Birding outing to Luiperdskloof Trip Report – 21 May 2016

African Finfoot, Watertrapper, (Podica senegalensis)

Luiperdskloof Game Lodge is situated south of Rhenosterpoort Private Game Reserve, south of Ezemvelo Nature Reserve on the Gauteng / Mpumalanga border ENE (East-north-east) of Bronkhorstspruit. The vegetation contains both mountain grassland habitat partly represented by the Rand Highveld Grassland within a mountain landscape and mountain woodland represented by the Loskop Mountain Bushveld vegetation types according to Mucina & Rutherford (2006). In addition the Wilge River with its riparian vegetation offer offers suitable habitat for aquatic birds species.

Ben Fouché and Rihann Geyser visited Luiperdskloof on 21 May 2016 to gather data for the Southern African Bird Atlas Project 2 (SABAP2)(sabap2.adu.org.za).

Several (at least 5) Red-chested Flufftails were heard calling from the wetland area just south of the main gate.  Other birds seen and heard in the same area include Cape Grassbird, Arrow-marked Babbler, Bar-throated Apalis, Little Rush-warbler, Levaillant’s Cisticola, Orange-breasted and Common Waxbill and Red-winged Francolin.  Red-winged Starling were seen at the main lodge area as well as Bokmakierie, Chinspot Batis, Familiar Chat, Mocking Cliff-Chat, African Pied Wagtail, Greater Double-collared Sunbird, Golden-tailed Woodpecker, Orange-breasted Bush-shrike and Yellow-fronted Canary.  A walk along the Wilge River produced Giant Kingfisher, Neddicky, Brown-throated Martin, White-fronted Bee-eater, 10 flying over Southern Bald Ibis and Pearl-breasted Swallow. The cliff area on the banks of the Wilge River produced Black-headed Oriole, Rock Martin, Malachite Sunbird, African Darter and African Black Duck. The mountain area west of the lodge area produced Black-chested Snake-Eagle, Wailing Cisticola and African Grey Hornbill. This pentad 2545_2855 produced 65 species in just under 5 hours.

At midday we moved over to pentad 2545_2850. Birding was very slow but offered great view of African Finfoot at Jackelberry Lodge, the first record of this species for the pentad. Other species seen within this pentad include Little Grebe, Black Crake, Malachite Kingfisher, Amethyst Sunbird, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Streaky-headed seedeater and Natal Spurfowl. This pentad only produced 30 species within 2 hours.

References
Mucina, L. & Rutherford, M.C. (eds) 2006. The vegetation of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. Strelitzia 19. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria.

Trip report by Rihann Geyser, Images by Ben Fouche

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