Saturday, 18 August 2018

UPCOMING OUTING: TC Robertson NR, Scottburgh - 26 August 2018



Dear Members & Friends

Little Bee-eater (photo Hazel van Rooyen)

Sunday 26 August  07:00 BIRDLIFE TROGONS will visit T C Robertson NR,  Scottburgh.  There is a R20 per car entrance fee.  Bring chairs, breakfast & meat for a braai.   ALL WELCOME. There is a R20pp charge for non-members of Birdlife Trogons.  Outings may be cancelled due to weather, check www.birdlifetrogons.blogspot.com or phone/text Hazel before setting off. For further details telephone Hazel van Rooyen on 072 355 8837 or visit the blog. 

PLEASE LET HAZEL KNOW IF YOU WILL BE ATTENDING THE OUTING.

From the N2 take the Dududu/Scottburgh exit and turn towards the sea. At T junction (R102) turn right. The reserve is on the right after crossing the river.  Meet at the entrance gate.


Hazel van Rooyen
Secretary/Blog





Sunday, 12 August 2018

Outing report: Umbogavango & Vumbuka Nature Reserves, Amanzimtoti - 12 August 2018





Attendees: Stan & Val Culley, Sandy Olver, Hazel Nevin, Ros & Sandi from Port Natal club, Facebook members - Rudolf & Geraldine all the way from Pietermaritzburg, Bob & Hazel van Rooyen
Species: 77                                                                 Text: Hazel van Rooyen

Umbogavango NR (photo HvR)

Umbogavango NR in early morning mist (photo HvR)

Having booked well in advance, the security was very efficient as we entered the nature reserve.  It was a chilly morning with mist rising from the lake in which a few Egyptian Geese idled beneath some low-hanging branches.  We decided to leave the forest walk until the day had warmed up a bit and took a long walk around, starting off along the road until we found the trail.  The first birds we noted were White-eared Barbets which are common in this area and seem to be moving down the coast, having even been seen in Port Edward.  Olive Sunbirds flitted in the coral-like flowers of Erythrina trees, Black-collared Barbet, Green-backed Cameroptera and Sombre Greenbul were vocallising their joy in the new day.  A Fish Eagle was calling and as we summitted a small hill a vista opened up and we looked over a valley, spotting the eagle on the top of a dead blue gum tree, obviously its favourite outlook post.
African Fish Eagle (photo HvR)

Entering a small hide next to a waterhole a Black Crake rushed right and left in the reeds below us, until it decided it would be safer on the other side and with much splashing of its little red legs, half-flapped its way over the water, disappearing into the safety of the reeds.  A Malachite Kingfisher and Dark-capped Yellow Warbler were also busy in this corner of the pond.
Malachite Kingfisher (photo HvR)
 
Southern Red Bishop (F) (photo HvR)

The pathway took us to a circle beneath some tall trees where two benches were conveniently provided.  Pausing here, we spotted some woodpeckers and Sandi realised it was a pair of Olive Woodpeckers.  This caused a bit of a stir – a Lifer for some people.  Golden-tailed and Cardinal Woodpeckers also appeared and there was quite a lot of air-chasing going on.
Ooh, it's an Olive Woodpecker! 

Cardinal Woodpecker (photo HvR)
Golden-tailed Woodpecker (photo HvR)

Moving along, Ros  spotted a Burchell’s Coucal and Black Saw-wings swooped overhead.  Another dam produced a family of Yellow-billed Ducks, Little Grebe and Common Moorhen while Little Rush Warblers chirruped amongst the reeds.
Common Moorhen (photo HvR)
Yellow-billed Ducks (photo HvR)

At this point we thought we had better return for breakfast.  On the way a Natal Spurfowl squawked in the dense grasses along the path whilst a Long-crested Eagle flew overhead.  Red-backed Mannikins and Red-winged Starlings were seen and at the edge of a grassy area two Kurrichane Thrushes dived into piles of dead leaves, cleverly flicking them over in their search for insects hiding there. 

Whilst we were enjoying our breakfast, Klaas’s Cuckoos could be heard calling to each other.  By this time the day had warmed up nicely and after a short walk through the forest we made our way to Vumbuka, spotting Little Bee-eaters and Blacksmith Lapwing along the way.  Vumbuka is an old slimes dam which has been successfully rehabilitated back to nature and some of the trees are now massive. At the picnic site there was a very nice lapa and next to this a hide which overlooked a stream.  We disturbed a Black Sparrowhawk that had been sitting in the stream.  Not far into the woods a pair of Impithi peacefully foraged.
Impithi (photo HvR)

After a relaxing braai we all made our way back to our respective homes, having enjoyed a lovely day out with a good bird count of 77 species, including a final Black-headed Heron on the road out.









