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Vaalbos National Park:

The park, 40 km northwest of Kimberley, incorporates a productive area of grassland and savanna, and is reached by a signposted left turn 19 km west of Barkley West. It also includes a stretch of Vaal River frontage, rich in alluvial diamond deposits. Indeed, mining and other pressures have reduced the park to the point where it may be facing deproclamation within the next few years. It remains well stocked with big game though, including Buffalo (Syncerus cafer) and Black (Diceros bicornis) and White (Ceratotherium simum) Rhinos.

Vaalbos’s main attraction for birders lies in a largely isolated population of Short-clawed Lark, more typically a bird of overgrazed countryside in southeastern Botswana. At Vaalbos, it is uncommon: search for it where the open grassy plains are punctuated by small acacia trees, such as those near Block Dam (a map is obtainable at the gate). The open savanna areas around Block Dam are worth searching for Buffy Pipit and Rufous-naped Lark, while the nearby patch of trees holds such typical arid savanna species as Brubru, Shaft-tailed Whydah, Crimson-breasted Shrike, Pririt Batis (p.85*) and Golden-breasted Bunting. Wooded habitats throughout the park hold Red-crested Korhaan and, scarcely, Little Banded Goshawk. Grassland, such as that below the southern powerlines, offers Northern Black Korhaan, Anteating Chat, and Clapper (p.116*) and Spike-heeled Larks. The Vaal River banks, accessed from the Riverside picnic site, offer African Black Duck, Giant Kingfisher and White-fronted Bee-eater.

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27/09/09: Dalton Gibbs reports back from Gough Island! Read the blog!

26/09/09: New Cape Town Pelagics trip report from trips of 12 and 19 September 2009.

30/08/09: British Birdwatching Fair at Rutland Water proved very successful, with sunny weather and over 20,000 visitors. Callan's "Birding Namibia and the Okavango" was the most highly-attended lecture on the Saturday, with over 240 people. Congratulations to the winners of the Birding Africa competition and the African Bird Club raffle that we helped sponsor!

12/08/09: New Cape Town Pelagics trip reports from August and July 2009. Highlights: Little Shearwater and more!

07/08/09: The sub-adult Black Sarrowhawk visits our garden again! Read on about Raptor Research in the Western Cape.

27/07/09: Cape Town's Verreauxs' Eagle Chick has grown! And its sibling never had a chance to hatch. See the pictures of the chick, its nest and the breeding pair. Find out more about the Western Cape Raptor Research Programme.

27/07/09: To follow modern nomenclature and systematics, we've adopted the IOC World Bird List, Version 2.1.

13/07/09: The 8th African Bird ID Challenge has launched! Win a 50% discount on a Cape Town Pelagics trip, a copy of Southern African Birdfinder, or African Bird Club membership for 1 year.

6 July 09: Cape White-eye research in our garden.

2 July 09: Cape Town's Verreauxs' Eagle Chick has hatched! See the pictures of the chick, its nest and the breeding pair. Find out more about the Western Cape Raptor Research Programme.

2 July 09: Campbell Fleming, a Cape Town scholar, avid birder and photographer, joined Birding Africa last month as an intern. Click here, to see what he got up to.

2 July 09: New pelagic trip reports from the Cape Town Pelagics trips in June 2009. Highlights: Slenderbilled Prion and Leach's Storm Petrel

30 july 09: Our latest Cape Fynbos and Karoo trip reports feature Hottentot Buttonquail, Cinnamon-breasted Warbler and other fynbos and Karoo endemics...

26 June 09: Tungsten mining threatens RAMSAR site, South Africa's Verlorenvlei. Read the Media Release.

22 June 09: Claire Spottiswoode, one of the Cape Birding Route founders, was part of the exploratory team at Mount Mabu. The mountain is part of the newly discovered largest rainforest in Southern Africa.

11 June 09: A colour-ringed Black Sparrowhawk visits the Birding Africa office garden. Read why it's a 10 months old male!

14 June 09:
Wildlife at the office of The Cape Birding Route, Birding Africa and Cape Town Pelagics.

31 May 09:
Michel Watelet wins the 7th African Bird Club & Birding Africa ID Challenge. Test your African birding skills and WIN a Birding Africa Cape town day trip or a copy of the Birdfinder!

30 May 09: A tragedy unfolds at Kommetjie south of Cape town as 44 beached False Killer Whales were shot. Click here for more details and pictures.

14 March 09: Raptor Watch in Cape Town on 14 March 09