Sunday, 26 June 2016

Trogons Outing Report - Umdoni Park & Nkomba, Pennington, 26 June 2016

Attending: Sandy Olver, Andrew Pickles, Hazel Nevin, Stan & Val Culley, Doug & Angie Butcher, Stanley Gengan, Graham & Sue Salthouse, Ron Whitham, Andrew Maree, Bob & Hazel van Rooyen, Carol Lowe,Tina Haine from Port Natal club and Don Williams, visitor from Nelspruit (17)
Species seen: 55 (see end)
Southern Black Tit (photo: Hazel van Rooyen)

We had an excellent turn-out at Umdoni Park for a cold mid-winter morning - 17 people.  As we were a fairly large group, Sandy chose to start us off with a walk from the Environmental Centre along the road.  Here we first paused a few moments to watch a pair of sweet Blue Duikers foraging at the edge of the forest.  There were, as usual, plenty of birds but we were disturbed several times by workers in golf carts apparently taking short cuts to and from Selborne.  Even so we had good sightings of Black-backed Puffback, Dark-capped Bulbul, Dusky Flycatcher, Tambourine Dove, Red-capped Robin-Chat, Cape Batis and Southern Black Tit.  Square-tailed Drongos were prolific and their strident tweets, twangs and whistles (to quote Roberts) were heard throughout the park.  A break in the forest revealed the fairway where a flock of Spurwing Geese were flying overhead.
Cape Batis (photo: Hazel van Rooyen)
Spurwing Goose (photo: Hazel van Rooyen)

Proceeding along the road, a different and persistent little tweet caught our attention and peering into the thickets Andrew exclaimed - it was a Green Malkoha which, sensing our attention, scurried clumsily away through the tangled vegetation, in similar manner to the Burchell’s Coucal - it actually was originally called the Green Coucal
Trumpeter Hornbill (photo: Hazel van Rooyen)
Coming upon a sunny patch of long grass we were delighted to see various little seed-eaters – among them Bronze Mannikins and Grey Waxbills enjoying the autumnal feast, one moment swinging amongst the grasses, the next exploding away in a whirr of tiny wings.  Where the road faded next to the old age home a pair of Trumpeter Hornbills rested in a dead tree, calling querulously to each other.  Some other birds we heard calling were the Knysna Turaco, Golden-tailed Woodpecker, Red-eyed Dove, Scaly-throated Honeyguide and the cheeky chittering of the Terrestrial Bulbul.
A sunny saunter through the forest led us back to the Environmental Centre where we enjoyed our coffee and breakfast, having worked up a good appetite in the cool air.

Viewpoint - looking for the Crowned Eagle (photo: Doug Butcher)
Refreshed, we took a different route through the forest leading along the edge of the gorge, admiring the wonderful view of the Mpenbanyoni River.  We spotted the Crowned Eagle’s nest but it was empty.  As we left the viewpoint several Crowned Hornbills flew across the gorge.
Arriving back at the centre we were keen to hear whether the people who had stayed at the Environmental Centre had seen the Green Twinspots which often frequent the vicinity of the bird bath but sadly they hadn’t put in an appearance.  A gentle Lemon Dove provided some distraction for the photographers.
Lemon Dove (photo: Stan Culley)
Lunch beneath Ficus natalensis  (photo: H van Rooyen)
It was time we packed up to spend the remainder of the morning at the small but very pretty Nkomba Conservancy, a wonderful example of how to restore our environment, and it also afforded an excellent shady lunch spot under the huge Ficus natalensis.  

The lovely little bird hide was very quiet, as we had missed the flush of early morning activity.    It was also very dry with all the little streams having dried up.  Some Speckled Mousebirds played tag in the tree-tops and a family of Rock Dassies chomped on leaves of the Barringtonia.

Rock Dassie (photo: Stan Culley)
While the braai coals were hotting up and everyone was relaxing back in their comfy chairs yours truly was looking around and saw a big bird swooping and diving way off in the distance.  Excitedly I called Stan.  Of course everyone got up and burst out laughing when looking through their bins they saw a kite – on a string.  I will never live it down!
As we were leaving a family of White-eared Barbets were twittering loudly in the tree top - honest!
White-eared Barbets (photo: Hazel van Rooyen)

All photographs property of photographer

 Sightings:  55 species
Barbet, Black-collared
Barbet, White-eared
Batis, Cape
Boubou, Southern
Bulbul, Dark-capped
Bulbul, Terrestrial
Cameroptera, Green-backed
Canary, Yellow-fronted
Cormorant, White-breasted
Dove, Red-eyed
Dove, Lemon
Dove, Tambourine
Drongo, Fork-tailed
Drongo, Square-tailed
Flycatcher, Dusky
Flycatcher, Paradise
Goose, Egyptian
Goose, Spurwing

Greenbul, Sombre
Greenbul, Yellow-bellied
Honeybird, Brown
Honeyguide, Scaly-throated
Hornbill, Crowned
Hornbill, Trumpeter
Malkoha, Green
Mannikin, Bronze
Mousebird, Speckled
Oriole, Black-headed
Pigeon, Green
Prinia, Tawny-flanked
Puffback, Black-backed
Robin-Chat, Red-capped
Saw-wing, Black
Scrub-Robin, Brown
Starling, Black-bellied
Starling, red-wing

Sunbird, Amethyst
Sunbird, Collared
Sunbird, Grey
Sunbird, Olive
Sunbird, White-bellied
Tinkerbird, Yellow-rumped
Tit, Southern Black
Narina Trogon
Turaco, Knysna
Turaco, Purple-crested
Wagtail, Pied
Waxbill, Grey
Weaver, Dark-backed
Weaver, Spectacled
Weaver, Thick-billed
Weaver, Village
Weaver Yellow
White-eye, Cape
Woodpecker, Golden-tailed


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