Outing to Springside Nature Reserve
Saturday 1st December, 2018
Report by Terry Walls
The Springside Nature Reserve, proclaimed in 1948, is situated in Hillcrest, KwaZulu-Natal. It conserves 21 ha of forest, grassland and wetland, and is managed by the eThekwini municipality and Hillcrest Conservancy. It was developed jointly by the Wildlife Society and the Hillcrest town board. (Wikipedia)
In Springside Nature Reserve you will find KwaZulu-Natal Sanstone Sourveld – classified as an endangered vegetation type. The Springside Nature Reserve has one of the last remaining relatively unspoilt areas of Sourveld Grassland in Hillcrest. Here you will also find 246 wild flower species, 173 bird species, 75 tree species, 11 mammal species and 10 reptile species.(show me.co.za)
Following a weather report of overcast sky and gusty winds, we were pleasantly surprised with a mildly overcast sky, and a slight breeze.
Fuftails, both Red-chested and Buff-spotted, calling from the reedbed opposite the car park, were first to greet us, along with the familiar call of a Black-headed Oriole.
We split into two groups of roughly ten people, one led by David Swanepoel and the other by Elena Russel
In Davids group. We were looking out for the Broad-tailed Warbler, which we heard in the grassland.
The fist interesting bird seen was a Dark-capped Yellow Warbler which briefly moved out of the cover of the riverine thicket to show itself.
Next was a fleeting view of a Lesser Honeyguide.
Sandi spotted a Long-crested Eagle high in a dead Gum tree. It flew directly over us, and we were able to identify it as a male.
Other interesting sightings were: Greater Double-collared Sunbird, Southern Red Bishop, Lazy Cisticola.
Highlight from Elena’s group was a bird party feasting on caterpillars. The party included Grey-headed Bush-shrike, Dark-backed Weaver and many others.
Most of us had a good view of the Pale Morph Booted Eagle.
As a finale, an African Crowned Eagle did a fly by with its unfortunate juvenile Hadeda Ibis prey.
Some other birds and nature seen:
Leslie Frescura presented Elena with a gift in recognition and thanks for the outings she has taken over many years and all the work she has put into them.
We ended the day with our customary toasted sandwiches prepared by John and Marion, Peter and Frankie with the ingredients generously donated by Elena. A special thank you to all involved.
Elena was grateful to all for contributions toward the Springside Nature Reserve. We managed to raise R 430.50 which George has informed us will go toward removing the ever present invasive plants.
A total of 74 birds were seen or heard. Click here to see the list.