Pigeon Valley Bird Walk

19 June 2019

Report by Sandi du Preez

17 birders attended the BLPN bird walk on a lovely sunny day. This must be a record number for a Wednesday activity ! No guessing what the attraction was – obviously the hopes for a sighting of the Spotted Ground Thrush! More about that later.

Crispin Hemson kindly joined as for a while.

Mention must be made of our new young birder, Justin Stoltz  – 12 years old and already knowledgeable about the birds. He told me that birding is his favourite hobby – Welcome Justin – don’t ever lose your enthusiasm!


Birding was fairly challenging as the birds don’t call much during the non-breeding winter months. Crispin wandered off and then phoned me to say that he was looking at a juvenile Green Twinspot. We all rushed off to see it but by the time  we reached him the silly bird had flown off.

In winter one can see six species of Sunbird and we were lucky to see all six (Amethyst, Collared, Grey, Olive, Purple-banded and White-bellied). But the star was undoubtedly the magnificent Grey Sunbird with it’s red pectoral tufts!


Southern Boubous were calling the whole time, often in duet. They have many calls and one individual had a very different and extremely pretty call.  

A special bird of the day was a single Red-billed Firefinch.

In the reservoir area we saw two very active Tawny-flanked Prinias. Some of the other species seen on the walk were Terrestrial Brownbul, Black Cuckooshrike, Square-tailed Drongo, African Paradise Flycatcher, African Goshawk, Black-headed Oriole, Black-backed Puffback, Red-capped Robin-chat, Black Sparrowhawk, Kurrichane Thrush, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Purple-crested Turaco and Golden-tailed Woodpecker.

Four species of Weavers were observed (Dark-backed, Spectacled, Thick-billed and Village).

Unfortunately we did not see a Spotted Ground Thrush. They seem to be rather elusive this year (except to Crispin of course!). After doing the bird list at tea-time we recorded 46 species but when most people had left a Pied Crow flew overhead, so the total count was 47. (click here to see the list of the species seen and heard). Tamsin and I  went for a little walk up the central path and we were  lucky to see a Slender Mongoose.

Thanks to Paul Hobden and Jacqui and Justin Stoltz for photos.

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