Monday, 15 October 2018

RESCHEDULED OUTING: Mtentu Drive - 21 October 2018


Buff-streaked Chat
Dear Members & Friends

Sunday 21 October at 06:30 BirdLife Trogons will take an adventure drive into the Eastern Cape along the route to Mtentu.  Bring chairs, breakfast and a PICNIC lunch (NO braai)  ALL WELCOME.  There is a R20 pp charge for non-members of BirdLife Trogons.  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 on 072 355 8837 if you will be attending the outing - I will email you a copy of the directions.

Meet at the service station at the robots on the R61 at Port Edward. 
If you plan on participating, please print the attached directions (GPS directions are incorrect), note we will not be going as far as Mtentu Lodge.

Kind regards
Hazel van Rooyen
Secretary
BirdLife Trogons Bird Club

Saturday, 13 October 2018

CANCELLED: TROGONS OUTING TO MTENTU

Dear Members & Friends

Unfortunately we once again have to cancel our Sunday outing for tomorrow 14 October due to unfavourable weather forecast and unpleasant conditions.

Apologies to all.

Kind regards
Hazel van Rooyen
Secretary

Friday, 5 October 2018

UPCOMING OUTING: Mtentu Drive

Buff-streaked Chat


Dear Members & Friends

Sunday 14 October at 06:30 BirdLife Trogons will take an adventure drive into the Eastern Cape along the route to Mtentu.  Bring chairs, breakfast and a PICNIC lunch.  ALL WELCOME.  There is a R20 pp charge for non-members of BirdLife Trogons.  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 on 072 355 8837 if you will be attending the outing.

Meet at the service station at the robots on the R61 at Port Edward. 
If you plan on participating, please request directions from me (GPS directions are incorrect).

Kind regards
Hazel van Rooyen
Secretary
BirdLife Trogons Bird Club


Saturday, 22 September 2018

CANCELLED: Outing to Vernon Crookes - 23 September 2018

Dear Members and Friends

Unfortunately tomorrow's outing to Vernon Crookes has been cancelled due to adverse weather forecasts.  My apologies.

Kind regards
Hazel van Rooyen
Secretary
BirdLife Trogons Bird Club

Saturday, 15 September 2018

UPCOMING OUTING: Vernon Crookes Nature Reserve

Crowned Hornbill (photo Stan Culley)

Sunday 23 September 2018 at 6.30am. BIRDLIFE TROGONS will visit Vernon Crookes N.R.  There is a R20pp entrance fee which is negated with Rhino/Wild cards.  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 on 072 355 8837 or visit the blog. 


PLEASE LET HAZEL KNOW IF YOU WILL BE ATTENDING THE OUTING

Directions:  
Turn inland from the N2 at Park Rynie/Umzinto onto the R612. After 12 km turn right at the signpost for the reserve and meet here. 

Set GPS to DD MM SS.S  =  S30 18 48.1  E30 37 18.9

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

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

RESCHEDULED OUTING to Umtamvuna NR


Dear Members & Friends
 
Gurney's Sugarbird (photo: Stan Culley)
As September is the best month for the flowers in Umtamvuna we are rescheduling last Sunday’s rained-off outing to this Sunday, 16th September.  Details stay the same:

Sunday 16 September 7.00am BirdLife Trogons will visit Beacon Hill, Umtamvuna NR for birding and Spring flowers. There is an approximate entrance fee of R20pp.   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 phone Hazel on 072 355 8837 or visit the blog.

PLEASE LET HAZEL KNOW IF YOU WILL BE ATTENDING THE OUTING

Meet at Beacon Hill office. Take the R61 to Port Edward and turn inland at the robots up the Izingolweni road to Beacon Hill entrance gate. Set GPS to DD MM SS.S = S31 00 27.7  E30 10 48.1

Kind regards
Hazel van Rooyen
Secretary
BirdLife Trogons Bird Club

Sunday, 9 September 2018

OUTING CANCELLED TO UMTAMVUNA

Dear All

The outing for today 9 September to Umtamvuna NR has been cancelled due to rain and wind.

