Friday, 19 January 2018

UPCOMING OUTING: River Valley, 28 January 2018

Dear Members and Friends
Terrestrial Brownbul (photo Stan Culley)

Sunday 28 January 06:30am BirdLife Trogons will visit River Valley.  There is a R20pp entry fee.  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 or phone Hazel before setting off.  For further details telephone ** Hazel van Rooyen on 072 355 8837. 

**Please note we cannot respond to text messages or “call me” requests.



Travel south from Durban on the N2 toll road. At the Port Shepstone toll head straight on the R61 towards Port Edward. Take the second off ramp, (Margate/Uvongo) and turn right into Wingate Ave and go back across the highway. You will pass the Margate Country Club on your right hand side. Carry on along Wingate for another 500m past Country Club and you will see our sign pointing right into Portal Ave. Drive down Portal Ave and follow our signs to the gate.

GPS Co Ordinates S 30.83’436” E 30.35’880”

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Outing report: Ingeli Forest & Harding for summer CWAC - 14 January 2018

Attendees:       Stan & Val Culley, Danie & Bella du Toit, Bob & Hazel van Rooyen
Species:           50                                           Text & Photos: Hazel van Rooyen
Black-winged Lapwing
Our first outing of the year was quite ambitious – Ingeli Forest, checking for Cape Parrots and Blue Swallows and the Summer CWAC but six of us gave it a good shot.  After a long drive in very misty conditions we met up at Ingeli Forest Lodge (now called Anew Hotel Ingeli Forest & Spa).  Whilst greeting, we saw Long-crested Eagle, Cape Robin-Chat, Amethyst Sunbird, Jackal Buzzard, Olive Pigeon & Grey Crowned Cranes.  The weather suddenly changed, the sun evaporated the mist and we had blue blue skies for the rest of the day - gorgeous!

We proceeded into the forest to check out our favourite spots.  First up was a little cut-away section which was usually full of little birds but now was quiet except for the incessant call of a bird imitating the “pretty Georgie” call of the Emerald Cuckoo – a hoarse Red-capped Robin-Chat, Val suggested!  In the meantime a Red-chested Cuckoo called its repetitive “Piet my vrou” and not to be outdone a Black Cuckoo joined in with its prettier song. 

Moving deeper into the forest, Purple-crested and Knysna Turacos flapped about in the tree canopy, flashing their red wings.  In this part of the woods the Yellowwoods were massive, putting you in mind of more ancient times.  The Cape Chestnuts made a lovely show of their abundant pink blossoms. 
Cape Chestnut
Settling down for breakfast a Bar-throated Apalis proved quite friendly and Stan identified an African Harrier Hawk sailing in the skies.
Bar-throated Apalis

Our next stop was at a small dam which was beginning to look more like a young forest it was so full of saplings but the little stream was gurgling strongly away and looked healthy.  Living here were Little Rush Warbler, African Yellow Warbler (old name Dark-capped Yellow warbler), Tawny-flanked Prinia, Drakensberg Prinia, Common Waxbill and an elusive Bush Black-cap.
African Yellow Warbler

Bush Black-cap

Staying on this dirt track we passed the workers’ homes, which marked the tree spot where the parrot boxes had been installed a few years ago.  Now there was no sign of the boxes and even some of the trees were no longer there.

Still continuing along this track, Val led us back to the tarred road and eventually stopped for us to survey the field where the Blue Swallows used to nest.  Stan scoped it but we could already see there were no hirundines of any description and he identified only a single Croaking Cisticola on the fence and some Fan-tailed Widowbirds.
Harding Dam
Arriving at Harding Dam we were alarmed to note the number of local weekend fishermen and their families, plus someone even launching a jet ski on the opposite side (perfect day for it though!).  All these would surely have an effect on the birdlife, either chase it away or send it into hiding.  The view from the road, even with the scope, was rather dismal but once down at the water’s edge Stan began to tot up some numbers but nothing like the usual count.  We erected the gazebo (thank goodness because the heat was intense by this time) and enjoyed our braaied lunch.  During the course of our count we were questioned by a security company but when we explained our purpose and that we were authorised by the farmer who had been notified of our impending visit, they were happy.  They also questioned the jetski family who confirmed they were the owners of the land on the other side which gave them rights of access.

