Report on our Saturday outing- Elena Russell
15 hardy souls braved the very early morning start – we gathered by the light of a full moon and it was very very cold!!
As we headed off for Vumbuka the ‘quick’ of an African Goshawk could be heard high above us in the sky – intoxicating stuff!
Vumbuka is fabulous – walking through the forest we were accompanied by the dawn chorus. Our tiny hands may have been frozen but we were having fun. The birds were hunting for the sunniest spots. The White-eared Barbets had found an excellent dead tree in which to perch and catch the sun and an African Hoopoe was calling high up in an adjacent tree. We could hear a Black Sparrowhawk calling in the distance but it was only later in the day that we had great views of the Spars. Red-fronted & Yellow-rumped Tinkerbirds, Yellow-fronted Canaries and Cape White-eyes were everywhere feasting on the figs. Plenty of Sombre Greenbuls, Dark-capped Bulbuls, Dusky, Paradise and Black Flycatchers. Brief glimpses of Tambourine Doves and Yellow-bellied Greenbuls.
Excellent sightings of Grey Cuckooshrike, Sunbirds; Amethyst, Olive, Grey & Collared, Weavers; Thickbilled, Spectacled, Village and Dark-Backed. Yellowbreasted Apalis were calling and a Bar-throated Apalis was seen later at the gazebo. Natal Robins (Red-capped Robin-Chat), Southern Black Tit, Fork-tailed Drongos. Black-collared Barbets and the calls of Purple Crested Turacos and Southern Boubou kept the list ticking up nicely.
Walking back through the grasslands we had masses of Palm Swifts, Black Sawwings and quite a few Lesser Striped Swallows (presumably they over-wintered on the balmy South Coast). Tawny-flanked Prinias, Speckled Mousebirds, Bronze Mannikins and a Black-headed Heron.
We had our tea at the gazebo and our count at that stage was 54. After tea we went on down to Umbogavango and at that stage we had decided the bird of the day was the Grey Cuckooshrike but driving into Umbogavango we good views of a female Narina Trogon. We quickly parked and hurried back up the road with the rest of the group and managed to get some good photos of the beautiful bird.
We then went on another walk – and added some really nice birds to our list. An African Fish Eagle was being harassed by the Black Sparrowhawks, White-bellied Sunbird, Little Bee-eaters, Giant and Malachite Kingfishers, Red-backed Mannikins, Hamerkop, Cape Wagtail, Olive and Kurrichane Thrush, Sacred Ibis and Woolly-necked Storks flew overhead, Little Rush and Lesser Swamp Warblers in the reeds and we thought we had done pretty well but of course Jenny, Rowena and Vauneen who had stayed behind in the hide picked up Lesser Honeyguide and Green Twinspots (drat) – in total our bird count was 80!!.
The photo of the tree with the pretty white flowers – Tabernaemontana Ventricosa or in plain English a Toad Tree.
The Erythrinas – Lysistemon and Caffra were in full bloom and plenty have been planted all over this pretty reserve.
Thanks to John, Dave, Paul and Hennie for the pics.