St Lucia and Mkhuze – May 2015 – Part Three


Report by Paul and Sally Bartho

Umfolozi, like Isimangaliso Wetland Park, is exceptionally dry. There was some standing water in the Black Umfolozi River, however the best birding we found was at the Bhejane Hide where well water is pumped in.

From the entrance to the main river causeway took us about 45 minutes. In that time we saw no animals until we were just short of the river! A herd of Impala with the odd Zebra. Apart from Rhino there was a paucity of other animal wildlife visible throughout our visit – despite a reliable witness having seen all of the Big Five a few days earlier.

As we crossed the bridge at the lookout point immediately past it there were five White Rhino snuggled together. And quite a few were seen on the Sontuli Loop.

On the way to Sontuli we saw a Long-tailed Paradise Whydah.

Long-tailed Paradise-Whydah
Long-tailed Paradise-Whydah

Then circling above we had a few vultures – White-backed and White-headed.

Red-billed Oxpeckers were seen on the backs of Rhinos.

At the Bhejane Hide we had our best birding although nothing unusual turned up.

Bhejane visitors
Bhejane visitors

Some other species photographed were:

And finally at Mpafa Hide the male Mocking Cliff Chat made an appearance.

Mocking Cliff Chat
Mocking Cliff Chat

This was our most disappointing visit to Umfolozi. Despite that we did identify some specials: Gorgeous Bushshrike, Black-crowned Tchagra, Golden-breasted Bunting, Fiscal Flycatcher, Red-billed Oxpecker, Long-tailed Paradise Whydah, Yellow-bellied Eremomela, Acacia Pied Barbet, Wattled Starling, White-crested Helmetshrike.

Next we headed for four nights in Mkhuze. See Part Four of this series.



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