Report by Elena Russell
Saturday 7 November 2015
We had a reasonably early start! 06:00 but there was still a good turnout of 18 members and our bird count was 73. Click here to see the list.
I had done a recce a few months back to make sure that it would suit our members as I had heard that the terrain was rather rough in places – the top area, walking along a path to the top dam (which is now almost dry) was no problem and the path down to the bottom dam again no problem but the slog up the hill from the bottom dam at 10:00 was hot, hot, hot!!
We had some really good birds to start with a pair of Yellow-throated Longclaws and then to everyone’s delight a Cape Longclaw. Next a pair of Plain-backed Pipits in the short grass of the mown pathway and we were all agreed that there had to be a nest somewhere just off the path in slightly longer grass and weeds. African Firefinch, Fan-tailed Windowbirds and lots of sunbirds; Greater Double-collared, Amethyst, Olive, Collared (down in the forest) and those who stayed up on the top path a Malachite Sunbird and Lanner Falcon.
We stopped for quite a while near the one farm house as there was a bird feeder, plenty of Village Weavers, Streaky-headed Seedeaters, Yellow-fronted Canaries etc and in the surrounding trees we had a pair of Cape Rock Thrush and Crested Barbets. We found the barbets nest quite high up in a dead branch of a gum tree. African Hoopoe, Red-winged and Black-bellied Starlings, African Firefinches, Dark-capped Bulbuls and Southern Black Flycatchers.
The Yellow-billed Kites gave us a very close and personal inspection. A Common Buzzard flew by and in the sky there were Barn, Lesser striped and Greater Striped Swallows. Swifts; Palm, White-rumped and Black and down by the dam we had Black Saw-wings.
Walking down to the bottom dam we had Paradise and Dusky Flycatchers. We identified many birds by call most of which were eventually seen – Red-chested and Diderick Cuckoos; Burchell’s Coucal; Tambourine, Red-eyed and Cape Turtle Doves; Purple-crested Turaco; Sombre Greenbul; Terrestrial Brownbul; Orange-breasted Bushshrike,; Green-backed Camaropteras; Bar-throated Apalis and lots lots more.
The bottom dam yielded three Golden Weaver’s nests with the birds very much in attendance (bit of excitement and a lifer for Wendy!). Here we had Hamerkop, Cape Wagtails; Thick-billed and Spectacled Weavers; African Fish-Eagle; Long-crested Eagle; Neddickys and Tawny-flanked Prinias on the hillside.
Other good sightings were Common Quail; Southern Tchagra; Olive Thrush; White-necked Raven and Black Sparrowhawk.
At which stage we adjourned for tea and to everyone’s amusement I had to be assisted in counting up the entrance fees!! (don’t ask it was too embarrassing).