Sunday, 28 June 2015

Outing report- 28 June 2015 Bushbuck & Frederika Trails, Southbroom

Text & photos by Hazel van Rooyen

Attendees: Stan & Val Culley, Barrie Willis & Sue Hansbury, Margaret Jones, Hazel Nevin, Sandy Olver, Doug & Angie Butcher, Stanley Gengan, Ina de Koker, Irma Smook, Bob & Hazel van Rooyen, Milcolm Sutton & Kate Clarence

It was a hardy bunch of folk who turnout out on a chilly morning (for us South Coasters) and some were even seen trying to manipulate their binocs with gloves.  From the grassy area at the start of  the Bushbuck Trail, an inspection of the tree top, golden in the brightness of the rising sun, produced a host of Trumpeter Hornbills and there was also a lot of activity from Amethyst, Olive and Collared Sunbirds, Red-winged and Glossy Starling.  An Olive Thrush braved the cooler trees where we were standing in the shade.

Olive Thrush

After a while the forest called to us and we took to the trail, noting that the streams had almost dried up.  Clambering over boulders, the group spontaneously combusted and split into two when we managed to lose each other!  The occasional Collared and Olive Sunbirds were glimpsed but otherwise the trail was very quiet.  My group climbed to the highest section (by which time we were well warmed up) and took a longish walk back via the leafy road to the picnic site where the others were relaxing comfortably and tucking into coffee.  A family of Black-collared Barbets “doo-puddlied” from a tree-top and Val espied a Black Sparrowhawk flying in to see what the all interest was.

Black-collared Barbets

After some refreshment we realised Barry and Sue had taken a second stab at the forest and eventually reappeared with some more birds to add to the list.
Sitting in the sun had warmed us up sufficiently and after checking that no-one had suffered any frostbite we tackled the beach which was lovely with no wind.  A lonely Kelp Gull stood sentry on an outbreak of rocks and a White-fronted Plover scurried along the tideline looking for titbits.

White-fronted Plover

A Cape Gannet plunged into the sea, emerging seconds later, and sat a few moments before taking off again in search of those elusive sardines.
The pond which usually provides a hunting ground for kingfishers (and is famous for Eric taking an unintentional swim one cold winter day) had almost dried up and no self-respecting bird showed the slightest interest.

The Frederika Preserve was a pleasant walk but didn’t yield any new species.  This took us to the whale deck and thence back to the carpark, some via the trail, others via the road.  And thereby ended another hard day in Africa.

Birds recorded: 
Greenbul Sombre Turaco Purple-crested
Oriole Black-headed Wood-hoopoe Green
Hornbill Trumpeter Weaver Spectacled
Ibis Hadeda Goose Egyptian
Sunbird Olive Drongo Square-tailed
Dove Red-eyed Canary Yellow-fronted
Brownbul Terrestrial Turaco Knysna
Sunbird Collared Robin-chat Red-capped
Thrush Olive Sparrowhawk Black
Sunbird Amethyst Flycatcher Southern Black
Starling Red-winged Drongo Fork-tailed
Boubou Southern Wagtail African Pied
Dove Tambourine Plover White-fronted
Sunbird Grey Gull Kelp
Barbet Black-collared Lapwing Blacksmith
Bulbul Dark-capped Gannet Cape
Starling Black-bellied Gull Grey-headed
Mannikin Bronze Wagtail Cape
Woodpecker Golden-tailed Fish-eagle African
Tinkerbird Yellow-rumped  

Monday, 22 June 2015

Franklin's Gull seen from Umtentweni Whale Deck

By Andy Ruffle

''FRANKLIN’S GULL – a breeding plumaged bird has just been found and photographed at the Whale Deck in Umtentweni, Port Shepstone (KZN) – reported by Shaun Mcgillewie.'' was the message which came through from SA Rare Bird News at 1315 today.

