Darvill Report

Darvill Sewerage Works, Pietermaritzburg

Sunday 28 February 2016

Paul and Sally Bartho

Twelve of us ventured to Darvill for the Sunday outing. It was an overcast day on arrival and brightened later.

Darvill was very overgrown but still worth a visit. Many of the waterbirds were absent. Despite that we still  identified 92 species. Click here to see our bird list.

On arrival we were greeted with a lot of activity on the open grass above the ponds. White Storks were everywhere along with Blacksmith Lapwings, African Sacred Ibis and Hadedah Ibis.

Pied Crows chased Steppe Buzzards and Yellow-billed Kites.

Pied Crow chasing a Steppe Buzzard
Pied Crow chasing a Steppe Buzzard

We started our walk along the top of the ponds then went down to the river. It was difficult to see into the ponds and impossible to walk between them – too overgrown. Along the way we had views of Dark-capped Yellow Warbler, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Southern Red Bishop, Common Waxbill and both Diderick’s and Klaas’s Cuckoos were calling.


At one section we had views over one of the middle ponds. Here we heard African Rail and had views of Cormorants, Yellow-billed, African Black and White-faced Ducks, Yellow-billed Egrets, Little Grebes, Three-banded Plover, Red-billed Teal and several other common waterbirds.

Red-billed Teal
Red-billed Teal

The highlight though was hearing and seeing a (European) Sedge Warbler in the reeds in front of us.

During the course of the morning we saw or heard a number of Warblers – Sedge, Willow, Little Rush-, Lesser Swamp- and an African Reed Warbler.

Paul - Hennie and Decklan Jordaan
Paul – Hennie and Decklan Jordaan

Eventually we reached the river. As we approached we had excellent views of Red-backed Shrikes – male and female along with more Fan-tailed widowbirds.

Looking up the canals we had views of a number of African Black Ducks in each canal – which we considered to be quite unusual.

Also in the canals we saw Common and Wood Sandpipers and Brown-throated Martins. Hennie patiently managed to get a reasonable shot of one of the Martins.

Further down in the river there were White-breasted Cormorant and a Grey Heron basking in the river. Alongside was a Brown-hooded Kingfisher and the calls of Terrestrial Brownbuls.

Then walking back along the road by the canals we had further excitement. Among the Red-billed Teals and other waterbirds, Decklan spotted a bird which he found difficult to identify.

Because of its unusual markings it is probably a hybrid Mallard.

Further along we noticed a rather long Spectacled Weaver’s nest and also saw a Lesser Masked-Weaver, Willow Warblers, Cape Grassbird (singing) Barn Swallows perched, White-faced Ducks.

Butterflies were spotted but perhaps the one which got Sandi excited was a Painted Lady.

Seen while doing a bit of car birdwatching.

Car Birding - Hennie and Decklan Jordaan
Car Birding – Hennie and Decklan Jordaan

Although the Grey Crowned Cranes were not present in the open grassland when we arrived, one did appear on our return from our walk. Always lovely to see.

Grey-crowned Crane
Grey-crowned Crane

Passing the rubbish tip next to the sewerage works a different Stork was spotted flying over by Hennie and Decklan. Into the rubbish tip we drove and there on top of one of the distant electricity pylons was a Marabou Stork.

Maribou Stork
Maribou Stork

Credits are shown on each photo unless taken by Paul Bartho.

Hope you enjoyed the read.

Paul and Sally Bartho


Leave a Reply