OF BAT HAWKS AND BIRD GUIDES IN MAGOEBASKLOOF
‘Stop right here,’ he said, with a sharp and urgent tone. We were somewhere close to New Agatha, not far from the tar road, but I couldn’t see anything worth getting excited about. We had just come from an incredible sighting of an African Crowned Eagle in Tzaneen before the mist - a persistent, soft drizzle set in but, as true twitchers do, we kept on birding.
Having explored the Woodbush Forest for the colourful ‘Specials’ Magoebaskloof is known for, our mission today was to get a good look at the elusive Bat Hawk. Luckily David Letsoalo, my friend and expert Bird guide, knew where to find this crepuscular (active at twilight) raptor in the worst of weather. The gum-lined dirt road in New Agatha was misty and moody as I got out of the car slowly and started getting my camera gear together. I couldn’t quite believe it when I heard David chuckle and say ‘Look above you....there it is!’ I was ecstatic. A lifer to add to my growing list. David always said that Birding is contagious!
David showed me the nesting site which was built on a structure installed by keen local raptorphiles and which has been successfully used for over 30 breeding seasons. David Letsoalo, Samson Mulaudzi and Paul Nkhumane have all been actively involved in Avian Conservation in the Limpopo Province for many years as well as guiding visitors from all over the world. Feeling smug, I packed my gear away. The weather was looking better and we were chatting away with windows wide open when David suddenly stopped. ‘Did you hear that? .... Cape Parrots! My heart skipped a beat... another lifer.. something I've wanted to see for so long. We sat there for what felt like hours, watching their squawking acrobatics as they feasted on ripe red berries.
As we drove off, I felt like I was the luckiest person alive. I had three big ticks in my ‘Lifer Log’ and a warm glow in my heart. Seeing birds like this, with an expert guide bringing their instinct, knowledge and passion, is a transformative experience. To book an immersive birding outing in the most spectacular places in Limpopo, get in touch with one of the Limpopo Birding Route Directors / Guides.
David Letsoalo: 083 568 4678 / Paul Nkhumane: 084 354 9710 / www.limpopobirding.com