BeKZN Walks…Westville Nature Trail 

6th August 2023

Photo 1 Burchell’s Coucal

Spring is indeed about to be sprung.  I was most surprised to see 2 Lesser Striped Swallows sitting on the power lines in Westbrooke Roadd while on my way to the venue. As arranged, the gates to the Leigh Cocks Sports Field had been opened and a few people were already birding.

All participants were present, 8 in total, they were given a map of the area, as the many different pathways can be quite confusing. If you have to navigate without guidance, you could get quite lost.  The resident Southern Fiscal was not shy in the parking area and was soon followed by Rose-ringed Parakeets, who headed for the Coral Trees and were feeding on the flowers. 

Rose-ringed Parakeet 

We headed down the first path into the bush to find shy Tambourine Doves, Yellow-fronted Canaries, Tawny-flanked Prinias, Dark-capped Bulbuls, Southern Black Flycatchers, Village and Spectacled Weavers.

Tawny-flanked Prinia

Dark-capped Bulbul

As we moved towards the more open grasslands, Greater Double-collared, Amethyst and White bellied Sunbirdswere observed as well as Pin-tailed Whydah, Cape White-eye, Brimstone Canaries (much debated whether Brimstone or Yellow Canaries) and Bronze Mannikins.

Pin-tailed Whydah female

Brimstone Canary

Bronze Mannikin

We then headed towards the river, Common Square-tailed Drongos, Terrestrial Brownbuls and Bar-throated Apalis could be heard calling.   The river itself was now running fairly clear after a month of Sewerage pollution due to damage to the sewer lines caused by the heavy rains the previous month.

The temporary repairs to the leak were only carried out last Sunday. The resultant pollution caused by the leak had had a devastating effect on the bird life. I was very pleased and relieved to see a huge recovery. The river was still a bit smelly and foaming in parts but a bit of rain should clear it out. Along the river we saw Red-capped Robin-chat, Kurrichane and Olive Thrush, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Southern Black Tit, Cape Wagtail, Cape Batis and Sombre Greenbul

We crossed the pathway on the northern side to find Cape Batis and hear Yellow-bellied Greenbul and the Green Wood-hoopoe.   We were also treated to a flyover of African Spoonbills, African Palm Swifts and African Darter. Having reached a total of above 50 birds and just past 10AM we turned back and followed a slightly different route only to find Red-billed Firefinches, Purple-crested Turaco and Brown-hooded Kingfisher

Brown-hooded Kingfisher

Some other birds seen and photographed.

African Dusky Flycatcher

White-eared Barbet

Tea and refreshments were had at the picnic area near the parking and a last Pied Crow flew in to bid us farewell. A big thanks to all in our cheerful group who made birding a pleasure. A complete list of birds sighted is attached, compiled by Rob McLennan-Smith, who was excellent at identification.

Text and photographers by Stuart Clarke.

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