Tuesday 27thAugust arrived but not with the predicted sunshine, instead there was cloud cover and it was quite gloomy. Despite the inclement weather 13 birders arrived at Link Road Park for the “sit in” outing. 6 birders “sat in” while 7 birders opted to walk the Westville Eco Trail.
The sitters found a site that had good views over a fair section of the park and with a large fig, various fruiting trees directly in front of us we had prime seats and were able to clock up several species. We sat quietly and talk was confined to birds and birding. The large fig tree acts as a corridor for many species to move from one section of the park to the other and so constantly had something to view in it. Cape White-eyes, Brown-hooded Kingfisher, Thick-billed Weaver and Speckled Mousebirds gave good shows.
White-eared Barbets showed great interest in a broken stump on the fig tree, one spent quite some time excavating a hole while the other gave constant advice. After a while they lost interest and moved off.
When we had been sitting still for a while the birds came to observe us……
A Chinspot Batis couple were very vocal and visible for quite some time and then we discovered that they had a lichen covered nest above us. Interestingly it was the male Chinspot Batis (the one with no chin spot) that came in and sat on the nest for a while and did some general housekeeping – he must have been a new age man as she was nowhere to be seen during this time.
The walkers meanwhile covered the 3 km Westville trail route through a maze of pathways recently added with cyclists and runners in mind. This has made, what was a quiet and rewarding birding experience quite busy. Unfortunately, the new paths have also driven away the nesting Magpie Mannikins, but a profusion of white bellied sunbirds helped to compensate. Nevertheless, they managed to tick many species typical of the riverine forest and grassland habitat. A large brown raptor evaded identification but evoked a controversial discussion and the final consensus was that it was more than likely a juvenile Harrier-Hawk.
Later in the morning the weather improved.
A good morning was had by all and we saw a total of 58 birds
Jane and Mike Roseblade (all photos by Jane)