Waterbirds seen were Yellow-billed Duck, Red-knobbed Coot, Spurwing Goose, Goliath Heron, Egyptian Goose, Common Moorhen, Grey Heron, Wood Sandpiper, White-breasted Cormorant, African Fish Eagle and 3-banded Plover.  A full report will be sent out later.  Other species seen were Barn Swallow, Red Bishop, Pin-tailed Whydah and Black-winged Lapwing.

It was an enjoyable and relaxing day.  Thanks for your efforts.

Ingeli Forest:
Apalis, Bar-throated
Ibis, Hadedah
Batis, Cape
Black-cap, Bush
Bulbul, Dark-capped
Buzzard, Jackal
Cameroptera, Green-backed
Crane, Grey Crowned
Cuckoo, Black
Cuckoo, Emerald
Cuckoo, Red-chested
Eagle, Long-crested
Greenbull, Sombre
Hawk, African Harrier
Kite, Yellow-billed
Oriole, Black-headed
Pigeon, Olive
Prinia, Drakensburg
Prinia, Tawny-flanked
Robin-Chat, Cape
Sunbird, Amethyst
Swallow, Greater-striped
Swallow, White-throated
Turaco, Knysna
Turaco, Purple-crested
Wagtail, Cape
Warbler, African Yellow
Warbler, Little Rush
Waxbill, Common
Weaver, Spectacled
White-eye, Cape

Blue Swallow site:
Cisticola, Croaking
Widowbird, Fantailed

Harding Dam:
Bishop, Red
Cormorant, White-breasted
Crane, Grey Crowned
Cuckoo, Dideriks
Duck, Yellow-billed
Eagle, African Fish
Fiscal, Common
Goose, Egyptian
Goose, Spurwing
Heron, Grey
Lapwing, Blacksmith
Lapwing, Black-winged
Moorhen, Common
Plover, 3-banded
Red-knobbed Coot
Sandpiper, Wood
Swallow, Barn
Whydah, Pin-tailed


Friday, 5 January 2018

TROGONS OUTING: Ingeli Forest & Harding Dam

Dear Members
Red-billed Firefinch (photo: Stan Culley)
Sunday, 14 January 07:00am BirdLife Trogons will visit Ingeli Forest and Harding Dam.  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 or phone Hazel van Rooyen 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.
Meet at Ingeli Forest Lodge at 07:00am - take N2 road towards Harding/Kokstad.  Continue on N2 road past Harding to Junction of N2/R56.  Turn left towards Kokstad.  Continue approx 7.3km.  Lodge entrance is on the left.  Set GPS to DD MM SS.S  =  S30 32 12.8  E29 41 25.5
Kind regards
Hazel van Rooyen
BirdLife Trogons Bird Club

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Trogons Annual lunch

Dear Members

Here are a few photos from our Christmas lunch at San Lameer on 26 November.  Don't we look a happy flock!  Barrie congratulated Sandy on everyone's behalf for her upcoming 80th birthday.

Thanks to all those who came and made it such a festive occasion.

Kind regards

Monday, 20 November 2017

Trip away report: Wakkerstroom, 20-24 November 2017

Attendees: Stan & Val Culley, Stanley & Asothie Gengan, Barrie Willis & Sue Hansbury, Margaret & Richard, Bob & Hazel van Rooyen
Species count:   121 (see end)                                                  Text: Hazel van Rooyen
Wakkerstroom Village from the BirdLife Centre (photo Stan Culley)

Wakkerstroom lived up to its reputation and we had a most enjoyable week.  This was aided by our bird guide, Lucky Ngwenya who helped us find some specials on our first morning – Yellow-breasted Pipit, Eastern Long-billed Lark, Rudd’s Lark, Cloud Cisticola and Blue Korhaan.  Everyone got a Lifer with Lucky, even Stan!
Dining & kitchen area
BirdLife Centre

Bob, Stan, Barrie, Asothie, Stanley & Sue

After getting settled in at the BirdLife Centre, we took a walk down to the wetland, which, from this aspect, was covered with reeds.  This didn’t stop us identifying Red-throated Wryneck, Bokmakierie, and both Pied and Common (European) Starlings, amongst others but no waders.
Rudd's Lark (photo Hazel van Rooyen)

