BeKZN Sit in…. Umbilo Ponds

17 August 2023

Photo 1 Umbilo Ponds

A cloudy sky with a hint of rain greeted us as we arrived at Umbilo Ponds. We had no sooner set up our chairs than the first drop of rain fell.  Fortunately it lasted only a few minutes before the clouds slowly lifted leaving us with a wonderfully cool day in which to enjoy our birding.

We had chosen to sit where we had a good view of the central island and we were not disappointed.  We counted no less than 12 Black-crowned Night Herons, with wonderful views of both adults and juveniles. Some of the birds were well hidden when we arrived but with the cloudy sky they ventured out a bit more than usual and gave us a good views.

Photo 2 Black-crowned Night Heron Adult and juveniles

Photo 3 Black-crowned Night Heron juvenile

Three kingfisher species were seen during the morning, namely Pied, Giant and Malachite Kingfisher.

Black Sparrowhawk called alerting us to its presence and did numerous fly overs during the morning before coming to sit where we could view the bird.

Photo 4 Black Sparrowhawk

An African Harrier-Hawk flew in, as it was a young bird there was quite a debate as to what we were looking at but when the bird flew to the top of a distant palm tree and started using his extraordinary double-jointed knees to hook prey out of nests we were convinced.

Photo 5 A very distant African Harrier-Hawk

A flurry of fish in the pond brought in a very excited Darter and Reed Cormorant who were quite successful in catching a good few fish.  

The Village Weavers were very busy chattering and building their nests and among them was one Lesser-masked Weaver.  This was an unexpected bird for the morning as they are not common this far south.

Photo 6 Lesser-masked Weaver

A Striated Heron came to see if the fishing was any good and after giving us great views decided not and flew off to a quieter area.

Photo 7 Striated Heron

The walkers discovered that the canal remains damaged following the floods but the municipality is clearing excess sand and they are to be commended on the maintenance of the park area.  It looks very trim and tidy.

A mother Egyptian Goose and to show off her brood while we were having our tea.

Photo 8 Egyptian Goose and goslings

An excellent morning birding as always with a total of 58 species seen.

Report and Phots by Jane Morris

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