Saturday, 9 November 2019

OUTING CANCELLED: Ellingham Estate - 10 November 2019


Dear Members & Friends

The outing to Ellingham Estate scheduled for tomorrow, Sunday 10 November has been cancelled due to an adverse weather conditions.  Apologies to those who were looking forward to it.

Kind regards
Hazel van Rooyen
Secretary
BirdLife Trogons Bird Club

Sunday, 3 November 2019

UPCOMING OUTING: Ellingham Estate, Park Rynie - 10 November 2019

Collared Sunbird

Dear Members & Friends

Sunday 10 November at  6.30am. BIRDLIFE TROGONS will visit Ellingham Estate, Park Rynie.  There is now 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 telephone Hazel van Rooyen on 072 355 8837 or visit the blog. 

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

Directions: Take the Umzinto/Park Rynie offramp from the N2. Turn inland, towards Umzinto. The very first farm on your left is Ellingham.

Meet near the paddock but please do NOT enter.  Set GPS to DD MM SS.S  = S30 18 53.2  E30 42 54.6

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


Sunday, 27 October 2019

Outing Report: Culley Dam, 27 October 2019


A quiet corner of the dam  (photo: Hazel van Rooyen)

Attending: Stan & Val Culley, Doug & Angie Butcher, Martin & Lia Steen, Nick Dreyer & Teresa Smith, Danie & Bella du Toit, Derek & Edith Megson, Barrie Willis & Sue Hansbury, Margaret & Richard, Hazel van Rooyen (17)

Species identified: 60 (listed below)                                                                              Text: Hazel van Rooyen
                                                                                         Photos: Doug Butcher, Hazel van Rooyen, Lia Steen

Sunday 27th October dawned sunny and rain-free despite a dodgy weather forecast and 15 eager birders arrived at the Culley’s for our outing.  
Sombre Greenbul (photo Lia Steen)


White-faced Whistling Ducks a-waiting  (photo: Hazel van Rooyen)
The forest behind their property is usually busy with birdlife at that time of the morning but today was fairly still with only a Sombre Greenbul and Cape Robin-Chat calling plus a Natal Spurfowl screeching a warning of our presence.
Yellow Weaver (photo: Hazel van Rooyen)


Yellow Weaver (photo: Doug Butcher)

Making our way to the dams, we noticed they were drying out, awaiting the summer rains.  Stan has recently completed another hide in a spot favoured in the past by some rarities.  Meanwhile the Spur-winged Goose juveniles were being shepherded by their parents and numerous White-faced Ducks were waiting for their morning treat of seed from Stan. 

Fork-tailed Drongo (photo: Doug Butcher)
Purple Heron  (photo: Hazel van Rooyen)
 


Black Crake  (photo: Hazel van Rooyen)

Black Crake chick (photo: Hazel van Rooyen)


Great Egret (photo: Doug Butcher)

Thick-billed Weaver (photo: Doug Butcher)
 Taking a slow meander around the dam, pausing at the hides to examine the wetlands for waterfowl and waders, we identified Common Moorhen, Reed Cormorant, Great and Yellow-billed Egrets, Little Rush Warbler, Purple Heron, Black Crake and African Jacana.  Flitting amongst the reeds were Lesser Swamp Warbler, Thick-billed and Yellow Weaver and Fan-tailed Widowbird.
African Jacana  (photo: Lia Steen)

Bronze Mannikin (photo: Lia Steen)





After breakfast on Val’s patio, some people elected to climb the hill whilst others decided the birdlife amongst the indigenous flowers and shrubs from the patio was more their style whilst the indefatigable Lia re-visited the forest area coming up with Green Wood-hoopoe, Yellow-throated Longclaw, Little Bittern, Common Waxbill, Giant Kingfisher, Paradise Flycatcher, Long-crested Eagle and African Fish Eagle, amongst others.

