BirdLife Port Natal

Sunday 11th August

report by Tyron Dall

A very good turnout of about 30 birders turned up for the walk which we started at just after 8am from the Environmental Centre, where I believe quite a few people have seen Green Twinspots before.

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The July Sunday outing of BirdLife Port Natal was to the Amatigulu Nature Reserve on the north coast. 12 birders met at the turnoff from the N2 at 07h30 and were serenaded by a Rufous-naped lark as we waited. It was a short drive to the entrance of the reserve, where I was surprised to find that there was no entrance charge.

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Wednesday 17 JULY 2019

A wonderful turnout of 21 people for a Wednesday morning at the Museum.  David Allan, the curator of birds was very happy as the Honorary President, to invite BirdLife Port Natal, to once again spend a morning with him to see what work in the museum entails. Durban Natural Science Museum, housing over 40 000 skins, and many type specimens collected by imminent collectors, is one of the most important bird collections in Africa.  The skins at the museum serve a valuable function by being available to ornithologists, students, authors and artists of bird books to study, sample and compare.   

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uMlalazi weekend 12-14 July 2019

uMlalazi is a winter wonderland for birding.  Not only is it a lot warmer than home but a number of species arrive from higher altitudes or further south down the coast to enjoy the relative warmth just as we do.  One never knows what can pop up and so 20 hopeful birders assembled at uMlalazi on Friday the 12thJuly.  Some lucky eager beavers were able to arrive the day before or early on the Friday morning. 

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Report by Terry Walls

Saturday 6th July 2019

Terry Walls

Once again we could not have asked for better weather for a birding outing.

We met in the car park at 7:30 am where a number of the more common birds were there to greet us: Hadeda Ibis, Common, Glossy and Red-winged Starlings, Dark-capped Bulbul, House Sparrow, Red-eyed Dove and of course the Common Myna.

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Burchell’s Coucal Eco Trail Outing 29 June 2019

Report by Tyron Dall

Nine birders enjoyed a wonderful mornings birding with excellent weather. The first bird to get our attention was an African Darter on a mud flat in the middle of the river, which seemed to be waiting for the sun’s rays to warm its outstretched wings.

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Pigeon Valley Bird Walk

19 June 2019

Report by Sandi du Preez

17 birders attended the BLPN bird walk on a lovely sunny day. This must be a record number for a Wednesday activity ! No guessing what the attraction was – obviously the hopes for a sighting of the Spotted Ground Thrush! More about that later.

Crispin Hemson kindly joined as for a while.

Mention must be made of our new young birder, Justin Stoltz  – 12 years old and already knowledgeable about the birds. He told me that birding is his favourite hobby – Welcome Justin – don’t ever lose your enthusiasm!


Birding was fairly challenging as the birds don’t call much during the non-breeding winter months. Crispin wandered off and then phoned me to say that he was looking at a juvenile Green Twinspot. We all rushed off to see it but by the time  we reached him the silly bird had flown off.

In winter one can see six species of Sunbird and we were lucky to see all six (Amethyst, Collared, Grey, Olive, Purple-banded and White-bellied). But the star was undoubtedly the magnificent Grey Sunbird with it’s red pectoral tufts!


Southern Boubous were calling the whole time, often in duet. They have many calls and one individual had a very different and extremely pretty call.  

A special bird of the day was a single Red-billed Firefinch.

In the reservoir area we saw two very active Tawny-flanked Prinias. Some of the other species seen on the walk were Terrestrial Brownbul, Black Cuckooshrike, Square-tailed Drongo, African Paradise Flycatcher, African Goshawk, Black-headed Oriole, Black-backed Puffback, Red-capped Robin-chat, Black Sparrowhawk, Kurrichane Thrush, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Purple-crested Turaco and Golden-tailed Woodpecker.

Four species of Weavers were observed (Dark-backed, Spectacled, Thick-billed and Village).

Unfortunately we did not see a Spotted Ground Thrush. They seem to be rather elusive this year (except to Crispin of course!). After doing the bird list at tea-time we recorded 46 species but when most people had left a Pied Crow flew overhead, so the total count was 47. (click here to see the list of the species seen and heard). Tamsin and I  went for a little walk up the central path and we were  lucky to see a Slender Mongoose.

Thanks to Paul Hobden and Jacqui and Justin Stoltz for photos.

23rd June 2019

Report and photos by Crystelle Wilson

Birders from the coast got to see more than only birds on this outing to the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. Reedbuck, impala, nyala, warthog and zebra wander around the residential estate, but the highlight was undoubtedly seeing a leguaan sunning itself on the reedbeds at one of the dams.

Water monitor or leguaan – Varanus niloticus

But back to birding, the club welcomed new member, Renate Roos from Shallcross, who attended her first outing. The gentle walk in the conservation area yielded a final tally of 53 species, which is quite respectable for a chilly day shortly after the winter solstice. (See list below).

There was brief confusion at one tree where two brightly coloured yellow birds shared the same branches. The puzzle was solved when one bird was identified as an immature Black-headed Oriole (with a black, not red, bill) and a Village Weaver already coming into breeding colours. 

