Sunday, 30 June 2013

Report- Lions' Show 28th-30th June 2013

By Andy Ruffle

This year's stand with a 'bird 'hide' theme.
(Photo Andy Ruffle)
Another reasonably successful Lions’ Show has come and gone for Birdlife Trogons.
This year, the show was sadly hampered by torrential rain on Thursday night, which rendered the show ground a quagmire. The Lions’ volunteers did a sterling job of trying to salvage the show, bringing in 30 large truck loads of sawdust to make the walkways passable. However, visitors through the gate definitely seemed low, probably as a result of ‘social networking’.

The inclusion of a colouring in competition
gave a large display area
(Photo Andy Ruffle)
We were pleased with the outcome of the children’s colouring in competition, with 24 entries ranging from 2yrs old to 12yrs old. Hopefully, this will have inspired some budding artists and birders of the future. Three R50.00 main prizes were sponsored by Lions’ Port Shepstone.
Waltons Port Shepstone supplied the crayons with a large surplus which can be used as supplementary prizes. Sponge Bob Creche, Port Shepstone kindly supplied the tables and chairs. So a big thank you to them all.

(Photos Andy Ruffle)

Our participation in the show gives us good exposure and has brought in some more ‘friends’ and few rand for the club.
Herbie’s inspirational idea of using a bird hide as a theme to the stand worked extremely well.
We can’t thank him enough for the time and effort he puts in to creating a stand we can all be proud of.
We mustn’t forget the members who volunteered their time to man the stand. Without them this would not be possible. So to Liz Blomeyer, Doug Butcher, David Halle, Margaret Jones, Vic & Kay Neilson, Hazel Parry, Noeleen Phillips, Irma Smook, Bob & Hazel van Rooyen, Willie & Wilna van Zyl, a HUGE thank you.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Field Guide to Shorebirds of South Africa

This new book, by our friends Roy Cowgill & Steve Davis from Port Natal Bird Club, has just been launched. Available from all good book sellers.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Outing report- 23rd June 2013 Gaze Farm, Port Edward

By Andy Ruffle

Viewing deck at Clearwater Trails
(Photo Hazel van Rooyen)

Attendees: Doug & Angie Butcher; Stan & Val Culley; Frans & Lana du Plooy; Eric Kok; Yegas Naidoo; Vic & Kay Neilson; Herbie & Jeanette Osborne; Hazel Parry;  Andrew Pickles; Andy Ruffle; Cees, Sharlene & Kyle van der Slikke; Bob & Hazel van Rooyen; Ron & Elaine Whitham; Barrie Willis & Sue Hansbury. (24 attendees).

It was a glorious winter's day for today's outing to Gaze Farm. Birding started off well with some nice sightings at Banners rest as we assembled. African Green-Pigeon were particularly obliging, but unfortunately the light wasn't, so no pics I'm afraid.

(Photo Hazel van Rooyen)
Our strenuous, but slow walk up to the dam, was made much easier thanks to Ken Gaze laying paving along much of the route.
Square-tailed Drongo could be heard calling in the forest patches at the start of the walk, with some fleeting glimpses had by some. Knysna Woodpecker remained elusive, but I'm sure we will get it one day.
Barrie's vigilant search of the marshy area proved  fruitless for his bogey bird, Broad-tailed Warbler as did Angie's search of the old ruins for Narina Trogon.
African Olive-Pigeon, Trumpeter Hornbill and Cape Vulture were seen flying overhead, with Rufous-naped Lark being spotted on the grassy slopes.
At the dam, we found Yellow-billed Duck, African Jacana, Black Crake, Common Moorhen and Reed Cormorant.
After reaching the dam, we would normally return back down the hill. Today, we decided to do something different and continued up to Clearwater Trails, where we had breakfast at the Taverna. Our after breakfast walk now became the leisurely jaunt back to Stan & Val's for lunch.

Yellow-billed Duck
Another April Fool Joke waiting to happen
(Photo Hazel van Rooyen)
African Jacana
(Photo Hazel van Rooyen)
Pycnostachys reticulata found in moist, swampy,
grassy places and the larval host of the
Marsh Commodore Butterfly
(Photo Hazel van Rooyen)

Thanks go to Stan & Val for hosting another enjoyable day's birding at Gaze Farm. It is always a pleasure seeing their beautiful garden too.

(Photo Doug Butcher)

Birds recorded: Red-eyed Dove, Fork-tailed Drongo, African Green-Pigeon, Dark-capped Bulbul, Brown-hooded Kingfisher, Red-capped Robin-Chat, Village Weaver, Dark-backed Weaver, Amethyst Sunbird, Southern Black Flycatcher, Red-winged Starling, Bronze Mannikin, Reed Cormorant, Olive Sunbird, Green Wood-Hoopoe, African Pied Wagtail, Sombre Greenbul, Southern Boubou, Square-tailed Drongo, Thick-billed Weaver, African Goshawk, Collared Sunbird, Black-collared Barbet, Cape White-eye, Natal Spurfowl, Black-headed Oriole, African Olive-Pigeon, Tambourine Dove, Trumpeter Hornbill, Rufous-naped Lark, Cape Vulture, Yellow-billed Duck, African Jacana, Black Crake, Common Moorhen, Greater Double-collared Sunbird, Common Fiscal, Woolly-necked Stork, African Dusky Flycatcher, Knysna Turaco, African Paradise-Flycatcher, Black-backed Puffback, Green-backed Camaroptera, Tawny-flanked Prinia, Jackal Buzzard, Hadada Ibis, Pin-tailed Whydah, Southern Grey-headed Sparrow. (48 species).

