Friday, 19 August 2016

UPCOMING OUTING - Empisini NR, Umkomaas - 28 August 2016

Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird
Sunday 28 August 7.00am BirdLife Trogons will visit Empisini NR, Umkomaas. 
Bring chairs, breakfast & something to braai for lunch.
ALL WELCOME.  There is a R20 pp charge for non-members of BirdLife Trogons.
Outings may be cancelled due to weather,  phone Sandy Olver on 083 796 1869 if in doubt before setting off.
** Please note we cannot respond to text messages or “call me” requests.
Take the Umkomaas off-ramp from the N2 and meet at the roadside just over the bridge.  Set GPS to DD MM SS.S  =  S30 12 30.2   E30 46 35.3
This blog will be silent for a month but will re-activate at the end of September.  Notices of outings will appear in the local press and be emailed to members by Val Culley.

Kind regards
Hazel van Rooyen
BirdLife Trogons Bird Club

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Trogons outing report - Ellingham Estate, 14 August 2016

Attendees: Sandy Olver, Stan & Val Culley, Stanley & Asothie Gengan, Doug & Angie Butcher, Graham & Sue Salthouse, Margaret Jones, Caryl Lowe, Clive & Margie Cowan, Robin Eccles, Hanli Kloppers, Bob & Hazel van Rooyen, Lia Steen, Fiona Butchart (19)
Species counted: 84                                                            Text: Hazel van Rooyen
Yellow-billed Kite (photo Hazel van Rooyen)

Our club was very happy to welcome Wits Bird Club members, Lia Steen and Fiona Butchart, excellent birders and atlassers.  Ellingham Estate, as usual, amazed us with its differing habitats of riverine forest, bush, dams, picturesque streams as well as rolling fields of sugar cane.  We, however, preferred the indigenous flora and fauna biomes and were duly rewarded. 

Cape Weaver, Cape White-eye, Black-collared Barbet called greetings to us at the gate to the farm and driving to the first parking area Yellow-throated Longclaw darted in the short grass while a Burchell’s Coucal clambered heavily in the top of a small bush.

Walking down the road towards the dam Glossy Starlings and Purple-crested Turacos called from the tree-canopy, along with Dark-capped Bulbuls and Olive Sunbirds.  An African Green-Pigeon perched on the top-most twig of the highest tree it could find while Black Saw-wings and Lesser-striped Swallows swooped and cavorted over the grassland.  On our previous visit the dam was almost dry but the recent rains had swelled it a little encouraging a Common Moorhen and Little Grebe to make it their home.   As we got closer to the woods, flocks of White-eared Barbets flashed over our heads and a Yellow-billed Kite sat sentry-like in a tree-top.  Quite a few Little Bee-eaters were playing around amongst tall grasses at the forest margin. 

Ellingham Estate & mystery tree

Moving closer to the woodland, Grey & Common Waxbill were seen, along with Sombre Greenbul, Red-capped Robin-Chat, Southern Boubou, Gorgeous Bush-Shrike, Red-throated Wryneck and Dusky Flycatcher. 
Returning to the vehicles, we enjoyed a well-deserved breakfast, then drove down to the other ponds where we disturbed Yellow-billed Ducks which flew from one pond to the other and an African Jacana which immediately vacated the water to sit in some short reeds, maybe it had a nest.  On an island in the dam opposite, a Yellow Weaver was busy building a nest while a Southern Black Tit flitted about.  African Harrier-Hawks, a Black-chested Snake Eagle and a Crowned Eagle graced the skies above.
White-eared Barbet and Dark-capped Bulbul (photo Stan Culley)

From here we retraced our way to the gate and crossing the main road, drove up another farm road to view a large dam.  Here with espied the elegant Grey-Crowned Crane together with a multitude of Spurwing Geese.  A Black-headed Heron also found a nice vantage point from which to view the scene.

From here we returned, winding our way further into the estate, past bubbling streams and parked next to a bridge.  We took a walk along the edge of the river which was still recovering from the recent heavy rains evidenced by broken-down vegetation and stranded logs.  One of the bridges showed signs of being recently repaired.  However calm had now returned, along with the birds – Little Rush Warbler, Mountain and Pied Wagtails, Hamerkop, Malachite and Brown-headed Kingfishers.

