Monday, 9 March 2015

Kamberg area trip report

Text & photos by Andy Ruffle

I attended the KZN Bird Club Forum at Howick this weekend and used the opportunity to investigate a site that had been highlighted by movement data from two of the Oribi satellite tagged Cape Vultures.

It quickly became apparent that a farm, near the Highmoor Vulture Colony, was putting out carcasses for the birds, so I set off to investigate.
I found the property in the Kamberg area and introduced myself at their office.
The farm has a piggery and started putting mortalities out for the vultures about a year ago. Previously, they used to bury them.

The son, Josh, very kindly offered to take me to the restaurant where we were greeted by some 70 Cape Vultures sitting on the ground, plus a few Bearded Vultures, White Storks and plenty of White-necked Ravens.

Around 70 Cape Vultures close to the restaurant
Juvenile Bearded Vulture flying near the restaurant
Note the transmitter antenna
on the back of this Bearded Vulture

Unfortunately, I didn’t have too much time to spare as I needed to get to Howick.
The activity at the restaurant was amazing and the bird life on the rest of the farm was incredible though. The backdrop was just something else.

The vulture restaurant

Stunning backdrop
showing the roosting cliffs in the far distance
White Stork after being flushed
Banded Martin hawks over the grasslands

It’s extremely heartening to know that the efforts of this farm are now benefitting a large population of vultures in the area and ofcourse our local Oribi Colony.

I will be keeping in touch with the farm and hope to return to the area for a few days later this year. I’ll check out the surrounding area also, as this looks like a very promising Trip Away destination.

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