Sunday, 23 August 2015

Outing report- 23rd August 2015 Izotsha Creek Wetland Area

Text & photos by Hazel van Rooyen

Attendees: Eric Kok, Stanley & Asothie Gengan, Barry Willis & Sue Hansbury with Cameron, Bob and Hazel van Rooyen

Izotsha Creek is an old hunting ground that the club had not visited for several years and the few members who turned up on an overcast but pleasant Sunday were not sure whether it would be worth our while getting up at the usual early hour.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained – it turned out to be quite a productive morning’s birding, thanks to Eric Kok for a well-led outing.
Meeting up at the fruit stall, we were greeted by, amongst others, Thick-billed and Village Weavers, a flock of Bronze Mannikins and the startled flight of Spurwing and Egyptian Geese, the latter honking in panic.
Crossing the road to the wetland area, an African Goshawk called “Quick! quick! quick! from high above our heads.  Moving towards the reeds, Dark-cap Bulbuls were in evidence together with Burchells Coucal, Purple-crested Turaco and Tawny-flanked Prinia.   Through a gap in the reeds we noted a Woolly-necked Stork feeding on the far embankment and as we walked around a congregation of Blacksmith Lapwings took objection to my presence and dive-bombed me, narrowly missing.  An African Fish Eagle flew over and settled in the top of the trees opposite.

African Fish Eagle

Other birds in the back-water: Yellow-billed Duck, Pied Kingfisher, Green-backed Heron, Common Moorhen, African Reed Warbler, Red-collared Widowbird.  A couple of waders in the distance were defying description but later from the beach side we were able to identify them as Common Greenshank.

Common Greenshank

We thought we had found another pair when we noticed one individual had only one leg and was hopping around until voila! the leg reappeared and the joke was on us.
The remains of the old narrow-gauge railway bridge provided an excellent drying perch for African Darter and Reed Cormorant.

African Darter (x2) and Reed Cormorant

Making our way back to the cars (for breakfast of course) we saw Yellow-fronted Canary, Chinspot Batis, and Rufous-winged Cisticola.

Rufous-winged Cisticola

Suitably refreshed we took the path towards the beach, noting White-bellied Sunbird, Spectacled and Cape Weavers.  A roundabout route led to the beach, a bit soggy in places, and we made a wide berth to find a narrow place to cross the river, where the ladies were gallantly assisted over the rocks by the gentlemen.  Once there we were happy to observe a flock of Swift Terns swooping around, a Little Egret, Kelp Gull, Three-Banded and White-fronted Plovers.

White-fronted Plover

And the morning was closed out with more coffee and a pleasant chat.  Thanks everyone!

Full list of birds seen: 
Barbet, Black-collared
Batis, Chinspot
Boubou, Southern 
Bulbul, Dark-capped 
Cameroptera, Greenbacked 
Canary, Yellow-fronted
Cormorant, Reed
Cormorant, White-breasted
Coucal, Burchell’s 
Darter, African,
Dove, Red-eyed 
Drongo, Fork-tailed
Duck, Yellow-billed 
Egret, Greater
Egret, Little
Fish-Eagle, African 
Fly-catcher, Southern Black,
Goose, Egyptian
Goose, Spurwing 
Goshawk, African 
Greenbul, Sombre 
Greenshank, Common 
Gull, Kelp
Heron, Green-backed 
Heron, Grey
Ibis, Hadeda 
Kingfisher, Giant
Kingfisher, Pied 
Lapwing, Blacksmith 
Longclaw, Yellow-throated 
Mannikin, Bronze
Moorhen, Common,
Myna, Indian
Oriole, Black-headed 
Plover, Three-banded
Plover, White-fronted 
Prinia, Tawny-flanked 
Puff-back, Black-backed 
Red-capped Robin-Chat
Sparrow, House
Spurfowl, Natal 
Starling, Black-bellied
Stork, Woolly-necked 
Sunbird, Amethyst
Sunbird, White-bellied 
Swift, Common
Tern, Swift 
Turaco, Purple-crested 
Wagtail, Cape
Wagtail, Pied
Warbler, African Reed 
Weaver, Cape
Weaver, Spectacled 
Weaver, Thick-billed 
Weaver, Village
Weaver, Yellow, 
White-eye, Cape 
Widowbird, Fantailed 
Widowbird, Red-collared 

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Outing report- 9th August 2015 Empisini Nature Reserve, Umkomaas

Text and photos by Hazel van Rooyen

Attendees: Stan & Val Culley, Sandy Olver, Hazel Nevin, Stanley Gengan, Eric Kok, Bob and Hazel van Rooyen.  We were joined by Port Natal members: Tina Haine; Annette Adams; Sandi du Preez and Ros Conrad. (12 attendees).

