BeKZN Walks…Giba Gorge

Sunday 19 June 2022

A group of ten birders visited Giba on Fathers Day on an overcast and cool Sunday but luckily with no wind or rain. The park was fairly busy with runners and mountain bikers on the main walking path up to the dams but I think the birds are fairly accustomed to people and we saw many bird parties adjacent to the path.  Nevertheless I think this venue would be better visited during the week for birding purposes when it is much quieter.

 Setting off from the carpark with good sightings around the picnic area

The  park was extensively damaged by the recent floods and temporary bridges have been made across the many streams and main river. The paths are in good condition, as is the access road from the N3 Stockville offramp

The destruction caused by the April floods
On the temporary bridges

There is also a major problem with invasive aliens, notably Chromolaena and Lantana but there are lovely indigenous forested areas which are not affected.

Much of the forested area still with indigenous flora

We saw a total of 52 species which I think is fairly good for mid-winter and the weather conditions. Unfortunately for Mark Liptrot we only saw three butterfly species.

Mark and Cecily searching for butterflies with little luck

The highlights were a Grey Cuckooshrike, African Black Duck, Ashy Flycatcher, Crowned Eagle  and a Barrett’s Warbler calling in the thicket next to the path but none of us managed to get a glimpse of it in the dense bush. Sightings of Golden-tailed Woodpecker, Green-backed Camaroptera and Village and Spectacled weavers also occured.

One of the highlights – a Grey Cuckooshrike
Golden-tailed Woodpeckers were frequent sightings.  (Poobalan Naidoo)
Village Weavers were also common (Poobalan Naidoo)
Green- backed Camaroptera alongside the path (Poobalan Naidoo)
A group of four Purple- crested Turacos were posing well for photos around the dam.

The area around the dams is very pretty and a great place to picnic with prolific birdlife in the area but we saw no waterfowl, waders or wetland birds there – probably due to the number of people at the time.

After a four hour walk we enjoyed capuccinos and breakfast at the main restaurant which serves good food and oven fired pizzas if you stay for lunch.

The Mountain Bike Park facilities are well maintained with a good restaurant for those staying for a coffee or a meal.

All in all it remains a good birding venue and worth a visit.

By Rob McLennan-Smith

Leave a Reply