19 January 2023
Despite KZN being in the grip of a heat wave BEKZN Sit in still went ahead. I was asked to take the group as Jenny Norman was out of action. Jenny Pahl and I duly arrived at Amanzimtoti Bird Sanctuary at 7am and we were soon joined by Ros, Virginia, Sandy, Sheila and Poobalan. Starting early was our saving grace as it was only mildly hot at that time of the morning and after setting up our chairs we decided to wander along the various trails. During the morning most of the area of the Sanctuary was covered and this helped us to create a good list for a hot summer mornings birding.
We started the morning with our chairs on the right of the pond as the morning sun created quite a glare but we slowly moved them around until we were sitting under some lovely shady trees and took advantage of the gentle cool breeze that came across the water. In the reed bed the Southern Red Bishops were very busy and vocal, showing off their brilliant plumage. With rapid wing fluttering and tails splayed they defended their territories and corralled the females in their harem.
Thick-billed Weavers were also showing off and with a white flash of the wing were dashing about and displaying. Some dried seed pods were of great interest to them and they were feasting on them with great gusto.
Tawny-flanked Prinia was flitting around in front of us, busy little birds as usual with hardly a moment to sit still and flicking their tails and constantly calling – tink tink tink.
Malachite Kingfisher darted across the pond and sat on a bend bulrush frond for all to see.
Poobalan was lucky enough to chance upon a Yellow-billed Duck on his walk around the back of the ponds.
A Purple Heron who had not read the book came out and settled in the open on a branch allowing for extremely good views for all. A Grey Heron joined the Purple Heron after a while and we were not quite sure who was watching who in the end.
Cape White-eyes foraged in the trees about us and an African Harrier Hawk flew over head giving us good views.
Our lovely breeze died down just after 10am and the relentless heat began to build up which prompted us to pack up and head home having had a pleasant morning birding and ending with a list of 50 species.
This was my first ever visit to the Sanctuary I was delighted to discover what a pleasant and easy birding venue it was and I will definitely be heading back that way. Thank you to Poobalan Naidoo for taking all the photographs.
Report written by Jane Morris