruption of Lark-like Buntings Emberiza impetuani occurred on the west coast in October - November, with maximum numbers of over 1,000 being recorded in West Coast NP on 21 - 22 November; two on Robben Island on 5 November was a rather southerly record and only the second for the site.

Records from late December 2008 - June 2009 include the following. During pelagic trips south-west of Cape Point, a juvenile Wandering Albatross Diomedea exulans was noted on 30 December and singles of Northern Royal Albatross D. (epomophora) sanfordi on 8 February and 21 June; these are unusual dates for these species to occur here. An immature Wandering Albatross was seen during a seawatch from Cape Point on 27 June. An adult Salvin’s Albatross Thallasarche (cauta) salvini was photographed in a feeding flock behind a trawler, c.80 nautical miles south of Cape Point, on 28 May. Two Light-mantled Albatrosses Phoebetria palpebrata were found ashore in Western Cape, one near Mossel Bay on 7 January and another at Struisbaai on 22 January; both were taken into care but died shortly afterwards. A pelagic trip out of Simon’s Town on 21 June recorded a Southern Fulmar Fulmarus glacialoides. Also in June, a sick Southern Fulmar, found on Clovelly beach, Western Cape, died before it could be taken into care. A pelagic trip out of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, on 13 June came across an unusually large group of 400–500 Flesh-footed Shearwaters Puffinus carneipes around a trawler. A seawatch from Cape Point on 17 May produced a Little Shearwater P. assimilis.

A heavily moulting, but apparently healthy King Penguin Aptenodytes patagonicus came ashore west of St Francis Bay, Eastern Cape, on 13 February; this appears to be the sixth record for southern Africa. An adult Northern Rockhopper Penguin Eudyptes c. chrysocome came ashore at Struisbaai, Western Cape, on 29 January; the bird was also in moult and apparently healthy. Two Macaroni Penguins E. chrysolophus were reported from Western Cape: the 13th for southern Africa was a healthy individual which stayed at Brandfontein, near Cape Agulhas, from 25 February to 5 March, whilst the 14th, found at Betty’s Bay on 16 March, was in poor health and was taken into care, where it made a dramatic recovery.

Red-tailed Tropicbirds Phaethon rubricauda were reported from Plettenberg Bay, Western Cape, on 16 April, and near Port St Johns, on the Wild Coast, Eastern Cape, on 30 April. An adult White-tailed Tropicbird P. lepturus flew over Somerset West, Western Cape, on 1 January. An Australian Gannet Morus serrator was on Malgas Island, Western Cape, on 13 February, whilst a Red-footed Booby Sula sula was found dead at Swartvlei Beach, on the Garden Route, Western Cape, on 16 December. Greater Frigatebirds Fregata minor were observed at St Francis Bay, Eastern Cape, on 12 March and along the beach near Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, on 24–25 May. In June, a ten-day trip aboard a tuna longliner between Durban and Richards Bay, ranging 20–70 nautical miles offshore, produced a male Greater Frigatebird, a Red-footed Booby, a South Polar Skua Catharacta maccormicki and up to 50 Sooty Terns Sterna fuscata.

The Slaty Egret Egretta vinaceigula located at Mkhombo Dam, Gauteng, at the end of November 2008, remained there until at least 17 January; another was still present at Marievale Bird Sanctuary on 23 March. Single European Honey Buzzards Pernis apivorus were reported throughout the country, from Western Cape (Ceres), Northern Cape (Kimberley, 10 January), KwaZulu-Natal (Mtubatuba, 28 December; Umhlatuze Valley Sugar Estate, near Richards Bay, 7 March; Port Edward Holiday Resort, 9 April), Limpopo (Modimolle, 25 December), North West Province (Kgomo-Kgomo, 10 April), Gauteng (Northern Farms, 10 January; Bryanston area, 1 February; Schurweberg, 28 February; Roodeplaat Dam Nature Reserve and over a residential garden, 1 March) and Kruger National Park (Pafuri, 12 April). In Gauteng, a Western Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus was still at Marievale Bird Sanctuary on 23 March, with another in the Kgomo-Kgomo area, north of Pretoria, on 8 February; one was also at Loch Athlone near Bethlehem, Free State, on 28 December, and one at Darvill Bird Sanctuary, KwaZulu-Natal, on 1 March.

Striped Crakes Aenigmatolimnas marginalis were reported from an ephemeral pool in Mapungubwe National Park, Limpopo, on 2 January (one), Kgomo-Kgomo floodplain, North West Province, on 29 March (one), and Sabi Sands Game Reserve, Mpumalanga, from 6 March to at least 29 March (two adults and three chicks). A Crab Plover Dromas ardeola was observed at the Umgeni River mouth in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, on 21 December, with up to three at Richards Bay from 31 December until at least 10 January; at least two were still present on 20 March. Also in KwaZulu-Natal, a European Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus originally located in mid December in the St Lucia area was still present on 15 February; two were there with three African Black Oystercatchers H. moquini on 21 - 22 February. At least one European Oystercatcher was still present on 6 March. In Eastern Cape, an American Golden Plover Pluvialis dominica was found at Seekoei on 5 January and what is assumed to be the same individual was seen at the Kromme River estuary on 22 January. Single Pacific Golden Plovers P. fulva were at Muzi Pan, KwaZulu-Natal, from 21 December until at least 6 January, and at Den Staat wetlands, Limpopo, on 3 January.