Species: 77

Apalis, Bar-throated
Barbet, Black-collared
Barbet, Crested
Barbet, White-eared
Batis, Chinspot
Bee-eater, Little
Bishop, Southern Red
Boubou, Southern
Bulbul, Dark-capped
Cameroptera, Green-backed
Canary, Yellow-fronted
Cormorant, Reed
Coucal, Burchell’s
Crake, Black
Cuckoo, Klaas’s
Dove, Laughing
Dove, Red-eyed
Drongo, Fork-tailed
Drongo, Square-tailed
Duck, Yellow-billed
Eagle, African Fish
Eagle, Long-crested
Flycatcher, Dusky
Flycatcher, Paradise
Flycatcher, Southern Black
Goose, Egyptian
Grebe, Little
Greenbul, Sombre
Greenbul, Yellow-bellied
Heron, Black-headed
Heron, Goliath
Heron, Grey
Hoopoe, African
Ibis, Hadedah
Kingfisher, Malachite
Kite, Yellow-billed
Lapwing, Black-smith
Mannikin, Bronze

Mannikin, Red-backed
Moorhen, Common
Mousebird, Speckled
Oriole, Black-headed
Prinia, Tawny-flanked
Robin-Chat, Red-capped
Saw-wing, Black
Sparrow, Southern Grey-headed
Sparrowhawk, Black
Spurfowl, Natal
Starling, Black-bellied
Starling, Red-winged
Sunbird, Amethyst
Sunbird, Collared
Sunbird, Collared
Sunbird, Grey
Sunbird, Olive
Sunbird, Purple-banded
Sunbird, Malachite
Swallow, Lesser-striped
Thrush, Kurrichane
Thrush, Olive
Tinkerbird, Red-fronted
Tinkerbird, Yellow-rumped
Tit, Southern Black
Turaco, Purple-crested
Twinspot, Green
Wagtail, Cape
Warbler, Dark-capped Yellow
Warbler, Little Rush
Weaver, Spectacled
Weaver, Thick-billed
Weaver, Village
Weaver, Yellow
White-eye, Cape
Wood-Hoopoe, Green
Woodpecker, Cardinal
Woodpecker, Golden-tailed
Woodpecker, Olive





(All photos property of photographers)


Sunday, 5 August 2018

UPCOMING OUTING - Umbogavango NR, Amanzimtoti

Dear Members & Friends


Sunday 12 August at 07:00am BirdLife Trogons will visit Umbogavango (AECI) in Amanzimtoti.  Bring chairs, breakfast and something to braai for lunch.  All Welcome.  There is a R20pp charge for non-members of BirdLife Trogons.  Outings may be cancelled due to weather, check www.birdlifetrogons.blogspot.com or phone Hazel before setting off.  Please let Hazel know on 072 355 8837 if you will be attending.

Take Moss Kolnik Drive (M37) off-ramp from the N2 and keep left.  Turn 2nd right into Southgate Business Park and meet in lay-by on left just before the security gate.
Set GPS to DD MM SS.S = S30 01 51.8  E30 53 40.9

Hope to see you there!
Hazel van Rooyen
Secretary
BirdLife Trogons Bird Club


Sunday, 22 July 2018

Outing report: Skyline NR & Uvongo River Conservancy, 22 July 2018


Attendees: Graham & Sue Salthouse, Stan & Val Culley, Barrie Willis & Sue Hansbury, Stanley & Asothie Gengan, Doug & Angie Butcher, Margaret Jones, Hazel van Rooyen (12)

Species: Total 39                                                 Text: Hazel van Rooyen

Knysna Turaco (photo: Doug Butcher)
A dozen keen birders constituted a good turnout for a wintry Sunday morning.  Having "meeted and greeted" we started our walk through a slice of forest and past the old garden.  One can imagine how it had looked in by-gone days when it had been loved and cared for by the various families that had owned it down the years, from the first owner who purchased it from the Knox-Gores with visions of making a home for his future wife who was on her way by sea from the UK and then met someone else on board ship, to the gentleman who turned it into an arboretum of exotic botanical plants and planted turpentine trees from Australia as windbreaks.  After a few other changes of ownership it was handed to Margate Borough and thence to its current custodianship with the Natal Parks Board (now Ezemvelo Wildlife) who are slowly returning it to its original natural state, preserving indigenous trees and rare coastal grassland.
Jack fruit in SA? (photo: HvR)

