Saturday 5 February 2016
We had an excellent turnout and split up into 3 groups – many thanks to Rex Aspeling and Sandi du Preez for leading two of the groups. It was a lovely day and the birding not too shabby – our total count at tea was 68 and then Mike Jackson phoned to say I had forgotten to tick the Yellow-throated Woodland Warbler – so 69 it is!
White-eared Barbets and Black-bellied Starlings are nesting in the Schotia (?) anyway it is the big tree in the grassy area before walking up the hill and it was here that Scaly-throated and Lesser Honeyguides were seen – presumably waiting for an opportunity to gain access to one of the nesting holes.
Along the various paths and road we had Black-headed Orioles, Speckled Mousebirds, fabulous views of a Southern Boubou on the road verge, Cape Batis, Bar-throated Apalis, Crested and Black-collared Barbets, Southern Black Tits, Red-capped Robin-Chats, White-browed Scrub-Robins, Grey, Olive, Collared and White-bellied Sunbirds, Diderick and Klaas’s Cuckoos.
Flying overhead Yellow-billed Kites, Woolly-necked Storks, Cattle Egrets, Egyptian Geese, Black-headed Herons, a Black Sparrowhawk, Sacred and Hadeda Ibis and would you believe an Osprey – most of them on their way down to the Umgeni and estuary. We also heard a Fish Eagle!
Lesser-striped, White-throated and Barn Swallows, Palm, Little and White-rumped Swifts and a pair of Black Saw-wings.
Yellow-rumped Tinkerbirds called, Purple Crested Turacos were abundant. Weavers: Village, Thick-billed, Spectacled and the Dark-backed was heard calling and we found its beautifully constructed nest deep in the bush.
At the picnic site we picked up Green Woodhoopoe, Familiar Chat, Red-throated Wryneck and believe it or not a Chinspot Batis (seen by many of us).
We identified one of Crystelle’s photos as a Tawny-flanked Prinia – the contention being that it had an orange bill. Sasol says non-breeding birds have brown bills and Roberts says young birds have yellowish bills – we therefore concluded it had to be a Prinia. Nice photo.
Before I close, the ants were horrendous and their bites atrocious but we still made sure we all saw the bird of the day – a family of Ashy Flycatchers (at least 5) – super views and lovely photos.
Thanks to Crystelle Wilson, Mike Jackson, Hennie and Decklan Jordaan for the super photos.