Southern Africa’s 14th Baird’s Sandpiper Calidris bairdii discovered at Wadrift Salt Pan, north of Eland’s Bay, Western Cape, on 16 December, was present until  1 February. Pectoral Sandpipers C. melanotos were found at Cape Recife, Eastern Cape, on 14 February, Sappi Stanger wetlands, KwaZulu-Natal, on 11–12 April, and Vaalkop Dam, North West Province, on 28 December. The Broad-billed Sandpiper Limicola falcinellus found at Geelbek in West Coast National Park, Western Cape, on 16 November, was still present on 8 January; it was erratic in its appearances but was found again on 21 March. Another Broad-billed Sandpiper was at De Mond Nature Reserve, Western Cape, on 10 January. Southern Africa’s fourth Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes was present at the Sappi Stanger wetlands, KwaZulu-Natal, from 24 December to 12 April. Single Green Sandpipers T. ochropus were reported from Northern Farms, Gauteng, on 5–25 January at least; Zaagkuildrift Road, north of Pretoria, on 15 February; Mkhombo Dam, Gauteng, on 13 April; Pafuri, Limpopo, on 17 January; and near Ngala Camp, Kruger National Park, on 29 January and 17 February. A Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus was found between Bredasdorp and Struisbaai, Western Cape, on 30 December. Red Phalaropes P. fulicarius were observed at Dyer Island, Western Cape, on 8 January (one), a large dam at the base of Sani Pass, KwaZulu-Natal, on 7 January (two), a farm dam near Richmond, KwaZulu-Natal, on 17–20 January (one), and near Shingwedzi, Limpopo, on 14 January (one).

At least three Franklin’s Gulls Larus pipixcan were seen in Western Cape: one in winter plumage along the Liesbeek River, near Observatory, on 13 January, another at Port Owen, near Velddrif, on 17–19 May and a third near Seal Island in False Bay, on 13–18 May at least. One in full breeding plumage was discovered at Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, on 22 April and another at Orient Beach in East London, Eastern Cape, on 13 May; the latter was still in the area on 7 June. A Common Black-headed Gull L. ridibundus was at the Mfolozi River mouth, KwaZulu-Natal, on 13 February. An adult Lesser Black-backed Gull L. fuscus remained at Orient Beach in East London, Eastern Cape, from 1 April until at least late June. An immature was present in May–June, with another immature also there in June. A Sabine’s Gull Xema sabini was at Borchard’s Quarry Sewage Works, Western Cape, on 27 February. In Eastern Cape, several Antarctic Terns Sterna vittata were seen in mid June, with two adults and a juvenile at Nahoon Reef and a further four individuals near Gonubie Point; this is quite some way further east than where these birds are normally recorded on South Africa’s shores. A single Roseate Tern S. dougallii at Orient Beach on 25 June was also a rather interesting find for the area. On 3 May, the regularly returning Bridled Tern S. anaethetus was relocated at Cape Recife, near Port Elizabeth, for its eighth season; after an absence it was seen again on 13 June. A visit to Bird Island in Algoa Bay, on 9–11 June, produced a Sooty Tern. A Brown (Common) Noddy Anous stolidus was reported near the mouth of the Breede River, Western Cape, on 1–2 March.

At Marievale Bird Sanctuary, Gauteng, a probable European Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur was seen on 15 January; however, it was not possible to eliminate the possibility that the bird was an Oriental Turtle Dove S. orientalis or an escape. A surprise find was a juvenile Narina Trogon Apaloderma narina in Acacia thicket along the Kat River, c.20 km north-west of Prince Albert, Western Cape, in the middle of the Karoo, on 23 May; although this species is regular along the coastal strip of the Garden Route, this sighting is more than 100 km due north. A Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava at Strandfontein Sewage Works, Western Cape, on 8 February, was still present on 4 March. The second Citrine Wagtail M. citreola for southern Africa stayed at Kleinmond Sewage Works, Western Cape, on 11–12 April; the first record is from May 1998 near Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape. A Grey Wagtail M. cinerea was present at the crocodile farm in St Lucia, KwaZulu Natal, on 5 January. South Africa’s eighth Golden Pipit Tmetothylacus tenellus was found in Mkhuze Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, on 28 December. A Basra Reed Warbler Acrocephalus griseldis was seen at Coniston farm, Limpopo, along a seasonal tributary of the Sand River, on 10 February. On 14 February, a Marsh Warbler A. palustris was identified in coastal thicket near Cape Recife, Eastern Cape. In the Northern Cape, an Olive-tree Warbler Hippolias olivetorum was trapped and ringed at Witsand Nature Reserve on 28 January. A Collared Flycatcher Ficedula albicollis was claimed from Blackstone Edge farm, Limpopo, on 11 February. An immature Bush Blackcap Lioptilus nigricapillus in a Heidelberg garden, south-east of Johannesburg, Gauteng, in June represents either unusually extensive altitudinal migration or juvenile dispersal.

