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A breakfast run to the Mockford Vulture Restaurant (Local News)
 
On a crisp winter's morning ten en-thusiastic birders met on the Mockford Farm Road, anticipating a great day ahead! Flocks of African Sacred Ibis flew over in their V-formation, a pair of Black-headed Herons took flight while the resident Long-crested Eagle surveyed the land from its treetop. As the orange, rising sun began to bask the bush in light, we slowly made our way to the vulture restaurant ... a tally of 53 species had already been recorded!

Members of Birdlife Polokwane at Mockford Farm (9 June 2018)   

We settled ourselves in the hide, immediately enraptured by the scene before us. Many Cape and White-backed Vultures were perched on the poles and a great number of Marabou Storks were awaiting the off-loading of some pig carcasses. A few Lappet-faced Vultures showed off their impressive wingspan as they flew overhead and a lone Hooded Vulture joined in the pickings on an old carcass. Leonie was the first to notice the Palm-nut Vulture in a tree - a special lifer for a couple of folk and a thrill for all of us.

Inside the hide at the Mockford Vulture Restaurant. Photo by Richter Van TonderEvery now and then these magnificent birds would take flight and fill the sky in an awesome display. Jody captured a great shot of the Palm-nut Vulture in flight before it returned to the top of the same tree giving us ample photo opportunities. It is indeed a feisty little vulture as we watched it ward off the Pied Crows and Lappet-faced Vultures when they got too close to it! An impressive count of five different vulture species made this outing very worthwhile. Interestingly, four Cape Vultures and a Marabou Stork had patagial tags. Most of the vultures were tagged at the Blouberg Nature Reserve, about 120 km to the north - as the vulture flies.

Hooded Vulture at Mockford Farm. Photo by Richter Van Tonder   

Palm-nut Vulture at Mockford Farm  one of the highlights of the day. Photo by Jody De Bruyn   

Sone of the smaller birds viewed from the hide included: Crimson-breasted Shrikes, Marico Flycatchers, Great Spar-row, Green-winged Pytilia, Acacia Pied Bar-bet, Southern Fiscal and many Pied Crows. Thereafter we drove to a glistening dam. Scanning the bank and water we saw Black-winged Stilts, Common Moorhen, Little Grebe as well as Cape and Red-billed Teals.

Pearl-spotted Owlet. Photo by Richter Van TonderA number of Cape Shovelers gave us a wonderful display of their prominent blue-grey upperwing coverts. The grasslands produced an African Pipit, African Stonechat, Cape Starling and African Wattled and Blacksmith Lapwings - not forgetting flocks of Helmeted Guineafowl.

A cute Pearl-spotted Owlet came to check us out and further along the road a pair of Secretarybirds flew across the fields. Last, but not least, a Rock Kestrel ended a wonderful morning of birding. A tally of 104 species were recorded on the outing. A BIG thank you goes to Richter for organising this outing and for his birding guidance and the Mockford's for allowing us access to their farm. It was, as always, a great experience!!

Some of the vultures and a photobombing Pied Crow gathering at the hide. Photo by Richter Van Tonder   

Cape Vulture. Photo by Richter Van Tonder   

 
 
Compiled by: Mark and Julia Friskin  
Published on: 2018-06-09  
 
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LIMPOPO 2018
550 CHALLENGE
CURRENT COUNT: 524
POLOKWANE 100K
CHALLENGE 2018
LIMPOPO 550 CHALLENGE
PREVIOUS YEARS' SCORES
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Fauna Park
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