Farewell Shorebirds – Australia

For those of you who have missed “Farewell Shorebirds” – a video production by BirdLife Australia (www.birdlife.org.au) here are the links to the first three episodes to bring you up to date. Three more to follow.

Episode 1.   http://farewellshorebirds.org.au/web-cast-episode-1/

Episode 2.  http://farewellshorebirds.org.au/web-cast-episode-2/

Episode 3.   http://farewellshorebirds.org.au/web-cast-episode-3/

I hope you enjoy.

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Sunbirds for ID

Please help with ID of these two sets of Sunbirds. Both sent to me by a resident of Le Domaine here in Hillcrest, Durban.

Click on the picture and add your comments below the enlarged Photo.

The First set:

The Second set:

The first 2 pictures in this sequence were taken on 4th April and the last one on the 19th April. Looking up at what? Scouring above could yield no clues – maybe you have an idea?

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April Birding in Durban

Weather in Durban in April is always beautiful and this Easter week-end didn’t disappoint. The birding at Umbogavango on Saturday was superb with 67 species recorded. All 3 species of Wagtail seen (Cape, Pied and Mountain) as well as abundant Little Bee-eaters and stunning views of Orange-breasted Bushshrike, and a pair of Red-throated Wryneck. Of special interest was a flock of about 15 Common Starling – I have only seen them singly at Umbogavango before . Yellow-rumped Tinkerbirds were calling incessantly. A new bird- “African Woodpecker” Ha ha – actually an African Hoopoe, as named by Tina – we will never let her live that one down! !  Oh yes, and the butterflies were out in force – 32 species recorded. Thanks for a fantastic day Tina, Vauneen and Betty.
In contrast,  Ros Conrad and I went to Stainbank N.R. on Sunday morning. The  birds were not calling and they were not showing themselves at all – only 22 species (mostly on call). However, a detour to Jubilee Park in Westville produced 1 Magpie Mannikin ( saw 8 there last Saturday) and this made up for all the birds that we didn’t see at Stainbank!
Sandi du Preez
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Outings in May.

May 2014

Bird Ringing with Garth Aiston: Usually held early on a Sunday each month. Please call Garth for details if no notification is put out nearer to the time on the BLPN website and KZN Birds@yahoo. Cell:084 5491752.

Bird Ringing with Andrew Pickles. Usually the first or second Sunday of the month. Venue to be advised. Please contact Andrew for details. Cell 082 338 3302 or barbet@venturenet.co.za

Bird Ringing with James Rawdon. James visits many private estates on the North Coast. Contact James for details: 083 745 6007.

Saturday 3 May. Pigeon Valley Nature Reserve with Elena Russell. Meet at 07h30. Please phone to confirm meeting time and place. Tel: 031 7052902 (after 6pm) or email elenarussell@telkomsa.net. Directions:  South along Manning Road, right up Rhodes Avenue which leads you to the entrance. Alternatively, south along South Ridge Road and after the dip look out for the Pigeon Valley sign to the left. 

Saturday 10 May. BMCG Meeting at 13h30. Venue to be advised.

Wednesday 14 May. Iphithi  N.R. - 08h00 with Sandi du Preez – Tel  031-7014839  or  0733324431. Please confirm start time with Sandi. Directions:  Drive on the M13 from Durban and take the Everton off-ramp between Kloof and Hillcrest. Turn right at the intersection towards Everton Road and then turn left immediately after crossing over the M13 and BEFORE the railway bridge .Drive west along this road parallel to the railway line and then after about 100 metres turn right and cross the railway line into Camp Road. Then turn left into Edward Drive at T-junction. Entrance and parking is on your right. Bring tea/coffee and eats for picnic afterwards.

Wednesday 14 May. Indoor Meeting. To be advised.

Sunday 25 May. Empisini with Elena Russell at 07h30. Please phone to confirm meeting time. Tel: 031 7052902 (after 6pm) or email elenarussell@telkomsa.net.  Over 100 species of birds have been recorded in this area, including the elusive Pied Mannikin!  Habitat consists of prime coastal forest with perennial small streams.  DirectionsTravel the N2 south, take the Umkomaas/Widenham off-ramp. At the stop street turn left, then travel a few hundred metres to the first left turn signposted SAPPI/SAICCOR. Continue down a steep hill for just over 1 km, turn left at the T-junction at the bottom of the hill and then left again through an unmarked gap in the fence. Follow the track for about 400 m to the parking and picnic area.   Meet in the parking area. Bring tea/coffee, chairs and eats for picnic afterwards.

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Plea from Mark Anderson – BLSA Chief Executive Officer

Dear BirdLife South Africa members and supporters,

With just over a month to go, BirdLife South Africa needs YOUR support to help us become South Africa’s Favourite Charity and win R50 000.

