Why is this not a Common Whitethroat?


Help required to identify the bird in the following picture taken in Cumberland Private Nature Reserve (near Pietermaritzburg) this past weekend. We thought it was a flycatcher but the rufous wings puzzle us. Very like a Common Whitethroat?

Mystery Bird
Mystery Bird


Paul & Sally Bartho




A Springfield Thank You.

Dear Elena,

I`m writing on behalf of the Hillcrest Conservancy to thank you and your members for the very generous donation of R300 given to the Conservancy following the birding morning you held in January in Springside Nature Reserve.

I understand that it was a very enjoyable and worthwhile morning with a high number of birds identified and beautiful flowers to look at. The committee is pleased that you had such a good time in the reserve, and I acknowledge and thank you for the cash deposit of R300, made into the Conservancy bank account on 7th January 2014,

Please could you thank all the members of BirdLife Port Natal who contributed to this donation, for which we are very grateful, and assure them that the money will be used to help with the ongoing project we have of removing the invasive alien vegetation found in the reserve and on its borders.

With many thanks,

Yours sincerely,

Sue Schonefeld

Treasurer: Hillcrest Conservancy

Some Positive News

Constructed Wetlands Save Frogs, Birds Threatened With Extinction

Science Daily Jan. 21, 2014 — Over the last few decades, several thousands of wetlands have been constructed in Sweden in agricultural landscapes. The primary reason is that the wetlands prevent a surfeit of nutrients from reaching our oceans and lakes. A study from Halmstad University shows, in addition, that wetlands have contributed to saving several frog and bird species from the “Red List” — a list that shows which species are at risk of dying out in Sweden. In the latest update, five of the nine red-listed bird species that breed in wetlands-including the little grebe and the little ringed plover-could be taken off the list. Yet another bird species was moved to a lower threat category. As regards batrachians, four species-among them the European tree frog-have been taken off the list, and two species have been moved to a lower threat category.

Great effect on biological diversity

“An important objective in constructing wetlands is reducing eutrophication — over-fertilization. It’s surprisingly positive that they’ve also had such a great direct effect on biological diversity,” says Stefan Weisner, Professor of Biology specialising in environmental science at Halmstad University. During the 19th and 20th centuries, the amount of wetlands in Sweden decreased drastically: almost all original wetlands in agricultural areas have disappeared through drainage and land reclamation. This has affected many of the plants and animals that depend on these types of environments.

An inexpensive way to reduce eutrophication

Over the last 15 years, nearly 3,000 wetland areas have been constructed in agricultural landscapes around Sweden. Farmers have the possibility of receiving economic support for this from sources such as the Swedish Board of Agriculture. The primary reason is because wetlands catch the surfeit of nutrients from agriculture such as nitrogen and phosphorus-substances that would otherwise have leaked out into the seas and lakes and contributed to eutrophication. The study shows that creation of wetlands is a cost-effective to catch the nutrients.

“It’s a very effective way of purifying the water. It’s less expensive than constructing treatment plants, and in addition it contributes to biological diversity,” Prof Weisner says.

Mount Edgecombe Birding

Hi Everyone,

Compliments of the Season to you all.

I know it has been a while since I last sent out photos but this past week has been very good on the estate for Birding. The 2nd Dam on Course Two has had some great sighting but last week was very good. Red-billed Teal, Cape Teal, Hottentots Teal, Cape Shoveller, African Swamphen, Black Crake, Pink-backed Pelican, Little Bittern, Purple Heron, Black- headed Heron, Little Grebe, White-breasted Cormorant, Reed Cormorant, Pied Kingfisher, Giant Kingfisher, Three-banded Plover, Cattle Egret, Moorhens, Squacco Heron, Yellow-billed Duck, White-faced Duck, the list goes on and on. Great place to visit on any day.

The highlight last week was on the 8th dam on Course Two. I managed to photograph a Little Bittern fishing at the water’s edge, it was not too concerned about me which allowed me to get the attached photos. Late Saturday afternoon we went back to the 8th dam and were surprised to see a Western Osprey creating havoc on the dam. Every bird in the area was chasing it away from the dam and by the time I could get the camera up and firing it was on the move. It later came back but was a little too high for a good pic.

Mt Edgecombe Golf Estate is still a great place for birding, it never disappoints.



Wayne Sykes