Iphithi Outing


Report by Sandi du Preez

Wednesday 22 May 2019

At the start of the outing we stopped at the lookout/picnic shelter and a huge flock of Thick-billed Weavers flew overhead. From this spot we also saw Black-bellied starlings, Greater double-collared Sunbird, Cape White-eyes, Yellow-fronted Canaries, a Little Sparrowhawk and Dark-capped Bulbuls.

Walking down the slope to the bottom we had a lovely Bark Spider on its web hanging over the path. A certain someone, who shall be nameless, did not seem to enjoy the sight of this creature!

There were masses of Halleria lucida trees all over the reserve, heavy with flowers and dripping with nectar for the sunbirds and other nectar-feeders.

Walking towards the dam we came across a bird party and we were enthralled by a Black-backed Puffback with a huge caterpillar in its beak. Then it dropped the caterpillar and we watched it searching on the ground for it’s lost snack. Fortunately the sharp-eyed bird found it again and flew up into the tree to enjoy it’s  breakfast!

The terrain is looking very different after the heavy rains and flooding. It was amazing to see how destructive water can be. The stream is flowing quite strongly but there is a lot of debris and destroyed vegetation and we could see how high the water had risen. Parts of the old path were covered with broken branches and rocks which had been washed down from the top ends of the reserve. New paths had to be created to avoid these obstructions.

The dam has also been affected. There were only 3 birds on the water – one Egyptian Goose and two Common moorhens.

The path towards the boardwalk was quite muddy but the wonderful Conservancy members have already been working hard to replace the missing and broken planks over the wetter areas.

Birding was a little challenging as the birds were rather quiet, and of course the migrants have departed. Empty skies – no Kites or Swallows  at this time of the year. We didn’t even hear a Kingfisher or a Woodpecker! However five species of Sunbird were very welcome – Amethyst, Collared, Greater double-collared, Grey and Olive.

The total count was 36 species. Click here to see the list.

Sorry – no decent photos of birds. I’m missing John Bremner and his camera!

Sandi du Preez

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