17 April 2021
The morning of 17 April 2021 was sunny and calm after overnight rain. Just perfect. Lot 1700 stretches from the M13 in the north to close to the N3 and Pavilion Shopping Mall in the south. It forms an integral part of the Westville Trail and a corridor for nature linking the Umbilo and Palmiet river valleys.
We started birding at the Scout Bowl/Dog Walking Park which is bounded by the M13, the Westville Mall, a big call centre, as well as the Westville Civic Centre, Library, Recycling Centre, Swimming Pool, Bowling and Tennis Clubs. Thus this little gem of a park is situated in the very CBD of Westville.
The intention was to bird the length of Lot 1700, about a 2km walk. However the birding at the park was very easy and constant and in the end we only covered an area of about 3 Ha. The habitat consists of a drainage line feeding a small heavily vegetated pond followed by a small wetland feeding a stream which then traverses the length of Lot 1700 and the Westville Trail to the N3 near the Pavilion. It has some forest patches, bush clumps, open woodland and grassland patches. The trails are well maintained.
Mike Roseblade has a bird list of 128 species covering 60 visits and Sandi du Preez a record of 91 in respect of Lot 1700 and the Westville Trail.
Our group managed a total of 34 species. This included Amethyst, Collared, Greater Double-collared and Olive Sunbirds and very good and prolonged sighting of 8 Magpie Mannikins.
There was also a first for most of us of a Hadeda Ibis in the process of trying to swallow a seemingly too large a frog.
But seeing is believing. It took quite some time for the large bump to slowly progress down the length of its neck.
The Scout Bowl/Dog Walker’s Park is securely fenced with safe parking and in spite of its location offers easy, comfortable and good birding.
Report by Rob Jamieson