Umhlanga Lagoon Nature Reserve walk.

Saturday 3rd August 2019

Meeting time for the walk was changed from 6:00 to 7:00, which was just as well, as sunrise was just before seven, and when we met it was still quite dark, with the sun rising over the dune just after seven. 

The weather once again was kind to us, with only a slight breeze from the North West. We were joined by two visitors from the Free State, Cobus Rossouw and his wife Nmeke and Pak, a friend of Aubrey Muswema.

With a lot of bird activity around the large fig tree in the parking area, we were reluctant to set off down the path. However no sooner had we set off, when a pair of Black-throated wattle-eye popped up, giving us stunning views in the early light.

We moved on along the first section of board walk where we had much activity, it was difficult to focus on each bird, as just when one bird was spotted, another would make an appearance. Eventually after seeing mainly Yellow weavers, Spectacled weaver, Dark-capped Yellow Warbler, Red-faced Cisticola, and Thick-billed Weaver we moved on to the next section of boardwalk leading to the dune. We noticed that despite of a number of runners jogging through the reserve the birds continued with their activity, undisturbed by the runners. 

We followed the path into the dune forest, where we once again came across Black-throated Wattle-eye, African Paradise Flycatcher, Yellow-bellied Greenbul and both male and female Southern Boubou.

From there we returned along the Board walk and through the dune forest on the South side of the lagoon. This section was very quiet, which may have been the result of the runners passing through ahead of us, we did pick up a few calls though; Burchell’s Coucal and what may have been a Crested Flycatcher but we were not sure, so left it out. Birds that were seen were Red Capped Robin Chat and Both male and female Southern Boubou.  On the next section of the boardwalk we were a little disappointed to see only a pair of Blacksmith Lapwings. Once again it was quiet in the dune forest leading to the beach.

On the beach heading toward the lagoon were a group of Little Bee-eaters gathered on a single bush in all their splendour. 

At the edge of the lagoon was a group of four Woolly-necked Storks and a Three Banded Plover and Grey Heron.

We also came across a dead Juvenile Kelp Gull, which had been ringed. It had some cotton wrapped around the foot, which may or may not have been the cause of death. We recorded the ring number and along with some photographs, submitted a report to Safring.

From the beach we spotted a single Cape Gannet and Swift Tern.

On our return to the picnic area it was once again quiet, we were on the lookout for Spotted Ground Thrush, but no luck. In the picnic area we added Brown-crowned Tchagra, Little Swift, Tawny-flanked Prinia, Dark-capped Bulbul to the list.

Report by Terry Walls with photos from Terry and Aubrey Muswema

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