Records from May - December 2008 include the following. Albatrosses observed during pelagic trips out of Simonstown, Western Cape, in July - September included several Southern Royal Albatrosses Diomedea (e.) epomophora, several Northern Royal Albatrosses D. (e.) sanfordi and at least three Grey-headed Albatrosses Thalassarche chysostoma. Also noteworthy were a possible Slender-billed Prion Pachyptila belcheri on 27 July, a Little Shearwater Puffinus assimilis of the race elegans in early August and, also in early August, unseasonal records of Great-winged Petrel Pterodroma macroptera, Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus, Pomarine Skua Stercorarius pomarinus and Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea.

A Grey Petrel Procellaria cinerea was photographed at the Agulhas Banks between 80 and 140 nautical miles offshore on 23 September. A Little Shearwater of the white-faced nominate race assimilis was seen on 8 October and a Spectacled Petrel Procellaria (aequinoctialis) conspicillata in mid October. A trip aboard a tuna longliner working 40 - 90 nautical miles south-west of Cape Point in mid October produced at least 20 (possibly up to 32) Wandering Albatrosses Diomedea exulans, eight Northern Royal Albatrosses and three Southern Royal Albatrosses.

Southern Africa’s fourth Chatham Albatross Thalassarche (cauta) eremita was spotted c.30 nautical miles south-west of Cape Point, Western Cape, on 28 June. An adult Buller’s Albatross T. bulleri 25 nautical miles south-west of Cape Point on 15 November constitutes the fourth record for the southern African subregion and the African continent. A pelagic trip out of Simonstown on 8 November produced an adult Wandering Albatross, which is quite late in the season for this species, as well as a single Flesh-footed Shearwater Puffinus caneipes, another rather uncommon species here. Two pelagic trips between Cape Town and Walvis Bay in late November and early December yielded several Madeiran Storm Petrels Oceanodroma castro - an addition to the southern African list - and Bulwer’s Petrels Bulweria bulwerii, an extremely rare species in southern African waters, as well as a White-bellied Storm Petrel Fregetta grallaria and several flocks of Sooty Terns Sterna fuscata.

A young Wandering Albatross was watched from shore at Cape Point, Western Cape, on 2 October; this species is very rarely seen from land. During a pelagic trip out of Durban no fewer than 14 Barau’s Petrels Pterodroma baraui were seen 20 - 80 nautical miles offshore on 10 October.

The second Northern Rockhopper Penguin Eudyptes chrysocome for 2008 came ashore on Noordhoek Beach, Cape Town, Western Cape, on 17 July; the bird was taken to a rehabilitation centre, where it was found to be in arrested moult but healthy. Southern Africa’s sixth Red-billed Tropicbird Phaethon aethereus was at Rondevlei, in Wilderness National Park, Western Cape, on 21 September. At St Lucia, KwaZulu-Natal, a Greater Frigatebird Fregata minor first seen on 14  November was still in the area on 10 December. A Wedge-tailed Shearwater Puffinus pacificus on Bird Island in Algoa Bay, Port Elisabeth, Eastern Cape, on 18 November is probably the same individual that has been returning to the site every season since at least 2005. Also there on the same date was an Australian Gannet Morus serrator; there has been a regular Australian Gannet on the island for the past few years. Two unringed Australian Gannets were discovered on Malgas Island, near Saldanha Bay, Western Cape, on 6 November; all previous individuals there have been ringed. There was a Red-footed Booby Sula sula on a pelagic trip from Durban in early July and c.1 month later another was seen at Cape Vidal, KwaZulu-Natal.

A Great Bittern Botaurus stellaris was calling at Ntsikeni Nature Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, from at least 2 September and was seen on 13 September and again in early December. The alleged second Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea for the subregion was relocated on the Olifants River at Papendorp, Western Cape, in early August after an absence of 247 days; it was first seen here on 10 November 2001. Slaty Egrets E. vinaceigula were reported from Marievale Bird Sanctuary, near Nigel, Gauteng, on 30 August, from Mkhombo Dam, Gauteng, on 30 November (still present on 7 December) and from Nyamithi Pan, Ndumo Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, from 24 October until at least 30 November.

In Kruger National Park, a juvenile Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus was at a waterhole between Skukuza and Talamati on 12 October. The Rüppell’s Griffon Vulture Gyps rueppellii that has been resident in the colony of Cape Vultures G. coprotheres at Blouberg Nature Reserve, Limpopo, for the last few years was still present in September and is apparently breeding with one of the Cape Vultures. Western Marsh Harriers Circus aeruginosus were reported from Marievale Bird Sanctuary, Gauteng, on 10 August and 9 November; there was also one between Shingwedzi and Pafuri in Kruger National Park in November.

