Latest Cape and Bearded Vulture tracks

Dear All

Please find attached (click here) the movements of our Bearded Vultures; Jeremia, Pharaoh, Lehlwa and Mollie and our Cape Vulture N207, for the past week.

Kind regards

Sonja Krüger

http://www.projectvulture.org.za/

https://www.facebook.com/projectvulture
https://twitter.com/vultureproject

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The Cavern

Report by Sally and Paul Bartho

25 to 27 January 2019

The Cavern

As an engagement anniversary present to ourselves we went on a birding weekend at The Cavern with David and Sally Johnson.

The Cavern nestles against a forest habitat. It is located off the road to the Royal National Park, taking the first road right after passing the “Pizza Tower” and following it right to the end.

Accommodation was good with views over the grounds. Meals were sumptuous and food aplenty. The inner layout is a morass of TV rooms, lounges, dining areas, play rooms and bars scattered on three levels. Very charming.

The weather was not always in our favour, however we did manage to get in a reasonable amount of walks in and around the property and identified 88 different bird species. Click here to see our list. Note some of these birds were seen in the area but outside The Cavern property.

We left Howick on a chilly misty rainy morning expecting it to be the same on arrival. As fortune had it, we arrived in sunshine and spent an hour or so birding close to the main building. Most notably seeing several different Sunbirds feeding on the agapanthus flowers.

Lunch was a huge spread and you can be as indulgent as you like. We did try to be restrained – not easy.

After lunch we took a walk around the property on our own. The weather had changed and the clouds were becoming ominous. However we managed to get back before the rain/drizzle set in.

Later that afternoon David gave us a talk on “The Birds of the Cavern”. A very informative talk not only showing us what we might expect to see but also about their prefered habitats and behaviour.

A walk was planned for 06h30 the following morning but the rain and drizzle put a stop to that. After breakfast David gave us another exceptional talk. This time on the “Galapagos Islands”. Absolutely fascinating and had us all wanting to visit. The way the islands were formed; the effects on the islands of the two currents meeting – depending on which was dominant; the flora and fauna and how it developed. Did you know that the common Daisy flower transformed itself into a very tall tree on one of the islands!

After the talk there was a sort of respite in the rain and Sally and I took a chance to wander around the grounds set in layers down the hillside passed the pool and paddocks to the stream and ponds at the bottom.

We did come across a butterfly which was interesting because of its “glass-like” wings.

Interesting Butterfly with a pair of see through wings.
Interesting Butterfly with a pair of see through wings.

After lunch David and Sally led us on a walk beyond the entrance. Another opportunity to see what we could find of interest.

One of the highlights on this walk was the Southern Double-collared Sunbird.

Southern Double-collared Sunbird also in the Agapanthus

In the late afternoon David gave us another interesting talk – this time on the”Sex life of Birds”. Fascinating to understand the different behaviours towards mating.

The last morning we had an early morning walk round the property with David and Sally. Before we even started a Chorister Robin-Chat came into the tree above us.

Chorister Robin-Chat

At one pond we came across a Half-collared Kingfisher and three Malachite Kingfishers including a juvenile. Also present were two pairs of Little Grebes (one pair with 5 chicks) sometimes fighting for territory. A Yellow-billed Duck with her brood kept appearing and disappearing behind a fallen tree on the opposite side. And a pair of Mountain Wagtails made a brief appearance.

Further on we saw a Brown-hooded Kingfisher and at another pond a pair of Giant Kingfishers flew past. A day for Kingfishers. Then on the way back we saw a Diderick Cuckoo being fed by a female Southern Masked Weaver.

Simply sitting in the shade of one of the trees in front of the hotel, many birds appeared.

After breakfast Sally and I went for a walk – intending to go into the forest but ending up in the grasslands close to Jackal Hill. In the end a very long walk following the track upwards from just after the school on the left as you head away from the Cavern.

At the start we had good views of Cape White-eyes, Groundscraper Thrushes and a male Cape Rock-Thrush posing on an overhead wire.

On the long walk up we saw a number of species we had not seen over the weekend. There were African Firefinch, a Common Buzzard and a male and female Malachite Sunbird.

On the way down we encountered a pair of Mountain Reedbucks on the opposite slope playfully running up and down. A nice sight to see.

We also encountered Drakensberg Prinia, Wailing and Lazy Cisticolas.

At the bottom the Cape Rock-Thrush family put on a show for us. Unfortunately the juvenile only made a fleeting appearance and I was unable to take its photo. A couple of other birds were also present.

Eventually it was time to leave and despite the very overcast weather we had a most enjoyable time.

On the way out we did come across a number of additional species – some of which I was able to photograph. Most prominent were the Amur Falcons and occasional Lesser Kestrels.

The highlight, however, were three Southern Ground-Hornbills.

We are so pleased we also took the opportunity to explore a little of the area outside The Cavern.

Water or Sky?

Cheers

Paul and Sally Bartho

Notice of the 70th BirdLife Port Natal AGM: Saturday 16th February 2019

Members of BirdLife Port Natal are advised that the 70th Annual General Meeting of the club will be held at Palmiet Nature Reserve, Westville on Saturday 16th February 2019 at 14h00.