Fan-tailed Widowbird (photo: Lia Steen)

Common Waxbill  (photo: Lia Steen)


A slow trudge up the hill produced Purple-crested Turaco, Tawny-flanked Prinia, Klaas’s Cuckoo, Jackal Buzzard, Fork-tailed Drongo.  Clearwater dam was disappointing as it is in the process of being significantly enlarged but still showed Red-knobbed Coot, Common Moorhen and Spur-winged Geese.

Giant Kingfisher  (photo: Lia Steen)

This was followed by a relaxing afternoon with a braai on the patio, at the same time rugby fans followed the Boks in the semi-finals of the Rugby World Cup.  Thanks to all who participated.

Relaxing on the patio (photo: Doug Butcher)

Species identified: 60
Barbet, Black-collared
Bittern, Little
Boubou, Southern
Bulbul, Black-capped
Bushshrike, Grey-headed
Buzzard, Jackal
Camaroptera, Green-backed
Coot, Red-knobbed
Cormorant, Reed
Coucal, Burchell’s
Crake, Black
Crow, Pied
Cuckoo, Klaas’s
Drongo, Fork-tailed
Duck, White-faced
Eagle, African Fish
Eagle, Long-crested
Egret, Great
Egret, Yellow-billed
Flycatcher, Paradise
Flycatcher, Southern Black
Goose, Egyptian
Goose, Spur-winged
Greenbul, Sombre
Heron, Purple
Hornbill, Trumpeter
Jacana, African
Kingfisher, Brown-headed
Kingfisher, Giant
Kite, Yellow-billed

Longclaw, Yellow-throated
Moorhen, Common
Mousebird, Speckled
Pigeon, African Green
Pipit, Plain-backed
Prinia, Tawny-flanked
Puffback, Black-backed
Robin-Chat Cape
Robin-Chat, Red-capped
Saw-wing, Black
Spurfowl, Natal
Starling, Black-bellied
Starling, Red-winged
Starling, Violet-backed
Sunbird, Olive
Swift, Palm
Swift, White-rumped
Tchagra, Black-crowned
Tinkerbird, Yellow-rumped
Turaco, Purple-crested
Wagtail, Cape
Warbler, Lesser Swamp
Warbler, Little Rush
Waxbill, Common
Weaver, Dark-backed
Weaver, Spectacled
Weaver, Thick-billed
Whydah, Pin-tailed
Widowbird, Fan-tailed
Woodhoopoe, Green

All photos property of photographer

Sunday, 20 October 2019

UPCOMING OUTING: Culley's Dam - 27 October 2019

African Pygmy-Goose


Dear Members & Friends

Sunday 27 October 6.30am BIRDLIFE TROGONS will visit Culley’s Dam, Port Edward.  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 (072 355 8837)  or visit the blog. 

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

Directions: Take N2 (old R61) to Port Edward. Turn right at the robots to iZingolweni. Meet at Banners Store 1.5km on the right opposite Old Pont Road.

Set GPS to DD MM SS.S  =  S31 03 05.8  E30 11 50.3

Kind regards
Hazel van Rooyen
Secretary
BirdLife Trogons Bird Club



Monday, 7 October 2019

UPCOMING OUTING: Umbogavango/Vumbuka (AECI), Amanzimtoti




Dear Members & Friends

Sunday 13 October at 06:30am BirdLife Trogons will visit Umbogavango/Vumbuka (AECI), 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, if in doubt please phone Hazel van Rooyen (072 355 8837) before setting off.  Please let Hazel know if you will be attending the outing.

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

  

Saturday, 14 September 2019

UPCOMING OUTING: Beacon Hill, Umtamvuna NR - 22 September 2019



Dear Members & Friends
 
Gurney's Sugarbird
Sunday, 22 September 2019 at 7am BirdLife Trogons will visit Beacon Hill, Umtamvuna NR for birding and Spring flowers.  There is a R20 or R30pp entrance 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 www.birdlifetrogons.blogspot.com.  For further details call Hazel van Rooyen on 072 355 8837.  Please let Hazel know if you will be attending the outing.

