To read the August newsletter from the Dolphin Coast Bird Club then click on this link.
Andrew Pickles organised a walk around the Amanzimtoti Bird Park – Monday 10 August. About 20 people turned up for the early start at 06h30. The group split up in 3 parties to walk around the park. The guide, Blessing, led one group, Andrew another and Steve and Roy the third.
Much of the walk was through forest but there was some grassland/open areas and a pond in the middle.
In all over 60 different species were recorded. Some of the specials included Spotted Ground Thrush, Grey Cuckooshrike, Lesser Honeyguide, Red-fronted Tinkerbird, Little Sparrowhawk, Purple-banded Sunbird, Green-backed Heron, Orange-breasted Bushshrike, Mountain Wagtails.
Here are some photos taken on the outing.
Sally and I popped in to Pigeon Valley for an hour midday today. Here are some of the photos taken.
Report on our Saturday outing- Elena Russell
15 hardy souls braved the very early morning start – we gathered by the light of a full moon and it was very very cold!!
As we headed off for Vumbuka the ‘quick’ of an African Goshawk could be heard high above us in the sky – intoxicating stuff!
Vumbuka is fabulous – walking through the forest we were accompanied by the dawn chorus. Our tiny hands may have been frozen but we were having fun. The birds were hunting for the sunniest spots. The White-eared Barbets had found an excellent dead tree in which to perch and catch the sun and an African Hoopoe was calling high up in an adjacent tree. We could hear a Black Sparrowhawk calling in the distance but it was only later in the day that we had great views of the Spars. Red-fronted & Yellow-rumped Tinkerbirds, Yellow-fronted Canaries and Cape White-eyes were everywhere feasting on the figs. Plenty of Sombre Greenbuls, Dark-capped Bulbuls, Dusky, Paradise and Black Flycatchers. Brief glimpses of Tambourine Doves and Yellow-bellied Greenbuls.
Excellent sightings of Grey Cuckooshrike, Sunbirds; Amethyst, Olive, Grey & Collared, Weavers; Thickbilled, Spectacled, Village and Dark-Backed. Yellowbreasted Apalis were calling and a Bar-throated Apalis was seen later at the gazebo. Natal Robins (Red-capped Robin-Chat), Southern Black Tit, Fork-tailed Drongos. Black-collared Barbets and the calls of Purple Crested Turacos and Southern Boubou kept the list ticking up nicely.
Walking back through the grasslands we had masses of Palm Swifts, Black Sawwings and quite a few Lesser Striped Swallows (presumably they over-wintered on the balmy South Coast). Tawny-flanked Prinias, Speckled Mousebirds, Bronze Mannikins and a Black-headed Heron.
We had our tea at the gazebo and our count at that stage was 54. After tea we went on down to Umbogavango and at that stage we had decided the bird of the day was the Grey Cuckooshrike but driving into Umbogavango we good views of a female Narina Trogon. We quickly parked and hurried back up the road with the rest of the group and managed to get some good photos of the beautiful bird.
We then went on another walk – and added some really nice birds to our list. An African Fish Eagle was being harassed by the Black Sparrowhawks, White-bellied Sunbird, Little Bee-eaters, Giant and Malachite Kingfishers, Red-backed Mannikins, Hamerkop, Cape Wagtail, Olive and Kurrichane Thrush, Sacred Ibis and Woolly-necked Storks flew overhead, Little Rush and Lesser Swamp Warblers in the reeds and we thought we had done pretty well but of course Jenny, Rowena and Vauneen who had stayed behind in the hide picked up Lesser Honeyguide and Green Twinspots (drat) – in total our bird count was 80!!.
The photo of the tree with the pretty white flowers – Tabernaemontana Ventricosa or in plain English a Toad Tree.
The Erythrinas – Lysistemon and Caffra were in full bloom and plenty have been planted all over this pretty reserve.
Thanks to John, Dave, Paul and Hennie for the pics.
Mike Roseblane, Jane Morris, my wife Sally and I visited Kenneth Stainbank NR last Sunday. Here are some photos taken while there. The bird of the day was a very obliging Red-fronted Tinkerbird.
