Shongweni 5th November 2016

Report by Elena Russell

Shongweni never ceases to amaze.  I arrived just before 6am on a very gloomy day – the mist lay heavy in the valley and I thought nobody was going to pitch but in the end about 18 of us were birding – in fact we broke up into two groups to start with, both groups picking up some excellent birds.

A pair of Lanner Falcons swooping over the soccer pitch and coming back to land in one of the trees was taken as a good omen for the birding still to come.

Mark’s group picked up Black Cuckooshrike, Black Cuckoo and Orange-breasted Bushshrike. The Rufous-naped Lark sang from the telephone wire; lots of Dusky Flycatchers and Adam who took most of the photos found out later when checking ID’s with Jenny that the one African Dusky Flycatcher  was in fact a Brown-backed Honeybird – Ah! The joys of photography.

YBK’s everywhere but just in the hope of something different one has to check them out!!

Cape Sparrow (which I have only seen there once before) was a good tick.  A few were lucky enough to see the Striped Pipit and also at the spot looking over the dam we had the Black-crowned Night Heron and a Green-backed Heron.  The Trumpeter Hornbills must have chicks in their nest in the krantz as they were seen a number of times going backwards and forwards to ‘their hole in the wall’.

Some of the birds seen: Rock Martins, Lesser-striped and Barn Swallows, Swifts – Little, Black and Alpine (a good one), Sunbirds – Amethyst, Collared, Olive, Grey.  African Black Duck and Mountain Wagtail down by the tunnel as well as Common Sandpiper. Starlings – Black-bellied, Cape Glossy, Red-winged and Violet-backed.  Burchell’s Coucal, Mocking Cliff Chat, African Firefinch, African Harrier Hawk, Brown-hooded and Giant Kingfishers, Red-fronted Tinkerbird, Neddicky, Rattling Cisticola. Doves – Laughing, Red-eyed, Tambourine and Emerald-spotted.  Cuckoo – Klaas’s, Red-chested and Diederick.  Plus lots more.

At tea-time our count was 99 – a few birders stayed on a little later and the bird count was eventually 102 – not too shabby!!

But not to be outdone Mark ID 33 butterflies – well done!!!

It turned out to be a great morning’s birding and butterflying even though the weather was not that great.



3 Comments Add yours

  1. Mick Jackson says:

    Glad it turned out all right……I really thought the weather was just too bad to venture all the way out there only to find the outing abandoned!

    1. Mick Jackson says:

      No photos?

      1. Elena russell says:

        Adam took photos but in some ‘other format’ and we couldn’t get it to work – we needed you Mick!

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