Ending the day with our usual sociable braai, we added the following birds to the day’s list – Spectacled Weaver, Red-eyed Dove, Green-backed Wood Hoopoe, African Hoopoe, and Little Swift.

Please note that I will be away for a month, so the blog will be quiet but it will get going again at the end of September.  In the meantime, Val Culley will be sending out details of outings - thanks Val!

Barbet Black-collared
Barbet White-eared
Batis Chinspot
Bee-eater Little
Boubou Southern
Brownbul Terrestrial
Bulbul Dark-capped
Bush-shrike Gorgeous
Buzzard Jackal
Camaroptera Green-backed
Canary Yellow-fronted
Coucal Burchell’s
Crane Grey Crowned
Crested-flycatcher Blue-mantled
Dove Red-eyed
Drongo Fork-tailed
Drongo Square-tailed
Duck Yellow-billed
Eagle African Crowned
Eagle Long-crested
Fiscal Common (Southern)
Fish-eagle African
Flycatcher African Dusky
Flycatcher Ashy
Flycatcher Southern Black
Goose Egyptian
Goose Spur-winged
Goshawk African
Grebe Little
Greenbul Sombre
Greenbul Yellow-bellied
Green-pigeon African
Harrier-Hawk African
Heron Black-headed
Heron Grey
Hoopoe African
Ibis Hadeda
Ibis Sacred
Jacana African
Kingfisher Brown-hooded
Kingfisher Malachite
Kite Yellow-billed
Lark Rufous-naped
Longclaw Yellow-throated
Mannikin Bronze
Moorhen Common
Neddicky Neddicky
Oriole Black-headed
Prinia Tawny-flanked
Puffback Black-backed
Robin-chat Cape
Robin-chat Red-capped
Rush-Warbler Little
Saw-wing Black (Southern race)
Snake-Eagle Black-chested
Starling Black-bellied
Starling Glossy
Stonechat African
Sunbird Olive
Sunbird White-bellied
Swallow Lesser Striped
Swift African Black
Swift Little
Swift White-rumped
Thrush Olive
Tinkerbird Yellow-rumped
Tit Southern Black
Turaco Purple-crested
Wagtail Mountain
Wagtail Pied
Waxbill Common
Waxbill Grey
Weaver Cape
Weaver Spectacled
Weaver Thick-billed
Weaver Village
Weaver Yellow
White-eye Cape
Wood-hoopoe Green
Woodpecker Cardinal
Woodpecker Golden-tailed
Woodpecker Olive
Wryneck Red-throated

(All photographs property of photographer)

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Bird Ringing Report - Umdoni Park, Pennington, 7 August 2016

Attending: Andrew & Ivan Pickles, Liz Blomeyer, Peter Vos, Stanley Gengan, Sandy Olver, Johan Snyman, Nigel & Trish Stainbank, Andrew Maree, Stan & Val Culley, Peter Woolcock, Graham & Sue Salthouse, Caryl Lowe, Jody & Talitha Main-Baillie, Hawkes family, Lennart Erikssen, Bob & Hazel van Rooyen 

Grey Waxbill

Common Waxbill
Umdoni Park is one of our favourite birding venues and Andrew obtained permission from Pennington Conservancy to erect his nets, in the hope of ringing some different species.  Johan Snyman from Centurion, who was Andrew’s mentor, was down on holiday with all his equipment and joined in.  We had a good turnout of 23 spectators, half from the Conservancy locality who find Andrew’s regular “hunting” grounds in Umzumbe a bit too far to travel to.  Later in the morning a father had got word that we were in the vicinity and brought his little girl to have a close-up look at the birds.

Andrew showing differences in male & female Terrestrial Brownbuls


It was a slow but steady morning bird-wise but turned out to be a most pleasant day and a few of us stayed behind to have a picnic at the Environmental Centre.

Thank you Pennington Conservancy.  We will be back.

Ashy Flycatcher enjoying a bath at the Environmental Centre

(All photos property of Hazel van Rooyen)