Shongweni Outing.


Report by Elena Russell

3rd November 2018

Small turnout, 13, whether this was due to the uncertainty about Shongweni or the weather, which had been pretty awful during the week!!

Access would appear to be no problem, security may still be a bit dicey as parts of the fences are down and the cattle and goats do tend to wander about.

The campers, fishermen and canoeists are all back so hopefully we are not about to lose one of the hottest birding spots in KZN.

There is an entrance fee, presently at R30 p/p and on enquiry about Big Birding Day and very early morning access, I suggested 05:00, Greg asked that we send him an SMS and he will arrange for the gate to be open but that a guide/guard (from the local community) should accompany each vehicle.  (Greg’s cell 083 290 4141).

Now to the birding!!

Maybe our count was a little low at 88 but the quality was excellent (bird list attached – click here).

We started off by the old Msinsi office and walked around the houses: plenty of Chinspot Batis, Cardinal Woodpeckers, Tawny-flanked Prinias, Cape White-eyes, Rattling Cisticolas and Violet-backed Starlings and much more.

Walking back to the road we found a Black Cuckoo, calling from the top of a tree, which I thought must be Bird of the Day.

Back at the office I suggested a short walk down the back to the playing field and jokingly remarked that I had once seen Bald Ibis there. Well guess what, there they were, a pair of Bald Ibis – 5 stars and Bird of the Day!!

Next stop the view site and the rock face hoping for the Striped Pipit but no such luck. The Trumpeter Hornbills are back at their nest site on the rock face.

White-breasted Cormorants, Egyptian Geese and Speckled Pigeons on the dam wall, then down to the bottom of the dam wall.

We dipped on the Mountain Wagtail although Mike Jackson did try to persuade us that his excellent photo of a juvenile African Pied Wagtail could/might be the Mountain Wagtail but we sorrowfully had to dissuade him of this fact!!!

Long-crested Eagle, Yellow-billed Kites, a pair of Lanner Falcons and the African Fish Eagle were heard calling.

Yellow-billed Kite – Mick Jackson

Long-crested Eagle and African Fish-Eagle – Mick Jackson

We went down to the camp site for our tea. Not much on the water as there appeared to be some sort of canoe regatta taking place but a nice spot and the Saturday Chat Show was in full session.

Thanks to Sandi for the bird list and David Swanepoel and Mike Jackson for the brilliant photos.

Cheers

Elena

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