9 July 2022
On Saturday morning we joined the BirdLife eThekwini KZN outing to the newly developed van Riebeeck Park on the Bluff, established on an old landfill site by the municipality to replace lost wetlands and grasslands in the area. Although the vegetation is still establishing and the wetlands will be wetter in summer, it still provided a good range of birds, even in winter. There was a good turnout to see what was being done, led by Tim Wiggill of eThekwini Municipality’s Environmental Planning and Climate Protection unit.
We were greeted by Burchell’s Coucals warming themselves in the morning sun, as well as lots of Red-billed Queleas. A couple of Spur-winged Geese flew over, possibly looking for water while Little Bee-eaters foraged around the forest edges.
Some cisticolas challenged the identification skills, especially as they were silent, but we settled on Zitting and Rufous-winged Cisticola.
In the end, the combined bird list was a surprising 72 species, showing the great potential the area has. Can’t wait for spring to see what else we can add, as I have undertaken to do a regular monthly count for the park to further BeKZN’s conservation efforts. After this, we went up to WESSSA’s Treasure Beach Environmental Centre, that Tim had arranged we could visit to see the endangered coastal grassland.
We were greeted on arrival here by an obliging Lesser Honeyguide outside the centre, but otherwise there were few birds around. The grassland was certainly overgrown, and as Tim explained, it really needs to be burnt but they have to wait for the right time.
The centre has a great view over the sea and we were fortunate to see many dolphins just behind the surf backline, cruising along and popping out of the swells. After this, we were allowed onto the roof of the centre, the old WWII radar training building, and enjoyed the pleasant views on a bright day, before all departing after an interesting morning.
Report by Steve Davis