BE KZN Walk – 10 April 2021
This little reserve in Gillitts is one of my favourite spots. Even in gloomy, overcast weather, it is still a beautiful environment. We met at 6.30 but birds were really scarce until about 8. Even then, we heard more than we saw.
This did not concern the group; a lovely mix of long standing members and new members, all who seemed happy to take it as it was. Two of the group had never been there before, didn’t even know about it and were very enamoured of the surroundings.
We wandered down slowly to the dam; Ismail spotted some movement in a bush, next thing the bird flew over toward the island and it was a weaver. Debate ensued regarding the eye; was it red or pale because we all knew that both Holub’s Golden Weaver (African Golden Weaver) and Yellow Weaver (Eastern Golden Weaver) are possible in this locality. The light was not helping. Eventually we managed to detect the pale eye – Holub’s it was. And our photographer, Heleen, managed a photo so we could be absolutely sure.
Photo 1 Holub’s Golden Weaver
These little conundrums and debates are part of what makes birding such fun. (Note the bird names in brackets are because BirdLasser and Roberts app sometimes use different sources for names).
Because of the lack of sightings, we concentrated a lot on calls. Little Rush Warbler was vocal which surprised us as we thought they would be silent in autumn. I heard a call that was so like a Cape Robin-chat (but not 100%) but this seemed unlikely as I’d never seen or heard one there before. Later I realised it was an Olive Thrush, silly me. The opening of Olive Thrush call is a little similar (though maybe only to me).
There was a little more activity at the dam; Common Moorhen and Bronze Mannikins.
But the best birding of the day was as we were on our way out. By this time, the sun was coming out and we saw African Firefinches next to the path opposite the bamboos,
and a Collared Sunbird. It’s amazing how exciting it can be to see a Collared Sunbird when you’ve seen so few birds.
20 birds were recorded (see list below) Thanks to Heleen Els for the photos.
Report by Penny de Vries
Birds Recorded 20
Little Rush Warbler
Holub’s/African Golden Weaver
Southern Black Flycatcher
African Paradise Flycatcher