Mariannwood Nature Reserve

11 November 2021

Six BeKZN members assembled at Mariannwood Nature Reserve at 07:30am on 11/11/21. After some discussion as to where to perch ourselves for the sit-in it was decided the best views were from the picnic site. The weather could not make up its mind and so we had intermittent sun with cloudy conditions and even one or two raindrops, but we were not deterred.

From our position we looked out over a patch of forest and the bird calls echoed up at us and we had a good view of birds flying to and fro. 

Red-capped Robin-chat and African Paradise Flycatcher showed themselves while Natal Spurfowl and Burchell’s Coucal called from the valley below. There was a very vocal, Orange-breasted Bush-shrike and a swooping Crowned Eagle seen. Yellow-billed Kite wheeled over head with the occasional attack from an aggressive Fork-tailed Drongo and Lesser-Stripped and Barn Swallows swooped past. 

Some of the group decided to head out and explore the reserve, it is a delightful small reserve with a wetland patch, grassland and riverine forest. The trail had been recently cut and the walk we did heads down a steep descent that leads one to a wetland patch. Thick-billed Weaver, Black-headed Oriole and African Paradise Flycatcher were all busy attending to nests and we had a good view of an Olive Thrush which was pleasing. 

African Paradise Flycatcher on a nest – Mark Liptrot

The trail then meanders through some riverine forest and along the edge of a stream before coming to a lovely section of grassland complete with spring flowers, butterflies and bugs and of course some birds.  Brown-hooded Kingfisher, a vociferous Neddicky and Little Bee-eater were all visible. 

Window Acraea – Mark Liptrot
Little Bee-eater – Mark Liptrot

When crossing a small bridge, we were lucky to get a glimpse of Grey and Common Waxbill, Green-backed Camaroptera (seen and not just heard) and a Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird.

Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird – Mark Liptrot

The climb up to the picnic site is quite steep and when we stopped to catch our breath we a bird party with good views had of White-bellied SunbirdViolet-backed Starling and Village Weavers.

Violet-backed Starling – Mark Liptrot

An interesting sighting was of a Star Stinkhorn, a type of fungus with a foetid odour. 

Star Stinkhorn – Mark Liptrot

We were lucky to have Mark Liptrot to ID the butterflies for us and take the photographs. 

Soldier Pansy – Mark Liptrot

Once again, a successful and most enjoyable sit-in led by Jenny Norman.

Written by Jane Morris

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