Report by Elena Russell
We had a very good turnout for Saturday’s outing to Pigeon Valley – always with the expectation of sightings of the Spotted Ground Thrush and we were not disappointed.
We had also heard about the exposed beehive due to a dead tree having fallen down and the hive was partly exposed in the stump of the tree. The honeyguides, Lesser and Scaly-throated, were seen going in and out in their quest for bee larvae. (Quite near the entrance by the notice board).
A lot was done on call but then we would have a bird party to cheer us up. The Black Sparrowhawk was first heard and then seen as well as African Goshawk & Lanner Falcon.
At tea time our count was 52 and then a juvenile African Goshawk was spotted in a nearby tree, which had us all out of our seats.
Thanks to Crispin Hemson who joined us and led one of groups. He also had keys for the security gate and after tea we were able to gain access to the grassland/reservoir area.
The birding was quite good here, Fiscal Flycatchers, White-eared Barbets, Purple-banded Sunbird. Crispin was hoping we might flush a Common Quail but rather to our surprise we flushed a Burchell’s Coucal from the long grass.
Walking back to the main entrance and birding alongside the fence there were a number of birds but what got us all very excited was a partially leucistic Yellow-fronted Canary.
A few of us returned to Pigeon Valley to check out the beehive again – whilst waiting around there was a sudden loud commotion in the trees alongside the path and there was the juvenile African Goshawk again – not at all perturbed at the fuss he was causing.
It is always the smallest birds who seem to be most vociferous in their attack, Cape White-eyes, Collared Sunbirds, African Paradise-Flycatchers etc whilst the Sombre Greenbuls, Terrestrial Brownbuls and Dark-capped Bulbuls make an awful lot of noise from a safe distance!!
There are a couple of very interesting photos (John’s and Peter’s) of a flower mantis – at least I think that is what it is called – taken in the reservoir area.
By the end of the morning our count must have been in the region of 60++ – not too shabby for a winter’s birding in the middle of Durban.
Thanks to John Bremner, Dave Rimmer, Peter Farrington, Sally Bartho and PB for the photos.