sightings IN THE SUBREGION - Mid-September to mid-November 2020
African Birdlife|January - February 2021
As spring became early summer, local birders were finally given plenty to keep them entertained. It was a welcome relief, as most had endured a serious lack of birding during lockdown and as many people headed out into the field again, a number of reports of good birds began to filter through.

HEADLINE NEWS Perhaps the most popular bird of the review period was southern Africa’s 16th Baird’s Sandpiper. Found at Strandfontein Sewage Works, it remained there for quite some time and many twitchers took the opportunity to see it. This species was originally added to the southern African list based on a specimen collected in Walvis Bay in October 1863! (That specimen is now in the St Petersburg Museum in Florida, USA.) There was then a break of more than 100 years before the next one was seen in October 1984 at Olifantsbos in the Cape Point section of Table Mountain National Park. Subsequent records were in October 1985 on the Berg River in Velddrif; December 1992 in Mkhuze Game Reserve; September 1997 in Matusadona National Park in Zimbabwe; May 1998 at Geelbek in the West Coast National Park; September 1998 in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park; December 1999 at Strandfontein Sewage Works; September 2000 in Sossusvlei in Namibia; December 2000 in the Kruger National Park; December 2001 at Marievale Bird Sanctuary (this individual returned for several seasons);

September 2002 at Kenhardt Sewage Works; October 2004 on the Berg River in Velddrif; December 2008 at Wadrif Salt Pan north of Elands Bay; and, most recently, in October 2018 at Van Stadens lagoon near Port Elizabeth.

Another very popular twitch was southern Africa’s 25th Golden Pipit. It was located along the H1-7 between Shingwedzi and Punda Maria in the Kruger National Park and remained in the general area for a few days.

While a Ross’s Turaco found at Hippo Lodge in Katima Mulilo was less obliging and only offered erratic appearances, the long-staying Ross’s Turaco at Taranga Safari Lodge, west of Rundu, was still attracting attention months after it was first located there.

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