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Report by Paul and Sally Bartho
Monday 20 July to Friday 24 July 2015
Sugarloaf campsite in St Lucia was not too busy. School holidays had ended. There was water rationing in St Lucia which meant that one day we had no tapped water but the rest all day. Water bottles were laid out at each of the ablutions blocks. Power cuts were from 5 to 6 pm several nights – yes only one hour.
We spent a morning in each of the two parts of the Isimangaliso Wetland Park – Eastern and Western Shores. And one morning in the Gwalagwala trail. Time was spent on the beach too, though the gulls and terns were mostly down the coast chasing the sardines. No Franklin’s Gull!
The weather was mostly kind to us and we did have rain on several nights which helped to bring out the birds the following mornings.
In all we identified 63 birds in Eastern Shores, 64 birds in Western Shores and 82 birds in and around the campsite, Gwalagwala trail and on the beach. In total 125 different bird species were identified. Click here to see the lists.
Here are some photos of the birds seen.
And a few butterflies and mystery Cisticolas for ID.
Report by Jenny Rix
We had a lovely sunny day for our outing to Simbithi on Sunday the 19th July
Eighteen birders came including two environmental ladies from Simbithi. Margi Lilianveld organised all our security codes so that we could get through the security. Many thanks to her.
We drove down to the Fish Eagle dam and met up with Elayne Tranter who was the other environmental lady. We decided to do the Mfuleni Trail and split into two groups, the one doing the trail clockwise and the other anti clockwise.
Birding around the Fish Eagle dam was rewarding with Village Weavers very busy building their nests and collecting nesting material. We saw the Goliath, Black-headed, Grey and Purple Herons, the Common Moorhen, Burchell’s Coucal, the White-eared Barbet and lovely views of the Malachite Kingfisher.
Birding along the pathway was quiet as it was still in shade but as we reached the beginning of the pathway into the forest the sun was shining and the birds were all there. We had wonderful sightings of the Red-fronted Tinker Bird, White-browed Scrub-Robin, Tawny-flanked Prinia, Olive Sunbird, Black Cuckooshrike and a very fast flyby of the Grey Waxbill.
The mature riverine forest growing along the stream was beautiful with many trees over 100 years old. A lot of the trees were named and along the path a camera had been placed to capture the night animals. Sunbirds were plentiful and we saw Amethyst, Collard, Grey, Olive and Purple-banded Sunbirds. The Black-collard Barbets, Crested Barbets, Sombre Greenbul and Yellow-bellied Greenbul were calling and we had a quick fly past of the Tambourine Dove.
When we reached the other side of the Fish Eagle dam there were a lot of Bronze Mannikins and we saw two nests and then another three built under the eaves of a house – just like the swallows do. It had us all fascinated.
In the open grassland area we heard the Neddicky and saw the Lesser-striped Swallow – that was a surprise, White-rumped Swift, Little Swift and African Palm Swift. Walking alongside the dam we saw the Black-throated Wattle-eye, lovely sightings as the bird sat still for quite a while.
In the next patch of grasslands we saw the Yellow-fronted Canaries and the Dusky Flycatcher. The next part of riverine forest we saw a lot of orchards growing on the trees but unfortunately they were not flowering.
We met up with our other group there and they had seen an African Crake at the Heron Dam. Elena was delighted as it was a lifer for her.
We eventually reached the dam but the African Crake had disappeared but we did see the White-throated Swallow, Little Rush Warbler, Spur-winged Goose and heard the Fish Eagle calling.
On the way back to the Fish Eagle dam we heard Yellow-breasted Apalis and saw a Kurrichane Thrush. We had tea at the Fish Eagle Community Centre, very civilized with table and chairs provided and whilst having tea we saw the Red-capped Robin Chat, two sparrow species, the Yellow-rumped Tinker Bird and another good sighting of the Purple-banded Sunbird.
We managed to see 78 birds altogether which is not too bad for a winters birding. The bird of the day – African Crake.
Photos courtesy of Decklan Jordaan and Dave Rimmer.
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Report Back by Elena Russell.
There were 7 of us and our bird count at tea was 44 – then Jenny spotted a Southern Tchagra on leaving the reserve and Ros spotted a juvenile Fiscal Flycatcher and Crowned Eagle which brought our count up to 47.