You could win a R10 000 Woolworths gift card simply for voting.

The polls opened on 7 April and voting closes on Friday 23 May. BirdLife South Africa would like to encourage you to cast your vote for your favourite MyVillage or MyPlanet charity – BIRDLIFE SOUTH AFRICA – so we can stand a chance to win a share of R100 000 in cash donations for our important bird conservation work.

Get a MyVillage or MyPlanet card if you don’t have one yet.  To Sign up, go to https://www.myschool.co.za

Then Vote:

Vote now at http://www.vote4charity.co.za/

You could win a R10 000 Woolworths gift card simply for voting.

Please note: you can only vote once.

or http://www.touchstream.co.za/link.php?M=7703592&N=23093&L=10554&F=H> my school.jpg.

Mark D. Anderson

Chief Executive Officer

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A Summer Photographic Odyssey

Please note the changed date of this Indoor Meeting.

Wednesday 9 July. Indoor Meeting. Crystelle Wilson “A Summer Photographic Odyssey”. Westville Methodist Church, Jan Hofmeyr Road, Westville.

“Birders are increasingly using cameras as tools to enhance their birding skills and as an aid in observation and identification. The aim of this evening is to provide our members with a platform to share their experiences and images. But it is not merely a beauty contest for the best photograph: people are invited to submit interesting pictures which informs us a bit more about birds and their behaviour. Ideally the pictures should have been taken in KwaZulu-Natal and be of reasonable, clear quality. Details should include the place and date where it was taken, and why the author thought it was interesting, or what the stories associated with the images were.”

Please send pictures to Crystelle Wilson by 2 July at the latest. Resolution should be about 2-3 MB.

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Pigeon Valley

Crispin Hemson leads a short morning walk on the 2nd Saturday every month at Pigeon Valley. He has a Friends of Pigeon Valley Facebook page and a mailing list. You can contact him by email to confirm his outing at email:  hemsonc@gmail.com.

This Saturday it was a beautiful morning and we were treated to a feast of sunbirds though none of them stayed still long enough to be photographed. Sandi du Preez felt compelled to hug one of her favourite trees; Chrysophyllum viridifolium. We also had some nice views of a Red-capped Robin-chat and heard many of them singing away all over the reserve.

Report back by Penny de Vries.


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Sunday Outing

Martin has asked that if you want to go on this outing then you must call him (not me) to confirm because it is Easter Sunday. See details:

Sunday 20 April at  06:30 – Vernon Crookes Nature Reserve with Martin Taylor. Please contact Martin to confirm – email: martin.taylor@birdlife.org.za or call: Cell 0722777254. A favourite birding spot with a great mix of birds and the cisticolas will keep us busy with ID.  The wild flowers are always a treat.  Bring a picnic lunch and chairs.Directions: Travel south on N2 from Durban for 60 kms (past Scottburgh) take the R612 (Park Rynie/Umzinto) turnoff, turn right over freeway and travel 12 km (past Umzinto), turn right at the signpost for Vernon Crookes onto good gravel road travel for 6 km to the reserve. Meet at entrance (there is an entrance fee – take your Wild Card and Rhino Card).

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Mystery Birds for ID

Please enter your ID for each bird with reasoning by clicking on the image and writing your comments in the box below the enlarged image.

The following 4 birds were seen in the Satara area in March.

The birds below were seen at Lake St Bernard above the St Bernard Peak Hotel, just south of Underberg – a Chat? or….. what?. it was seen in the company of another Chat – second picture  below.

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Bluff NR – Sat. 5th April

There were 18 of us and our bird count was 51 but after sitting at the picnic site having our coffee and a good chat (no pun intended) we managed to add olive sunbird and a yellow weaver which brought the total to 53!  We have had much better birding at the Bluff in the past but the morning started off with a nasty cold wind and the pond aka dam was rather sterile – a few Reed and White-breasted Cormorants, a Darter, Moorhen and Little Grebe.   Later on from the hide we had Malachite Kingfisher and superb close ups of a Lesser Swamp Warbler – hopefully John will post some pics.  We had lots of good bird parties but mainly of Mannikins, Weavers, Prinias, Batis, Flycatchers etc the best bird of the day must have been the Lesser Honeyguide – but only seen by a few.  We had a Purple Heron and Lanner Falcons fly over and of course heard the Sombre and Yellow-bellied Greenbuls calling from every thick and leafy tree but never to be seen!!  The Bluff is a good spot for butterflies and other bugs and some lovely ones were seen – again hopefully some pics will be posted.

Purple Heron

Purple Heron

Lesser Swamp Warbler

Lesser Swamp Warbler

Cheers Elena Russell.

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Windfarms in Lesotho and the possible impacts on our vultures.

Be sure to watch 50/50 on SABC tonight at 7:30, there will be an insert on wind farms in Lesotho and the possible impacts on our vultures.

