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.
All the local specials were seen such as Palewinged Starling, Fairy Flycatcher, Rufous-vented and Layards Titbabblers, Greater Kestrel, Pririt Batis, Karoo, Mountain, Sicklewinged, and Tractrac Chats, (no Anteating Chat - they seen to have moved on from the normal haunt) Dusky Sunbird, Karoo Eremomela, Rufouseared Warbler, Karoo , Karoo Longbilled , and Spikehealed Larks, Plainbacked Pipit, Blackheaded Canary, Karoo Korhaan and a magnificent displaying Ludwigs Bustard next to the road!.
Our experience with the Cinnamon-breasted Warbler has got to be a first. When do you EVER walk away from this bird!
We stopped at a spot for lunch and I called it up with my own variation of its call, to which it responded. I do not use tapes to call up any birds. The use of tapes has silenced the Karoo Poort and Skitterykloof birds, they don't even respond to my whistle as they have done in the past. Hence this spot is new and was even better than the others as the bird was building a nest and was below us on the rocks for at least an hour as we enjoyed our superb lunch supplied by the Tanqua Guest House. Every time the male (we assume) returned from the nest site he went onto a rock and called his heart out! We could see all his dark browns and dark reds with ease from our vantage point - the books don't do this bird any justice at all. We put up the scope and I tried to photograph the bird at the nest site, but without a digital adaptor I got some good pictures of the site but no bird as he was too fast. Eventually we called it a day and departed for home very satisfied with our birding.
Disappointment was that no Coursers were seen over the 3 days.
However the Tanqua is great any time and hope you can join me sometime!