Umdoni Park, Pennington

Sunday 11th August

report by Tyron Dall

A very good turnout of about 30 birders turned up for the walk which we started at just after 8am from the Environmental Centre, where I believe quite a few people have seen Green Twinspots before.

I was on the lookout for them, but sadly luck was not on my side, and had to be content with a small group of Terrestrial brownbuls.

Some of the more common birds we saw were Olive Sunbirds, African Dusky and Ashy Flycatchers and a couple of groups of Black-bellied Starlings. After a while we came to a small pond, where I usually see no birds, but was happy to see a Hamerkop.

The walk then took us back into the forest where in quick succession we had Trumpeter hornbills fly overhead, whilst in a nearby tree there were a small group of Crowned hornbills (photo Mark Hardouin). Some of the other more common forest birds we encountered were Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Green-backed Camaroptera (both pics below Mark Hardouin), Green Wood Hoopoe, and White-eared Barbets.

As we walked along I kept scanning the undergrowth for the elusive Spotted ground tThrush and the sometimes common Brown scrub robin, but again no luck. However during the loop back the birding picked up and after hearing (but not seeing the infamous Spookvoel aka Grey-headed Bushsrike), we did manage to see a small group of Grey Waxbills, and my bird of the day a Scaly-throated honeyguide. The honeyguide was first heard, and then it was the task of breaking your neck to try and locate it in the upper canopy.

Some people in the group were also lucky enough to see a Lemon dove and a Black-chested snake-eagle.

Returning back to the Environmental Centre for refreshments the sounds of the Square-tailed drongo were common on two accounts. Firstly because there name has now changed to Common Square-tailed drongo, and secondly because Umdoni Park offers their preferred habitat, they are fairly numerous.

Thank you to all who attended, and sorry if I didn’t get a chance to speak to all of you as it was quite a large group. Thanks also to Mark Hardouin for the wonderful photos.

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