Report by Elena Russell
Saturday 2nd September 2017
Let’s not keep the best for last, on Saturday we had two rarities!!
Firstly the Ayre’s Hawk Eagle up on the grasslands being harassed by a Yellow billed Kite – we have a lovely shot of ‘The Photographer’ aka Mike Stead taking brilliant photos of the Ayre’s, please note one has to be lying on a grassy hillside for the best results.
I will admit we called Booted Eagle as it had recently been seen at Tanglewood and then there were the ‘landing lights’. I asked the expert, David Allan, who put me right and in the new Roberts I understand ‘landing lights’ are mentioned for the Ayres.
The second rarity is a flower!!! A ground orchid, Eulophia Clavicornis, and in Joan Walker’s book on wild flowers of Natal she mentions that it is rare for Tanglewood and found in the grassland.
It was rather a chilly morning but with lots of bird song, Red-capped Robin-Chats, Olive Thrush, Dark-capped Bulbul, Sombre Greenbul, Fork-tailed and Square-tailed Drongos, masses of Black-bellied Starlings and the juvenile Crowned Eagle called incessantly to be fed.
As the morning warmed up more and more birds were seen, our total count was 73. Click here to see our list.
We took the Waterfall Trail in the hopes of seeing the Knysna Turaco and were not disappointed but it was rather a hard slog and there were rumblings of discontent from some of the troops.
On the path down we came across a pair of Blue-mantled Crested Flycatchers – a nice one for the list.
We then drove up to the Boat House for a walk over the grasslands. The Fish Eagle has taken up residence on the Boat House veranda
and sat in the trees waiting patiently for us to leave.
There are Yellow Weavers nesting on the spit by the road, Holub’s Golden Weavers and Cape Weavers were busy at their nests by the veranda and made for a very pleasant spot to have our picnic tea.
But first our walk through the grasslands. Cape Grassbird, Croaking Cisticola, Yellow-throated Longclaw, Amethyst, Olive and Greater Double-collared Sunbirds
and the Ayre’s Hawk Eagle!
The profusely flowering trees by the Boat House are Dombeya rotundifolia – very pretty.
The photo of the strange nest in a tree is (we think) a Processionary Moth?
Whilst having our picnic at the Boat House we watched a Yellow-billed Kite picking up sticks and taking them back to a big tree across from the 2nd dam.
Later on the pair were seen copulating on top of a pylon – not exactly the bridal suite at the Ritz but the pylon does come with a superb view.
We had a good outing and my thanks to Mike Stead, Penny de Vries and Sandi du Preez for the great photos.