Eurasian Oystercatchers Haematopus ostralegus were recorded at the Gamtoos River mouth, near Port Elisabeth, on 22 June, at Yzerfontein, Western Cape, from 5 December until 11 December, at the Umfolozi River mouth, KwaZulu-Natal, on 12 November, and at St Lucia on 10 December. In West Coast National Park, Western Cape, a Lesser Sand Plover Charadrius mongolus was seen on 11 - 17 September and 18 October - 16 November. A Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva was at Muzi Pan, KwaZulu-Natal, in late October. The 14th southern African Baird’s Sandpiper Calidris bairdii, discovered at Wadrift Salt Pan, north of Eland’s Bay, Western Cape, on 16 December, was still present on 30 December. A Pectoral Sandpiper C. melanotos was reported near Derby, south-west of Rustenburg, North West Province, in early December. The third Dunlin C. alpina for southern Africa was at Geelbek in West Coast National Park, Western Cape, on 21 September. Also there was a Broad-billed Sandpiper Limicola falcinellus, from 16 November until at least 27 December. Five Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa at Spitskop Dam, near Kimberley, Northern Cape, were still present on 30 November; one was briefly at Rocher Pan, north of Velddrif, Western Cape, in late November. Common Redshanks Tringa totanus were in the Western Cape at Geelbek, West Coast National Park, on 10 May and from 17 September until at least 31 November; one was also on the Berg River at Velddrif on 7 November. The fourth Lesser Yellowlegs T. flavipes for South Africa was at Sappi Stanger Wetlands, KwaZulu-Natal for three days from 24 December. Green Sandpipers T. ochropus were reported from the Zaagkuildrift area and Rust de Winter Nature Reserve, Gauteng, in late November and 7 December; from Kruger National Park,  Polokwane Game Reserve, and the Crocodile River west of Koedoesdorp, Limpopo, in early December; from the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, Mpumalanga, in mid-November; and from Northern District Sewage Works, KwaZulu-Natal, on 15 December. A Red Phalarope Phalaropus fulicarius was at Lake Phobane, near Eshowe, KwaZulu-Natal, on 4 October.

A Franklin’s Gull Larus pipixcan, found at Centurion Lake, Gauteng, on 13 August and last seen on 7 September, is the second inland record. A Common Black-headed Gull L. ridibundus stayed at Paarl Bird Sanctuary, Western Cape, on 18 - 20 October. A Lesser Black-backed Gull L. fuscus first seen on 23 August at Leeupan, near Leandra, Mpumalanga, was last reported on 30 August; another was in a roost of Kelp Gulls L. dominicanus at the Umgeni River mouth, KwaZulu- Natal, on 9 November. On 17 May, southern Africa’s 28th Gull-billed Tern Sterna nilotica was observed at De Mond Nature Reserve, Western Cape. On 2 November, a juvenile Sooty Tern, initially at Vetch’s Pier in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, was seen again (presumably the same individual) five hours later and c.50 km further north at Salt Rock; another was at Eland’s Bay, Western Cape, on 20 December.

Madagascar Cuckoos Cuculus rochii were reported from Kruger National Park on 31 October and 16 December. Five White-throated Bee-eaters Merops albicollis were briefly at Winston Park, Hillcrest, KwaZulu-Natal, on 12 October; there are only nine previous records in the subregion. A Eurasian Reed Warbler  Acrocephalus scirpaceus was mist-netted and ringed at Boschenvaal, along the Vaal River, c.10 km west of Dasolburg, Free State, on 18 November.

The following records are from November 2007 - April 2008. The most remarkable sighting of the period was probably that of a Rockhopper Penguin Eudyptes chrysocome photographed along the coast near Llandudno, off Cape Town, on 2 February. A Northern Royal Albatross Diomedea (epomophora) sanfordi was observed south-west of Danger Point, Western Cape, during a pelagic on 17 April. A Red-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon rubricauda was at Wemmershoek Dam, near Paarl, Western Cape, on 19 November and one remained in St Francis Bay, Eastern Cape, from 4 March until at least 26 April. Single White-tailed Tropicbirds P. lepturus were seen off Sodwana Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, on 15 November and flying over Modderfontein, Gauteng, on 6 April. An Australian Gannet Morus serrator was found amongst Cape Gannets M. capensis on Bird Island, Algoa Bay, Western Cape, on 11 March, with a second one there the next day. A Red-footed Booby Sula sula was spotted on a cruise out of Durban on 2 January. Single Lesser Frigatebirds Fregata ariel were reported from the Illovo River mouth, near Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, on 6 March and the Berg River mouth, near Velddrif, Western Cape, on 14 April.

The long-staying Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea was still at Papendorp, Western Cape, on 24 November. Slaty Egrets E. vinaceigula were recorded at Ndumo Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, on 3 January; at Nylsvley, Limpopo, on 12 January; at Kgomo-Kgomo, North West Province, on 2 February; at Marievale Bird Sanctuary, Gauteng, where still present on 1 March; and at Germiston Golf Course, Gauteng, on 8 - 28 April (two). Western Marsh Harriers Circus aeruginosus were reported from Marievale Bird Sanctuary, Gauteng, in November (one), January (up to two); and on 13 April (one).

