BeKZN Walks…Simbithi Eco-estate

26 July 2022

On the 26th of June around 17 members met at Simbithi for a walk around the estate’s trails. We split into two groups with each of the groups taking a different route. It is impossible to cover Simbithi in a morning, the estate is vast and has several trail walks that cover different vegetation types. Dael lead her group along what is known as Mannies Farm trail which is predominantly coastal forest and open grasslands. We headed off on the Nsimbi trail which took us past a number of the estate dams.

We have no bad birding days at Simbithi, only good days and great days. Both groups saw over 50 species of birds. We saw the usual suspects; Brown-hooded Kingfisher, Malachite Kingfisher, Thick-billed Weaver, African Dusky Flycatcher, Southern Black Flycatcher, African Paradise Flycatcher, Golden-tailed Woodpecker, Black-headed and Purple Heron, Collared Sunbird, Olive Sunbird, to name but a few. 

For me, the highlights of the day were:

Dave Rimmer finding a Cardinal Woodpecker at its hole in the tree 
On the same dead tree Dave (again) spotted a Lesser Honeyguide which is not a common sighting in Simbithi 
and final highlight getting to see our resident family of White-faced Whistling Ducks

When we finished our loop of the Nsimbi trail we bumped into Dael and her group, they were most excited as they had heard a Green Malkoha in the forest at the exit of the Mannies Farm trail loop. A few in our group had not seen the Green Malkoha so we headed off for an extra half hour walk to see if we could get lucky. Unfortunately, we didn’t hear or see the Malkoha, but we did get a great sighting of a White-fronted Bee-eater and a Neddicky. On the day before this walk I had seen the Neddicky for the first time! Isn’t it just Murphy’s Law that it takes three years of walking the estate to get my first Neddicky and the very next day I see another one?

White-fronted Bee-eater

It was a great day out; we all learnt a lot and met some new people. A morning out in Simbithi does not do the estate justice, hopefully the club will want to come back in the future and let Dael and I show you more of our wonderful birds.

Report and all photographs by Brian Roberts

[Editors Note – Thank you for this first, and hopefully first of many, trip reports Brian. Stunning images. We have chosen Simbithi as the venue for the BirdLife KZN Regional Forum in September so there will be an opportunity for people to experience a bit of this first hand.]

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