Gramarye Farm, Boston
The 3rd Sunday outing for November took place in the Midlands, kindly hosted by Crystelle Wilson at her charming country home on the Dargle road just outside Boston.
A group of 15 keen birders assembled at 8am with a welcoming mug of coffee with rusks for those that made the journey on the morning. Others had made it a birding weekend and overnighted in the area. Gum boots of all sorts, shapes and colours were kindly on offer for those without, and off we set for a gentle walk to the river with paths running through the wetland and along the Elands River.
A good number of birds were seen and heard including warblers (Little-rush, African Reed, and Dark-Capped Yellow Warbler), cisticolas (Levaillants), widows (Red-collared and Fan-tailed), weavers (Spectacled and Village), water birds (Yellow-billed Duck, Spur-winged Geese) and a few raptors (Steppe Buzzard, Black Sparrowhawk). Unfortunately the cranes were not on offer which will mean a return trip next year, but also seen were Cape Grassbird, Drakensberg Prinia, Southern Red Bishop, Common Waxbill and Giant Kingfisher.
Once out of the wetlands and back at the house, a few birds seen in the gardens surrounding the house included Cape Wagtail, Cape Canary, Amethyst Sunbird and a lovely pair of African Hoopoe.
Gum boots were soon discarded as next up on the agenda was a short drive to a farm further north for a spot of indigenous forest birding. Here we were treated to wonderful views of rolling farmlands, small dams and quaint cottages – the latter perfect for a week end away of quiet birding and fly-fishing away from the bustle of city life. A leisurely stroll through the indigenous forest yielded cracking views of Bush Blackcap, Bar-throated Apalis and Yellow-Throated Woodland-Warbler. A few other birds seen included Olive Thrush, Blue-Mantled Crested Flycatcher, African Paradise Flycatcher, Forest Canary and Jackal Buzzard. Not to be outdone by the birds, a pair of Common Duiker also put in a brief appearance.
Once done with the forest walk, we proceeded down to a second fishing cottage overlooking a small dam – picnic time and time to discuss events of the day. En route a few picked up Plain-backed Pipit, Yellow Bishop and Cape Robin-Chat. The final tally for the week end was approximately 70 species seen, to be confirmed by Crystelle once her atlas card has been submitted to the SABAP2 database.
Some photos taken during the outing.
Yours in birding,