Mbozamba Wetlands (Sappi Stanger)

Sunday 15th September 2019

The day started at a cool 17 Degrees Celsius with 18 Members making the trip to SAPPI on the Sunday. A mistake saw Aubrey and his team arrived a day early and phoned me at 06h45 to find out where we were hiding. I wish I could describe the stunned silence and many comments that all started with “OH….. “ when he realized he was a day early. 

A microlight was spraying insecticide, so we started slowly with lots of the birds moving away and only returning later once it had left. This resulted in fantastic fly-byes by Grey Crowned cranes and Glossy Ibis returning to the Wetland. We started in the Picnic area and moved slowly towards the hide. 

Southern Grey-crowned Cranes – Pair with a sub-adult
A flyover before landing at the ponds.
Photo: Nicolette Forbes
Peter and Frankie on the lookout and learning that waterbirds are not sensitive to noise Photo: Jane Morris
Just below the Night-herons a collection of SEVEN species in the photo – can you find them all!
Spurwinged Goose, Knob-billed Duck, Cattle Egret, African Jacana,
Hottentot Teal, Wood Sandpiper and Ruff.
Photo: Nicolette Forbes

My compliments to SAPPI. It is back to its BEST. Mbozamba is one of the top birding sites in South Africa. The management also gave us access to the picnic area and Island walkway. A huge pity this area is now normally out of bounds because of bad behavior by some visitors. The effluent plant remains out of bounds as it is toxic and dangerous.

The viewing platforms are fantastic, and our eagle-eyed Chairlady soon spotted a Female Greater Painted Snipe hiding in the reeds.

Al, one of our newer members taking advantage of access to the island
Photo: Nicolette Forbes
Brownthroated Weaver
Photo: Nicolette Forbes
Scarlet Chested Sunbird
Photo: Jane Morris
All the teals were present – Cape, Hottentot and Redbilled.
This Cape Teal caught the light beautifully in the company of a Little Grebe
Photo: Nicolette Forbes

Our collective Birding list ended at 94 Species. The Greater Painted Snipe, Knob-billed Duck, Grey Crowned Crane and African Rail were the specials for the day.

One of our new birding members got 10 lifers for the day. Well done Guy ! He was beaming! 

Rex Aspeling

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