On September the 7th a group of 10 eager birders left Polokwane to Club Ranch Safaris situated on the Limpopo Botswana border to look for the elusive Pel's Fishing Owl. We decided to do some atlassing of the pentad that we would be spending most of the morning in. En-route to our destination some of the species we recorded included: Cape Glossy Starling, White-browed Scrub-Robin, Red-billed Quelea, African Mourning Dove, Namaqua Dove, Southern White-crowned Shrike, Lesser Striped Swallow, Black-backed Puffback, White-crested Helmet-Shrike, Orange-breasted Bush-Shrike, Meves's Starling and Red-billed Buffalo-Weaver to only mention a few.
Arriving at our destination before 8am, the mission was clear, let's start looking for the Owl. Armed with binoculars and cameras we tracked through the dried up section of the Limpopo River to reach the island where we would start our search. We were able to add more birds to our list which included: Emerald-spotted Wood-Dove, Brubru, Meyer's Parrot, African Green-Pigeon, Brown-hooded Kingfisher, Red-billed Firefinch, Yellow-throated Petronia and African Fish-Eagle.
After about 10 minutes of searching the trees, we got our first glimpse of the Pel's Fishing Owl. It flew to some trees to the east of the island where it settled for a while, giving us the opportunity to take some photos and examine it through our binoculars. Mission accomplished! After the Owl did a disappearing act, we turned our attention to birding the rest of the island and the camp site. Some of the birds we recorded included: White-crowned Lapwing, Grey Tit-Flycatcher, Giant Kingfisher, Tropical Boubou, Goliath Heron, Terrestrial Brownbul, Yellow-bellied Greenbul and Greater Honeyguide.
After having a late-morning snack, we packed up and continued to bird the rest of the pentad. We also recorded the following: African Harrier-Hawk, Red-billed Oxpecker, Common Greenshank, Marabou Stork, Malachite Kingfisher, Jameson's Firefinch, Yellow-billed Egret and Lilac-breasted Roller. We ended up with a Pentad total of 95 species. Thank you to Richter van Tonder for organizing the outing and to Club Ranch Safaris for allowing us to visit them.