Sunday, 15 June 2014

Outing report- 15th June 2014 Litchi Syndicate

Text by Andy Ruffle
Photos by Doug Butcher (unless otherwise credited)

Attendees: Doug Butcher, Eric Kok, Graham & Patricia Pirie, Andy Ruffle. (5 attendees).

Sadly, we had a very poor turnout for today's outing. A warm welcome to Graham & Patricia Pirie though, who have just signed up as our latest members.

The morning started off very nicely with an African Goshawk displaying high above us as the sun rose above the distant cane fields.

The early walk took us up to the dam. On the way, a black bird with yellow wing patches flew up from the sprouting cane and landed in a tree. Yellow Bishop was the first bird that sprang to mind, although this would be very unusual for this location and no yellow rump was noticed. Closer inspection revealed that it was a Black Cuckooshrike with the yellow wing patches. Not an uncommon bird by any means, but it is nice to see the morph with yellow on the wings. According to Roberts Online, about 50% of the birds in KZN and 9% in Zimbabwe, have the yellow patch.

male Black Cuckooshrike with yellow carpal patch

At the dam, we noticed what looked liked a small bird swimming across the water. Little Grebe we thought, until our binoculars focussed on the bird. All we could see was a head moving through the water. We soon realised that it was a submerged Spur-winged Goose. Roberts Online makes no reference to this strange behaviour, so any theories would be appreciated.

Patricia, Eric, Graham and Andy at the dam

After breakfast, we investigated a new walking trail that has been cut along the river that flows into the dam.
It passes through virtually pristine indigenous forest and we notched up a fair few birds to add to a final total of a very respectable 63 species for the day.
A big thanks must go to John Porter for adding this trail. It will certainly make our future visits more productive and enjoyable.

Birds recorded: African Goshawk, Fork-tailed Drongo, Trumpeter Hornbill, Dark-capped Bulbul, Yellow-fronted Canary, Red-eyed Dove, African Stonechat, Hadeda Ibis, Grey-headed Bush-Shrike, Sombre Greenbul, Spectacled Weaver, Black-collared Barbet, Natal Spurfowl, Olive Sunbird, Black Cuckooshrike, African Dusky Flycatcher, Black-bellied Starling, Cape Glossy Starling, Black-headed Oriole, Red-capped Robin-Chat, Green Wood-Hoopoe, Golden-tailed Woodpecker, Knysna Turaco, Yellow Weaver, Little Grebe, Egyptian Goose, Common Moorhen, Spur-winged Goose, African Jacana, Burchell's Coucal, Southern Boubou, Cape White-eye, Amethyst Sunbird, Thick-billed Weaver, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Yellow-throated Longclaw, Southern Black Flycatcher, Long-crested Eagle, Neddicky, Common Waxbill, Chinspot Batis, Black-backed Puffback, Pied Crow, Dark-capped Yellow Warbler, Speckled Mousebird, Collared Sunbird, Ashy Flycatcher, Blue-mantled Crested-Flycatcher, Bar-throated Apalis, Square-tailed Drongo, Cape Batis, Green-backed Camaroptera, Red-knobbed Coot, Giant Kingfisher, Brown-hooded Kingfisher, African Firefinch, Crowned Hornbill, Tawny-flanked Prinia, Southern Black Tit, Brown-backed Honeybird, African Black Duck, African Pied Wagtail, Scaly-throated Honeyguide. (63 species).

Photos copyright of photographer.

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