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.
The birds seen were mostly in breeding mode and aerial displays by Larks were greatly enjoyed by all. Ludwig's Bustard were plentiful and seen every day and groups of 5 were common, but they were skittish as usual. Karoo Korhaan were heard and also seen near the road. A juv Martial Eagle was seen near the Parks new offices sitting in the dry blue gum trees as well as an adult Black-breasted Snake-eagle cruising the P2250. I wonder where they breed? A Black Eagle's nest was seen which must have been very old as it was at least 2m thick, but was too far across the valley to see if they were breeding.
Larks as I said were doing aerial displays and the most impressive was the Karoo Long-billed which flew fast and low over the shrubs gathering speed and then shot up in steep climb before dropping down as if it had been shot whilst calling! Very smart to see!
Karoo Lark was carrying food and I watched it and found the nest neatly tucked between and under two grass tussocks. Three small chicks were inside. A very impressive nest with a canopy built over front, looked a bit like the cane hanging chairs that are seen in gardens. The pics taken came out well even though the opening was in shadow. I used my watch glass to reflect light into the nest.
Other great birds were:
Dusky Sunbirds, male was the darkest that I have seen and he was displaying his orange flashes for all to see!
Black-headed, Yellow and White-throated Canaries were already feeding on the old flower heads.
Larklike Buntings were calling from the rocky outcrops and Grey-backed and Black-eared Sparrow larks were seen along the road. I have not seen Black-eared for some time in the Tanqua, this is great news now for the time being we don't have to go to Kenhardt to see them!
Pleny of Shelduck were grazing in the fields at the Tanqua Guest House and some males were seen patrolling the water whilst the females were probably incubating in some hole.
Tractrac, Sickle-winged, Karoo Chats were well seen and Mountain Wheatears were calling from their outposts.
Fairy Flycatchers were already in their pinkish dress and were very active in the shrubs and trees.
Karoo Eremomelas were in pairs and not in their usual groups and were actively collecting nesting material.
A pair of Pipits were seen in the hills but did not give enough time for an id but they seem to use the same hills so maybe I need to stake them out next time!
Coursers were not seen but I think with all the vegetation they could prove difficult this year as there are no stony areas to see.
Plenty of pics were taken of this wonderful area and I plan to go back there soon to see what is new there.
I have found some Gladiolus and Lachenalias in flower and other odds and ends which still need to be identified.
Brian Click on the images below to view the larger image.If you are interested in a doing a trip to the Tanqua, click here for more information.