© Shaun Mcgillewie

When I arrived at the deck at 1430, the bird was still showing, flying backwards and forwards along the beach and was still present at 1530.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Outing report- 14 June 2015 Vernon Crookes Nature Reserve

Text & photos by Hazel van Rooyen

Attendees: Herbie & Jeanette Osborne, Stan & Val Culley, Barrie Willis & Sue Hansbury, Eric Kok, Sandy Olver, Richard Johnstone, Doug & Angie Butcher,  Bob & Hazel van Rooyen , Graham & Patricia Pirie, Willie van Zyl, Walter Kok, plus a couple touring the country from Knysna

Our 6.30 arrival coincided with a beautiful sunrise.  Taking a slow drive from the main road up to the entrance, we met up with Sandy who had arrived before us.
We proceeded into the reserve and stopped a short way up, groups going in different directions and a variety of birds were seen including a Yellow-throated Longclaw.

Yellow-throated Longclaw

Moving on, we stopped at the dam where some discussion took place over several Black Swifts.  Breakfast was enjoyed and Herbie took this opportunity to obtain signatures from members in order to ratify the club’s new Constitution.  This over,  people again went different ways, some chasing butterflies (as our butterfly specialist, Richard was with us) some looking for the elusive Short-tailed Pipit (sadly without luck), some just looking.

Layman Butterfly

Although it seemed a quiet day, a reputable list of birds was produced, thanks to Sandy and an enjoyable braai followed with much camaraderie.

Birds recorded: Red-capped Robin-Chat, Cape Glossy Starling, Dark-capped Bulbul, Southern Black Flycatcher, Square-tailed Drongo, Red-eyed Dove, Sombre Greenbul, Spur-winged Goose, Dusky Flycatcher, Gorgeous Bush-shrike, Tambourine Dove, Green-backed Camaroptera, Olive Sunbird, Yellow-fronted Canary, Black-collared Barbet, Amethyst Sunbird, Red-backed Mannikin, Cape White-eye, Fork-tailed Drongo, Dark-backed Weaver, Ashy Flycatcher, Cape Batis, Brimstone Canary, African Goshawk, Cape Robin-chat, White-browed Scrub-Robin, Collared Sunbird, Trumpeter Hornbill, Green Wood-hoopoe, Little Bee-eater, Long-crested Eagle, Common Fiscal, Reed Cormorant, African Black Swift, Yellow-throated Longclaw, Cape Longclaw, Southern Black Tit, Redthroated Wryneck, Golden-tailed Woodpecker, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Hadeda Ibis, Crowned Hornbill, Trumpeter Hornbill, Little Swift, Grey Sunbird, African Stone-chat, Rock Martin, White-rumped Swift, Black-headed Oriole, African Fish Eagle, Greater Double-collared Sunbird, Southern Double-collared Sunbird, Red-fronted Tinkerbird, Common Waxbill, Malachite Sunbird, Croaking Cisticola, Lazy Cisticola, African Crowned Eagle, Yellow-bellied Greenbul, Southern Boubou, Black-backed Puffback, Striped Pipit. (62 species)

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Flock at Sea AGAIN! 2017

BirdLife South Africa officially announced Flock at Sea AGAIN! 2017 at its Annual General Meeting in Johannesburg on 21 March 2015. Negotiations with MSC have resulted in a special 5 day cruise from Cape Town and back onboard the MSC Sinfonia from 24-28 April 2017.
To enable BirdLife South Africa to secure the Flock at Sea AGAIN! 2017 voyage exclusively for its members, we need to confirm bookings for 680 cabins by 30 September 2015.

Flock at Sea AGAIN! 2017 offers a unique opportunity of a 5 day cruise along the continental shelf from Cape Town and back.  The route will be specified by BirdLife South Africa for optimum seabird spotting. These waters have produced some of the rarest seabirds on the South Africa list.  With top seabirds guides on deck and a variety of on-board lectures and talks by leading seabird experts, this promises to be an unforgettable trip. The 88th BirdLife South Africa AGM will be held on-board during the cruise.
NB: To book your berth, call the MSC Call Centre on 011 798 3600 and quote BirdLife.
For more information about prices, deck layout, programme of events etc, visit
To receive regular updates about Flock at Sea AGAIN! 2017, please send an email to with Flock 2017 in the subject line.
Or for more information, please contact Nikki McCartney on 083 636 1060 or

Kind regards

Nikki McCartney
BLSA Events & Marketing Manager

Lewis House, 239 Barkston Drive, Blairgowrie 2194, Gauteng
P.O. Box 515, Randburg 2125, Gauteng, South Africa
Tel: +27 (0)13 764 3370
Fax: +27 (0)86 581 9999
Cell: +27 (0) 83 636 1060