This is the club’s 70th Anniversary year making it one of the oldest bird clubs in the country so we would really ask you to support this event and club activities during this year.  Download the Agenda here.

After the AGM business our Honorary President David Allan will be giving a presentation “Coming up for 20 years of counting the waterbirds in Durban Bay. What have we learnt and what are the key threats?”.   This will be followed by a braai – the club will provide the salads, rolls and fires but please bring your own meat or mains and your own drinks.

It you will be attending please RSVP to Lesley Frescura galefra@mweb.co.za/Nicky Forbes nicolette@mer.co.za for catering purposes.

If you are unable to attend please complete a Proxy form  and send back to us.

Please also consider joining the committee.  We would welcome new faces and ideas to take the club through the next decade.  We meet each month, mainly via Skype with one or two face to face meetings per year.  If you know someone who would like to join the committee please nominate them using the Nomination form.

BLPN 70th Anniversary.png

Latest Cape and Bearded Vulture tracks

Dear All

Please find attached (click here) the movements of our Bearded Vultures; Jeremia, Pharaoh, Lehlwa and Mollie and our Cape Vulture N207, for the past week.

There will be an interview with Fundile Ndlela on Vultures on uKhozi FM Radio this afternoon (Monday 21st) at 16h30 if you are interested to listen in.

Kind regards

Sonja Krüger

http://www.projectvulture.org.za/

https://www.facebook.com/projectvulture
https://twitter.com/vultureproject

Latest Cape and Bearded Vulture tracks

Dear All

Please find attached (click here) the movements of our Bearded Vultures; Jeremia, Pharaoh, Lehlwa and Mollie and our Cape Vulture N207, for the past week.

Please also find attached (click here) some recent research finding on the impacts of lead (most likely from feeding on carcasses shot with lead bullets) on this population, for your intrest.

Kind regards

Sonja Krüger

http://www.projectvulture.org.za/

https://www.facebook.com/projectvulture
https://twitter.com/vultureproject

Umbogavango Nature Reserve Outing

Report by Adam Cruickshank

Saturday 5 January 2019

On Saturday the 5th January, once we had done the necessary security checks at the gate, 19 people had turned up for the first club outing of the year. The skies were sunny with not much wind to speak of, which promised a good mornings birding.

We decided to split into two groups, with Elena Russell leading the one group and Tyron Dall leading the other group.

As an Amanzimtoti local it is always exciting when the club outing is at Umbogavango Nature Reserve. A time when we get to show off this great little birding location. This small reserve bordering Southgate Industrial park may have lost a little of its former glory, with bird numbers seeming to be lower since Galleria Mall has been built, but still makes for a good mornings birding.

Highlights from the day were a Diderick Cuckoo feeding its partner high on top of a dry tree which kept the group captivated for a time.

Diderick Cuckoos – Mick Jackson

As always in Umbogavango, the Thick-billed Weavers displayed up close in the reeds, showing off their impeccably crafted nests.

In terms of raptors, a Black Sparrowhawk did a fly over briefly and was seen by a few in the group. Yellow Billed Kites and Long Crested Eagles displayed proudly on the tops of trees. Grey Waxbills showed nicely on the morning which are always great birds to get to see. The often heard but not as often seen Dark-backed Weavers showed themselves clearly in the openings at the top of the forest thickets, singing proudly filling the forests with their songs.

Umbogavango is a great reserve for woodpeckers and both Golden-tailed Woodpecker and Olive Woodpecker were seen on the outing. 

Some people in Elena’s group got to see one of the birds of the day, an Icterine Warbler with it’s blue-grey legs and feet.

The group got together for a ‘chit chat’ and for morning tea and were treated to a fly over by a flock of Pink Pelicans which rounded off the day on a high. The day ended with a bird list of 87 birds. Click here to see the list.

Pink-backed Pelican – Mick Jackson

Adam Cruickshank.

 

Latest latest Cape and Bearded Vulture tracks

Dear All

Please find attached (click here) the movements of our Bearded Vultures; Jeremia, Pharaoh, Lehlwa and Mollie and our Cape Vulture N207, for the past week.

Lehlwa has started the year with some interesting movements!

Kind regards

Sonja Krüger

http://www.projectvulture.org.za/

https://www.facebook.com/projectvulture
https://twitter.com/vultureproject

Latest Cape and Bearded Vulture tracks

Dear All

Apologies for the late email, our server has been down with no-one in the office to fix it.

Please find attached (click here) the movements of our Bearded Vultures; Jeremia, Pharaoh, Lehlwa and Mollie and our Cape Vulture N207, for the past week. Still no data for Bennie. Unfortunately he was moving at the time the signal stopped, which makes it impossible to look for him.

I attach the last two images of Kentucky on the nest on 14th December. He did return to the nest for a few days after fledging but seems he is now “fully fledged”- hope he had a good start to the new year!

I wish you all the best for 2019- may our birds remain safe in the sky !

Kind regards

Sonja Krüger

http://www.projectvulture.org.za/

https://www.facebook.com/projectvulture
https://twitter.com/vultureproject