Report by Jane Morris
8th to 10th February 2019
Korongo nestles in the rolling Ixopo hills and is the ideal spot for a bit of relaxation. Our group of 9 consisted of Jackie and Roland Suhr, Cheryl and John Bevan, Virginia Cameron, Heather Mills, Este Shearer and Mike and me.
This 39-hectare farm has two small dams, a grassland area and an area of indigenous bush. To access these areas, one can amble wherever one wishes as there are no formal trails. This makes birding a little difficult if there are members of the group who have difficulty with walking.
The best position for birding was on the wall between the two dams which overlook a lovely area of tangled brush and where we saw most of our species. Some fruiting Grewia in front of the camping stands and the fruit trees in the garden were also productive.
We discovered on arrival that the Blues Swallows have not nested on the farm for several years now and other normally habituated sites in the Ixopo area were also without breeding birds. The vlei which runs along the valley floor was also quite dry and so this limited wetland species.
Our bird list was a bit disappointing but considering the weather, steaming hot on Saturday and raining on Sunday, we didn’t fare too badly.
On the Saturday morning we headed to Xumeni State Forest just outside Donnybrook.
Just as we started to walk the 1.5 km through this enchanting mist belt forest we heard the call of Cape Parrot as they left to forage for the day. Unfortunately we did not get a look at them. They would have been lifers for some in our group.
Birds were few and far between but the most common bird was Yellow-throated Woodland Warbler. Thrushes and Robins were noticeable by their absence as we did not so much as hear a squeak let alone see one.
Total of birds seen over the weekend was 112 with 44 of those species being seen at Xumeni. Click here to view the list.