Large areas of the reserve have been burnt, I thought the veld was only burnt before the Spring rains but I’m no fundi on grassland management so maybe this is a new strategy?
We had great views of a Long-crested Eagle and eventually found the White-browed Scrub- Robin; lots of Bronze Mannikins; Sombre Greenbuls; Dark-capped Bulbuls; a few Cape White-eyes; Thick-billed, Village, and Spectacled Weavers as well as Dusky Flycatchers.
The best bird-party we had was in fact in a burnt area but up adjacent to some gardens. Here we had Yellow-throated Longclaw; Southern Boubou; Brown-hooded Kingfisher; Rufous-naped Lark; Yellow-fronted Canaries; White-eared Barbets; Southern Black Tit; Fork-tailed Drongos; Black Flycatchers. And heard: Crested Barbets; Golden-tailed Woodpeckers; Black-headed Orioles; Yellow-rumped Tinkerbirds.
As we were having tea we picked up Terrestrial Brownbul and Red-capped Robin-Chat. The three butterfly pictures are :– Blue Pansy, African Common White and Mocker Swallowtail. In fact the butterflies at times outdid the birding!!
Not to mention the tree “huggers” – we all had a very pleasant morning!!
Thanks to John for the photos.
Led by Cecil Fenwick
Saturday 27 June 2015
Sally and I took a stroll around Beachwood Golf Course with Cecil Fenwick. Although this is not a club outing Cecil and friends usually have a stroll around either Beachwood or Royal Durban golf courses on the last Saturday of each month.
Here are some of the photos of birds seen on our visit.
Paul and Sally Bartho
Led by Barry Swaddle
Sunday 28 June 2015
Eleven birders gathered at the entrance to AECI in Amanzimtoti. The plan was to bird in Vumbuka. However Barry suggested we visit Umbogavango first as his reconnaissance the previous week had revealed that Vumbuka was quiet by comparison.
Barry took us into the grassland area behind the ablutions and then around the site visiting the bird hides and through its many various habitats.
Altogether 77 bird species were recorded including a number of raptors – African Crowned Eagle, African Fish-Eagle, Long-crested Eagle, Lanner Falcon and Black Sparrowhawk. To view the list click here.
Here are photos of some of the birds seen.
The most interesting sighting was not that of a bird. Sally searched for why birds were going crazy in a distant tree when she spotted a rather large Green Mamba in the tree next to all the action.
After several hours at Umbogavango we headed for tea at the newly refurbished Lapa in Vumbuka. The Lapa has been extended and can seat many more people under shelter. There are also braai facilities available.
Several of us took a stroll around a section of Vumbuka after tea. Birds were calling but were few and far between – probably as it was already midday. However a number of butterflies were photographed and are included here to challenge your skills at IDing them.
Paul and Sally Bartho
We have a rare treat for you! On Saturday 11 July 2015, Adam Riley of Rockjumpers, Pietermaritzurg, will be presenting a half-day course on “The Planet’s Avian Diversity – the bird families of the world”. Adam is extremely well-known, both in the international and national birding world, for his skills in running the incredible explorations that Rockumpers organize worldwide, for his photographic wonders, and for his vast knowledge of birds and his ability to share this knowledge with so many people. His last course on the birds of KZN was packed out, and we expect the same for this one that he has offered to us in eThekwini. Adam has also been associated with BirdLife South Africa for a long while, and was at one time the chair of BirdLife Midlands. We are delighted to offer our members this course.
Venue : Paradise Valley Nature Reserve Conference Centre, Pinetown.
Directions : From M13 westbound, take the Stapleton Road/New Germany turn-off. (Exit 16). Keep left into Eden Road. Follow Eden Road past the Blood Bank, turn right into Oxford Road. The reserve is at the end of the road.
Time: 08h30 – registration.
09h00 – workshop begins
13h00 – workshop ends
Entrance fee : R80 per BirdLife member; R100 per non-member.
Materials : Notebook and pen or pencil, bring binoculars for afterwards. A print-out will be provided.
Tea, coffee and refreshments will be available on arrival and mid-morning. If you would like to stay for lunch afterwards, do please bring your own picnic baskets.
Bookings : Lesley Frescura
083 231 3408
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