The venue for the September Sunday outing was Umdoni Park down on the south coast. There are numerous trails to follow, and a nice new feature of the park is the clearly illustrated trail maps located at trail intersections.
It was an early morning start with great rewards for the early birders assembled at the Environmental Centre. The first treat for the morning was a very obliging Brown Scrub Robin that happily scratched around in the undergrowth just a few meters away from us.
The photogs among us were snapping away hoping for some good pics in the low light conditions when a call went out of a Narina Trogon calling from a short distance away. A beautiful male was soon located and stunning views were had by all (except a few latecomers) as he perched on a branch out in the open.
The group of seventeen avid birders then assembled on the fringe of the 17th green which is fronted by a few trees. One, a Weeping Boerbean was in full flower which attracted a number of birds including Grey, Collared and Amethyst Sunbirds, Cape White-eyes and a Red-faced Mousebird.
From there we proceeded towards the cottages, and down through the forest to Molly’s Road. En route we picked up Purple-crested and Knysna Turaco, Golden-tailed Woodpecker, Black-bellied Starling, African Paradise Flycatcher, and Square-tailed Drongo.
We continued up Molly’s Road picking up numerous forest species along the way including Dark-backed Weaver, Red-capped Robin-Chat, Green-backed Camaroptera, White-eared and Black-collared Barbets. There were also several obliging Blue Duikers and a strange moth’s nest.
We followed the Panhandle trail down to the dam and were rewarded with a very productive bird party of Grey Waxbill, Orange-breasted Bush-shrike, Black-backed Puffback, Scaly-throated Honeyguide, Yellow-bellied Greenbul and arguably the bird of the day – a Gorgeous Bushshrike. The views of the latter were somewhat fleeting and sadly seen by only a few – a great lifer for me but a photo of one will have to wait for another day.
The water level in the dam was very low and few birds were seen. Birds on the wing included the majestic African Crowned Eagle, Yellow-billed Kite (Milvus parasitus), Little Swift and African Palm-swift.
The walk back to the Environmental centre along the road on the north side was fairly unproductive, and having been out for almost 4 hours, thoughts of food and beverages were probably uppermost on all our minds – and the loos!!!.
Chairs and picnic baskets were hauled out and everyone gathered around the picnic area – all the while keeping an eye out for more birds. The Flat Crown tree above us was decked out in its new summer finery, and was the scene for more excitement.
Flitting above us were a few Olive Bushshrikes, both the buff and olive morphs.
Whilst craning our already stiff necks a whirl of feathers crashed through the tree canopy which happened to be a Little Sparrowhawk – with the buff morph Olive Bushshrike firmly gripped in its talons. It swooped off into the undergrowth and out of sight to enjoy its meal!
After most people had left, those that stayed behind were rewarded with a somewhat late-season sighting of a Spotted Ground Thrush. The final tally for the day of all species either seen or heard was fifty-seven – not too shabby. Click here to see the list.
Yours in birding,
PS Sighting of Common Whimbrels at the beach at River Valley Resort, Pennington.