8th January 2020

Where the Crowned Eagle flies.

Crowned eagle – Margaret Cooke

Wednesday 8th January 2020 brought cloudy and humid weather but a group of 3 sitters and 13 walkers gathered on the first bird activity of 2020. Tom Corfe Park is a private site, owned by the German Shepard Dog and all breeds dog club, who kindly granted us permission to use the site for a mornings birding.

A large grassy field which is kept mowed is surrounded by mainly indigenous trees, a high bank overlooks a small patch of bush with good views across to the forested slopes of Paradise Valley. A small path to the right takes one onto a lovely quiet road that borders on to the nature reserve. Walking along this road you will find a small cliff face, the Umbilo river winding its way gently through the riverine growth and at the end of this road one comes to the Umbilo Wastewater Treatment works. The sitters placed themselves under some lovely shady trees with a view across the valley and waited for the birds to come to us. With some seeding grasses in front of us we were entertained by Yellow-fronted Canary, Common Waxbill and Bronze Mannikin.

Yellow-fronted Canary – Margaret Cooke

Flying in the surrounding trees were Black Cuckooshrike, Black-headed Oriole and Black-bellied Starling. A lone Violet-backed Starling flew in and sat on a dead tree. Klaas’s Cuckoo called constantly, was seen flying from tree to tree but never sat out where we could get views of the bird.

The Crowned eagle didn’t disappoint and did a magnificent flypast before coming to rest in a distant but visible tree. A pill millipede created a lot of interest when it rolled onto its back and waved its legs frantically in the air. Butterflies were in short supply but a Common Bush Brown wafted along and sat for a moment for a photograph. The walkers on the other hand toiled their way in the humidity and got African Black Duck, Mountain Wagtail and Malachite Kingfisher at the river. Scaly-throated Honeyguide was heard calling from the nature reserve.

Some intrepid souls ventured up the path and a short way into Paradise Valley itself and from their reports this looks like an area that could be well worth exploring. A total of 61 birds were seen by both groups over the morning.

Jane and Mike Roseblade

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