Durban Botanical Gardens

Outing to Durban Botanical Gardens

17 August 2016

The weather started off rather gloomily but soon cleared up and the 12 birders were treated to some good birding.

On arrival we had a melanistic Black Sparrowhawk and then later we saw an “ordinary” one.

The lawns around the lake were swarming with masses of honking and hissing Egyptian geese and the Palm Swifts filled the air as usual.

The juvenile Palmnut Vulture that was reported the previous week was not around, but instead we saw an Egyptian Goose posing on top of a Raffia palm trying to fool us into believing that it was the Vulture!

3  Egyptian Goose trying to look like a Palmnut Vulture on a Raffia Palm
3 Egyptian Goose trying to look like a Palmnut Vulture on a Raffia Palm

A stunning Purple Heron, presumably in his breeding dress, had us all ooh-ing and aah-ing.

Purple Heron all dressed up to impress
Purple Heron all dressed up to impress

We were surprised to find a Common Moorhen nesting in one of the boats on the lake.

Most of the nests in the Casuarina tree contained Grey Herons and some chicks. Southern Black Flycatchers were very active everywhere and they were completely unperturbed by our presence.

We also observed Dusky and Paradise Flycatchers. Lots of  Kurrichane Thrushes were doing what they do best – tossing up the dry leaves. A pair of bright yellow Brimstone Canaries were struggling to eat some large berries – they appeared to be feeding each other.

Off to the Tea Garden for refreshments, and we had many opportunists trying to grab a tasty morsel – Spectacled and Village Weavers, Dark-capped Bulbuls, Kurrichane Thrushes, House Sparrows, Red-capped Robin-Chats (one even came and perched on a coffee-pot!) Then the monkeys arrived and entertained us, but before long they were causing havoc, harassing the staff and trying to get into the kitchen!

Some other species seen or heard – Amethyst Sunbird, Cape and Pied Wagtail, Cardinal and Golden-tailed Woodpecker, Crested Barbet, Southern Red Bishop, Fork-tailed Drongo, Cattle Egret, Brown-hooded Kingfisher, Black-headed Oriole, Black-backed Puffback, Woolly-necked Stork, Lesser Striped Swallow, Streaky-headed Seed-eater.

On leaving, an African Spoonbill arrived at the lake and a Yellow-billed Kite and a Pink-backed Pelican flew overhead.

Altogether we recorded 52 species. However, someone who was not with our group told us that they had seen a Spotted Ground-thrush near the top path.

Sandi du Preez

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