African Dusky Flycatcher

Arriving at Empisini, four members from Port Natal Club were waiting for us and eager to spot some birds.
We began with the walk straight ahead, which slowly inclined upwards affording some lovely views of the tree tops across the stream which trickled below.  Scaly-throated Honeyguide, Grey-headed Bush-Shrike, Thick-billed Weaver, Olive Sunbird, White-eared Barbet and Dusky Flycatcher abounded.  A Brown Scrub-Robin sang a solo from an opera whilst competing with the Dark-backed Weaver (known in Afrikaans as the Forest Musician).  A Black Cuckooshrike flitted in the tree-tops, Olive, Orange-breasted and Gorgeous Bush-Shrikes were also sighted and a Collared Sunbird dipped into a profusion of provocatively perfumed September Bells flowers (Rothmannia Globosa).

September Bells flowers
Rothmannia Globosa

The Trogons decided their coffee was calling whilst the Port Natal ladies were made of hardier stuff and continued with their walk.  Back at the picnic site a host of Yellow-rumped Tinkerbirds were breakfasting on an abundance of fruit from a magnificent fig tree with the occasional White-eared Barbet getting a look-in.  Long-crested and Crowned Eagles made a fly-past, whilst a Yellow-billed Kite performed its diagnostic tail-twisting flight movements.  For most of us this was a welcome first sighting of the season after their migration back to our shores from their winter habitat in warmer African climes.

Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird & Cape White-eye

Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird

Sadly the dam which used to be the home of water-fowl is now completely choked with reeds but we took a walk around it and on the far bank we were happy to identify a Brown-backed Honeybird with its crickety-call.

Brown-backed Honeybird

On our return, the braai-fire had been lit and soon we were all munching away, except Team Port Natal who eventually trudged in to join us, weary but pleased to add Lesser-striped Swallow and Black-backed Puff-back to our list.

Thank you to the Port Natal Club ladies who were very knowledgeable and jolly good spotters!

Birds recorded: (Supplied by Sandy Olver) Bar-throated Apalis, Black-collared Barbet, White-eared Barbet, Southern Boubou, Terrestrial Brownbul, Dark-capped Bulbul, Gorgeous Bush-shrike, Grey-headed Bush-shrike, Olive Bush-shrike, Orange-breasted Bush-shrike, Green-backed Camaroptera, Black Cuckoo-shrike, Grey Cuckoo-shrike, Red-eyed Dove, Tambourine Dove, Fork-tailed Drongo, Square-tailed Drongo, African Crowned Eagle, Long-crested Eagle, African Fish-eagle, African Dusky Flycatcher, Ashy Flycatcher, Spur-winged Goose, Sombre Greenbul, Yellow-bellied Greenbul, Brown-backed Honeybird, Scaly-throated Honeyguide, Crowned Hornbill, Trumpeter Hornbill, Hadeda Ibis, Yellow-billed Kite, Bronze Mannikin, Red-backed Mannikin, Black-headed Oriole, African Paradise-flycatcher, Tawny-flanked Prinia, Black-backed Puff-back, Red-billed Quelea, Red-capped Robin-chat, Brown Scrub-robin, Natal Spurfowl, Amethyst Sunbird, Collared Sunbird, Greater Double-collared Sunbird, Grey Sunbird, Olive Sunbird, White-bellied Sunbird, Lesser Striped Swallow, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Southern Black Tit, Knysna Turaco, Purple-crested Turaco, Little Rush-Warbler, Dark-backed Weaver, Spectacled Weaver, Thick-billed Weaver, Village Weaver, Cape White-eye, Golden-tailed Woodpecker. (59 species)

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Outing report- Bird ringing 2nd August 2015 Igwalagwala Forest, Upper Melville

Birds recorded: Black-collared Barbet, Chinspot Batis, Southern Boubou, Terrestrial Brownbul, Dark-capped Bulbul, Olive Bush-shrike, Green-backed Camaroptera, Yellow-fronted Canary, Reed Cormorant, Blue-mantled Crested-flycatcher, Pied Crow, Grey Cuckoo-shrike, Lemon Dove, Red-eyed Dove, Fork-tailed Drongo, Long-crested Eagle, Cattle Egret, Yellow-billed Egret, Red-billed Firefinch, African Fish-eagle, Egyptian Goose, Sombre Greenbul, Spotted Ground-thrush, Scaly-throated Honeyguide, Crowned Hornbill, Hadeda Ibis, Brown-hooded Kingfisher, Giant Kingfisher, Pied Kingfisher, Bronze Mannikin, Red-backed Mannikin, African Pipit, Black-backed Puffback, Chorister Robin-chat, Red-capped Robin-chat, Brown Scrub-robin, Natal Spurfowl, Black-bellied Starling, Cape Glossy Starling, Amethyst Sunbird, Olive Sunbird, White-bellied Sunbird, Olive Thrush, Knysna Turaco, Dark-backed Weaver, Thick-billed Weaver, Village Weaver, Green Wood-hoopoe, Golden-tailed Woodpecker. (49 species)