August 2016

The Raptor is what YOU make it so please do keep sending all the sightings and information through.
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In This Issue
Who let the dogs out? Wild Dogs back in the neighbourhood
Summer Migrants Birds arriving for the summer sunshine
Marauding Porcupine! An insurance tale
Interesting Sightings Observations from our residents
Photo Gallery Great results from our photographers

Wild Dogs back in the neighbourhood - Byron Wright
In late July we were fortunate enough to see the wild dogs on the boundary between Raptor's View and Leadwoood, on the other side of the fence. Two dogs had chased an impala into the fence and then dragged it into the bush and feasted on it.

wild dog
wild dog
wild dog wild dog
wild dog wild dog
wild dog

More Dogs - Jof McLean, RV163
Although not actually on Raptor's View, we were delighted to see the wild dogs on Leadwood - less than 1km from the boundary fence - on Sunday 14th August. The dogs - an alpha pair and sub adult female and 7 or 8 pups - are a break away pack from an original 14 that were introduced onto Blue Canyon some months ago.

wild dog
wild dog
wild dog

Summer Migrants - Derek Solomon, RV254

August is the time for the first of the intra-African migrants to arrive, most of them planning to breed here as well. Some, like the Yellow-billed Kite might arrive even earlier - around mid July. We are often asked - "Why do birds migrate?" In their excellent book 'Birds The Inside Story', Raptor's View residents Rael and Helene Loon tell us that intra-African migrants are taking advantage of the abundance of food during the wet season, migrating between the northern and southern parts of the continent and the equatorial regions.

So which of these birds can we expect to find on Raptor's View? Out of the possible list, only one, Abdim’s Stork, does not breed while here in southern Africa, and it is not really a species we would expect to find on the estate. The Yellow-billed Kite is probably the earliest arrival but so far I personally haven’t added it to my RV list this year although I saw it in Kruger Park a week ago. The larger Wahlberg’s Eagle also comes in quite early and I saw two birds flying east over Snake Eagle road a week ago. Wouldn’t it be exciting if they bred here on the estate?

The cuckoos generally arrive in early September with Red-chested often being the first. This is a tricky bird to see because of its skulking habits but easily recorded by its characteristic “piet-my-vrou” call.
African Paradise Flycatcher (M)

Diderick Cuckoo (M)
Another obvious songster on the estate is the Diderick Cuckoo, aptly named after its “dee-dee-deederik” call and easy to find up at the entrance gate were it parasitizes the Lesser Masked Weavers breeding there. And let’s not forget Jacobin and Levaillant’s Cuckoos, often fairly visible so we don’t always have to rely on call to find them.

The list of possible birds goes on – African Paradise Flycatcher, Red-breasted Swallow, Pygmy and Grey-hooded Kingfisher and a host of aerial feeders - African Black, White-rumped, Horus and Little Swifts. An obvious favourite is the very vocal Woodland Kingfisher but this one usually only arrives here in October.

We would like to know the first arrival dates for all of these migrants and would be grateful if you could send your observations to me at - or post them on the Birds of Birds of RV Facebook page. This information can also help to tell us how this year’s drought is affecting bird movements. Some photos follow to help with identification. Happy birding!

Abdim Stork Yeloow-billed Kite
Abdim's Stork
Yellow-billed Kite

Levaillants Cuckoo Jacobin Cuckoo
Levaillant's Cuckoo
Jacobin Cuckoo

Red-chested Cuckoo Wahlberg's Eagle
Red-chested Cuckoo
Wahlberg's Eagle

Red-breasted Swallow
Red-breasted Swallow

An interesting insurance claim - Dave & Hilna Berry, RV65

fridge We have an enclosed courtyard with a storeroom off it adjoining the house. And, due to space constraints, we keep our inverter-type (new technology) chest deepfreeze and fridge in the storeroom. Due to the heat exchange systems of these appliances, this closed room gets extremely hot. So, because the courtyard is enclosed perimeter-wise, we have up to now found it safe to leave the door open at night. A lesson was expensively learned, though…

Whatever it was that did the damage, and we now think it was porcupines due to the incisor tooth-marks in the plastic and the fact that a Honey Badger or two wouldn’t have been stymied by the plastic fronting to the drawers. They must have squeezed under the gate or climbed over the latte surround.
The bill for a new freezer door plus call-out and labour will be submitted to our insurance and hopefully they will settle - if not, it must at least be an entertaining break in their monotony of boring claims!

Interesting Sightings on the Estate
Aardvark seen at 16.00 in early July. Warren Cary, RV287

African Goshawk (juv) jumping spider
African Goshawk (juvenile).
Janine Scorer, RV299
Jumping Spider and Robber Fly prey.
Thomas Muller, RV175

giraffe giraffe
Scratching those hard to reach spots! Hugh Preston, RV288

Visiting children found a whole new use for the bird bath - and in mid winter too! Joan Arnestad, RV230

giraffe giraffe oxpecker
Taken with a cell phone and through glass but such a joy to see! She was just meters away drinking from our pool. Jenny Lombard, RV115
Red-billed Oxpecker on giraffe.
Derek Solomon, RV254

Aardvark seen by our lucky house guest at 16.00 on 11 August. Richard Braun, RV255

insects insects
In early June the many species of flies and wasps on the Euphorbia on Tawny Eagle were amazing!
Simone Braun, RV255

Photo Gallery
Eastern Olive Toad. Chris Gregory, RV221

Blue Pansy feeding on Wild Pear. Derek Wilcocks, RV90

scrub robin
Bearded Scrub Robin. Derek Solomon, RV254

Please send your notes and photos to the editors (Derek & Sarah Solomon) on