Kind regards
Hazel

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

UPCOMING OUTING: Beacon Hill, Umtamvuna NR



Dear Members & Friends
Gurney's Sugarbird

Sunday 9 September 7.00am BirdLife Trogons will visit Beacon Hill, Umtamvuna NR for birding and Spring flowers. There is a R20pp entrance fee.   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 phone Hazel on 072 355 8837 or visit the blog.

PLEASE LET HAZEL KNOW IF YOU WILL BE ATTENDING THE OUTING

Meet at Beacon Hill office. Take the R61 to Port Edward and turn inland at the robots up the Izingolweni road to Beacon Hill entrance gate. Set GPS to DD MM SS.S =
S31 00 27.7  E30 10 48.1

See you there!
Hazel van Rooyen
Secretary
BirdLife Trogons Bird Club

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Outing report: TC Robertson NR, Scottburgh - 26 August 2018



Spotted Ground Thrush (photo: Stan Culley)

Attendees: Hazel Nevin, Graham & Sue Salthouse, Stan & Val Culley, Stanley & Asothie Gengan, Lennart Erikssen & Evelyn Heunis, Albert & Denise Pienaar, Doug Butcher, Robin Eccles & Hanli Kloppers, Desiree Kruger & Butch Goldstone, Bob & Hazel van Rooyen (18)

Species identified: 60                                                              Text: Hazel van Rooyen



Sunday dawned full of good possibilities and proved true to its promise – good weather, good birding and an enthusiastic bunch of 18 people!

Meeting up just inside the gate and parking next to the river, Blacksmith Lapwing, 3-banded Plover, Egyptian Goose and Yellow Weaver were soon seen, along with a Yellow-billed Kite. 
Yellow-billed Kite (photo: HvR)
Nearly everyone was excited to report that during the previous two weeks, they had already seen their first “YBK” arriving back from its winter migration, the sightings of which always herald Spring just around the corner (not that we suffer from the cold in our neck of the woods but a new season is always eagerly anticipated).  Spurwing Goose, Village Weaver, African Darter, Bronze Mannikins, Reed Cormorant and Pied Kingfisher were also seen in this spot.

We then drove round to the picnic site where we parked the vehicles and paid our R20 per car to Keith Layfield who does a really excellent job of looking after the reserve, on a volunteer basis.  It was such a pleasure to spend our day there.

From here we took the grasslands trail, spotting Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Black-collared Barbet, Cardinal Woodpecker, Olive Sunbird, Common Waxbill amongst others.  Hazel Nevin led us to where she was sure we would see the Little Bee-eaters and indeed there were two swaying in some tall reeds.  Little Rush Warbler and Tawny-flanked Prinia could be heard and a Burchell’s Coucal gurgled some way off.  A flock of about 8 Cape Crows was a surprise sighting, being unusual for this area.
Brown-hooded Kingfisher with mud on her beak (photo: Lennart Erikssen)
 Further along a Brown-hooded Kingfisher posed nicely for the photographers.  We had been hearing the “what-to-to-dooo” call of the Orange-breasted Bushshrike for a while and then he was seen, hopping around in some bushes, lost and spotted again.  Dusky Flycatcher, Yellow-bellied and Sombre Greenbuls were also seen on this trail.  Red-capped Robin-Chats were seen a few times and although we kept our eyes open for Cape Robin-Chats, (as requested by Peter Vos) none were seen.  By this time the trail had led us up the hillside and into more wooded terrain.  Here the path split and the bottom route produced African Firefinch, Collared Sunbird and Cape White-eye while those who went on the higher route found an African Green Pigeon.
The people (photo: Lennart Erikssen)



Coming back down to the grassland we noticed an unfamiliar brown & blue butterfly.  This turned out to be a Forest Queen which my book says is one of the most saught-after butterflies.  The appearance of bluey-green in the males is a phenomenon "created by diffraction of light rays striking the microscopic sculpturing of the white areas".* So now we know! 
Forest Queen (Charaxes wakefieldi) (photo: HvR)
A cisticola singing from high on a tall dead tree was initially identified as Red-faced but on closer inspection later discovered to be a Rufous-winged Cisticola.
Rufous-winged Cisticola (photo: Stan Culley)














