BeKZN Walks…Ilanda Wilds, Amanzimtoti

13 May 2023

Welcome to Ilanda Wilds – Lorraine Retief

Sixteen eager birders arrived for a chilly start to a walk around the river at the Amanzimtoti Sports Club. The rain that had been forecast luckily held off for a while so that we could start the walk and ‘tick’ some species off for the morning. 

As birders arrived, those that were there early were treated to a view of two Mountain Wagtails alongside the river. Once everyone had arrived and the formalities were out of the way, we started birding on the side of the field. The trees were quieter than normal, probably due to the cooler weather, but we managed to record species such as Common Square-tailed Drongo, Black-bellied Starling, Cardinal Woodpecker, Fork-tailed Drongo, and Olive Sunbird. Soaring overhead were flocks of Little Swift and African Palm Swift. What was interesting was a sighting of a Violet-backed Starling – which is a great bird to record so late in the season. We were also interested to note that a lot more Cardinal Woodpecker were recorded during the day than Golden-tailed Woodpecker – normally in the area Golden-tailed would be a lot more common.

Cardinal Woodpecker – Poobalan Naidoo

We then went down the path and walked along the river, we were welcomed by a Tawny-flanked Prinia moving in the short growth alongside the river. Across the river, there was a fair-sized flock of Village Weaver in their ‘drabber’ winter plumage. We came to a few trees that were alive with lots of bird activity – these trees allowed us to see species such as Kurrichane Thrush, Cape Starling, Collared Sunbird, Speckled Mousebird, Southern-black Tit,and a flock of Cape White-eye

Kurrichane Thrush – Poobalan Naidoo 

We walked up the hill to the grassland, we were hoping to see Rattling Cisticola and Village Indigobird, but sadly we didn’t manage to record these species. The tree as we arrived on the grassland provided the group great views of Red-billed Firefinch and Red-fronted Tinkerbird. It was great to not only hear the tinkerbird but also get great views of it, showing its beautiful red on the front of its head. 

Standing by the area where the refuse was dumped – Lorraine Retief

We crossed the river and sadly we got to see an area, once pristine, that was now a place where people were dumping refuse. As we were walking along the tar section of the road, most of the group got good views of two Ashy Flycatchers. We started to walk the path that winds through Ilanda Wilds, and even though we had to take a detour because of a bridge that had been vandalized, we still managed to record some species. An African Goshawk got our hearts beating fast as it flew straight down the path toward the group! We got views of African Paradise Flycatcher and heard African Dusky Flycatcher, Terrestrial Brownbul, and Tambourine Dove calling.   

The vandalized bridge – Lorraine Retief

After a detour because of the broken bridge, we took some time to look at the place where it is rumored that King Shaka found the ‘sweet water’ that Amanzimtoti is named after. This was where our luck with the weather ran out – as we headed alongside the back section of the river, the rain started to slowly fall. At first, we kept on birding, but it started to rain a lot harder, causing the whole group, young and old, to run back to our cars as fast as possible to dry off. Sadly, this meant that we couldn’t do our refreshments afterward, but on the bright side, we got some birding done!

At the end of the outing, we managed to record 55 species, which wasn’t a bad number considering the weather. 

Hamerkop – Poobalan Naidoo

Walk led by and report written by Adam Cruickshank

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