Sunday, 28 February 2016

Trogon Outing Report - Lake Eland, 28 February 2016

Attendees: Val & Stan Culley, Stanley & Asothie Gengan, Eric Kok, Alastair Warman, Joey van Niekerk, Graham & Sue Salthouse, Shona Lawson & Barry van Niekerk, Angie & Doug Butcher, Rob Eccles & Hanli, Bob & Hazel van Rooyen
(Text: Hazel van Rooyen)
Bird count:  61 (see end)
Cape Rock Thrush (photo: Stan Culley)
Lake Eland is a popular venue evidenced by the good turnout of 17 people, which included Shona and Barry who we were especially pleased to welcome as they work at Lake Eland.  En route to the venue, numerous birds flitted amongst the sugar cane and grasses by the roadside, including Fan-tailed Widowbird, African Stonechat, Black-capped Bulbul, Speckled Mousebird, Barn Swallow, whilst Long-crested Eagle and Jackal Buzzard cruised the airwaves.  At the entrance a Grey-headed Heron stood sentry-like and Cape Rock Thrushes flashed amongst the tree and roof-tops.
Bulbine (photo: Hazel van Rooyen)
White-necked Raven (photo: Hazel van Rooyen)
Proceeding into the park in a convey, we disturbed a herd of Blou Wildebeest grazing amongst the pretty yellow bulbines scattered throughout the grasslands. 
Red-backed Shrike (F) (photo: Hazel van Rooyen)
Red-backed Shrike (M) (photo: Hazel van Rooyen)

Pausing here and there to closer inspect the dams and landscape, we spotted, amongst others Red-backed Shrike, Cape Longclaw, Cape Grassbird and White-necked Ravens.  A white flash in a distant bush caught our eye and proved to be an African Firefinch with a long white feather in its beak.
African (Blue-billed) Firefinch with feather (photo: Hazel van Rooyen)

At the picnic site Crowned Hornbills were playing in the treetops on the hill.  A Steppe Buzzard and Yellow-billed Kite also put in an appearance while a Cape Vulture soared lazily in the far-off distance.  A few people left at this juncture owing to previous engagements.
The illusive African Finfoot (photo: Stan Culley)
Moving down to the river the remainder were thrilled to spot the illusive African Finfoot and an African Fish-Eagle. At the lake there were quite a few people fishing so our group stayed on the bank in a new shelter to braai.  Egyptian Geese and African Black Duck flew across the lake, bringing the daily species count to 61. 
African Pipit (Juv) (photo: Hazel van Rooyen)

Barbet Black-collared
Batis Cape        
Boubou Southern
Bush-shrike Orange-breasted (heard)
Buzzard Jackal
Buzzard Steppe
Cameroptera Green-backed
Canary Cape
Canary Yellow-fronted
Dove Cape Turtle
Dove Red-eyed
Drongo Fork-tail
Duck African Black
Eagle Long-crested
Finfoot African
Firefinch African
Fish-Eagle African
Goose Egyptian
Grassbird Cape

Greenbul  Sombre
Guineafowl Crested
Heron Grey
Honeyguide  Lesser
Hornbill Crowned
Kingfisher Pygmy
Kite Yellow-billed
Lark Rufous-naped
Longclaw Yellow-throated
Martin Brown-throated
Mousebird Speckled
Oriole Black-headed 
Pipit African
Plover 3-banded
Prinia  Tawny-flanked
Raven White-necked
Sawwing Black
Shrike Common Fiscal
Shrike Red-backed
Starling Glossy

Starling Red-winged
Stonechat African
Sunbird Amethyst
Swallow Barn
Swallow Greater-striped
Swallow Lesser-striped
Tambourine Dove
Thrush Cape Rock
Tinkerbird Red-fronted
Tinkerbird Yellow-rumped
Trogon Narina (heard) 
Turaco  Purple-crested
Vulture Cape
Wagtail Cape
Warbler Little Rush
Weaver Cape
Weaver Thick-billed
Whydah Pin-tailed
Widowbird Fan-tailed
Widowbird Red-collared
Wryneck Red-throated

 (All photographs property of owner)

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Trogon outing report - Sezela Sugar Mill, 14 February 2016

Attendees:  Barry Willis & Sue Hansbury;  Margaret Jones; Doug & Angie Butcher; Stan & Val Culley;  Stanley Gengan; Sandy Olver;  Hazel Nevin

Text: Sandy Olver

Bird count: 76 (see end)

Red-chested Cuckoo (photo: Stan Culley)

The new venue of Sezela Sugar Mill was a great success,  with 76 species noted.  Below the mill are vast reed beds full of interesting sightings,  I am told it’s an excellent place for swallow roosts.  Birding was quite a challenge,  though rewarding,  with some special warblers  -  lucky we had Stan to ID!   The river then winds down towards the sea,  but choked unfortunately with water hyacinth,  so there were no ‘swimmers’ or ‘bank sitters’.   Management told us a year ago that they were waiting for summer floods to open the mouth and scour out the river!!   Looks as if the problem has gone passed any other control.

The gate to the top dam was locked.  Stanley knew a way to walk round to check the birds,  but the lunch braai members repaired to the relative coolth of Umdoni Forest.
Barbet Black-collared
Bee-eater Little
Bishop Southern Red
Bittern Little
Boubou Southern
Bulbul Dark-capped
Buzzard Steppe
Canary Yellow-fronted
Cisticola Rufous-winged
Cormorant White-breasted
Coucal Burchell's
Crane Grey Crowned
Crow Pied
Cuckoo Diderick
Cuckoo Red-chested
Darter African
Dove Red-eyed
Drongo Fork-tailed
Duck White-faced
Duck Yellow-billed
Eagle Long-crested
Egret Cattle
Egret Great
Fiscal Common (Southern)
Fish-eagle African
Flycatcher Southern Black

Goose Egyptian
Goose Spur-winged
Grebe Little
Greenbul Sombre
Greenbul Yellow-bellied
Heron Black-headed
Heron Purple
Heron Squacco
Ibis Hadeda
Jacana African
Kingfisher Brown-hooded
Kite Yellow-billed
Lapwing Blacksmith
Mannikin Bronze
Moorhen Common
Mousebird Speckled
Plover Three-banded
Prinia Tawny-flanked
Quelea Red-headed
Reed-warbler African
Reed-warbler Great
Sandpiper Wood
Saw-wing Black (Southern race)
Seedeater Streaky-headed
Snake-eagle Black-chested
Sparrow House

Sparrow Southern Grey-headed
Sparrowhawk Black
Spurfowl Natal
Starling Black-bellied
Starling Red-winged
Starling Violet-backed
Stonechat African
Sunbird Olive
Swallow Barn
Swallow Lesser Striped
Swallow White-throated
Swamp-warbler Lesser
Tinkerbird Yellow-rumped
Turaco Knysna
Wagtail African Pied
Wagtail Cape
Warbler Sedge
Waxbill Common
Weaver Spectacled
Weaver Thick-billed
Weaver Village
Whydah Pin-tailed
Widowbird Fan-tailed
Woodpecker Golden-tailed