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Outing report- 16th June 2013 Bird ringing Umzumbe Floodplain

An old railway route provides the site for today's ringing
(Photo Andy Ruffle)
Attendees: Liz Blomeyer, Stan & Val Culley, Frans & Lana du Plooy, Eric Kok, Andy Ruffle, Ron Whitham. (8 attendees).

Andrew P decided to slot in this extra ringing session over the long weekend, to test out an old site on the floodplain which has once again become accessible.
The fascinating part of attending these ringing sessions is the possibility of a surprise. Today was no exception.

African Pygmy-Kingfisher
which shouldn't really be here in June
(Photo Andy Ruffle)
According to Roberts Online, the African Pygmy-Kingfisher is a summer migrant which usually departs for it's wintering grounds in East Africa by mid May at the latest. So it was interesting when the specimen above landed in the nets.This is another piece of data that could influence the re-writing of the field guides. There have been previous records of wintering birds in KZN, but whether they were this far south needs to be determined.

Close up view of a Red-eyed Dove
(Photo Andy Ruffle)
and the red eye
(Photo Andy Ruffle)
There were three re-captures today: 1x Tawny-flanked Prinia; 1x Spectacled Weaver and 1x Yellow Weaver. 

Birds ringed: 2x Dark-capped Bulbul; 1x Cape Robin-chat; 3x Yellow Weaver; 2x Spectacled Weaver; 1x Village Weaver; 1x Cape White-eye; 2x African Stonechat (M+F); 1x Red-collard Widowbird; 1x Red-eyed Dove; 2x Olive Sunbird; 1x African Pygmy-Kingfisher.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Outing report- 9th June 2013 Bushbuck Trail

David Halle explains why there have been
changes at the Bushbuck Trail
(Photo Andy Ruffle)
Attendees: Brian & Dennise Carlin, Stan & Val Culley, Frans & Lana du Plooy, Stanley Gengan, David Halle, Margaret Jones, Eric Kok, Sandy Olver, Hazel Parry, Barry Pullock, Sean & Beathe Ross, Andy Ruffle, Bob & Hazel van Rooyen, Cees & Sharlene van der Slikke, Barry Willis & Sue Hansbury. (22 attendees).

We had a wonderful turnout for this morning's outing, despite a rather bad weather forecast which predicted winds gusting up to 40kts and a 60% chance of rain.
There have been a few changes around the entrance to the trails, which David Halle explained were as a result of the recent Women's Golf Tournament (see photo above). David also gave us an update on last year's Crowned Eagle juvenile. The parents are apparently eager to nest again, but junior doesn't want to leave home, despite aggressive measures being taken. Hopefully the story will have a happy ending.
Our morning walk took us along the main trail, but with little success due to the wind increasing.
The Halleria lucida (Tree Fuschia) along this trail were giving a stunning display with their flowers eminating directly from the old wood.

flowers of Halleria lucida
(Photo Hazel van Rooyen)
On the way back for breakfast some of the group diverted along a new trail which has been cut.
This runs from near the entrance and comes out by the tennis courts. It was along here that a Geocache box was found. To read more about this worldwide treasure hunting phenomenon click here.
After breakfast we walked through the golf course towards the beach and then followed the Frederika Trail to the viewing deck. From here you not only have a wonderful ocean view, but get a real idea of the coastal bush belt straddling the coast. A few Cape Gannet were around, so may be we will see some sardines soon.

The lagoon at Southbroom
(Photo Andy Ruffle)

Leaving the Frederika Trail
(Photo Andy Ruffle)
Rather windy, but we will braai
(Photo Hazel van Rooyen)
Birds recorded: Red-eyed Dove, Fork-tailed Drongo, Hadeda Ibis, Black-bellied Starling, Dark-capped Bulbul, Red-winged Starling, Black-headed Oriole, Amethyst Sunbird, Cape White-eye, Spectacled Weaver, Square-tailed Drongo, Olive Sunbird, Collared Sunbird, Natal Spurfowl, Trumpeter Hornbill, Sombre Greenbul, African Harrier-Hawk, Bar-throated Apalis, Little Swift, Southern Black Flycatcher, Knysna Turaco, African Paradise-Flycatcher, African Dusky Flycatcher, Crowned Hornbill, Blacksmith Lapwing, Red-capped Robin-Chat, Cape Gannet, Kelp Gull, Southern Boubou, Green Wood-Hoopoe. (30 species).