BeKZN Sit-in | Bluff Nature Reserve 

13 July 2023

It was a beautiful sunny winters day. Some people arrived at the reserve just before it opened, and listened to what was calling in the car park. The others soon arrived, and we headed off to the hide. The sun was still low and reflected over the reeds and onto the water.

Malachite Kingfisher soon graced us with his presence and sat for us all to have good views. The two normal warbler suspects were very vocal, and Lesser Swamp Warbler kept giving us tantalizing views throughout the morning.  Common Moorhens were gurgling in the rushes only showing very briefly for a couple of lucky people.

Malachite Kingfisher – Robin Wainwright

Some of the members of the group decided to do a short walk and came back with talk about the steam rising from leaves and strange fungi which when opened had a deep magenta colour.

Steam rising from the leaves of a Strelitzia nicolai – Michel dos Santos
Fruiting bracket fungi curled up on the branch – Michel dos Santos
When opened revealed a deep magenta – Michel dos Santos

The people left in the hide had brief views of a few non-breeding birds such as Southern Red Bishop and one that had a bit of orangy/red on the face. This turned out to be a non-breeding male Red-headed Quelea which proceeded to eat some grass seeds in a visible spot enough for a photo to be taken. A couple of early returners from the walk also had glimpses of them.

Female Red-headed Quelea – Robin Wainwright
Male Red-headed Quelea – Robin Wainwright
Red Bishop – Robin Wainwright

We then proceeded to the picnic spot for our refreshments and a chance of seeing other birds. A Purple-banded Sunbird showed off well. A Black-throated Wattle-eye was seen along with Black-backed Puffback. A small flock of Red-backed Mannikins were also seen.

Black-throated Wattle-eye – Robin Wainwright

A very enjoyable morning with great birds and company.

Written by Jenny Norman

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