The Birdclub’s outing to Oribi Gorge had 10 members attending. A few having some ‘target’ birds for the day.
We started off by birding in a different area from normal, but as it was along the road the latecomers were able to catch up before we’d gone very far. It seemed very quiet for Oribi and not much was seen early on, but this picked up after a while and we got great views of many Knysna Turacos and a couple of people got lifers with Mountain Wagtail.
Blue-mantled Flycatchers showed themselves a few times but many birds where hiding in the green foliage. Apalis’s (two species), White-eyes and Sunbirds were all around and the normally shy Southern Boubou came out of hiding along with Sombre Greenbuls. We then moved onto the farmlands just above the Gorge and had both species of Longclaw along with African Pipits and a pair of Rock Kestrel’s.
We then went down to the main picnic area for a well-deserved tea break before going along the Hoopoe Falls trail. While some where still drinking their coffee Dave Rimmer located a juvenile White-starred Robin which didn’t hang around for the others but compensation came in the form of a pair of Cape Batis.
While along the trail an adult Robin was spotted and seen by most (and a lifer for some). There were quite a few butterflies around including the unusual Dusky-veined Acraea.
Most people had lunch at the picnic spot before departing when the wind picked up.
Sadly although a few were heard calling and one tapped close to the road, the Knysna Woodpecker didn’t show itself on the day – leaving something to go back for.
Four of us stayed for the weekend in the reserve huts and had booked to go to the vulture breeding site on the Monday. What a treat to have the Cape Vultures flying so close above our heads and to see them on the cliffs. A Black Stork also joined them for a flyby.
Photos curtesy of Declan Jordan, Rex Aspeling, John Bremner and Dave Rimmer.
Umbogavango in Winter came up trumps – it was a beautiful day and the birding was great as can be seen from the superb pics. There were 19 members & 1 visitor and we broke up into 2 groups – thanks to Ismail for leading the 2nd group.
White-eared Barbets in abundance;
then we had the most lovely views of 6/7 Black Collared Barbets sitting in the top of a fever tree catching the sun (what a great pic!!).
Maybe not so many water birds as in Summer but Black Crake were seen a number of times as well as a very strange hybrid goose hanging out with a pair of Egyptian Geese and their chicks (any ideas on the lineage?).
Raptors: Black Sparrowhawk, Lanner Falcon, African Fish Eagle and then the piece de resistance a Palm-nut Vulture circling overhead and giving us the most fabulous display – I think we then decided it was a glorious day.
We had a brief glimpse of a Natal Spurfowl; Giant, Malachite & Brown-hooded Kingfishers, Cape, Pied & Mountain Wagtails, plenty of flycatchers and sunbirds and lots, lots more – our count was 74 but a few of us stayed on for another short walk and we had large flocks of Red-back Mannikins and a sole Blacksmith Lapwing flew into sight just as we were leaving making a total count of 76 – not too shabby for a Winter’s morning birding.
The Tapinanthus (kraussianus(?) was flowering on lots of the trees much to the enjoyment of the sunbirds.