Tanglewood Saturday 13 December


At last we made it to Tanglewood; the weather was not too good but at least it was not raining and it did improve as the morning wore on.  There were 18/20 of us and our bird count was 69 (at tea) + we added a couple more on leaving.

Tanglewood – as you can see above – is a magical place. On arriving we drove past the dams and the temptation to stop was great but we carried on and parked under the trees near Caryl’s house.

We first went into the forest and a lot of the birding to begin with was based on call: Knysna & Purple-crested Turacos, Tambourine Doves, Red-chested & Klaas’s Cuckoos, brief glimpses of the Natal Robin, Cape Batis, Dark-backed & Spectacled Weavers (plus nests) & the Square-tailed and Fork-tailed Drongos were everywhere.

Southern Black Flycatchers - Parent and juvenile

Southern Black Flycatchers – Parent and juvenile

Also Spotted, Dusky, Black & Paradise Flycatchers; Olive, Collared & Amethyst Sunbirds; Olive Thrush, Southern Boubou.

We walked the waterfall trail but gave up after awhile as we were spotting few birds and we were anxious to go to the dams and grassland area. On the way back we had a brief glimpse of the Crowned Eagle flying overhead.

Crowned Eagle

Crowned Eagle

On leaving the more forested areas and walking down the hill towards the house we were met by a belligerent Peacock (called Charles). Do not cross the lawn in front of the house – the Peacock rules supreme and you will be chased off!!

The horses wanted to befriend us which had Tina running for cover. Anyway we made it down to the road and set off for the dams and the grassland.

There are several dams on the property.  Just before the entrance there is a dam on each side of the road. Here we observed lots of Grey Herons (including juveniles) plus one Black-headed Heron.

There were Yellow Weavers plus at least one pair of Golden Weavers nesting at the first dam. Bronze & Red-backed Mannikins – plus a very odd looking Bronzie which had white feathers on the nape of its neck.

As we walked up the hill into the grasslands the Blesbok & Impala gave us a wide berth – some could only have been born the day or two before. The birding was good – Croaking Cisticolas were calling and displaying and then we had the ‘Bird of the Day’ Broad-tailed Warbler – which was a lifer for one or two of us.

Lesser Striped & Barn Swallows, Palm, White-rumped and Little Swifts plus a few Black Saw-wings.  Good views of a Rufous-naped Lark, Fan-tailed Widows, Burchell’s Coucal by the dam, Brown-hooded Kingfishers and lovely views of Yellow-throated Longclaws. And a contentious Cuckoo on the horizon. For some a Red-chested, others a Klaas’s but wethinks otherwise – see what you think from the picture below.

On the way up and down the grassland several photos were taken of the local game to be found on the estate as well as some flora and other critters.

Even a Ball Python was seen:

Ball Python

Ball Python

There were lots of YBK’s and lots, lots more!! But it was time for tea & what a tea Caryl had prepared for us on the patio of her house with Christmas mince pies and a cake with cherries (very nice too).  We left a copy of next year’s BLPN calendar with her to enjoy.

A new bird hide is in the process of being built by the first dam and the suggestion was made that later on in the year we have an afternoon walk/birding & have a sundowner braai at the hide – watch the activities page!!

Caryl & her son Jan are excellent guardians of a most wonderful place and their hospitality and generosity in allowing us to visit Tanglewood is very much appreciated.

Photos are by courtesy of Decklan and Paul – thanks guys. We collected R335 which will be donated to BLPN thanks to us all!

Cheers

Elena

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