A new year, but as far as Covid-19, 2021 was continuing where 2020 left off. Level 3 Lockdown restrictions remained in place, and that meant that all birding destinations in Gauteng changed their operating hours to only open at 09h00.

I visited Marievale on 1 January 2021. I came across the unexpected sighting of a European Roller on the way – not a bird I expected to see in the southern parts of Gauteng!European Roller

The water levels at Marievale were extremely high and bird sightings were not as great as I am used to. There was a cute little Kittlitz’s Plover in the road.Kittlitzs Plover

There were quite a few White–throated Swallows and Levaillant’s Cisticolas around.

White Throated Swallow  Levaillants Cisticolas

A Black-headed Heron found a lovely perch and spent most of the morning there. There were also a number of Greater Flamingos about.

Black headed Heron   Greater Flamingo

Whiskered TernI also visited Zaagkuildrift in Janyary 2021. I saw many of the expected Bushveld species. Some of the more unusual species I saw were Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters, Black-winged Pratincoles and a Lesser Moorhen. I also saw a Common Buzzard and a Brown Snake Eagle. At the Bridge a Whiskered Tern did a few low swoops.

The Butterflies at Zaagkuildrift were fantastic. I added a few new species to my list. I saw both sexes of the Banded Gold Tips. This is the handsome male.Banded Gold Tip Male

There were also some Lemon Travellers.Lemon Traveller

The third new species I saw was a Zebra White.Zebra White

I also saw some species that I have previously seen, but they were so pretty – a stunning African Plain Tiger and a Yellow Pansy.

African Plain Tiger  Yellow Pansy

I continued birding from home. It was mostly the regular garden birds. An Ovambo Sparrowhawk and Burchell’s Coucal put in brief appearances. I just love Red-headed Finches and can take as many photos as I am able to.

Red Headed Finch  Red Headed Finch

But the highlight of the month was undoubtedly the Lanner Falcon. The Lauging doves scattered suddenly early one Sunday morning – a sure sign that they spotted trouble. I grabbed my camera and ran outside, just in time to get a couple of bad records shots of this exciting bird. Lockdown bird #75 and Garden Bird #83.Lanner Falcon

But then I saw an adult and a young Green Wood-hoopoo come to snack on the apple on my balcony. They have been around all through lock-down, but this was the first time I’ve seen them on my balcony. Green Wood-hoopoo Green Wood-hoopooGreen Wood-hoopoo   Green Wood-hoopoo

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