First spotted was a White-eared Barbet perched on the top-most branch of a dead tree and a Knysna Turaco flashing its brilliant colours in the early morning sunshine.  A Black-headed Oriole sang happily whilst Amethyst and Olive Sunbirds flitted in the mid-canopy.
Female Amethyst Sunbird (photo: HvR)

The forest gave way to grasslands which didn’t yield much except for Black-bellied Starling in the distant tree-tops and a lone Hamerkop flying overhead. 

Aloe maculata (photo: HvR)
Walking through the grassland (photo: HvR)
The dam at the bottom of the property was quite dry but further along a pond just about supported a few sad lily pads.
No ducks on this dam! (photo: HvR)


The remainder of the walk produced Sombre Greenbul, Bronze Mannikin, Greater Honeyguide and an African Fish Eagle called from the direction of the river.
The whole reserve had been cleared and thinned out recently but there was still a lot of dead wood lying around.  The remains of a weaver's nest below caused some discussion.
Immature Greater Honeyguide moulting into adult plumage (photo: Stan Culley)

Forest or Spectacled Weaver nest? (photo: HvR)


Returning to the parking we enjoyed some breakfast before driving around to the Uvongo River Conservancy. 
Breakfast (photo: HvR)

Although the river comprised mere puddles amidst the sand a Goliath Heron and Egyptian Goose were seen.  Also spotted were Scaly-throated Honeyguide, Brown-hooded Kingfisher, African Green Pigeon and Green Woodhoopoe amongst others.

BirdList (Total: 39 species)
Skyline (21 species)
Uvongo River Conservancy (27 species)
Barbet, Black-collared
Barbet, White-eared
Bulbul, Dark-capped
Dove, Red-eyed
Drongo, Fork-tailed
Drongo, Square-tailed
Eagle, African Fish
Greenbul, Sombre
Hamerkop
Honeyguide, Greater
Hornbill, Crowned
Ibis, Hadedah
Mannikin, Bronze
Oriole, Black-headed
Starling, Black-bellied
Sunbird, Amethyst
Sunbird, Olive
Turaco, Knysna
Wagtail, African Pied
Weaver, Dark-backed
Weaver, Village

Barbet, Black-collared
Boubou, Southern
Bulbul, Dark-capped
Canary, Yellow-fronted
Dove, Red-eyed
Eagle, African Fish
Flycatcher, Southern Black
Goose, Egyptian
Heron, Goliath
Honeyguide, Scaly-throated
Hornbill, Crowned
Ibis, Hadedah
Kingfisher, Brown-hooded
Mannikin, Red-backed
Mousebird, Speckled
Oriole, Black-headed
Pigeon, African Green
Prinia, Tawny-flanked
Starling, Red-winged
Sunbird, Collared
Thrush, Olive
Turaco, Knysna
Turaco, Purple-crested
Wagtail, African Pied
Weaver, Spectacled
White-eye, Cape
Woodhoopoe, Green



Friday, 13 July 2018

UPCOMING OUTING: Skyline NR & Uvongo River Conservancy



Dear Members & Friends


Sunday 22 July at 07:00 am BIRDLIFE TROGONS will visit Skyline N.R. and Uvongo
Conservancy.  We will start at Skyline N.R. then go on to Uvongo Conservancy for another walk and lunch.  Bring chairs, breakfast & something to braai for lunch.  ALL WELCOME. There is a R20pp charge for non-members of BirdLife Trogons.  Outings may be cancelled due to weather, check www.birdlifetrogons.blogspot.com or phone Hazel before setting off. For further details telephone**  Hazel van Rooyen on 072 355 8837 or visit the blog.  ** Please note we cannot respond to text messages or “call me” requests.

PLEASE LET HAZEL KNOW IF YOU WILL BE ATTENDING THE OUTING

From the R620 turn inland at the robots in Uvongo. Turn immediately left then keep right into Pioneer Road. Follow this road which becomes Uvongo Drive. After crossing the R61 Skyline N.R. is well signed on the right.

