North Old Durban Airport follow up.

Sunday 3 May 2015

Sally and I revisited the Umlaas Canal – just north of the Old Durban Airport – as a follow up to our visit on 22 March 2015.

Inside the Umlaas canal – north of the old Durban Airport. If the river is running low then it is possible to drive into the canal and explore both sides.

We took Roy Cowgill and Steve Davis with us.

Roy Cowgill exploring the canal.
Roy Cowgill exploring the canal.

Although the variety of species seen was much less than on our previous visit (expected as many would have migrated in the interim) surprisingly the number of birds observed was no less. What surprised us was the huge numbers of Cape Wagtails and Three-banded Plovers all the way down the canal.

Our goal was to show Roy and Steve the canal and its abundant waterbird life as well as to find the Greater Painted Snipes which we had seen on our previous visit.

The canal was not running deep so we were able to drive through the water and explore both sides of the canal.

As we drove slowly down the canal, Steve suddenly quietly yelled for us to stop. Right beside us were a male and a female Greater Painted Snipe – not one metre from the car. Of course as we stopped so the birds flew. We managed to locate them again but they flew across to the other side of the water.

Male Greater Painted Snipe flying across to the other side of the canal.
Male Greater Painted Snipe flying across to the other side of the canal.

We followed and found them again – posing round the edge of some tall reeds. They were not too concerned about us so we kept our distance and watched them for some time.

While we were watching the Snipes went into mating mode and just as they reached their climax (no pun intended) they were rudely interrupted by several loud Hadedas flying overhead and the male ran for cover! What were they thinking. Mating at the very end of mating season?

I do have some reasonable video footage of the Snipes which I seem unable to put on the site. However click on this link to the video on YouTube.

Several species were present with their young – Black-winged Stilts, Blacksmith Lapwings and White-faced Ducks.

Here are some photos of some of the other species seen.

This is a new area which Roy and Steve plan to include in future CWAC counts because of the large variety and numbers of waterbirds seen here.

Paul and Sally Bartho

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