Report by Jane and Mike Roseblade
Sunday 21st May dawned calm and clear, typical balmy May weather, as 9 of us gathered at the Westville Civic Centre in the hopes of nailing all three Mannikins – Bronze, Red-backed and Magpie in one day.
We set off across Woodside Park and with the morning sun on the fruiting trees the birds were active and we had superb viewing of Olive and Grey Sunbirds. Then a juvenile Olive Bushshrike crept through the tangled vegetation and a Brimstone Canary sat atop the exotic pine watching us pass by.
An African Goshawk darted out of the canopy and across the road affording most of the party a view of his rump as he disappeared. We spent some time in the park but only one Bronze Mannikin was spotted.
We crossed Link Road and headed into the forest area and on to the grassland where the mannikins are normally found. Here we were entertained by a number of Bronze, one Red-backed seen only by myself and no Magpie!!
This is not to say that there were no birds to be seen as we had good views of Streaky-headed Seedeater, Purple-crested Turaco and a late Violet-backed Starling amongst the usual species.
We had our morning tea before heading down to the scout bowl, also known as the “Dog Park” and here David (for whom this was a lifer) ticked the Magpie Mannikin, only one and no one else saw the bird!
An interesting bird here is the Common Moorhen, the park is frequented by numerous dogs and they are often encouraged by their owners to hunt in the area around the ponds. We were amazed that a relatively shy species like a Common Moorhen would take up residence here but they have been present now for well over a month.
Jenny joined us here so now our party was a round ten and we now headed for Jubilee Park in an attempt to find a more obliging Magpie and Red-backed Mannikin that would stay around to be viewed.
Jubilee did not disappoint on the Magpie Mannikin and good views were afforded the whole party.
The Red-backed Mannikin remained elusive and for this we had to go back to our home where the Red-backed obligingly came in to the feeder as we sat enjoying a lunch time braai.
With mission achieved and a total bird count of 67 species (not bad for the middle of Westville in Autumn), everyone could relax and enjoy the afternoon.
Jane and Mike Roseblade
There was no photographer on our outing so the photo of Magpie Mannikin was taken from my kitchen window!!