A brief visit to Tala Private Game Reserve

Report by Paul and Sally Bartho

4th January 2016

Tala Game Reserve is located in Eston between Durban and Pietermaritzburg.

Directions: Follow the N3 from Durban and exit at Camperdown – exit 57. Turn left at the end of the off-ramp and continue to the T-junction. Turn left and continue for about 20 kms to the entrance of the reserve on the left.

There is an entrance fee of R80 per vehicle and R70 per person. However I have negotiated with the General Manager – Mike – for BirdLife Port Natal members to enter at a cost of R80 per vehicle. The driver must produce their BLPN Membership card. Any passenger who is not a BLPN member will pay R70. Note: no cash will be taken – only cards.

Recently seen on the Reserve: a pair of Blue Cranes and juvenile. Both of the other Cranes – Grey Crowned and Wattled – have also been seen there recently.

Our visit was primarily to show my American relatives the animals in the Reserve. However we did manage to do some birding.

Even before we entered there were many Ostriches to be seen on the hillsides and round the dam.

Our first surprise occurred just after the entrance – on the left by the water’s edge. An African Openbill.

Also in close proximity were numerous Black-winged Lapwings in the shade.

At the water’s edge we observed many Egyptian Geese with several South African Shelduck and Cape Shovelers among them. There were also Red-knobbed Coots; Little Egret; Greenshank and a Wood Sandpiper.

Looking across the water to the hide there were many other waterbirds: Grey and Black-headed Herons; Cattle Egrets; African Spoonbills; Reed and White-breasted Cormorants; more South African Shelduck and lots more Egyptian Geese.

Flying overhead at the hide was an African Marsh Harrier while a family of White-throated Swallows shared unperturbed our enjoyment in the hide.

Driving around we came across a small pond with 4 White Rhinos enjoying a rest in the mud and behind them on the far bank was a solitary Southern Bald Ibis.

Southern Bald Ibis
Southern Bald Ibis

Then in the picnic site sharing a few crumbs were Village Weavers; a lone Red-billed Quelea with a yellow bill; a Southern Red Bishop and a Southern Grey-headed Sparrow.

And on the way out a lone juvenile Barn Swallow with interesting flight feather colouring.

In all we identified 55 different species. Click here to view our list.

This is an excellent place to photograph waterbirds. Good for a photographic outing.

Paul and Sally Bartho

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