Kamberg Nature Reserve

Report by Paul and Sally Bartho

8th t0 9th September 2016

Only one night was spent in Kamberg Nature reserve on the way to family in the Berg.

Fortunately the weather was clear but cool when we arrived until we left – although we had an entertaining evening of wind and fire.

Anyway we were grandly welcome by the birds. These photos show the first five birds we saw.

On arrival we had noticed a smell of fire and we could see the smoke rising from the top of the distant hills. The wind was obviously blowing our way.

Sitting with our sundowners enjoying the peacefulness, the smoke we had seen now changed into fire. We could see the flames creeping down the mountainside towards us. Nervously the camp manager was called and she told us there were adequate fire breaks surrounding us.

On going to sleep the fires kept getting closer and the smell of smoke not quite choking – brought to us on the wings of a rather strong wind. Sleep eventually fell upon us and when we awoke all was quiet and the smoke had gone. Looking out the window we could see the burnt area miles away from us!

The morning was spent birding around the camp and staff areas. In total we identified 39 different species – click here to view our list.

Garden birds were calling all around us with Bokmakierie playing a variety of calls.

Several things were striking. The first was the numbers of Buff-streaked Chats – they seemed to be everywhere.

A large family of Ground Woodpeckers kept us entertained as they came out to sunbathe in the warmth of day.ground-woodpeckers

A Red-throated Wryneck called all morning long moving from one clump of tall trees to the next and evading our binoculars. Eventually we found it in a distant bare tree.

Red-throated Wryneck

Cape Vultures circled overhead

Unusually a Secretarybird flew above us. We are used to seeing them on the ground so this was a treat.

And a Rufous-chested Sparrowhawk did a fly-by.

Then we seemed to save the best for last. Having settled in at Kamberg Valley Hideaway http://www.kambergvalleyhideaway.co.za/with Sally’s son and girlfriend, we took a drive towards the Hlatikulu Crane Sanctuary and Giant’s castle.

We almost turned back as the temperature was dropping and the wind was up. However just past the turnoff to the Crane sanctuary there are two large lakes on the same side of the road. As we approached we wondered if we would see any Cranes. Were we in for a surprise – 30 Wattled Cranes and 2 Grey Crowned Cranes in the first field between the lakes and another 40 Grey-crowned Cranes in the field on the far side. Thankfully we had our scope with us to get a good count.

A very rewarding 24 hours.

Paul and sally Bartho

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