In KwaZulu-Natal, the Crab-plover Dromas ardeola first seen in Richards Bay on 8 December was still there on 17th; one was reported on 28 January and subsequently well into February; one found at Catalina Bay on 23 January was last reported on 12 April. A Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus was seen at St Lucia, KwaZulu-Natal, on 22 November. An American Golden Plover Pluvialis dominica was at Gamtoos River mouth, Eastern Cape, on 25 March and a Pacific Golden Plover P. fulva at Muzi Pan, KwaZulu-Natal, on 25 January; a group of at least four was subsequently recorded, at least some of which remained until the end of February, with one still present on 20 March. Pectoral Sandpipers Calidris melanotos were found on a pan at Rooipoort, near Kimberley, on 25 January (two); at Rooikoppies Dam, near Brits, North West Province, from 21 February until 15 March (one); in East London, Eastern Cape, from 5 April until 11 April at least (two). A Broad-billed Sandpiper Limicola falcinellus was at Geelbek, West Coast National Park, Western Cape, on 12 January. Southern Africa’s ninth Buff-breasted Sandpiper Tryngites subruficollis discovered at Krugersdrift Dam, near Bloemfontein, Free State, on 19 February was still there at the end of the month. Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa were reported from West Coast National Park, Western Cape, on 20 November (one) and 15 December (one), and from Spitskop Dam, north of Kimberley, Northern Cape, on 25 November (four) and 10 February (at least 13), with at least ten still there on 22 March. A Common Redshank Tringa totanus first reported on 29 October at Strandfontain sewage works, Western Cape, remained there until 13 November at least. Green Sandpipers T. ochropus were seen in the Kgomo-Kgomo area, North West Province, from 5 November until 23 November (one) and from 13 January until at least 7 February (up to two), and singles were also at Pafuri, Kruger National Park, on 16 December, 3 January and 22 March. Three Red-necked Phalaropes Phalaropus lobatus were at Velddrif, Western Cape, on 16 February. Red Phalaropes P. fulicarius were reported from a farm dam near Ventersdorp, North West Province, on 27 January (one), a pelagic out of Cape Town on 15 - 16 February (two) and a farm dam in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands on 3 March (one). In the Western Cape, single Franklin’s Gulls Larus pipixcan were observed at Strandfontein sewage works on 1 January, Nature’s Valley on 17 January, Rooiels, in the Overstrand, on 1 April (one in breeding plumage) and off Danger Point on 16 April. A Gull-billed Tern Sterna nilotica was at Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, on 24 November.

For the fourth consecutive season a Madagascar Cuckoo Cuculus rochii was found at Phinda Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, on 23 November. A Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea first seen at Debegeni Falls in Magoebaskloof, Limpopo, on 2 February was still present on 2 March. A Golden Pipit Tmetothylacus tenellus was photographed on 20 December 2007 at Pafuri in the Kruger National Park. Southern Africa’s ninth Basra Reed Warbler Acrocephalus griseldis was claimed from Mapungubwe National Park, Limpopo, on 19 February, whilst a male Collared Flycatcher Ficedula albicollis was identified at Phinda Game Reserve, KwaZulu- Natal, on 2 February.

The following records are from May–December 2007. On pelagic trips out of Cape Town the following species were recorded. Single Wandering Albatrosses Diomedea exulans were seen on 15 and 22 September, and single Northern Royal Albatrosses D. (epomophora) sanfordi on 21 July and 2 and 8 September. A Southern (Antarctic) Fulmar Fulmarus glacialoides was observed on 8 September. In September, large numbers of up to 5,000 Pintado Petrels Daption capense were found. A Great-winged Petrel Pterodroma macroptera was seen on 2 September, whilst eight Soft-plumaged Petrels P. mollis were observed on 2 September, 2 on 15 September and one on 22 September. A Slender-billed Prion Pachyptila belcheri was reported on 23 June (with a possible sighting on a pelagic out of Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, on 19 August). Spectacled Petrels Procellaria (aequinoctialis) conspicillata were seen on 17 September (one) and 13 October (two). The first Cory’s Shearwater Calonectris diomedea of the season was seen on 13 October and a few early Great Shearwaters Puffinus gravis on 2 September. A Little Shearwater P. assimilis was found c.60 nautical miles south of Mossel Bay on 3 June. Southern Africa’s sixth White-faced Storm-petrel Pelagodroma marina was observed on 11 May, with another on a pelagic out of Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, on 23 June. An early Arctic Skua Stercorarius parasiticus was seen on 17 September and two very early Sabine’s Gulls Xema sabini in summer plumage on 8 September.

A Northern Royal Albatross was seen off Cape Point on 12 May and a Grey-headed Albatross Thalassarche chrysostoma at Dyer Island, Western Cape, on 16 May. On 4 October, a King Penguin Aptenodytes patagonicus came ashore at Milnerton Beach, Western Cape, and, although in pristine condition, was picked up by a member of the public and taken into care; this was the second record of this extreme vagrant on the South African shoreline in 2007. A Red-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon rubricauda was at St Francis Bay, Eastern Cape, on 3 May and another flew over Wemmershoek Dam, near Paarl, Western Cape, in early December. The long-staying Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea was still present at Papendorp on the Olifants River, Western Cape, in November; the bird has been there since November 2001. A European Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus was photographed in a garden in Sandton, Gauteng, on 13 November. In Kruger National Park, a Striped Crake Aenigmatolimnas marginalis was found along the Levhuvu River, near Pafuri, on 17 December.