Directions: Meet at Beacon Hill office.  Take the N2 (old 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

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


Sunday, 8 September 2019

Outing Report: Vernon Crookes Nature Reserve, 8 September 2019



Attendance: Barrie Willis & Sue Hansbury, Doug Butcher, Stanley & Asothie Gengan, Johan & Karin Burger, Bob & Hazel van Rooyen

Species identified:   34                                         Text: Hazel van Rooyen
                                                                              Photos: Doug Butcher, Hazel van Rooyen

Narina Trogon (photo: H van Rooyen)

Gosh, we are having a lot of wind this year!  And Sunday was no exception with a blustery breeze blowing strongly on our arrival.  However, some brave birds were out and about and a count of 34 was acceptable for such a windy day.  Gathering at our meeting spot by the main road, we watched a Red-capped Robin-Chat carrying large beak-fulls of nesting material to its nest.

Proceeding up the dirt road to the reserve, our usual stopping area was a hive of activity with logs being loaded onto tractors so we made our way directly to the gate.  An early cuckoo flew across our path but it was not identifiable.  After paying our entrance fees we paused in the parking area to look for avian activity.  And what did Sue spot – our namesake – a beautiful female Narina Trogon.  

What a special sight!  It didn’t like to stay still but flew amongst the branches, still bare from their winter shedding which fortunately enabled some reasonable sightings.  Two Dark-backed Weavers were easily spotted in branches overhanging the hut and Green-backed Camaropteras called from the thicker bush.  A Black-headed Oriole called melodiously along with Olive Sunbirds and Yellow-fronted Canaries.

Helicrysum (photo: H van Rooyen)
We continued into the reserve and up to the view site from where two Yellow-throated Longclaws took flight.  
Diascia (photo: H van Rooyen)

There were quite a few wild flowers out but not as many as on our previous visit two years ago, although we were a bit later then.  


Barrie looking for the Short-tailed Pipit (photo: H van Rooyen)

We had a good walk around and Barrie went quite far to see if he could flush the Short-tailed Pipit but to no avail.  We were looking forward to our breakfast at this point so we had some nourishment and eventually drove further into the reserve, on the way disturbing an African Hoopoe. 


Looking for waterfowl (photo: H van Rooyen)


Stopping at the dam to look for waterfowl nothing materialised so we proceeded to the other dam with the same outcome.  We had an enjoyable walk around the dam spotting African Stonechat and Tawny-flanked Prinia. 


African Stonechat (photo: Doug Butcher)







Fan-tailed Widowbird (photo: H van Rooyen)





















A small seed-eater had us all flumoxed but on our return our expert Stan Culley confirmed the photo as being that of a non-breeding Fan-tailed Widowbird, the blue bill identifying it as a male. 







We then drove up to the picnic site and took the Mthakathi Trail which goes down a hill, crosses two rocky streams, through coastal forest and up onto a grassy plain.  Still no Short-tailed Pipit but we did have African Pipit, Knysna Turaco, Burchell’s Coucal, Sombre Bulbul, Black Saw-wing and White-rumped Swift. 

At this point we headed back and sank into our chairs to be rewarded with a delicious braai.


Braai-time (photo: Doug Butcher)

The people (photo: Doug Butcher)



Thanks to all who attended.




























All photos property of photographer

Species identified: 34


Barbet, Black-collared
Boubou, Southern
Bulbu, Sombre
Camaroptera, Green-backed
Canary, Cape
Canary, Yellow-fronted
Coucal, Burchell’s
Dove, Red-eyed
Dove, Tambourine
Drongo, Fork-tailed
Flycatcher, Southern Black
Goose, Egyptian
Hoopoe, African
Ibis, Hadedah
Kite, Yellow-billed
Longclaw, Yellow-throated
Oriole, Black-headed

