6 November 2021
A group of about ten BeKZN members set out at approximately 6:15 am. I [Tyron Dall] arrived about thirty minutes earlier to lead the walk and had already notched up thirty species on BirdLasser, including Kurrichane Thrush, which as it turns out we would see a number of during the walk.
As we started out along the trail, we heard a number of birds that were skulking in the reeds alongside the river, including Little Rush Warbler, Tawny-flanked Prinia and Burchell’s Coucal. A little bit further on I heard a bird calling from the top of one of the tall palm trees. It turned out to be a beautiful Purple-banded Sunbird, and everyone in the group got good views of it.
Then the bird that I was really hoping to see on the walk made an appearance. For about a year now I have been monitoring the presence of a pair of Village Indigobirds. They seem to hang out in exactly the same place all the time, and do not move far. I almost always see them calling from the top of a small tree. They seem to like this area, as it is teeming with Red-billed Firefinches, which is their host species, i.e., they parasitize the nests of Red-billed Firefinches. Sure enough a Village Indigobird, now back in its breeding plumage, was calling from the top of its favourite tree.
Speaking of birds that parasitize other bird’s nests, we were also treated to a number of sightings of Diederik Cuckoo, a species also attracted to the area because of the large numbers of Village Weaver nesting in trees along the riverbanks. We also heard Klaas’ Cuckoo but didn’t manage to see any individuals.
Just before we crossed the river to explore the other side we saw a pair of Little Bee-eater that were perched on a telephone wire.
We soon went into a fairly dense and dark forest. We picked up the calls of Bar-throated Apalis, Terrestrial Brownbul, Green-backed Camaroptera, and Red-capped Robin Chat. I then also saw a Cardinal Woodpeckerthat was pecking away on a tree. Further along we heard the musician of the forest, i.e. the Dark-backed Weaver (Bosmusikant). As I was walking ahead some in the group behind me were lucky enough to see a small group of Grey Waxbills, and then a little further along I also noticed a pair of small grey birds, not Grey Waxbill’s this time, but in fact a pair of Ashy Flycatchers.
I was also on constant lookout for Mountain Wagtail, as this is usually a good area for them, but we didn’t manage to see any, and instead watched a pair of striking Pied Wagtail.
All in all we ended on 75 species of birds, which was fairly decent going. (No birdlist submitted).
Written by Tyron Dall