BeKZN Sit In: Palmiet Nature Reserve

19 May 2022

Thursday 19th May 2022 was a bright, clear day with a hit of winter chill.  Palmiet, with its towering cliffs lay in shadow, but birders were not to be deterred and arrived to see what the morning would bring.   Early arrivals were greeted by sights of African Dusky Flycatcher and the call of Purple-crested Turaco echoed from the cliffs. 

African Dusky Flycatcher – Jane Morris

Giant Kingfisher called as it flew down the river but was not seen. Some entertainment came from birders antics; Aubrey decided that he would not bring a chair with him and a bucket would suffice as his stool.  He sat upon it and discovered that the size of the bucket for his frame was not a good fit and a look of absolute horror crossed his features, he teetered precariously on his pedestal and was a sight to behold.  When his seat was deemed to be unsafe he gratefully accepted the offer of a spare chair. The pond was still and there was very little early bird activity.  African Dusky Flycatcher, Ashy Flycatcher and Red-capped Robin-Chat gave us good views as they moved around in the trees at the edge of the pond.

Red-capped Robin-Chat – Jane Morris

A jeweled Collared Sunbird glinted its beautiful green and gold colours in the sun as it crept among the foliage of the trees. There was a lot of noise from the Egyptian Geese, there appeared to be two pairs of birds and they obviously were having a squabble about ownership of a section of the river.  Flying back and forth, honking loudly and making an enormous fuss.

Egyptian Goose – Jane Morris

A pair of African Black Duck were seen flying down river, the blue flash of the speculum confirming the identity.

African Black Duck showing blue speculum – Jane Morris

As there was no sun until 9am some of us decided to wander about the area and find some sunny patches where there was bird activity, and also to warm ourselves up!  The birding was very quiet but we did manage to get a glimpse of a Green-backed Camaroptera that was hiding among a stack of debris. 

Green-backed Camaroptera – Jane Morris

 Mountain Wagtail was heard and seen by some fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time.   The course of the river is greatly altered following the heavy rains, the river has been scoured out and widened in places and many small pools that have developed.  The paths have been damaged and it proved difficult to access the normal trails.  There were signs of severe damage to some of the houses alongside the river. 

On returning from the walk the birding remained quiet but the butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies made up for the lack of birds. Just as we were packing up to leave a group of inquisitive White-eared Barbets came to take a good look at us, from the squawking that ensued I presume they were happy to see us taking our leave.

A very pleasant morning spent immersed in nature with like-minded people.

Report written by Jane Morris

Leave a Reply