16 August 2017
Report by Sandi Du Preez
The weather forecast looked bad – cloudy/rainy and gale-force winds. But 9 lucky birders were blessed with a glorious sunny, wind-free morning. Waiting at the entrance for everyone to arrive, we had good sightings of Common and Red-winged Starlings, Blacksmith Lapwings and Lesser Striped Swallows.
We made our way to the butterfly garden to see what was around. This is a very special area (established at the beginning of 2016) where indigenous plants that attract butterflies, moths and other insects have been planted. We saw a Brimstone Canary, Streaky-headed Seedeater while a Hamerkop flew overhead.
A large part of the lake area has been cordoned off for maintenance work.
In the Casuarina trees there were some nests of Grey Herons and African Spoonbills with a fluffy juvenile on one spoonbill nest.
One Grey Heron was sunning itself with outstretched wings that were folded inwards. It looked as if it was wearing a ballet tutu! Unfortunately, no Pelicans today. Other birds in and around the lake area were Sacred ibis, Hadeda Ibis, Palm Swifts, Common Moorhen, Egyptian and Spur-winged Geese, Malachite Kingfisher, White-faced Duck and nesting Village Weavers. A pair of Egyptian Geese were tending their cute babies but when the Spurwings entered the water, the babies followed them in and swam around with the Spurwings!
As usual, there were Black Flycatchers and Kurrichane Thrushes everywhere, and Tawny-flanked Prinias were busy cocking their tails in several parts of the gardens. We also saw two Red-capped Robin-Chats having a little tiff. An African Paradise Flycatcher with the longest tail we had ever seen was flitting about in one of the trees. I’m sure that he must have had all the females swooning over him!
Quite a few Rose-ringed Parakeets screeched overhead for most of the morning. Everyone was also thrilled to hear a Klaas’s Cuckoo although we didn’t see it. Black-headed Orioles were also calling constantly and we were were lucky to see a sub-adult with it’s dark bill.
There were not many sunbirds around but we heard a very vocal Olive Sunbird and as we searched for it, it flew down onto a Scadoxus flower to help itself to the nectar – a really fantastic sighting.
Then just before we headed for the tea-room, we got the bird/s of the day. A spectacular sighting of a male and female Black-throated Wattle-eye together in the same tree!
The Black Sparrowhawk was on it’s favourite perch on a Norfolk Pine.
At tea-time our bird count was 58. After everyone left I went for another little walk and managed to add four more species – Crested barbet, Purple-crested Turaco, Cape Batis and Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird. So the final tally was 62 species (this is 12 more than last year’s outing in August 2016). Click here to see the outing’s bird list.
When I went back to the lake area the sprinkler had been turned on and the Egyptian and Spurwinged Geese were having a great time!
Please excuse the poor quality of the photos. My usual photographer (John Bremner) is overseas.
Sandi du Preez