Kind regards
Hazel van Rooyen
Secretary
BirdLife Trogons Bird Club

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Outing report: Burchell's Coucal Eco Trail, Illovo - 8 July 2018



Attendees: Sandy Olver, Stanley Gengan, Barrie Willis & Sue Hansbury, Graham & Sue Salthouse, Stan & Val Culley, Bob & Hazel van Rooyen (10)

Species: 57                                                         Text: Hazel van Rooyen
Water Thick-knee  (photo: HvR)

Our morning started off with some short sharp showers whilst travelling on the highway to Illovo but they quickly cleared to produce a lovely Indian ocean winter’s day.  On arriving at the business park we were temporarily flummoxed as the entrance was blocked off but we found another way in around the side.  The guard helpfully offered to get the key and open up the gate to the trail for us.
4 Water Thick-knees, well camouflaged (photo HvR)

As we parked we disturbed the resident family of Water Thick-knees which flew across the river and settled there for the day.  Blacksmith Lapwings, Cape Wagtails and Three-banded Plovers foraged at the water’s edge.  After a fairly quick breakfast we set off to do the walk.  Being mid-winter the river comprised of mostly trickles but deep enough in places to make it tempting for the African Fish Eagle and Reed Cormorant.  Red-wing and Black-bellied Starlings, Black-collared Barbets, Bronze Mannikins flitted amongst the trees while Southern Red Bishops and Thick-billed Weaver preferred the beds of tall reeds next to the river.

The track began with open grassland and produced African Stonechat, Fan-tailed Widowbird and Crested Barbet, amongst others.  
African Fish Eagle (photo: HvR)

Good views over the river (photo: HvR)
Viewpoints on hillocks provided good views of the river with bamboo fences providing some degree of cover.  Spurwing and Egyptian Geese congregated on a large sandspit and Stan spotted a Malachite Kingfisher and Brown-throated Martin flying across the river and the distinctive hollow bubbling call of the trail's namesake, the Burchell's Coucal, was heard.  A Hamerkop was seen several times searching up and down the river. 
Trail through riverine bush (photo: HvR)

After a while the track closed in and led us through quite dense riverine bush, producing Tawny-flanked Prinia, Bar-throated Apalis, Red-capped Robin-Chat and Dark-capped Yellow Warbler.  By this time, we had split into two groups and my group were meeting up with the leaders who were on their way back, having already done the loop.  En route they had seen Terrestrial Brownbul, Green-backed Cameroptera, and White-browed Scrub-Robin. Continuing back, Pin-tailed Whydah, Black Saw-wing, Black-headed Heron, Speckled Mousebird and Long-crested Eagle were spotted. 
Convenient shade for relaxing with views of the river (photo: HvR)

At the picnic site a barn-like structure provided a shady spot for us to relax and view the river and environs.  A flock of Woolly-necked Storks circled lazily overhead and Little Bee-eaters darted this way and that in the bushes on the opposite bank. 
Little Bee-eater (photo: Sue Salthouse)

Pied Wagtails inspected the river margin while a Familiar Chat popped over to see if we had dropped any crumbs.  Red-backed Mannikins and Cape White-eyes busied themselves in some young thorn trees close by.









A very pleasant morning was had by all and we were happy with our count of 57 species.


Apalis, Bar-throated
Barbet, Black-collared
Barbet, Crested
Bee-eater, Little
Bishop, Southern Red
Boubou, Southern
Brownbul, Terrestrial
Bulbul, Dark-capped
Cameroptera, Green-backed
Canary, Yellow-fronted
Chat, Familiar
Cormorant, Reed
Coucal, Burchell’s
Dove, Laughing
Dove, Red-eyed
Dove, Tambourine
Drongo, Fork-tailed
Eagle, Long-crested
Fiscal, Common
Flycatcher, Southern Black
Goose, Egyptian
Goose, Spurwing
Greenbul, Sombre
Hadedah, Ibis
Hamerkop
Heron, Black-headed
Hoopoe, African
Kingfisher, Malachite
Kingfisher, Pied

Lapwing, Blacksmith
Mannikin, Bronze
Mannikin, Red-backed
Martin, Brown-throated
Mousebird, Speckled
Plover, Three-banded
Prinia, Tawny-flanked
Robin-Chat, Red-capped
Saw-wing, Black
Scrub-Robin, White-browed
Sparrow, Southern Grey-headed
Starling, Black-bellied
Starling, Red-winged
Stonechat, African
Stork, Woolly-necked
Sunbird, Amethyst
Sunbird, Olive
Thick-knee, Water
Wagtail, Cape
Wagtail, Pied
Warbler, Dark-capped
Weaver, Spectacled
Weaver, Thick-billed
Weaver, Village
Weaver, Yellow
White-eye, Cape
Whydah, Pin-tailed
Widow, Fan-tailed

