Report by Elena Russell
I left home in heavy drizzle which lifted a little near Queensburgh but by the time I hit the Bluff it was heavy drizzle again. The dog’s chances of a walk in heavy drizzle were starting to look good but it was not to be!
Firstly let me say that the mood was very sombre as we gathered in the parking area, we had just lost a good friend and stalwart of BLPN in Roy Cowgill. Roy will be sorely missed and deepest sympathy for Steve was expressed by us all.
Eight BLPN members had pitched up, rain or shine 2017 needed to be kicked off with some birding.
The Bluff Nature Reserve was in fact a good choice as there is an excellent hide and most of us stayed in the hide but a few hardy souls did take a walk in the rain and picked up some good coastal forest birds: African Paradise Flycatcher, Black-throated Wattle-eye, Southern Boubou, Red-capped Robin-Chats, White-eared and Black-collared Barbets, Olive Sunbird, Cape White-eye, Yellow-bellied and Sombre Greenbuls plus some more but no list was kept.
Sitting in the hide was a pleasure, plus the group was small enough for all of us to take part in a Saturday Chat Show!
The channel in front of the hide does appear to have been cleared so there is a good view down to the ‘pond’. Not much on the pond but the channel was very productive. The highlight was a pair of Lesser Swamp Warblers building a nest not more than a metre away from the hide. Lots of Red Bishops, masses of Thick-billed Weavers – one pair was feeding chicks in a nest very close by.
A Moorhen was most attentive of her last surviving juvenile – attrition of her chicks must have been brutal. Black Crakes were a little luckier as there appeared to be two juveniles.
A pair of African Jacanas were also present and they also had two chicks left. Bronze Mannikins came and went.
Spectacled and Yellow Weavers, Rufous-winged Cisticola, Little Rush Warblers, an African Fish Eagle which sat in the trees across the pond, an African Darter swam by – maybe not much more but it kept us entertained for most of the morning.
Photos care of Adam Cruickshank.
Cheers, Best Wishes and good birding in 2017.