Update from Friends of Pigeon Valley, Durban

Since I have not provided any report for a long time, let me update readers on events in Pigeon Valley, Durban, since December.

We have had a persistent pair of Booted Eagles around, and one marvellous sighting, the first on record, of a European Honey-Buzzard. Little Sparrowhawk, YBK, African Goshawk and of course Black Sparrowhawk have all been frequently encountered.

The Blue-mantled Crested-Flycatcher that arrived last year is still present – I heard it calling this morning.

A totally new species for us has been Redbilled Firefinch, and to my delight the other day I encountered the parents with two chicks.

What this points to is the success of making some minor changes to the habitat – management have trimmed bush back in one area to allow for a slightly bigger area for grasses, and Durban Water finally agreed not to mow the whole reservoir area.

We have thus had Green Twinspot, African Firefinch, Grey Waxbill, Common Waxbill, Bronze and Redbacked Mannikin as well as the Redbilled.

A very rare sighting at the end of February was a Black-throated Wattle-Eye, a bird I have seen here just once before. And, hardly uncommon, but very unusual for us, a juvenile Red-chested Cuckoo.

Crispin Hemson

Friends of Pigeon Vallley

Just after sending my report I was told of a sighting today of a Eurasian Hobby, hawking at the top end of Pigeon Valley. I have heard previously of a sighting some years back, but this is a huge surprise….Crispin Hemson

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