Hooded Grebes - Patagonia - November 2016

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Sunday, 18 January 2015

South Africa - Day 5 - 17/1/15

The day of the Larks!!! Yet again, another memorable day in the Northern Cape where I cleared up on everything I wanted to see (except from the unlikely Damara Tern).

I started the day on the Koa Dunes where I was actually shivering, mainly because it was still dark when I arrived. The expected Red Lark finally gave themselves up, and I scored with an unexpected Fawn-coloured Lark. It was then time for the long drive to Port Nolloth which is situated on the far NE coast of SA. I detoured to Geogap where amusingly I was just about to sign the papers for me to go in, when a group of Karoo Eremomelas (my target species here) flitted past. The lady seemed annoyed that I no longer wanted to visit the reserve, but hey ho, I was happy. This gave me plenty of time in Port Nolloth to score one of the big targets......Barlow's Lark, plus another unexpected Lark. 

I had completed everything by mid afternoon so I rewarded myself with some cider and chilled on the beach. A great way to end before the mammoth drive tomorrow. 

Birds capitalised are lifers and only species of note included below. 

Koa Dunes
RED LARK - 3 
FAWN-COLOURED LARK - 1
Rufous-eared Warbler - 2
Pygmy Falcon - 1
Namaqua Sandgrouse - 13
Lark Like Bunting - ca.200

Geogap NR (entrance)
KAROO EREMOMELA - 13

Port Nolloth
BARLOW'S LARK - 3
Barlow's Lark/Karoo Lark hybrid - 1 possible
CAPE LONG-BILLED LARK - 4
CAPE PENDULINE TIT - 5
Crowned Cormorant - ca.150
Hartlaub's Gull - 50
CHAT FLYCATCHER - 2
Kelp Gull - 30
Southern Double Collared Sunbird - 3
White-fronted Plover - 7
Greater Crested Tern - 5

Mammals seen today:
Common Duiker - 1
Meerkat - 6
Bat-eared Fox - 2

 the stunning Red Lark
 Karoo Eremomela

 the highly localized and endemic Barlow's Lark. Both images depict the same bird. Note the very heavy bill and unstreaked flanks. No hint of hybridisation with Karoo Lark!! I did have to sneak into a diamond field to find this pure bird, whereas in the 'safe' area I was not convinced by two individuals, both looking like hybrids. 
 Cape Long-billed Lark
 Hartlaub's Gull
 Port Nolloth - a welcome relief to see the sea after five days of arid land


 Koa Dunes
 on route to Port Nolloth - home to Meerkats
feeling small in the Koa Dunes

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