Bokmakierie (photo Stan Culley)
Pied Starlings were in abundance (photo Hazel van Rooyen)

African Marsh Harrier - a long shot (photo Hazel van Rooyen)
In the morning we met up with Lucky who started us off on the Paulpietersberg Road, then the Vaalbank Road but I soon lost track, although I can still see the places in my mind – as one does.  Red-capped Lark, Spike-heeled Lark,  Mountain Wheatear, Ant-eating Chat, Sentinel Rock Thrush, Yellow-breasted Pipit, Eastern Long-billed Lark and a Common Quail.  We also saw  a lone Meerkat.  Other species seen were Cloud Cisticola, Southern Bald Ibis, Banded Martin, Jackal Buzzard, Blue Crane and Blue Korhaan and Wing-snapping Cisticola.  By this time, our allotted time was running out but he still took those who wanted to go to a farm by Fickland Pan where, by walking spread out, first this way, then that way, we flushed the very special Rudd’s Lark, quite a charismatic little bird.
Southern Bald Ibis (photo Stan Culley)

Eastern Long-billed Lark (photo Stan Culley)

Banded Martin (photo Stan Culley)

Ant-eating Chat (photo Hazel van Rooyen)
Cloud Cisticola (photo Stan Culley)
Spike-heeled Lark (photo Hazel van Rooyen)

Meerkat (photo Hazel van Rooyen)

Cape Clawless Otter  (photo Hazel van Rooyen)
In the late afternoon we visited the hides which overlooked the wetland.  There was a pretty boardwalk leading to the hides lined with buttercups and daisies – tralala  Whiskered Terns were very active.  Also seen were Cape Shoveller, Little Rush Warbler, South African Shelduck, Squacco Heron, Red-billed and Hottentot Teal.  Moving over to the long bridge an African Marsh Harrier was busy hunting and a family of Cape Clawless Otters were splashing around.  We were delighted to watch them for a while, not a sight you often get to see.  Stan spotted an African Snipe, completely still and so well camouflaged, and Stanley saw a Black Crake. 
Grey-crowned Crane (photo Hazel van Rooyen)

As we got back to the turn-off to the Centre beautiful Grey-crowned Cranes were foraging in the opposite field with Spurwinged Geese.
Greater Striped Swallow (photo Stan Culley)

South African Cliff Swallow (photo Hazel van Rooyen)
Whiskered Tern (photo Stan Culley)

View of a wetland area (photo Hazel van Rooyen)

Whiskered Terns nesting (photo Hazel van Rooyen)
Wednesday we took the Utrecht and Groenvlei Roads.  Stopping at a dam Whiskered Terns were nesting along with various waterbirds and a Blacksmith Lapwing which strangely was a first for the trip, they are usually in such abundance.  A second dam seemed quiet until we noticed a Cattle Egret in breeding plumage and an African Spoonbill, both in a dead tree.  Further along Stan spotted Red-winged Francolin and Swainson’s Spurfowl in the grass at the side of the road. 
Red-winged Francolin (photo Stan Culley)

Common Quail (photo Stan Culley)

Having followed Zaaihoek Dam for a while, we came upon a bridge over the pretty Slang River and we stopped here for some refreshment and a recon.  No specials were seen down by the river but a striking, very vocal Buff-streaked Chat posed for quite a while on the bridge.  This was ringed but we couldn’t see the whole number.  

Stan also spotted a Drakensburg Prinia.   In the afternoon another drive produced a flock of Red-capped Larks foraging on the sandy road and a Secretary Bird came flying over, landing awkwardly on its long legs which always look stiff.
Red-capped Lark (photo Hazel van Rooyen)

Red-capped Lark (photo Hazel van Rooyen)
Buff-streaked Chat (photo Stan Culley)

Buff-streaked Chat (photo Hazel van Rooyen)

Secretarybird (photo Hazel van Rooyen)

Thursday morning dawned cool and misty but happily dry.  We started off at the bridge where the terns were sitting on the water, almost huddled together.   
African Yellow Warbler (photo Hazel van Rooyen)

