15 September 2021
We met at the gate of the reserve at 7:30, the weather was slightly overcast and with a cool breeze. At the gate, we were fortunate enough to see a Southern Boubou, a pair of Bar–throated Apalis. From there we all moved to the picnic area, where there were a number of birds in the surrounding canopy. Olive Thrush, Black-backed Puffback, Purple-crested Turaco, Black–collared Barbet and a few Red-eyed Dove. We had a stunning view of a Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird excavating a nest hole. He was totally unperturbed by our presence and continued his work, in spite of us standing only meters away.
In the parking area we had fleeting views of Sunbirds in the Coral Tree. As we made our way down the pathway we saw Tawny-flanked Prinia, Terrestrial Brownbul and Collared Sunbird, we could hear the Red-capped Robin-Chat and Crested Barbet calling. Also calling was a Tambourine Dove, which we later had a stunning view of from the pathway that overlooks the riverine bush.
A magnificent Black Sparrowhawk gave us a fly by at this point as well. Blue Duiker are so accustomed to people in the Reserve that they can be seen within touching distance.
In the hide, we spotted a single male African Paradise Flycatcher and numerous Eastern Golden Weavers on their nests. The brown eye colour of the female, as opposed to the red of the male was clearly visible.
A female Thick-billed Weaver was busy working on a semi constructed nest, which raised the question of emancipation in the bird world. Bronze Mannikins were also abundant.
As we made our way through the muddy path that crosses the stream, we heard Egyptian Goose calling, but strangely enough never saw them. The little dam with a display of beautiful water lilies, this water body which is normally devoid of any birdlife, surprisingly produced Little Grebe. A first for me at this reserve. The male looking somewhat shabby in eclipse plumage.
The eye colour of a Fork-tailed Drongo perched close by was clearly visible, which sparked a debate about the difference between the eye colour of the Common Square-tailed and Fork–tailed Drongo.
We took the longer path through the grassland and spotted the male Thick-billed Weaver, and a pair of Green Wood-Hoopoe uncharacteristically sitting quietly in a tree. Further along we came across two Tawny-flanked Prinia also uncharacteristically chasing each other around, making it difficult to get a positive ID. The turaco were vocal here and there was a one with a lower tone call, which left us wondering if it could have been a Knysna Turaco, but we weren’t able to draw a conclusion. After crossing the little bridge, we had a good view of the Purple-crested Turaco.
The last pathway through the grassland was very quiet, with no sign of the winter specials. Yellow-throated Longclaw and Fiscal Flycatcher. Little Bee-eater which we were hoping to see, was also absent. We did however see a lone Southern Fiscal. Golden-tailed Woodpecker, Collared and Amethyst Sunbird entertained us while drinking our coffee.
A pair of African Crowned Eagle flying above was a fitting conclusion to the walk.
We had three people in the group who had never visited the reserve before, they were happy with walk and enjoyed the hide.
Some feedback from members Charles and Leigh Anne Barford: “Thank you so much for a fabulous morning. Not only did Charles and I see many first time birds, but we learnt a great deal from all of you. From bird calls and behaviour to some really good sightings. A great group of birders. Thankyou”
Bird List to download by Sandi du Preez
Trip report by walk leader Terry Walls