All photos property of photographer

Sunday, 1 July 2018

UPCOMING OUTING: Burchell's Coucal Eco Trail, 8 July 2018





Dear Members & Friends


Sunday 8 July 07:00am BirdLife Trogons will visit the Burchell’s Coucal Eco Trail, close to Illovo.  Bring chairs, breakfast and something to braai for lunch.  All welcome.  There is a R20pp charge for non-members of BirdLife Trogons.  For this venue only we will follow a slightly different routine – Breakfast/coffee on arrival at the trail followed by the walk. Outings may be cancelled due to weather, check www.birdlifetrogons.blogspot.com or phone Hazel on 072 355 8837 before setting off.  Please let Hazel know if you will be attending the outing.

Meet at the Shell Ultra City garage South Coast (N2 North, heading towards Durban, ie travelling from South to North) at 07:00 and we will travel in convoy from there
.
Kind regards
Hazel van Rooyen
Secretary
BirdLife Trogons Bird Club

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Outing report: Mpenjati Nature Reserve, 24 June 2018




Attendees: Stanley & Asothie Gengan, Stan & Val Culley, Graham & Sue Salthouse, Doug & Angie Butcher, Rob Eccles, Rene & Anne Rey, Pete & Ann Wright, Alastair Warman, Veronique Warman, Di Smith, Bob & Hazel Van Rooyen (18)

Species: 28                                                                                          Text: Hazel van Rooyen
Woolly-necked Storks (photo HvR)

Pied Wagtails, Pied Kingfishers and Woolly-necked Storks greeted our arrival at the Mpenjati estuary on a bright but blustery winter’s morning. 
Sun rising over the lagoon (photo Doug Butcher)

Reed Cormorants (photo HvR)
We spent a short while surveying the lagoon which was quite full, with no nice sandy edges for waders.  With not much activity there, we walked back up the road, past the offices, on the way sighting, amongst others, Fork-tailed Drongo, Red-eyed Dove, Southern Black Flycatcher, Yellow-throated Longclaw, Yellow Weaver, Fan-tailed Widowbird and Natal Spurfowl amongst the tall dry grassland. 
Tree Aloes like candles lighting up the dune forest (photo HvR)
Moving through the dune forest nothing stirred but as we came out onto the beach a couple of families of Kelp Gulls stood where the little waves were breaking, keeping their eyes open for anything the tide might expose
Kelp Gull (photo Doug Butcher)

 
Back at the cars we had our breakfast with the wintry sun beginning to warm us up.  

We then crossed back over the bridge to the north side.  The resident family of Water Thick-knees (at least 5) stood with half-closed eyes in their favourite spot on the rounded boulders at the water’s edge beneath the bridge.
Water Thick-knees (photo HvR)

Approaching the dune forest Rene spotted a raptor which landed on the top-most tree.  Stan identified it as an immature African Fish Eagle. 

Immature African Fish Eagle (photo HvR)
The entrance to the boardwalk was water-logged but we found a dry path around it.  However, a short way further along, another water-logged section blocked our path and the walk up through the dune was still cordoned off.  There had been reports of scout parties helping to repair this once pretty walk but signs informed us it was still under construction.  Sadly we had to reverse and we made ourselves comfortable under the shady trees next to the lagoon for an early lunch.







Lunch (Photo Doug Butcher)





 Species: 28

Barbet, Black-collared
Bulbul, Dark-capped
Cormorant, Reed
Dove, Laughing
Dove, Red-eyed
Drongo, Fork-tailed
Eagle, African Fish
Egret, Cattle
Fiscal, Common

Flycatcher, Southern Black
Goose, Egyptian
Greenbul Sombre
Gull, Kelp
Ibis, Hadedah
Kingfisher, Giant
Kingfisher, Pied
Longclaw, Yellow-throated
Pigeon, Green
Spurfowl, Natal

Stork, Woolly-necked
Sunbird, Amethyst
Sunbird, Olive
Tern, Swift
Thick-knee, Water
Wagtail, Cape
Wagtail, Pied
Weaver, Yellow
Widowbird, Fan-tailed