The visit to the Mockford Vulture Restaurant is now a regular outing each year and the farm always delivers! With great anticipation, nine of us met at the gate of the farm at 7am - we were not to be disappointed. We were greeted by calling Pearl-spotted Owlets being mobbed by other birds.
Our list grew quickly and about halfway to the vulture restaurant we already managed to tick species like Cape Grassbird, African Wattled Lapwing, Black-faced Waxbills, Violet-eared Waxbill, White-throated Robin-chat and Ashy Tit.
As we arrived at the vulture restaurant, the clients were already waiting: the regulars such as Cape Vulture, White-backed Vulture and Marabou Stork were joined by a very special sighting for the Polokwane plateau - a Hooded Vulture! We quickly made ourselves comfortable and after the carcasses were dropped, the vultures slowly moved closer. Unfortunately, they were a little too weary on the day and none of them were able to pluck up the courage to start the feeding frenzy. Nevertheless, we managed to see lots of vultures soaring and spiralling close by and we were delighted to spot a Lappet-faced Vulture amongst them.
Other very special birds seen were Pearl-breasted Swallow, Cape Shoveler, Cape Teal and African Hawk-eagle. Unfortunately, we didn't see the long-time resident Palm-nut Vulture. Next time! Our list ended close to a 100 species for the morning. Thanks to Yana Mockford for allowing us access to the farm and contributing to the preservation our vultures.
Photos by Richter van Tonder and Jody de Bruyn