Darvill, Near Pietermaritzburg

Tuesday 21 April

Sally and I went to see if we could find the Lesser Jacana which had been seen there recently. It was a pleasant day with a light breeze and we arrived midday.

Dam 4 was the place to go so we headed there. There we found a family from Port Shepstone – Barry, Sue and  Cameron. They had arrived an hour earlier and so far had not found the bird.

We searched all the way round the dam – bundu bashing at times as the pathways between the dams was well overgrown. Despite an extensive search we eventually left at 15h00 empty handed.

However there was plenty of bird life on dams 3 and 4 that have shallow banks which the birds seem to prefer. Little Grebes, Egyptian and Spur-winged Geese and African Sacred Ibis were present in large numbers. Numerous African Jacanas were seen all round the edges of the dams too.

Other birds seen were Common Moorhens, Black Crakes, Red-billed, Hottentot and Cape Teals, Cape Shovellors, Southern Pochard and South African Shelduck. Two Wood Sandpipers were seen as well as several Three-banded Plovers and Cape Wagtails but no other waders – all gone.

An African Fish-Eagle made an appearance and had all the birds off the water and into the air. An African Marsh Harrier also quartered the dams.

We left a wee disappointed in not finding the Lesser Jacana but enjoyed the day none-the-less.

Paul & Sally Bartho

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