Bird ID - Can anyone id this Lark taken by a client in March 2007?

This bird is unknown.

Seen at a water trough between Kenhardt and Brandvlei. Very pale buffy colour and came to the water trough at the same time as 12 Sclaters Larks.

Could it be a juv Sclaters?

Email me and let me know the following...

Birding with Brian - March 2007

When my wife and I first went birding with Brian, on two days in October 2005 we vowed then that one day we would return to South Africa and would go with him on a longer trip.  This March we did just that – travelling up the West Coast to Springbok and then turning East via Pofadder and Pella to Augabies and then up to the Kalahari and Twee Rivieren before turning back south via the Tanqua Karoo to the Grootvadersbosch Forest Reserve and finally the De Hoop Nature Reserve before returning to Cape Town.

The trip was all we hoped it would be and more.  The accommodation which Brian had found for us was superb, each place full of character in its own way, and the birds were brilliant.  It is difficult to pick on one place in particular, but the Kalahari was fantastic – the high point being not a bird but brilliant close views of a leopard!

The entire trip was excellently organised by Brian who once again showed himself a five star birder and a great companion.  We are already looking towards another trip in 2009!

Rod Ward - Bolton U.K.

Tanqua Mountain Views

Hi All, I did a quick one day trip to the flowering Tanqua on Saturday 26th August.

The veld was STILL in excellent shape, in fact new flowers were in evidence from the last trip on 16th August. This means that it has been flowering since July!

Many birds were either building or feeding and hence many were displaying. Did not see any Karoo Korhaans or Ludwig’s Bustard this time, but they may have been in the park itself. We spent most of our birding time on the R355 and P2250 which produced a large variety of species. We saw 5 Larks, 2 Sparrow-larks, and 6 Chats. The Black-eared Sparrowlarks were easy to track and get close too, did not get any pics but would have been a possibility with more time! Namaqua Warbler, Karoo Eromomela, Layard’s Titbabbler, Fairy Flycatcher, Black-headed Canary and Dusky Sunbirds were fairly obvious in the shrubbery. One of the Dusky Sunbirds had the most black on the front with very little buffy/white on the belly I have seen for a long time, even displayed it’s orange wing flashes!

Tanqua in flower 2006 Part 2

I have again been to the Tanqua with clients this past week and what a show it still is! Another set of yellow flowers are open, this being the third since July.

The southern part had rain when we arrived on Monday but further up is was not wet but still looking good. The weather was warm even T-shirt weather but comfortable at night.

Heather Howell - August 2006

Tanqua Karoo

I was among the 6 clients who Brian Vanderwalt took to the Tanqua Karoo last week and I really want to recommend Brian as a Master of the Tanqua! We could not have had better guiding! Not only does he know the birds and plants but he has the right contacts as well! I learnt a lot from his wealth of knowledge and unbelievable spotting. His safe driving in a comfortable vehicle took all the hassles out of the excursion. Even though we had bad weather on the first day, we enjoyed it all the way!
Thanks, Brian, it was all I hoped it would be!

Tanqua in flower 2006

Flowers in the Tanqua are out early this year, click to see more images.

Flowers in the Tanqua are out early this year, click to see more images.

Click on the images to view, close popup by clicking on the image.

A Little bit of Larking about in Northern Cape, South Africa

I took a group of   clients birding at the end of April to the Northern Cape to locate some of the endemics and other   local birds. After planning it, it turned out to be a 10 day trip which went as   far east as Kathu! The weather was great as were the birds, plenty of water and lush vegetation for   that part of the world as they had had good summer rains for a   change!

Cape Eagle Owl and Freckled Nightjar

I took a group of friends into the Western Cape mountains in the late afternoon so as to be around when the night birds emerged. The target was the Cape Eagle Owl which it is said occurred at the site we intended to visit.

We arrive before dusk and after a quick bite to eat and listening to the Freckled Nightjars calling we started the search. The habitat was great for this owl and we expected it to fly down from the peaks or suddenly appear on a rock surveying the scene.

Birding Fun Day - Tygerberg Bird Club

This past weekend we had our annual 24 hour ‘Birding Fun Day’ at our Tygerberg Bird Club. This is an event to encourange and teach other not so good birders when and how to find the birds over a 24 hour period and also to have fun doing it.

Rod Ward (2005.10)

author of "A Birdwatchers' Guide to The Gambia" - Prion Ltd 1994"

We had two days out from Cape Town, birding with Brian. The first was around False Bay and Betty’s Bay whilst the second took us up to the West Coat National Park. Both trips were brilliant, and it is difficult to pick on anything, but Cape Rockjumper, Verreaux’s Eagle, Blue Crane, Southern Black Korhaan and Black Harrier have to be amongst the many highlights. Brian is not only a top class birder, who really knows his birds, what they sound like and where to find them, but a great companion. We were both sad to have to say goodbye to him, and hope that one day soon we will be able to return to South Africa. If so, the first person we shall contact will be Brian!

Little Blue Heron and others...

Yesterday we took a client to Papendorp (near Vredendal on west coast, Western Cape) to see the American 'Little Blue Heron'. We arrived and first scanned the mudflats and channels for some time from behind the first house you get to after leaving the tar.

Tanqua Birding in August

I spent a pleasant 3 days in the Tanqua Karoo with 5 clients last week. The weather was very comfortable for this time of the year and we had no cold wind to deter our birding. The veld looked good at Karoo Poort from the winter rains that had crept over the mountains. A few birds were busy building nests and many others were actively calling.

The morning started cool and rainy...

The morning started cool and rainy... but cleared up enough to take some early morning shots along Clarens Drive to Rooi-els and Bettys Bay. The road around Klein Hangklip was still in shadow when we arrived but Orange-breasted Sunbirds were already doing their rounds of the Ericas. We decided to wait for the birds to come to the shrubs which worked well and some spectacular close-ups of males feeding were obtained.

Birding and photography in the Cape Town area - 2005

The Orange-breasted, Southern Double-collared Sunbirds and Cape Sugarbirds were in their finery at Kirstenbosch as it was their breeding time. Many Erica and Protea species were in flower and made the approach to the birds much easier and spectacular as they fed profusely. With the morning light just right, photographic opportunities were excellent.

Cheryl Casebeer

Comments on my Cape Town bird guide Brian Vanderwalt;

  • he arrived on time, was flexible as to itinerary, charged reasonable rates, and had a great attitute.
  • I didn't feel like a tourist.
  • his car was in good repair and clean, and his driving skills and traffic judgement were exemplary.

Most importantly, he was a real guide. He knew where to find the birds He knew about their nesting and migratory patterns, habitat requirements, and which species were endangered and why.

  • He is a great spotter, noticing many birds I would have missed.

In short, a superb birding experience. I'd recommend this guy to any birder or bird lover. Best, Casey

Christopher Collins

"Also thanks again for your time and expertise in Cape Town. I managed to notch up about 170 species in all - not bad for a business trip...17 'firsts'..."

Randy Samuels

"Having birded round the world, I found Brian to be an excellent birder and birding guide. He knows where the birds are, whether it be a remote location in the karoo, a retention pond, or in a neighborhood. In a few very enjoyable days we saw about 80% of the 225 birds in the CapeTown area, including many of the endemic species, sure to please any "lister". He also has broad knowledge of the natural world to fill in the down times, making birding with Brian a well rounded experience. Not only a good birder, he's a good companion as well."