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ULTIMATE SOUTH AFRICA

Friday 10th November - Monday 4th December 2017

Martin Benadie

Gorgeous Bushshrike (Martin Benadie)

Gorgeous Bushshrike (Martin Benadie)

The 2017 Birdquest Ultimate South Africa tour certainly lived up to its name – yet again! An outstanding birding destination and this tour delivered, with an amazingly high proportion of the targets (the hoped for endemics, regional endemics and specialities) being not only found, but also seen remarkably well. 510 bird species were seen well by all group members (out of 523 species recorded on tour). The mammals also put in a good showing with over 50 species observed.

Top birds included the fantastic Pink-throated Twinspot, confiding Victorin’s and Barratt’s Warblers, magical Blue Swallows, the stunning Drakensberg Rockjumper, which along with its close relative the Cape Rockjumper, and the two sugarbirds (Cape and Gurney’s Sugarbirds), are all truly iconic species. Other memorable specials included the graceful Black Harrier, Green Barbet, the trio of wonderful cranes, Bokmakierie, Cinnamon-breasted Warbler, Karoo Eremomela and nine superb species of bustard. Colour was added by showy Cape Parrots, vivid Gorgeous Bushshrikes, Ground Woodpecker and three species of splendid turacos, elegance by the Buff-streaked Chats, comedy by African Penguins and rarity by Rudd’s Lark and Taita Falcon, not to mention the rapidly disappearing vultures! Four per cent of our species were members of the Alaudidae family as we saw 22 species of lark in what has to be the lark capital of the world. The great thing was that we saw them all well enough for all to appreciate their subtle differences. This of course just highlights a fraction of the wonderful and varied bird life encountered overall. But it wasn’t just the birds. We also notched up an impressive mammal list, including rarities such as Aardvark and Aardwolf, enjoyed varied and wonderful scenery throughout, and all this whilst making the most of the excellent roads, accommodation and restaurants. South Africa is certainly a world-class birding destination with a quiet, rural atmosphere over much of the country.

Drakensberg Rockjumper (Martin Benadie)

Drakensberg Rockjumper (Martin Benadie)