Tala Revisited

Five months later Jenny Norman and I were back at Tala – last Sunday of the month BLPN get a special discount, although it has increased over the past 5 months it is still not expensive.   We arrived around 06:45 and the day started off with a ‘bang’.  In the fig tree just past the gates were a pair of Spotted Eagle Owls. Next an  African Marsh Harrier quartering the hillside, then down to the dam for all the usual suspects and again we were pleasantly surprised.   Lots of Southern Pochards, Cape Shovellers, Black Crake, Purple Heron, African Rail and all sorts of warblers in the reeds.  On to the picnic site for coffee and muffins – the Erythrinas and Clivias in full flower.   Amazingly we saw no sunbirds all day and only heard the White-bellied late in the afternoon.  Red-throated Wrynecks all along the causeway, and then we spotted the Fiscal Flycatcher, the first of hundreds of Fiscal Flycatchers!!   One lone stunning Scimitarbill – calling to the others but to no avail.  We had some good raptors, African Fish Eagle, Long crested Eagle, Lanner Falcon, YBK, Black-shouldered Kite as well as the owls and harrier.   Around 16:30 Jenny suggested a last drive up to Paperbark Lodge and around the back road which passes a number of small dams.   What a great idea!  As we came up to Paperbark, past the dam which is almost dry, there on the side of the road were a pair of Blue Cranes – absolute perfection.   Then round to the small dams. Yellow-billed Egret, Spoonbills, South African Shelduck, herons and jacanas and just as we were making tracks for the gate 3 Red-billed Oxpeckers on the Zebra – what a great way to end the day.   Our total bird count was 95!

Photos courtesy of Jenny Norman.

Elena Russell

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