There are not many perfect birding days. Sunday at SAPPI Stanger was one of those days that will be remembered by a small group(7) as an absolute cracker.
We started at the hide with African Rail, numerous Squacco Heron with a count of nearly 60 and then moved to the picnic area where we walked to the chemical plant.
This proved to be fantastic with Dark-capped Yellow Warbler, Black-throated Wattle-eye, Little Rush-Warbler, Lesser Swamp-Warbler and Kurrichane Thrush evoking lots of lively discussion. Watching Elena, Sandi, Ismail and Mick in full bird mode was awe inspiring.
Vaughn Williams Harrington joined us as a guest for the day and will be joining BLPN shortly.
After breakfast and coffee we walked back to the hide with all three Teals, Baillons Crake, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Glossy Ibis and lots of little waders (argument birds).
Returning to the picnic area with an African Marsh Harrier being chased by Blacksmith Lapwing overhead and ended with Western Yellow Wagtail teasing us as it darted amongst the foliage. Wish we could have got photographs but it disappeared in the same area we saw the Spotted Crake a while ago
The day ended with a count of 91 birds. A fantastic birding day that left of all of us driving home with a huge grin. .
The Saturday outing to the Bluff Nature Reserve was not washed out – a steady drizzle sometimes light & sometime heavy did not deter us – were we downhearted – never! There must have been 12 of us sheltering under a large fig tree in the parking area and when I asked “should we call it off” the resounding reply was “NO”.
So off we set, a good percentage of the birding was on call but some good stuff was seen as well. A large growth of Lorantus in one of the trees was a magnet for Olive Sunbirds, in fact there was quite a nice bird party going on, Terrestrial Bownbuls calling in the undergrowth, Cape White-eyes, White-eared Barbets, Dark-capped Bulbuls, Sombre and Yellow-bellied Greenbuls, Black-bellied Starlings to name but a few.
A new path has been developed ‘bird watchers loop’ which I am sure will be most productive in good weather.
The dam continues to be overgrown with reeds and the mud flats on the one side covered in thick green grass.
From the hide the channel leading into the dam is also becoming overgrown but the bird life here was more entertaining. An African Swamphen fossicked around in the weeds, Black Crake and African Jacanas made fleeting appearances. Little Rush and Lesser Swamp Warblers as well as Rufous-winged Cisticolas called from the reeds and Bronze Mannikins kept us picking up our bins in hope of something else.
We had our tea in the hide due to the weather and we did chat rather a lot! Lucky for us we were the only people in the hide. At tea out bird count was 34. Jenny stayed on in the hide and added a few more and Sandi and Oscar went for a walk and also added a couple more so the bird count must have been in the region of 40 plus.
Sorry no pics – the weather was too inclement for photographers and no butterflies for the same reason.
On Thursday I was on the Bay Count and again we were beset with rain squalls. Hopefully we will have better weather for our outing in May otherwise I am offering my services to the Free State as a rainmaker.