So far it had been an eventful morning and after a well-earned breakfast most of us took the forest path where Alfred had already found a Spotted Ground Thrush.  And yes indeed, with everyone treading carefully in the dead leaf litter, Stan spotted it on the path where it shot off.  However after a little while it decided we weren’t a danger and showed itself again, typically turning over dead leaves looking for grubs with gusto. 
Spotted Ground Thrush (photo: HvR)
Spotted Ground Thrush (photo Doug Butcher)












We searched in this area for the Black-throated Wattle Eye but weren’t lucky.  We did spot Golden-tailed Woodpecker, Purple-crested Turaco and Southern Black Tit along this trail which is very pretty with little bridges and tinkling streams.  Arriving back at the river Common Sandpiper and Pied Wagtail were busy foraging at the water’s edge while a Black Saw-wing performed aerial acrobatics.  White-eared Barbets perched on the tops of the Strelitzias.
White-eared Barbet (photo: Doug Butcher



Doubling up in the vehicles, Hazel Nevin led us up the hill to the Crookes family church.  Along the way she pointed out a new retirement village where the famous Elsa Pooley (botanist, landscaper, author) had planted a hillock with attractive and colourful indigenous flora. However, there was another purpose for this detour and from the bottom of the pretty church-yard we could look over the stone wall to where the Crowned Eagles were busy nesting and we watched for quite a while. 
African Crowned Eagle taking off (photo: Stan Culley)
People in the churchyard (photo: HvR)


In the meantime a Natal Spurfowl was creating a disturbance in the bush close by and Red-winged Starlings flew in flocks between the Erythrina trees, murmering and twittering happily.  Fantailed Widowbird and Black-headed Oriole were also seen.

After all this excitement we proceeded back to the reserve where Keith had shown us where we could braai with some privacy from the usual Sunday picnickers.  Thank you once again to TC Robertson for letting us share their very special “bird patch”.
African Crowned Eagle (photo: HvR)

Black-collared Barbet (photo: HvR)
























Species Identified: 59

Barbet, Black-collared
Barbet, White-eared
Bee-eater, Little
Boubou, Southern
Brownbul, Terrestrial
Bulbul, Dark-capped
Bushshrike, Orange-breasted
Cameroptera, Green-backed
Cisticola, Rufous-winged
Cormorant, Reed
Coucal, Burchell’s
Crow, Black
Darter
Dove, Red-eyed
Drongo, Fork-tailed
Eagle, Crowned
Egret, Little
Firefinch, African
Flycatcher, Dusky
Flycatcher, Southern Black
Goose, Egyptian
Goose, Spurwing
Greenbul, Sombre
Greenbul, Yellow-bellied
Ibis, Hadedah
Kingfisher, Brown
Kingfisher, Pied
Kite, Yellow-billed
Lapwing, Black-smith
Mannikin, Bronze

Mousebird, Speckled
Oriole, Black-headed
Pigeon, African Green
Plover, 3-banded
Prinia, Tawny-flanked
Robin-Chat, Red-capped
Rush Warbler, Little Rush
Sandpiper, Common
Saw-wing, Black
Spurfowl, Natal
Starling, Red-winged
Sunbird, Amethyst
Sunbird, Collared
Sunbird, Olive
Swallow, Lesser-striped
Thrush, Spotted Ground
Tinkerbird, Red-fronted
Tinkerbird, Yellow-rumped
Tit, Southern Black
Turaco, Purple-crested
Wagtail, Pied
Waxbill, Common
Weaver, Spectacled
Weaver, Thick-billed
Weaver, Village
Weaver, Yellow
White-eye, Cape
Widow, Fantailed
Woodpecker, Cardinal
Woodpecker, Golden-tailed


*Field Guide to Butterflies of Southern Africa by Ivor Migdoll

(All photos property of photographer)

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