BirdLife Port Natal

Report by Terry Walls

Saturday 6th July 2019

Terry Walls

Once again we could not have asked for better weather for a birding outing.

We met in the car park at 7:30 am where a number of the more common birds were there to greet us: Hadeda Ibis, Common, Glossy and Red-winged Starlings, Dark-capped Bulbul, House Sparrow, Red-eyed Dove and of course the Common Myna.

Red-winged Starling perhaps – Mike Stead

We were joined by two members of the Mount Edgecombe club, who themselves were joined by a visitor from Australia.

As we enter the gardens, the number of Egyptian Geese and all the related activity is noticeable; Adult Geese running around the lawn with their chicks, and people feeding them generously, not surprising that they are doing very well, and their numbers seem to increase on every visit to the gardens.

Egyptian Goose -Terry Walls

Also on the lawn were Wooly-necked Storks, Sacred Ibises and Spur-winged Geese.

We strolled over to the lake edge and were amazed at number of birds that are supported by the small pond.

Small Pond – Terry Walls

Quite a number of African Spoonbills, a common Moorhen, and in the trees around the lake were quite a few Yellow-billed Egrets, Grey and Black-headed Herons, and Pink-backed Pelicans. Also seen were Malachite Kingfisher, Hammerkop and a Pied Kingfisher who entertained us with it’s fishing antics.

Pink-backed Pelican – Mike Stead
Malachite Kingfisher – Mike Stead

We then headed off to the gardens around the office block to look for the Black-throated  Wattle-eye that had been seen in this area recently, but to no avail. What we did see, was a Kurrichane Thrush, Olive Sunbird, Speckled Mousebird, Green-backed Camaroptera, and Tawny-flanked Prinia.

On the pathway heading to the west side, we heard a pair of Black-collared Barbets calling. At the grassland there were Bronze Mannikins eating seed. Brown-hooded Kingfisher, Purple-crested Turaco, and African Paradise Flycatcher. A little further, beyond the fish ponds, Square-tailed Drongo, Spectacled Weaver interacting with Black Flycatcher, Cape White-eye, Thick-billed Weaver and Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird. Also seen was a Yellow-bellied Greenbul, which surprisingly, did not call at all, which cast a little doubt on the ID, but photographs later confirmed its ID.

The highlight of the day was a flowering creeper growing high above the tree canopy, which was in full flower. The flowers were a magnet to a number of Sunbirds. On this plant four different Sunbirds were competing for the nectar: Amethyst, Grey, Collared and White-bellied. It was here that we were fortunate to see the Black Sparrowhawk, which briefly flew direct overhead then disappeared before we had time to get a photograph.

The indigenous area was very quiet, and all that was seen were a few Yellow-fronted Canaries.

On the last section we heard a Klaas’s Cuckoo calling but were unable to see it. There was some debate over the possibility of it being a Robin mimicking the the call, but we eventually concurred that the call was clear and consistent, so agreed that it was definitely a Cuckoo calling.

While drinking our tea, a number of African Palm Swifts landed in the tree above us. It was quite entertaining to hear them twittering quite loudly as one doesn’t often hear them calling when they fly.

We saw or heard a total of 60 birds. Click here to see the list.

Terry Walls

One Reply to “Durban Botanic Gardens”

  1. Just a couple of corrections on the captions:
    1. “Red-winged Starling, perhaps” is a Southern Black Flycatcher.
    2. First “Yellow-billed Heron” is a Grey Heron.
    3. Second “Yellow-billed Heron” is a Cattle Egret.
    4. “Grey-headed Heron” is a Grey Heron.
    5. “Black-headed or Grey Heron” is a Black-headed Heron.

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