Pipit, African
Prinia, Tawny-flanked
Robin-Chat, Red-capped
Saw-wing, Black
Starling, Black-bellied
Starling, Glossy
Stonechat, African
Stork, Woolly-necked
Sunbird, Amethyst
Sunbird, Greater Double-collared
Sunbird, Olive
Swift, Palm
Swift, White-rumped
Trogon, Narina
Turaco, Knysna
Weaver, Dark-backed
White-eye, Cape



Saturday, 31 August 2019

UPCOMING OUTING: Vernon Crookes NR, 8 September 2019


Dear Members & Friends
 
Crowned Hornbill
Sunday 8 September 2019 at 6.30am BirdLife Trogons Bird Club will visit Vernon Crookes N.R.  There is a R30pp entrance fee which is negated with Rhino/Wild cards.  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 van Rooyen 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

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!

Kind regards
Hazel van Rooyen
Secretary
BirdLife Trogons Bird Club

Sunday, 25 August 2019

Outing report: Skyline NR & Uvongo River Conservancy


Attending: Barrie Willis & Sue Hansbury, Louis & Pat Fourie, Danie & Bella du Toit, Alastair Warman, Lourens, Nicola & Ashley Teyt, Bob & Hazel van Rooyen (12)

Species: 34                                                                        Text & photos: Hazel van Rooyen



Malachite Kingfisher


A small (but dedicated) group arrived at Skyline NR on this last official Sunday of winter.  It was a beautiful morning accompanied by gentle wafts of warm breezes, a hint that spring was around the corner.  We were delighted to welcome a young couple with their 8 year old daughter who is working towards her Birding Badge at Scouts.  They were excited to discover how many facets of bird watching there are and what a new world it opened up.

Scadoxus (Paint Brush)



The first part of the trail through the reserve had suffered a bad burn in recent weeks but this didn’t deter the birds.  Black-headed Oriole, White-eared Barbet, Dusky Flycatcher, Golden-tailed Woodpecker, Black-backed Puffback were identified amongst others and Olive Sunbirds were abundant.  Everyone enjoyed having a good walk through the forest and across the grassland admiring the red hot pokers in a dampish area.  The small dam was almost dry but that will change with the first rains.  Along the path we noticed lots of long yellow caterpillars falling out of a tree. Here and there scadoxus bulbs were confirmation that spring was on its way.

After breakfast we drove across the river to the Uvongo River Conservancy and had another lovely walk along the river and through the bush. Only a couple of small streams were trickling through, forming ponds here and there from which Malachite Kingfisher, Spurwing Geese and Pied Wagtails were still managing to glean a living.  

Pied Wagtail (Non-breeding adult)





A Scaly-throated Honeyguide called distinctly in the riverine bush and a family of Brown Scrub Robins scratching amongst dead leaves took sudden flight, chasing each other through the scrubby undergrowth.
Brown Scrub -Robin 








Arriving back at the vehicles we made ourselves comfortable and were welcomed by the Shaft Club who invited us to join them for their monthly ‘braai by the river’.


Thanks to all who attended.









Skyline:
Drongo, Fork-tailed
Oriole, Black-headed
Bulbul, Dark-capped
Dove, Red-eyed
Sunbird, Olive
Barbet, White-eared
Starling, Black-bellied
Flycatcher, Southern Black
Mannikin, Bronze
Tinkerbird, Yellow-rumped
Flycatcher, Dusky
Woodpecker, Golden-tailed
Puffback, Black-backed
Wood-hoopoe, Green
Weaver, Dark-backed
Weaver, Spectacled
Weaver,Yellow
Hamerkop
Kite, Yellow-billed
Saw-wing, Black
River
Honey-guide, Scaly-throated
Wagtail, Cape,
Darter, African
Goose, Spurwing
Wagtail, Pied
Boubou, Southern, 
Greenbul, Sombre
Barbet, Black-collared
Robin, Brown Scrub-
Camaroptera, Green-backed
Kingfisher, Malachite
Hornbill, Crowned
Barbet, Crested
Turaco, Purple
Ibis, Hadedah