Sunday 16 February 2020
This year’s visit was our 5th BLPN outing to the KwaXimba conservancy and with 16 birders joining me is also the largest group we’ve had down in the Umgeni Valley. It was a bright sunny day which progressively got hotter and hotter – in fact too hot for some so we turned around and headed back for refreshments earlier this year.
Decent rains inland meant the Umgeni River was rather full and flowing strongly which yielded fewer water bird sightings than in previous years. Those that we did see included African Black Duck, Common Sandpiper, Three-banded Plover, Red-billed Teal, White-faced Whistling Duck, Hamerkop and Spur-winged and Egyptian Goose.
And when the river isn’t producing the goodies, one has the bush adjacent to the river to look for birds, and what a feast of birds we had. There can’t be too many places close to the city where one can view or hear a mix of bushveld birds. Some of our better birds seen included Blue Waxbill, Chinspot Batis, African Firefinch, African Paradise Flycatcher, Brown-backed Honeybird, Cape Sparrow, Red-backed Mannikin, Dusky Indigobird, Little Bee-eater, Rattling Cisticola, Grey-headed and Orange-breasted Bushshrike).
Not to be outdone, the forest birds also kept us busy – more so on sounds emanating from the north side of the river than on sight but we did see or hear the following birds – Southern Boubou, Grey Waxbill, Purple-crested Turaco, Terrestrial Brownbul and Tambourine Dove).
Surprisingly for summer, our only cuckoo species for the day was a Diederik Cuckoo, and even those were few and far between. Birds on the wing were also plentiful with a total of 6 raptor sightings – African Goshawk, Black Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard, Lanner Falcon, Little Sparrowhawk, and Yellow-billed Kite. Our bird of the day was kept to last when a juvenile African Pygmy Kingfisher kept us entertained as we enjoyed our drinks and eats.
Despite the heat the final tally for the day was 78 species either seen or heard, with all records submitted to the SABAP2 database (one Full Protocol card). Many thanks to Tristan for providing me with some photos to embellish the report.
Yours in birding