Short report on Saturday’s outing to Shongweni.
We had lovely weather, a bit cool to start but soon warmed up nicely.
A good turnout, there were some faces that we have not seen on a Saturday outing for a very long time!
Our bird count at tea was 78 and then Sandi phoned to say that they had picked up African Fish Eagle – 79 – not too shabby for a winter’s morning birding at Shongweni.
On the walk past the office and on past the soccer field and round by the road, we had Rufous-naped Lark, Neddicky, Little Bee-eater, Orange-breasted Bushshrike, Chinspot Batis, Common Fiscal, Yellow-fronted and Brimstone Canaries, Rattling Cisticola, Grey Cuckooshrike (so it must be winter) Red-eyed, Emerald Spotted and Tambourine Doves, Yellow-throated Longclaw, Dark-capped Yellow Warbler. Masses of African Black Swifts, Black Sparowhawk, Lanner Falcon, White-necked Raven plus lots more.
What did fly past us here was a Cape Crow which I am sure I have not seen at Shongweni before?
We carried on down the road and up a dirt track and picked up the Cape Batis, Bar-throated Apalis, Crested and Black-collared Barbets, Black-headed Oriole, Black-backed Puffback, Red-capped Robin-Chat, White-browed Scrub-Robin, Black-bellied, Glossy and Red-winged Starlings, Village, Thick-billed and Spectacled Weavers.
Our sunbird count was very poor, only Amethyst and Collared.
Then down to the view site over-looking the dam. We were all amazed at how low the dam was but nothing much on the mud banks. A few Egyptian Geese, Yellow-billed Ducks, a pair of African Black Ducks flew by. On the dam wall were Reed and White-breasted Cormorants, Speckled Pigeon and not much more except apart from the Mocking Cliff-Chat.
So down to the bottom and we walked up to the dam wall and here we found a sluice gate open and water gushing out. The Saturday Chat Show went into overdrive. “what could be happening”. Stewart who belongs to the Canoe Club was most concerned – very soon there would be no water to paddle on!!
Dave Rimmer came to our rescue and phoned the Chief Engineer (?) at Umgeni Water. There had been a spill of some contaminant, we were not told whether it was up or down stream but that it had to be flushed out. The little stream where we usually get Mountain Wagtails was a raging torrent so not much doing there.
We walked on down to the Giant Steps. Trumpeter Hornbills, Terrestrial Brownbul, Sombre Greenbuls, Giant Kingfisher, later on Brown-hooded and Pied Kingfishers. Yellow-rumped Tinker-birds called, Purple Crested Turaco, etc, etc.
From there we headed to the picnic site for tea. There were Cardinal and Golden-tailed Woodpeckers, Fork-tailed Drongos and Black Flycatchers in the trees which kept us amused.
Finally home to walk the dog!
Thanks to Dave Rimmer for the great photos.