Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Trip away report- 21st-24th September 2014 Sand Forest Lodge, Hluhluwe

Attendees: Liz Blomeyer, Stan & Val Culley; Stanley & Asothie Gengan; Herbie & Jeanette Osborne; Andy Ruffle, Bob & Hazel van Rooyen; Ron & Elaine Whitham; Barrie Willis & Sue Hansbury.  (14 attendees).

As mentioned in the Ndumo post, some of the crowd continued on to Sand Forest Lodge near Hluhluwe. A quick stop at Pelican Pan, just outside Ndumo, proved very productive. The pan was teeming with birds, which included African Pygmy-Goose, hundreds of African Jacana (with young); about 12 Black Heron and a fair number of Comb Duck.

Due to the length of this post please click 'read more' below
Sunday 22nd September

Rosy-throated Longclaw, Nibela Penninsula
(Photo Hazel van Rooyen)
We booked the services of local bird guide Themba Mthembu to explore the local surrounds.

Our first stop was the Nibela Penninsula, with it's large expanse of water, vlei, grasslands and bushveld. We soon discovered that you don't need to be in a proclaimed area to experience some excellent birding. Scores of hirundines, including Red-breasted and Grey-rumped Swallows, buzzed around us as we searched for our target bird, Rosy-throated Longclaw. It wasn't long before Themba heard it calling and many of us were striking a big tick in our notebooks. The mud on our shoes now seemed worth it.
A walk through the bushveld produced some more interesting sightings, but the Bushveld Pipit wasn't playing the game.
Enroute to our next stop, Mpempe Pan, we came across a bird party so decided to investigate. This was a good call, with excellent views of Rudd's Apalis, Grey Penduline-Tit, Brubru, Long-billed Crombec and Red-fronted Tinkerbird amongst others.

Brubru, Nibela Penninsula area
(Photo Hazel van Rooyen)
Red-fronted Tinkerbird, Nibela Penninsula area
(Photo Hazel van Rooyen)
Yellow-breasted Apalis, Nibela Penninsula area
(Photo Stan Culley)
Unfortunately, Mpempe Pan didn't come up trumps with the Lesser Jacana or Eurasian Bittern we were looking for. Our presence here attracted some local attention, especially when Herbie had to fix a puncture.

Herbie provides entertainment for the locals
(Photo Andy Ruffle)
Back at Sand Forest Lodge, an afternoon walk through the forest was rewarded with a very special prize - an African Broadbill. Needless to say, Andy missed out due to snoozing in his tent and the bird eluded him for the rest of the trip.

African Broadbill at Sand Forest Lodge
(Photo Stan Culley)

Monday 23rd September

Muzi Pan was our destination today. High water levels meant that there were very few birds around. Rather disappointing after the spectacle we'd seen at Pelican Pan. 

Lesser Flamingo, Muzi Pan
(Photo Hazel van Rooyen)

Tuesday 24th September

Our final day took us to Mkhuze Game Reserve. Once again it didn't let us down.
The new hides, here, are excellent.

Pied Kingfisher group just before Ophansi gate 
(Photo Stan Culley)
This Broad-billed Roller greeted us at Ophansi gate
(Photo Stan Culley)
Black-bellied Bustard on way to Nsumo Pan 
(Photo Stan Culley)
Rudd's Apalis at the Nsumo Pan picnic site
(Photo Stan Culley)

Crowned Lapwing on the Airstrip 
(Photo Stan Culley)

one of five Senegal Lapwing on the Airstrip 
(Photo Stan Culley)

And some photos taken at Sand Forest Lodge

African Paradise-Flycatcher
(Photo Stan Culley)

Bearded Scrub-Robin
(Photo Stan Culley)

Birds recorded that were not noted at Ndumo: African Broadbill, African Firefinch, African Palm-Swift, Bearded Scrub-Robin, Black Crake, Black-bellied Bustard, Black-chested Snake-Eagle, Black-shouldered Kite, Blue-mantled Crested-Flycatcher, Broad-billed Roller, Bronze Mannikin, Brown-throated Martin, Brubru, Cape Longclaw, Cape Turtle-Dove, Common Ringed Plover, Common Waxbill, Crowned Lapwing, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Grey Penduline-Tit, Grey-headed Gull, Grey-rumped Swallow, Little Grebe, Long-billed Crombec, Long-crested Eagle, Narina Trogon, Pin-tailed Whydah, Red-breasted Swallow, Red-capped Robin-Chat, Red-chested Cuckoo, Red-faced Cisticola, Red-faced Mousebird, Rosy-throated Longclaw, Rudd's Apalis, Rufous-winged Cisticola, Senegal Lapwing, Wattled Starling, White-backed Vulture, Yellow-throated Longclaw. (39 additional species).

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