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.


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