Durban Botanic Gardens

Wednesday 21 August 2019

Lovely weather greeted 9 birders and we spent some time watching the bird life at the little pond before entering the gardens. There were active Tawny-flanked Prinias , a Black-bellied Starling and some Yellow-fronted Canaries in the shrubs and a Malachite Kingfisher dived off it’s perch into the water right in front of us! We also admired a Turraea floribunda (Honeysuckle-tree) full of beautiful sweet-smelling spring flowers. Just inside the entrance we were welcomed by an Egyptian Goose. 

Much time was spent around the lake area as there was so much to see – the ever-present Palm Swifts circling the palm trees; Egyptian goslings with their devoted moms and dads; Moorhens on the lawn with some juveniles; a single Red Bishop not yet in it’s breeding dress;  Spur-winged Geese on the water.

There  was a lot of nest-building going on.  A Thick-billed Weaver which had just begun constructing it’s immaculate nest kept on hiding in and popping out of the reeds. Spoonbills, Grey herons and Black-headed Herons were flying around with nesting material, and the swizzling sound of the Village Weavers building their nests was so pretty. Pink-backed Pelicans were on their nests in the Casuarina trees alongside the nests of the Grey and Black-headed Herons. 

Walking up the path towards the top end we saw a beautiful creeper which Nicky ID’d as a Macuna. There was some debate as to whether it was indigenous or not. Turns out NOT! but lovely, nevertheless.

During our stroll around the Gardens we saw Olive and Kurrichane Thrushes and what looked like a hybrid. Black Flycatchers were everywhere as usual and the only raptor that we saw was a YBK. It was unusual not to see the Black Sparrowhawk.

Undoubtedly the bird of the day was  a female Black-throated Wattle-eye near the top pathway. 

There is often more to a birding outing than just the birds and there were plenty of beautiful trees and flowers to be admired. Scadoxus puniceus were flowering all over and even popping up in between the buttresses of the trees. We were entertained at several places by gorgeous male Green-banded Swallowtail butterflies (The photo is not mine but is included for reference)

Virginia could not resist hugging a very, very old-looking Ziziphus mucronata (Buffalo thorn) We were amazed by the size of it!

At the indigenous forest area we saw a Commiphora harveyi (Copper-stem Corkwood ) which looked as if it was on fire. The sun was shining through the loose “paper” bark!

Strelitzia reginae were also in flower around the gardens

We were disappointed that the tearoom is now closed  but we headed off to the butterfly dome where we had our refreshments and we were entertained by a lovely male White-bellied Sunbird which flitted around in the foliage and serenaded as with it’s cheerful song.

54 bird species were recorded.

Thanks to Nicky Forbes for the photos. 

Sandi du Preez

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