Report by Terry Walls
2 June 2018
The morning greeted us with misty rain, which thankfully cleared up shortly before we arrived for the outing.
Features of the reserve include:
A natural heritage site which has original coastal climax forest in which many of the forest giant, particularly the Natal Elm survive. Oxyanthus pyriformis, Natal Loquat, and Celtis mildbraedii, Natal White Stinkwood,occur almost exclusively in Pigeon Valley.
This is a good birding spot for rare and elusive forest birds e.g.: Spotted Groun-Thrush, Narina Trogon, Green Twinspot and the Buff-spotted Flufftail. The Natal Elm trail around the reserve, up one side of the valley and down the other, is approximately 400m.
The target species for some of us included the rare and endangered Spotted Ground-Thrush and the elusive Green twinspot.
We split into two groups to explore the reserve so not all species were experienced by all. Birding was quiet at first but improved as the day progressed, fruiting trees produced a number of richly diverse bird parties. The Pigeon Wood tree near the grassland was particularly productive.
Special treats were: Spotted Ground-Thrush well “spotted” by Kim Bartholomew in it’s favourite territory near the notice board;
Grey Waxbill with their delightful red rumps
and Black Sparrowhawk calling. Yellow-breasted Apails, and Purple-banded Sunbird were also enjoyed. The Twinspots remaind elusive.
Some of the other birds photographed:
On our Walk we came across Richard Boon who pointed out the new Black Sparrowhawk nest which the birds are currently building. They will hopefully start breeding soon. We also came across Crispin Hemson who deserves a mention for his work along with “Friends of Pigeon Valley” in championing this little gem of a reserve. Visit:(https://www.facebook.com/FriendsOfPigeonValley/) to see the work they are doing.
To view the list of birds seen click here.
A cisticola was also seen in the grassland, but could not be positively identified.
Helmeted Guineafowl, was heard calling….could be an intoduced domestic species in the neighbourhood?