The following attachments show Bearded & Cape Vulture movements for 30th March to 6th April:

Click on:

Bearded Vulture

Cape Vulture

Kind regards

Sonja Krüger & Rickert vd Westhuizen



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New Posting in the What to do if ….. Page on the website.

Q9. What do I do if I find a live bird that has been fish hooked?

  • Follow the procedures set out in the following diagram.Hooked Bird.
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African Pygmy Kingfisher – Westville

Not sure if this is the right place to send this but this Juvenile African Pygmy Kingfisher flew into our lounge window in Central Westville this morning. Was stunned for about 15 minutes sitting on our patio before flying off. Sorry not great quality picture as I did not have my camera with me so had to take it with my Blackberry.


Tony Goosen

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Mystery Bird for ID

Hi Paul – our members might like to have a go at ID-ing this, cheers – Dave Bishop

Mystery - please ID me.

Mystery – please ID me.

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Krantzkloof talk on 8th April. Luis Segura “Argentina 1000 Birds and More.”

Hello everyone,

Our Krantzkloof talk this month, on 8th April, will be given by Luis Segura and will be entitled “Argentina 1000 Birds and More.”

Luis is an Argentinian who has recently relocated to South Africa and is a full time guide for Rockjumper Birding Tours so his talk and photographs should be fascinating.  As always the talk will be held at the Krantzkloof Interpretive Centre and tea/coffee and biscuits will be served from 9.30 a.m – 10.00.  The charge will be R20.00.

Argentina is a country which not many of us will have visited;  so this will be a good chance to see their bird life and learn more about life in this part of the world.   Do come and support Luis and let him tempt you to do some more exploring!

See you on Tuesday,


Tessa White, Sarah Burns, Peter & Jenny Spence and Peter Farrington.

083 540 4120     031 767 3195

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Ringing on Sunday with Andrew Pickles

Anybody in the area (Umzumbe) we will be ringing in the forest on Sunday. Hopefully we will get some of those special forest birds. All welcome to join us maybe we can get a Trogon again, haven’t had one for a while. Always a good spot for Lemon dove, Brown Scrub-robin, Green Twinspot etc. I will be there from 4.30 to set up others are joining from 5.30.

Please call Andrew for details – 082 338 3302 or barbet@venturenet.co.za.

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SAPPI Stanger Birdhide: 30th March 2014

Report by Rex Aspeling.

21 Birders attended the SAPPI Hide outing so the group was split in two. One group staying at the hide and the other doing the walk through the picnic area for about a kilometre around the Hide Dam. This proved to be excellent birding with the assistance of two members having scopes. The group from the hide eventually joined the walking group.

Birdlist for the day amounted to 52 including 3 ticks for myself . Thanks to all the knowledgeable Twitchers who made the day a success.

The day ended with Bacon rolls for those who wanted and a lovely picnic enjoyed by all.

Some photos:

A sequence of a yawning Pelican:

Pelicans in flight and landing:

A few people went back to the hide after the picnic and were lucky enough to see the Grey-crowned Cranes that were seen in a mating ritual earlier this month (and shown in an earlier post):

Late photographic submission from Norman Freeman:

Common Ringed Plover

Common Ringed Plover

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BLPN sponsorship – CROW

Hi BirdLife Port Natal members,

Please find a picture of your sign on Garden Aviary No. 1.


BLPN Sponsorship for CROW.

BLPN Sponsorship for CROW.

I will be doing a Facebook post tomorrow about our programme and will be adding this photo as a part of the album and will be sure to tag BirdLife Port Natal.

Thank you again for your support!

Kind Regards,

Paul Hoyte

Marketing and Communications Officer

Centre for Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW)

Tel. 031 462 1127   Fax. 031 462 9700

Cell: 071 350 6502



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Search Functions on BLPN Website.

This is just a reminder that there are several ways to search for something on the BLPN website.

1. There is a Search box at the top right of each page. Enter a key word and all posts and  website pages with the key word will appear.

2. At the bottom of each page there are 3 ways to make a search:

    • Monthly Archives: If you know the month a post was made, click on the month and all posts in that month will appear.
    • Category of Posts: Click on the down arrow and choose one of the alternatives. Note: All posts made in that category will appear.
    • Calendar of Posts: The calendar shows in blue those days when posts were made. Click on a date and all the posts made on that date will appear.
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8 Point Framework for Bird ID.


  • Habitat & Distribution
  • Relative Size and Shape
  • Family
  • Habits & Behaviour including Call
  • Bill – Size, Shape & Colour
  • Legs & Feet – Size & Colour
  • Eyes – Colour
  • Plumage

Also note the time of day and the weather.

There will be a new page on the website titled: Birding Tips.

The above will be found there in future.

If you have any tips that you would like to share please email them to Paul.

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