BMCG’s Big Biodiversity Bash at Palmiet NR

Saturday 11 October 2014.

Palmiet NR Map
Palmiet NR Map

A group of eleven BMCG members gathered in the car park at 07h30 with the intention of walking the reserve and recording (including photographically) everything of a biodiversity nature. But first we read the rules – of interest was rule 9.

Forest birding is mostly done by identifying the calls and when lucky a bird will present itself. Today right at the start of the trail we were treated to excellent sightings of a Red-chested Cuckoo – flitting back and forth in the trees around the gazebo.

The trail followed the river upstream to start with – with sightings of several pairs of Mountain Wagtails, caterpillars, butterflies and damselflies and plants of interest.

Mountain Wagtail
Mountain Wagtail

At one point we came across a Village Weaver building its nest at the very top of the tallest tree in the area. We trust he doesn’t know something we don’t about the future water level!!

Village Weaver's Nest right at the very top of the tree - heavy flooding expected!!
Village Weaver’s Nest right at the very top of the tallest tree – heavy flooding expected!!

The trail went further up stream through the forest to a small burnt grassland area – sometimes crossing the river.

Wild roses and Yellow Weavers amongst others were seen.

On a number of occasions we noticed water mongoose spoor as well as its scat – bits of crab shell mostly.

Water Mongoose spoor
Water Mongoose spoor

Several butterflies and damselflies.

And to cap it all a sighting of 3 of the newest residents – Bushbuck – re-introduced this year. One male showing a red tag on its left ear.

Bushbuck with red tag - left ear.
Bushbuck with red tag – left ear.

After tea and a tally of what we had observed most of the party left. Four of us decided to investigate further downstream – picking up a number of other species which we had not recorded earlier, ending up with a total of 55 bird species for the morning, but very few butterflies, dragonflies or damselflies.

Steve Davis will prepare the spreadsheet of the sightings to start the records for the reserve. The object is for the reserve champions to maintain this list and to submit it for inclusion on this website as and when it is updated.

It is BMCG’s intention to get as many Champions of reserves and green areas in the eThekwini boundary to start preparing lists of all the biodiversity in each area. If you live close to a reserve or green area in eThekwini then please volunteer to keep these records – it really is something that needs to be done if we are to preserve our habitats and provide for our birds. It is not an onerous task.

The next BMCG biodiversity Big Bash is intended next month (second Saturday in December) at Kenneth Stainbank NR. Come and enjoy the outing. In the process you will be doing your bit to help with nature conservation. Details to follow.


One Comment Add yours

  1. The flood level story is presumably mentioned in jest, but is incorrect. Weavers cannot predict future flood levels and I have many examples of weaver nests (with eggs and chicks) being washed away. One example is online at where the river level reached the lowest nest in the colony.
    Otherwise well done on a really great biodiversity bash!

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