A Crab-plover Dromas ardeola was in the sanctuary area at Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, on 8 December. A Common Redshank Tringa totanus was still at Geelbek, West Coast National Park, Western Cape, on 10 June and 21 July. Two were seen at this site on 24 and 28 October and one on 11 November, whilst another was reported from Strandfontein sewage works, Western Cape, on 29 October. In Limpopo Province, single Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus were observed at Polokwane Game Reserve on 23 November and at Mopane Bush Lodge, Mapesu Naature Reserve, on 4 December. A Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus was found at Strandfontein on 14 October. Wilson’s Phalaropes Phalaropus tricolor were found at Barberspan Nature Reserve, North-West Province, on 1 May (a first-year) and at the Dolphin Beach pans in Table view, west of Cape Town, on 20–23 May (a female in full breeding plumage). Up to three Red-necked Phalaropes P. lobatus were reported at Velddrif, Western Cape, in early December.

Records of Franklin’s Gulls Larus pipixcan included one in full breeding plumage at Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, Western Cape, on 6 May; one, perhaps the same individual, at Seal’s Point, False Bay, Western Cape, on 18 May; one at King’s Beach, Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, on 28 May; one at Warner Beach near Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, on 19 June; and one at Jacobsbaai, north of Saldanha Bay, Western Cape, on 4–15 August. During the midwinter count at Botriviervlei, Western Cape, on 14 July a Common Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus was seen. The Bridled Tern Sterna anaethetus at Cape Recife, Eastern Cape, was still present on 11 May and remained until 24 June. There was a group of six Sooty Terns S. fuscata on a pelagic from Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, on 22 July.

A Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea was discovered near Mission Beach, at St Lucia, KwaZulu-Natal, at 29 May. A female Collared Flycatcher Ficedula albicollis first reported at Augrabies Falls National Park,Northern Cape, on 30 April, was photographed the next day.

The following records are from November 2006 - April 2007. On a pelagic out of Cape Town, Africa’s first Grey-backed Storm-petrel Oceanites nereis was photographed on 14 April. Another Cape pelagic on 24 February yielded a Northern Royal Albatross Diomedea (epomophora) sanfordi and a Wedge-tailed Shearwater Puffinus pacificus. Seabirds seen during a two-week trip 140 - 160 nautical miles south of Cape Agulhas in early February included five Wandering Albatrosses D. exulans, a Northern Royal Albatross, two Sooty Albatrosses Phoebetria fusca, a Grey Petrel Procellaria cinerea, and several Leach’s Oceanodroma leucorhoa and White-bellied Storm-petrels Fregetta grallaria.

The Wedge-tailed Shearwater which has visited Bird Island, Algoa Bay, Eastern Cape, over several seasons was seen again on 17 November. Two vagrant penguins were recorded, both near St Francis Bay, Eastern Cape: a moulting King Penguin Aptenodytes patagonicus came ashore on 22 January and a subadult Macaroni Penguin Eudyptes chrysolophus, also about to moult, on 21 February; both were taken to a rehabilitation centre. It is most likely that they were taken aboard ships and then dumped before docking. A Red-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon rubricauda flew over Aston Bay, Eastern Cape, on 2 December; another, first reported on 11 April from St Francis Bay, Eastern Cape, was seen intermittently for the rest of the month. An unringed Australian Gannet Morus serrator was on Bird Island in Algoa Bay, Eastern Cape, on 17 November; as all previous individuals at the site have been ringed, this was assumed to be a new arrival; another was noted on 19 March. A Greater Frigatebird Fregata minor was soaring over the Umlazi River, near Mtunzini, KwaZulu-Natal, on 10 February.

Single Slaty Egrets Egretta vinaceigula were reported from Marievale Bird Sanctuary, Gauteng, on 2 December, and Zaagkuildrift, Limpopo Province, on 18 February. Southern Africa’s third Little Blue Heron E. caerulea, discovered near Papendorp, near the mouth of the Olifants River, Western Cape, on 10 November 2001, was still present in March. Noteworthy raptors include a Western Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus at Seekoevlei, Memel, Free State, on 12 November, with another near St Lucia, KwaZulu-Natal, on 10 December, and an adult Sooty Falcon Falco concolor at Madikwe Game Reserve, North-West Province, on 5 December.

In the Western Cape, single Eurasian Oystercatchers Haematopus ostralegus were seen near De Hoop Nature Reserve on 30 November and near Hermanus on 10 January. A Rock Pratincole Glareola nuchalis was discovered at Albasini Dam, Limpopo Province, on 4 November, where it remained until at least 6th; there are few records for South Africa. The Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva at De Mond Nature Reserve, Western Cape, on 28 October remained until at least 4 January; others were reported from Geelbek, West Coast National Park, Western Cape, on 18 February, St Francis Bay, Eastern Cape, on 8-10 March at least, near Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, on 17-21 March at least. A White-rumped Sandpiper Calidris fuscicollis at Velddrif, Western Cape, on 12 November was the 15th record for South Africa; another two were at Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, on 18 January and still present on 16 March. Pectoral Sandpipers C. melanotos were at De Mond Nature Reserve, Western Cape, on 3 November; at Stanger, north of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, on 16 November; near Mossel Bay, Western Cape, on 25 November; near Bazley Beach, KwaZulu-Natal, on 19 December; at Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, on 18 January (two); north of Polokwane, Limpopo, on 4-11 February; and at Pafuri, Kruger National Park, on 14 February. Five Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa were near Jan Kempdorp, Northern Cape, on 21 February and three at Velddrif, Western Cape, on 4 April. Common Redshanks Tringa totanus were at Velddrif on 8 December and 17 January (two; Lake Sibaya, KwaZulu-Natal, on 4 January; West Coast National Park, Western Cape, from 9 January until 25 February and from 24 March until at least 8 April. Green Sandpipers T. ochropus were observed at different localities in Kruger National Park on 26 November, 10 December, 4 January, 6 January and 28 January. Five Red-necked Phalaropes Phalaropus lobatus at Velddrif, Western Cape, on 13 November were still present on 17 December, with at least four there on 19 January; one was at Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, on 28 January. Two Red Phalaropes P. fulicarius were seen on a Cape pelagic trip on 27 January; singles were at Wakkerstroom, Mpumalanga, on 15 February, Ruigtehoek dam in Pilanesberg National Park, North-West Province, on 18 February, and Kamfers Dam, Kimberley, Northern Cape, on 16 March.

