On Saturday 28 February, Richter van Tonder and I headed out on the Matlala Road to do birding at the settlements of Chebeng and Ga- Makweya, just 22km North-West of Polokwane. The grasslands with intermittent informal agricultural patches did not disappoint, and we recorded various raptors and LBJs in the form of Pipits, Cisticolas and 8 Lark species.
Driving on the Seshego connection road, we recorded Amur Falcon, Lesser Kestrel, Greater Kestrel and 2 adult Lanner Falcon. Yellow Canary, Black-throated Canary and Rufous-naped Lark were also seen on the side of the road. At out next stop we recorded: Desert-, Zit- ting- and Cloud Cisticola. We then moved into an area with a few more agricultural patches and recorded Plain-backed Pipit, African Pipit, Flocks of Red-capped Lark, Cape Crow, Kurrichane Buttonquail and Familiar Chat.
En-route to the next spot we made a quick stop at a promising looking stretch of grassland. We chased up a flock of Red-capped Lark and then we encountered Melodious Larks displaying. What a sighting!
Our next spot just to the West of Ga-Makweya was very productive and recorded Long-tailed Widowbird, Grey-backed Sparrow-Lark, Spike-heeled Lark, Pink-billed Lark, Sabota Lark, Tinkling Cisticola, Cinnamon-breasted Bunting, Northern Black Korhaan, Lesser Grey Shrike, Kalahari Scrub-Robin and Cape Longclaw.
Just to the North at Houtriver dam, we recorded: Shaft- and Pin-tailed Whydah, Short-Clawed Lark, Orange-breasted Waxbill, Levaillantís Cisticola, Common Sandpiper, Purple Heron, Black-chested Snake-Eagle and Yellow-billed Kite just to name a few. At our last stop we had some great sightings of Spike-heeled Lark. We also recorded Buffy Pipit, Kurrichane Buttonquail, African Quailfinch and Cape Logclaw.