BeKZN Walks…Kenneth Stainbank Nature Reserve

Sunday 11th September 2022

We had a group of 10 birders, including new members Wolf and Desire Meyer, for the walk on a balmy Sunday morning. Windy weather was predicted but we had 3 perfect hours before a westerly ‘buster’ came through and the birding became less productive.

Walkways leading through the forest– Rob McLennon-Smith

We started at 7am through the beautiful forests, which have numerous very old Yellowwoods, and were alive with Purple-crested Turacos, Green-backed Camaropteras, Square-tailed Drongos, Red-capped Robin-chats and noisy Olive Sunbirds among many others.

Purple-crested Turaco in the early morning light – Poobalan Naidoo
Red-capped Robin-Chat – Rob McLennon-Smith

We then proceeded up the hill through grasslands fringed by the forests with only a few Rattling and Croaking Cisticolas and the unusual sighting of Spur-winged Geese perching in a Fever Tree. A White-browed Scrub Robinwas very vocal on top a nearby bush.

The view from the top of the hill provides a lovely view over the reserve and there is a bench for weary birders to scan the grasslands below where flocks of Village Weavers and Bronze Mannikins feed.

Village Weavers – Andre van der Westhuizen
On the dam wall – Rob McLennon-Smith

We then proceeded down to the smallish very scenic dam with good reed-beds where Yellow (Eastern Golden) and Thick-billed Weavers were building their tidy nests and a Little Rush Warbler was calling. On the opposite bank the noisy Village Weavers had their nesting colony. The only waterbirds present were Common Moorhens and a Reed Cormorant

Common Moorhen – Poobalan Naidoo

The next grassland we traversed was alive with Zebra, Impala, Bushbuck and Common Duikers which are all very tame and make great photographic subjects. We saw Blue Duikers in the forests as well.

We re-entered the forest just as the wind was starting to come up and were rewarded with a good lengthy sighting of a Spotted Ground Thrush which was a lifer for a few in the group. Another good sighting was an Olive Woodpeckerand a fleeting glimpse of a Honeyguide, probably Scaly-throated.

Spotted Ground Thrush, a lifer for many – Andre van der Westhuizen

On our return to the carpark for well-deserved refreshments we were treated to a number of Ashy and African Dusky Flycatchers flitting around above us as well as a group of feeding Red-backed Mannikins.

Refreshments with the Meyers doing it in style – Rob McLennon-Smith

In total we logged 63 species which is fairly good as the only returned migrants seen were the Lesser Striped Swallows, Yellow-billed Kites and Klaas’s Cuckoo.

Some other birds seen and photographed on the day.

Collared Sunbird – Poobalan Naidoo
African Harrier Hawk – Andre van der Westhuizen
Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird – Poobalan Naidoo

The reserve is well maintained, safe to walk and the ablutions are in good condition. There are a number of picnic sites that you can drive to, so is a good place to bring families. We all agreed that Kenneth Stainbank is well worth a visit, we will definitely be coming back for more birding.

Walk led and report written by Rob McLennan-Smith

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