Sunday, 10 March 2013

Outing report- 10th March 2013 Mpenjati Nature Reserve

Swift and Sandwich Terns
(Photo Stan Culley)

Attendees:  Doug & Angie Butcher, Stan & Val Culley, Stanley Gengan, Margaret Jones, Vaughan Merrick, Sandy Olver, Hazel Parry, Sean & Beathe Ross, Andy Ruffle, Bob & Hazel van Rooyen, Ron Whitham, Barrie Willis & Sue Hansbury. (17 attendees).

Despite a rather poor weather forecast we had a very good turnout, including founder member of our club Vaughan Merrick.
The calm wind and slightly overcast skies, provided ideal conditions for our visit to Mpenjati.
Surprisingly the birding was quite slow, but we did manage to record 45 species, which does not include a mystery raptor (or possibly two) which is still under debate. Initially, it was thought to be an immature African Harrier-Hawk, but the photo below soon disproved this theory.
mystery raptor- most likely an immature Jackal Buzzard
(Photo Stan Culley)
Of particular note, today, was the dramatic change in the landscape on the northern beach.
The recent floods have completely re-shaped the coastline, carving off a huge chunk of sand dune, by the river mouth (see Doug's photo below). According to the ranger on duty, this is what the mouth used to look like 50 years ago. Over time dunes had gradually built up.

The northern beach coastline after recent floods
(Photo Doug Butcher)

Most interesting sightings for the day were an Osprey over the river mouth and immature Cape Gannet seen flying along the coast.
For an excellent and very detailed account of today's outing, please take a look at Sean Ross' blog post here

Swift and Sandwich Terns on the sand bar
(Photo Stan Culley)

and just for fun!!!

Sad tern of events for local Twitchers 

Inspector Ruffle takes statements from shocked onlookers
(Photo Stan Culley)

Birds recorded: Sombre Greenbul, Hadeda Ibis, Red-eyed Dove, Egyptian Goose,  Kelp Gull, Swift Tern, Black-headed Heron, Blacksmith Lapwing, Sandwich Tern, Water Thick-knee, White-fronted Plover, African Pied Wagtail, Yellow-billed Duck, Dark-capped Bulbul, Spectacled Weaver, Collared Sunbird, Black Saw-wing, Tawny-flanked Prinia, Black-collared Barbet, Amethyst Sunbird, Common Waxbill, Thick-billed Weaver, Bronze Mannikin, Yellow Weaver, White-rumped Swift, Black-bellied Starling, Barn Swallow, Chinspot Batis, Lesser Striped Swallow, Southern Black Flycatcher, Purple-crested Turaco, Yellow-fronted Canary, Tambourine Dove, Southern Boubou, White-breasted Cormorant, Fork-tailed Drongo, African Fish-Eagle, Pied Kingfisher, Common Fiscal, Cape Gannet, Giant Kingfisher, Brown-hooded Kingfisher, Osprey, Long-crested Eagle, African Harrier-Hawk, Fan-tailed Widowbird. (45 species).

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