There were no problems identifying the third yellow job, clearly a Yellow-throated Longclaw.

After the walk, Paul and Sally Bartho kindly invited members to enjoy their refreshments on the lawn of their home nearby.

A few intrepid birders then took off to visit the Karkloof Conservancy Centre a few kilometres outside Howick before returning home.

The bird hides were quiet, but we were rewarded with a variety of water birds: African Spoonbill, Red-billed Teal, a pair of South African Shelduck and a juvenile Black Crake that along with one adult foraged in front of us for long time.  The best sighting of all though was a pair of Wattled Crane seen from the hide but way off in the fields, fortunately a drive along the road got us a lot closer and a convenient layby afforded us a better view of the birds. The birds were not very obliging about posing for a photo though.  

It is always such a delight to show someone a lifer and our new member, Renate, was delighted with the bird. 22 birds were seen in the roughly 2 hours we were on site.  Bird list for Karkloof Conservancy Centre follows the Amber Lee list below.

Bird list for Amber Lee

Pentad: 2925_3015, Start: 2019-06-23, End: 2019-06-23, Species: 53, Observations: 53
1. Red-winged Starling, 2019-06-23 11:14
2. Drakensberg Prinia, 2019-06-23 10:51
3. White-bellied Sunbird, 2019-06-23 10:50
4. African Dusky Flycatcher, 2019-06-23 10:36
5. Southern Black Flycatcher, 2019-06-23 10:30
6. White-rumped Swift, 2019-06-23 10:23
7. Little Swift, 2019-06-23 10:23
8. Brown-hooded Kingfisher, 2019-06-23 10:19
9. Sombre Greenbul, 2019-06-23 10:11
10. Southern Black Tit, 2019-06-23 10:02
11. Fork-tailed Drongo, 2019-06-23 09:59
12. Yellow-throated Longclaw, 2019-06-23 09:54
13. Black-collared Barbet, 2019-06-23 09:53
14. Southern Grey-headed Sparrow, 2019-06-23 09:46
15. Fan-tailed Widowbird, 2019-06-23 09:37
16. Cape Grassbird, 2019-06-23 09:34
17. African Palm Swift, 2019-06-23 09:29
18. Reed Cormorant, 2019-06-23 09:27
19. Little Grebe, 2019-06-23 09:26
20. Cape White-eye, 2019-06-23 09:26
21. Blacksmith Lapwing, 2019-06-23 09:25
22. Acacia Pied Barbet, 2019-06-23 09:13
23. Black Crake, 2019-06-23 09:12
24. Woolly-necked Stork, 2019-06-23 09:08
25. Black-headed Heron, 2019-06-23 08:49
26. House Sparrow, 2019-06-23 08:42
27. Bronze Mannikin, 2019-06-23 08:39
28. Amethyst Sunbird, 2019-06-23 08:38
29. Levaillant’s Cisticola, 2019-06-23 08:33
30. African Pipit, 2019-06-23 08:31
31. Jackal Buzzard, 2019-06-23 08:28
32. Common Moorhen, 2019-06-23 08:27
33. Red-eyed Dove, 2019-06-23 08:26
34. Southern Fiscal, 2019-06-23 08:23
35. African Stonechat, 2019-06-23 08:23
36. Brown-throated Martin, 2019-06-23 08:20
37. Cape Longclaw, 2019-06-23 08:20
38. Dark-capped Bulbul, 2019-06-23 08:16
39. Helmeted Guineafowl, 2019-06-23 08:11
40. African Hoopoe, 2019-06-23 08:09
41. Black-headed Oriole, 2019-06-23 08:06
42. Cape Wagtail, 2019-06-23 07:57
43. Village Weaver, 2019-06-23 07:53
44. Southern Red Bishop, 2019-06-23 07:51
45. Cape Crow, 2019-06-23 07:50
46. Speckled Pigeon, 2019-06-23 07:47
47. Hadeda Ibis, 2019-06-23 07:47
48. Egyptian Goose, 2019-06-23 07:46
49. Cape Robin-Chat, 2019-06-23 07:46
50. Red-billed Quelea, 2019-06-23 07:42
51. Cape Turtle Dove, 2019-06-23 07:42
52. Brubru, 2019-06-23 07:41
53. Cape Sparrow, 2019-06-23 07:38

Bird list for Karkloof Conservancy Centre.

  1. Jackal Buzzard
  2. Red-knobbed Coot
  3. Reed Cormorant
  4. Black Crake
  5. Wattled Crane
  6. Cape Crow
  7. African Darter
  8. Red-eyed Dove
  9. Fork-tailed Drongo
  10. Egyptian Goose
  11. Grey Heron
  12. Purple Heron
  13. African Hoopoe
  14. African Sacred Ibis
  15. Hadeda Ibis
  16. Blacksmith Lapwing
  17. South African Shelduck
  18. African Spoonbill
  19. Pied Starling
  20. Cape Wagtail
  21. Common Waxbill
  22. Village Weaver

Pigeon Valley Walk

Saturday 1st June 2019

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