A group of 10 BLPN members plus the leader met around 6am on the 7th November at our (Mervyn Gans’) complex in Buckingham Rd, Kloof, undeterred by the prospect of rain. Although it had been raining hard in Westville, we were lucky with the weather. The rain held off, turning into perfect weather for birding.
We entered Ronaldskloof though our private access gate and slowly walked towards the main Kloof Gorge along a rough high level path. Although we heard Scaly-throated Honeyguide calling nearby, it was not to be seen. We then dropped down to the Ronaldskloof steam close to where it enters at the Molweni trail. On the way down we spotted a male and female Cape Batis, and a Square-tailed Drongo (confirmed by the call). We had a huge symphony of birds calling including Black Cuckoo (I’m so siiiick), Red-chested Cuckoo, Green-backed Camaroptera, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Olive Sunbird, Sombre Greenbul, Terrestrial Brownbul, Crowned Hornbill, and Kynsna and Purple–crested Turaco.
When we reached the Ronaldskloof Stream a pair of Narina Trogon were heard calling close by but hidden in the trees. As we slowly walked upstream, they continued to call and move around in the trees above and we were finally rewarded with a good sighting.
Walking further upstream we encountered a pair of Mountain Wagtails on the rocks. After presenting some good photo opportunities, they continued to stay a short distance ahead, and we also spotted a Knysna Turaco that we had heard calling. We continued up to the head of the valley turning around at the beautiful Cascades, and then returned home up a steep path to our gate.
In addition to the birds mentioned, we also saw Woolly–necked Stork, Trumpeter Hornbill, Yellow–billed Kite, African Paradise Flycatcher, and Black–bellied Starling. The tall trees and riverine forest made the birding difficult but sightings of the Trogon, Wagtail, and Turaco compensated, providing quality rather than quantity. The beautiful surroundings and varied indigenous trees kept the party interested with members identifying trees, and it was a pleasure to share our beautiful piece of pristine riverine forest with club members.
Report by Mervyn Gans and photos as attributed.