BLPN Bird Walk at Amber Lee, Howick


23rd June 2019

Report and photos by Crystelle Wilson

Birders from the coast got to see more than only birds on this outing to the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. Reedbuck, impala, nyala, warthog and zebra wander around the residential estate, but the highlight was undoubtedly seeing a leguaan sunning itself on the reedbeds at one of the dams.

Water monitor or leguaan – Varanus niloticus

But back to birding, the club welcomed new member, Renate Roos from Shallcross, who attended her first outing. The gentle walk in the conservation area yielded a final tally of 53 species, which is quite respectable for a chilly day shortly after the winter solstice. (See list below).

There was brief confusion at one tree where two brightly coloured yellow birds shared the same branches. The puzzle was solved when one bird was identified as an immature Black-headed Oriole (with a black, not red, bill) and a Village Weaver already coming into breeding colours. 

There were no problems identifying the third yellow job, clearly a Yellow-throated Longclaw.

After the walk, Paul and Sally Bartho kindly invited members to enjoy their refreshments on the lawn of their home nearby.

A few intrepid birders then took off to visit the Karkloof Conservancy Centre a few kilometres outside Howick before returning home.

The bird hides were quiet, but we were rewarded with a variety of water birds: African Spoonbill, Red-billed Teal, a pair of South African Shelduck and a juvenile Black Crake that along with one adult foraged in front of us for long time.  The best sighting of all though was a pair of Wattled Crane seen from the hide but way off in the fields, fortunately a drive along the road got us a lot closer and a convenient layby afforded us a better view of the birds. The birds were not very obliging about posing for a photo though.  

It is always such a delight to show someone a lifer and our new member, Renate, was delighted with the bird. 22 birds were seen in the roughly 2 hours we were on site.  Bird list for Karkloof Conservancy Centre follows the Amber Lee list below.

Bird list for Amber Lee

Pentad: 2925_3015, Start: 2019-06-23, End: 2019-06-23, Species: 53, Observations: 53
1. Red-winged Starling, 2019-06-23 11:14
2. Drakensberg Prinia, 2019-06-23 10:51
3. White-bellied Sunbird, 2019-06-23 10:50
4. African Dusky Flycatcher, 2019-06-23 10:36
5. Southern Black Flycatcher, 2019-06-23 10:30
6. White-rumped Swift, 2019-06-23 10:23
7. Little Swift, 2019-06-23 10:23
8. Brown-hooded Kingfisher, 2019-06-23 10:19
9. Sombre Greenbul, 2019-06-23 10:11
10. Southern Black Tit, 2019-06-23 10:02
11. Fork-tailed Drongo, 2019-06-23 09:59
12. Yellow-throated Longclaw, 2019-06-23 09:54
13. Black-collared Barbet, 2019-06-23 09:53
14. Southern Grey-headed Sparrow, 2019-06-23 09:46
15. Fan-tailed Widowbird, 2019-06-23 09:37
16. Cape Grassbird, 2019-06-23 09:34
17. African Palm Swift, 2019-06-23 09:29
18. Reed Cormorant, 2019-06-23 09:27
19. Little Grebe, 2019-06-23 09:26
20. Cape White-eye, 2019-06-23 09:26
21. Blacksmith Lapwing, 2019-06-23 09:25
22. Acacia Pied Barbet, 2019-06-23 09:13
23. Black Crake, 2019-06-23 09:12
24. Woolly-necked Stork, 2019-06-23 09:08
25. Black-headed Heron, 2019-06-23 08:49
26. House Sparrow, 2019-06-23 08:42
27. Bronze Mannikin, 2019-06-23 08:39
28. Amethyst Sunbird, 2019-06-23 08:38
29. Levaillant’s Cisticola, 2019-06-23 08:33
30. African Pipit, 2019-06-23 08:31
31. Jackal Buzzard, 2019-06-23 08:28
32. Common Moorhen, 2019-06-23 08:27
33. Red-eyed Dove, 2019-06-23 08:26
34. Southern Fiscal, 2019-06-23 08:23
35. African Stonechat, 2019-06-23 08:23
36. Brown-throated Martin, 2019-06-23 08:20
37. Cape Longclaw, 2019-06-23 08:20
38. Dark-capped Bulbul, 2019-06-23 08:16
39. Helmeted Guineafowl, 2019-06-23 08:11
40. African Hoopoe, 2019-06-23 08:09
41. Black-headed Oriole, 2019-06-23 08:06
42. Cape Wagtail, 2019-06-23 07:57
43. Village Weaver, 2019-06-23 07:53
44. Southern Red Bishop, 2019-06-23 07:51
45. Cape Crow, 2019-06-23 07:50
46. Speckled Pigeon, 2019-06-23 07:47
47. Hadeda Ibis, 2019-06-23 07:47
48. Egyptian Goose, 2019-06-23 07:46
49. Cape Robin-Chat, 2019-06-23 07:46
50. Red-billed Quelea, 2019-06-23 07:42
51. Cape Turtle Dove, 2019-06-23 07:42
52. Brubru, 2019-06-23 07:41
53. Cape Sparrow, 2019-06-23 07:38

Bird list for Karkloof Conservancy Centre.

  1. Jackal Buzzard
  2. Red-knobbed Coot
  3. Reed Cormorant
  4. Black Crake
  5. Wattled Crane
  6. Cape Crow
  7. African Darter
  8. Red-eyed Dove
  9. Fork-tailed Drongo
  10. Egyptian Goose
  11. Grey Heron
  12. Purple Heron
  13. African Hoopoe
  14. African Sacred Ibis
  15. Hadeda Ibis
  16. Blacksmith Lapwing
  17. South African Shelduck
  18. African Spoonbill
  19. Pied Starling
  20. Cape Wagtail
  21. Common Waxbill
  22. Village Weaver

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