Richards Bay Weekend Away

Report by Cheryl and John Bevan

21 to 23 October 2016

Six of us, Mike, Jane, Peter, Frankie, Cheryl and John, headed for Richard’s Bay, to join the Zululand Bird Club, with Richard as our leader.

Four of us were camping- Richard’s Bay campsite was amazing.

We set off on Saturday morning at 5.30am in very dismal weather conditions. There were fifteen of us in all, as 9 members had joined us from the Zululand Club.

Birders in Action
Birders in Action

We drove off in convoy and stopped at various forest spots. We were amazed at the birds we saw: the Green Malkoha, African Green Pigeon, Crowned Hornbills, Trumpeter Hornbills, White-eared Barbets, Yellow-breasted Apalis… and many more.

From there, we traveled to some wetlands where we saw the African Pygmy Goose, African Marsh Harrier… and Squacco Herons by the dozen!

Squacco Heron
Squacco Heron

We then moved on to the Casuarinas Mudflats where we first stopped for something to nibble on and then set off for the beach.

While we were walking along the beach, we saw a Palm-nut Vulture flying low overhead- very exciting! There were a lot of Caspian Terns, Common Terns, little Terns, Sandwich Terns, Swift Terns.

The most exciting part of this section of our birding were the Whimbrel! Patrick Rollinson had seen a bird here that looked very much like it could be the Steppe Whimbrel which would have flown up from Maputo. He submitted his photos to Gary Allport and Callan Cohen, who are experts on these birds, and they seem quite confident that this was in fact the Steppe Whimbrel that we saw! More study will be done to verify this. It made our day to have Patrick on hand to point out to us what we should be looking for in identifying this rare bird.

After that we headed back to the campsite for a well-deserved break and enjoyed a lovely evening around the fire.

Sunday was quite uneventful as the weather was very miserable. We went through to Nseleni Nature Reserve. We had a lovely hike but the birding was very slow. The walk through the fig forest was beautiful and well worth the effort. We stopped for a snack in the parking lot and then headed back to our campsite and then home.

In total 81 species were recorded – click here to see the list.

An amazing weekend.

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