A Franklin’s Gull Larus pipixcan was at Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, on 17 January; one was at Strandfontein sewage works, Western Cape, on 14 February and 20 March. Common Black-headed Gulls L. ridibundus were reported from the Port Elizabeth area, Eastern Cape, on 6 November (from late September; Hermanus, Western Cape, on 19 November (two); Barberspan, North-West Province, on 20 November, Mossel Bay, Western Cape, on 21 November; Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, on 23-26 November; and Roodeplaat Dam Nature Reserve, Gauteng, on 22 April. A Lesser Black-backed Gull L. fuscus was near Nottingham Road, KwaZulu-Natal, on 15 January. A Bridled Tern Sterna anaethetus was in a tern roost on Dassen Island, Western Cape, on 8 January, whilst the individual from Cape Recife returned for its seventh season on 7 March. A Sooty Tern S. fuscata was at Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, on 23 November. Also in KwaZulu-Natal, at Cape Vidal, a young Brown Noddy Anous stolidus was observed on 24 February.

The presence of a Madagascar Cuckoo Cuculus rochii at Phinda, KwaZulu-Natal, was confirmed on 28 January. A female Collared Flycatcher Ficedula albicollis was identified at Augrabies Falls National Park, Northern Cape, on 30 April.

The following records are from January - November 2006.

On pelagic trips out of Cape Town the following interesting albatrosses were seen: Wandering Albatross Diomedea exulans on 21 May, 23 July and 5 August; Southern Royal Albatross D. (epomophora) epomophora, singles on 1 and 16 September; Northern Royal Albatross D. (e.) sanfordi between 13 and 16 April; singles on 21 May, 8 and 29 July, 5 August, 16 September and 15 October, with one over the Agulhas Banks on 9 May; Salvin’s Albatross Thalassarche (cauta) salvini on 2 September (one), with a few probables in September - October and one off the west coast in late May; Chatham Albatross T. (cauta) eremita on 10 July, the third record for southern Africa; Grey-headed Albatross T. chrysostoma on 10 July and 5, 6 and 21 August. Other seabirds included Flesh-footed Shearwater Puffinus carneipes on 14 February, 11 March and 14 and 21 October, and a South Polar Skua Catharacta maccormicki on 8 July.

A White-headed Petrel Pterodroma lessonii was observed over the Agulhas Banks on 9 May; this is a very rare species in southern African waters, with only a few confirmed sightings. A Little Shearwater Puffinus assimilis was spotted from Cape Point on 12 August. A Red-footed Booby Sula sula was found dead in Durban Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, on 26 April and one was seen c.35 nautical miles off Durban on 2 July. Two Brown Boobies S. leucogaster were offshore of Gariep (Orange) River mouth, Northern Cape, on 2 July, and one was near Umhlanga, KwaZulu-Natal, on 22 July. Also in KwaZulu-Natal, single Greater Frigatebirds Fregata minor were seen at Richards Bay on 5 January and at Kosi Bay on 11 January. A Red-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon rubricauda was at Plettenberg Bay Lagoon, Western Cape, on 8 July.

Two Slaty Egrets Egretta vinaceigula were present at Marievale Bird Sanctuary, Gauteng, from 2 January until at least late February; an immature found near Nieuwoudtville, Northern Cape, on 17 September, was still there a week later. South Africa’s long-staying Little Blue Heron E. caerulea was still present at the Olifants River mouth at Papendorp, Western Cape, in September. The second Western Reef Heron E. gularis for southern Africa stayed at the Rondebult Bird Sanctuary, Gauteng, from 15 April until at least the end of the month; it was of the eastern race schistacea, whereas the first record, from Cape Town, was of the nominate race.

A juvenile Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus was observed in the Magaliesberg, Gauteng, on 22 January and an adult near Idutywa in the Transkei on 4 February; the latter record suggests the presence of a relict population there. Western Marsh Harriers Circus aeruginosus were reported from Marievale Bird Sanctuary, Gauteng, from 2 January until late February, with one still there on 1 March; from Krugerdrift Dam near Bloemfontein, Free State, on 3–8 January; from Wakkerstroom, Mpumalanga, on 29 January and 8 March; and from Zeekoeivlei, Memel, Free State, on 19 November.

A Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus remained at St Lucia, KwaZulu-Natal, from 22 January until at least 14 April; another was at Gamtoos River mouth, Eastern Cape, on 4 March. An American Golden Plover Pluvialis dominica was at Velddrif, Western Cape, on 28 October. Single Pacific Golden Plovers P. fulva were recorded at Krugerdrift Dam, Free State, on 22 January; at Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, on 4 February; at De Mond Nature Reserve, Western Cape, on 10 February; with another at the same locality on 28 October. A White-rumped Sandpiper Calidris fuscicollis remained at Velddrif, Western Cape, from 12 November until at least 21st. Pectoral Sandpipers C. melanotos were found at Moordrift Dam, Limpopo, on 22 January; at Woodbourne Pan, Knysna, on 13 March; and near De Mond Nature Reserve, Western Cape, on 26 October. A Broad-billed Sandpiper Limicola falcinellus found at Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, on 25 February was still there on 20 March. Records of Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa include the following: four still present at Marievale Bird Sanctuary, Gauteng, on 1 January until at least 1 May; with one also there on 21 September, 11 at Spitskop Dam, north of Kimberley, Northern Cape, on 4 January; two at Sabi Sands Game Reserve on 15 January; two at Strandfontein sewage works, Western Cape, on 3 February; one at Mavella Pan, Mpumalanga, on 4 February; one in West Coast National Park, Western Cape, on 7 February and one at Velddrif on 2 September. Common Redshanks Tringa totanus were observed in the Western Cape at Geelbek on 6 January, last reported on 24 February, and 2 September, and at Velddrif on 17 January with two there from 15 June until at least 28 June, and another single on 28 October; and in KwaZulu-Natal at Richards Bay on 25 February. Two Green Sandpipers T. ochropus were at Darvill Bird Sanctuary, KwaZulu-Natal, on 7 January; one was at Maloto, Gauteng, on 11 - 16 January; one at Sunninghill, Gauteng, on 12 January; one at Wolfhuiskraal, north of Pretoria, on 15 January; and one at Marievale Bird Sanctuary, Gauteng, on 30 March. Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus records include one still present at Stiltbaai sewage works, Western Cape, on 3 January and last seen there on 21st; seven at Velddrif, Western Cape, on 9 January, with one there on 21 October; one at Strandfontein on 8 February, still present at the end of April; one in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park on 16 February; five at Velddrif on 13 November, with two still there on 19th. Single Red Phalaropes P. fulicarius were at Spitskop Dam, north of Kimberley, on 31 January, at Darvill Bird Sanctuary, KwaZulu-Natal, on 1 February and at Kgaswane Mountain Reserve, North West Province, on 26 February.

Five or six Franklin’s Gulls Larus pipixcan were found: one at Strandfontein sewage works, Western Cape, on 14 January, subsequently assumed to be two birds, with one last reported on 24 April; one at Lambert’s Bay, Western Cape, on 29 January; one along the Liesbeek River in Mowbray, Cape Town, on 21 March; one at Mseni Lodge in Sodwana, KwaZulu-Natal, on 18 - 19 May; and one at Umdloti Lagoon, Durban, on 5 - 13 July. Records of Common Black-headed Gulls L. ridibundus include one at Durban Bay on 5 January and 14 October, one at the Umgeni River mouth, Durban, on 11 May, one at Welkom, Free State, on 22 August, one at Lambert’s Bay, Western Cape, on 10 September, one in the Port Elizabeth area, Eastern Cape, on 28 September, and two off Hermanus, Western Cape, on 20 November. A Lesser Black-backed Gull L. fuscus was seen at Oranjeville on the Vaal Dam on 20 March. A Heuglin’s Gull L. heuglini in Durban harbour on 30 June and present until at least 29 July may well be the 2005 individual.

The record of a Gull-billed Tern Sterna nilotica in West Coast National Park, Western Cape, on 21 January is apparently the 23rd for Southern Africa; another was found at Kromme River mouth, St Francis Bay, Eastern Cape, on 20 September, where it remained until at least 26th. An exhausted Sooty Tern S. fuscata was found beside a road in Kruger National Park on 5 January and another at Mtunzini, KwaZulu-Natal, on 4 October. A Bridled Tern S. anaethetus was observed at Lambert’s Bay, Western Cape, on 17 January and another at Sundays River mouth, Eastern Cape, on 2 February. The regularly returning individual at Cape Recife, Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, was back on 25 March; it was seen again on 4 June and remained until at least 4 July. Africa’s first Elegant Tern S. elegans was discovered at Strandfontein sewage works, Western Cape, on 18 January and last seen on 18 February. Towards the end of its stay, a second bird presumed to be another Elegant Tern was found.

At Phinda Private Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, a Madagascar Cuckoo Cuculus rochii stayed from 5 February until at least 15th; what was assumed to be the same bird returned in early November. Southern Africa’s eighth White-throated Bee-eater Merops albicollis was discovered in the East London area, Eastern Cape, on 25 September. Grey Wagtails Motacilla cinerea were found at Hogsback, Eastern Cape, on 21 January, at Constantia, Cape Town, on 20 May and at Strandfontein, Western Cape, on 16 September. A male Irania Irania gutturalis photographed near Williston, Northern Cape, on 15 July, was the first for South Africa and the first record south of the species’ East African wintering grounds; despite intensive searching the bird could not be relocated in the next few days.

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