Wednesday 14 June
Report bu Sandi du Preez
Six birders met outside the reservoir area on a a gloomy,cloudy morning. Crispin Hemson very kindly agreed to lead the outing, and as usual we really appreciated his extensive knowledge of the birds and plants in Pigeon Valley.
A Black Sparrowhawk flew in from across the road and we spotted some restless Purple-banded and Amethyst Sunbirds in a tree next to the road. I had seen them in the same tree the week before.
First we went to the reservoir. The target bird was the Fiscal Flycatcher as it is usually there in winter and Crispin had already reported seeing it. But it was nowhere to be seen. However, there were lots of very cheerful Dark-capped Bulbuls, Bronze Mannikins and an extremely vocal White-browed Scrub-Robin who just refused to show it’s hiding place in a tree!
Then we walked down to the entrance gate and did some extensive birding along many of the paths.
There was a little group of Grey Waxbills on the southern fence next to the reservoir – always a treat to see. We later also saw them near the entrance gate as we were leaving.
The spotted Ground Thrush was elusive but it was seen by 3 other birders who arrived late and did their own walk around the reserve.
On the central path we came across the feathers and remains of a Purple-crested Turaco, probably the Black Sparrowhawk’s tasty meal. Of course we all helped ourselves to some of the beautiful feathers!
The sun came out for a little while and we were able to see some Square-tailed Drongos, Bar-throated Apalis, a Dusky Flycatcher and Cape White-eyes. Southern Boubous called constantly in duet.
We took a walk on the top contour path which runs parallel to the centre track and here we got the bird of the day. While we were watching a very busy Kurrichane Thrush, eagle-eyed Tamsin spotted a small bird on the ground close by. She described it very well. I knew that a Barratt’s Warbler (an altitudinal migrant in winter) had been seen recently by Richard Boon so we checked the field guide. Yes – that is what it was!
Tamsin, it is always such a pleasure to have you on my outings!
We got together with the late-comers to compile the bird list over coffee and sandwiches and managed to get a composite list of 46 species for the morning. Click here to see the list.
As we were leaving we added a Brown-hooded kingfisher and Fork-tailed Drongo.
After we all left, John spent an hour at one of the bird baths and was rewarded with photos of an Olive Sunbird showing yellow pectoral tufts, Spotted Ground Thrush, Red-capped Robin-Chat and Thick-billed Weaver.
Thanks to John Bremner for the photos and to Crispin for leading us.
Sandi du Preez