Sally and I went to SAPPI (the saw mill close to Stanger, KZN) on Sunday to watch the bird ringing efforts of Garth Aiston and James Rawdon. The variety of the birds which were ringed included Cape White-eyes; African Paradise-Flycatcher; Sunbirds – Scarlet-chested and Olive; Dark-capped Yellow Warbler and numerous other warblers; Black-throated Wattleye; Weavers – including Southern Masked-Weaver; Malachite, Pygmy and Brown-hooded Kingfishers to name a few.
It is impressive to watch the way the birds are delicately handled and the records that are kept. It is a chance to see the birds up close and personal and to be shown how each bird is correctly identified by Garth and James. Their knowledge is immense.
The lasting impression you get when you see the birds so close is how small they actually are compared to when you see them in their natural habitat (especially through binoculars).
Whilest there we visited the bird hide and wandered around the ponds. This is an excellent place to see a wide variety of waterbirds including some of the more difficult species – like Snipes, Crakes and Rails. Only African Snipes made an appearance for us.
The hide overlooks a stretch of land protruding into the pond and provides an ideal place to practice bird photography. To show you what I mean by variety of birds to be seen I have attached the following photos. Amongst them is a photo of a mystery warbler – have a go at IDing it. Click on the bird to enlarge it then add your comment below it.
Paul & Sally Bartho
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Thanks for this excellent report. Is there another outing planned to Sappi, that we could join? Is there far to walk to get to the hide?
Hi, We have no other currently planned for SAPPI. However you are welcome to go there. The hide is about 50 metres from where you can park your car. Our website shows our activity program and there are also Directions to sites we visit. Always remember to check security wherever you go and go in a group – just in case.
What a variety!
Thank you for sharing an exceptional day’s birding and some lovely bird pics from your day!