GIBA GORGE – A walk in the Mountain Bike Park area.

4th DECEMBER 2019

Years ago, BLPN used to have outings at Giba Gorge from the St Hellier side. But recently some of us have been going birding and butterflying at the Mountain bike Park.

It was a rather gloomy morning as we set off towards the waterfall – a two and a half km easy walk. Along the way we had good sightings of an Emerald–spotted Wood dove, Southern Boubou, Black-headed Oriole and Golden-tailed Woodpecker right out in the open. Diderick Cuckoo and Klaas’s Cuckoo were heard but not seen. Four species of Swift were observed – African Black, African Palm, Little and White-rumped. The only raptors that we saw were Common Buzzard and Yellow-billed Kite, although in the past I have also recorded Booted, Long-crested, African Fish and Crowned Eagles there, as well as Black and Little Sparrowhawk, African Goshawk and Lanner Falcon. In September 2017 we even saw a Knysna Warbler.

On the lawn near to the waterfall we encountered a family of Mountain wagtails – mom, dad and two juveniles – not at all bothered by our presence. Certainly, a highlight of the morning!

Mountain wagtails

In the reeds at the dam were two juvenile Thick-billed Weavers. Just the cutest little birds! I don’t think that any of us had ever seen a juvenile before. Of course, a bonus of going to Giba Gorge is being able to have a snack or a meal at Afro’s. While we were enjoying our meal, we were entertained by a Goliath heron perched on top of a tree, and a Crowned Hornbill flew in to say hello.

Goliath heron

But the best was still to come. Close to our table was a wall-mounted light fitting and inside was a female Dusky Flycatcher sitting on eggs. Her mate was tirelessly flying back and forth bringing her titbits to eat!

Achatina natalensis – the mystery snail

As we left at 1 pm the sun came out at last. On the way out I spotted a few Rock Martins.

Photos and text Sandi du Preez

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