Lesser Swamp Warbler (photo Hazel van Rooyen)
Here we saw our first Kingfisher, a Pied and the pretty African Yellow (old Dark-capped) Warbler, along with a Purple Heron, African Rail and Lesser Swamp Warbler  The Red-chested Flufftail was very vocal and Bobby saw it do a quick flash, up out of the grasses and back down.  Then we decided to drive up the Utrecht and Paulpietersburg roads again.  This time we visited an old quarry, perfect habitat  for the Mountain Wheatear but didn’t see anything new, except for an African Hoopoe.  Returning via the bridge (very popular place with the locals greeting you politely), we picked up another African Snipe and a pair of South African Shelduck.  As a final salute a duo of Grey-crowned Cranes performed a wonderful fly-over.
Grey-crowned Cranes on a very misty day (photo Hazel van Rooyen)

Our evenings were sociable mix of braaiing, cooking and chatting in the spacious dining area which also looks across the wetland and veld to the pretty village of Wakkerstroom.  I must admit we even indulged in a little Chickenfoot  with Barrie's fun dominoes. 

Thanks to all for a super week.

Stan the Man in action (photo Hazel van Rooyen)

Species: 121
Barbet, Black-collared
Bishop, Southern Red
Bishop, Yellow-crowned
Bulbul, Dark-capped
Bunting, Cinnamon-breasted
Buzzard, Common (Steppe)
Buzzard, Jackal
Canary Cape
Canary, Black-headed
Chat, Ant-eating
Chat, Buff-streaked
Cisticola, Cloud
Cisticola, Levaillant’s
Cisticola, Wing-snapping
Cisticola, Zitting
Coot, Red-knobbed
Cormorant, Reed
Cormorant, White-breasted
Crake, Black
Crane, Blue
Crane, Grey-crowned
Crow, Cape
Crow, Pied
Cuckoo, Didericks
Cuckoo, Red-chested
Darter, African
Dove, Cape Turtle
Dove, Laughing
Dove, Red-eyed
Duck, Yellow-billed
Egret, Cattle
Egret, Great
Egret, Intermediate (YB)
Falcon, Amur
Fiscal, Common Juv
Flufftail, Red-chested
Francolin, Red-winged
Goose, Egyptian
Goose, Spurwing
Grebe, Little

Guineafowl, Helmeted
Harrier, African Marsh
Heron, Black
Heron, Goliath
Heron, Grey
Heron, Purple
Heron, Squacco
Hoopoe, African
Ibis, Glossy
Ibis, Hadedah
Ibis, Sacred
Ibis, Southern Bald
Kingfisher, Pied
Kite, Black-shouldered
Kite, Yellow-billed
Fiscal, Common
Korhaan, Blue
Lapwing, African Wattled
Lapwing, Blacksmith
Lapwing, Wattled
Lark, Eastern Long-billed
Lark, Red-capped
Lark, Rudd’s
Lark, Rufous-naped
Lark, Spike-heeled
Longclaw, Cape
Martin, Banded
Moorhen, Common
Mousebird, Speckled
Myna, Common
Ostrich, Comon
Pigeon, Speckled
Pipit, African
Pipit, Yellow-breasted
Plover, 3-banded
Prinia, Drakensburg
Quail, Common
Quelea, Red-billed
Rail, African
Robin-Chat, Cape

Shelduck, South African
Shoveller, Cape
Snipe, African
Sparrow, Cape
Sparrow, House
Spoonbill, African
Spurfowl, Natal
Spurfowl, Swainson’s
Starling, Common (European)
Starling, Cape Glossy
Starling, Pied
Starling, Red-wing
Starling, Wattled
Stonechat, African
Sunbird, Malachite
Swallow, Barn
Swallow, Greater-striped
Swallow, South African Cliff
Swallow, White-throated
Swamphen, African Purple
Swift, Horus
Swift, White-rumped
Teal, Hottentot
Teal, Red-billed
Tern, Whiskered
Thrush, Sentinel Rock
Wagtail, Cape
Warbler, African Reed
Warbler, African Yellow
Warbler, Lesser Swamp
Warbler, Little Rush
Weaver, Cape
Weaver, Southern Masked
Weaver, Village
Wheatear, Mountain
Whydah, Pin-tailed
Widowbird, Fantailed
Widowbird, Long-tailed
Wryneck, Red-throated



All photographs property of photographer