Sunday, 28 May 2017

Outing Report: Oribi Gorge & Vulture Viewing Site, 28 May 2017

Attendees: Stan & Val Culley, Barrie Willis & Sue Hansbury, Graham & Sue Salthouse, Stanley & Asothie Gengan, Bob & Hazel van Rooyen, Robin Eccles, Rob McLaren (12)
Bird count:  34 (see end)
Text: Hazel van Rooyen
Cape Vulture (Photo Hazel van Rooyen)

Meeting up at the hutted camp at 06:30, the first walk was over the grassland to the edge of the gorge.  It was a coolish morning and not many birds were active as yet but a Trumpeter Hornbill called from the treetops and Red-wing Starlings flew across the gorge.  
Searching.... (Photo Hazel van Rooyen)

Eventually Tawny-flanked Prinia, Sombre Greenbul, Black-backed Puffback and Yellow-throated Longclaw showed themselves. 
Yellow-throated Longclaw (Photo Hazel van Rooyen)
Stan’s sharp eyes picked up some shapes far away and with the help of his scope identified them as a Jackal Buzzard and African Olive (Rameron) Pigeon.  The small dam was quiet except for a Common Moorhen, Black Crake and Darter.

Driving further down into the gorge we stopped for breakfast half-way and while some people stayed in the gorge searching for the elusive Knysna Woodpecker, the remainder went up to see the Cape Vulture colony which was as usual a rewarding experience and Andy Ruffle an informative host.  Although we didn’t see as many as usual, several curious ones flew over our heads and swept effortlessly across the gorge providing excellent photo opportunities, while others were too busy incubating their eggs.  

Cape Vulture on nest (Photo Hazel van Rooyen)
Cape Vulture (Photo Hazel van Rooyen)

Cape Vultures coming in to land on the cliff-face (Photo Hazel van Rooyen)

As we walked back to the hide two Oribi buck trotted off.  At the hide we noted the addition of a bird bath to encourage the smaller birds and animals.
Cape Vulture Hide (Photo Hazel van Rooyen)
Back down by the river the woodpecker seekers had been unsuccessful - although they had seen a woodpecker, they couldn’t get a convincing view so no tick.  The braai was lit and we all enjoyed a sociable meal and chat, especially as Andy joined us.

Some other birds seen Mountain Wagtail, Knysna Turaco, Yellow-breasted Apalis, African Harrier-Hawk, Green-back Cameroptera, Crowned Eagle, African Fish Eagle, Green Wood-Hoopoe, Dark-backed Weaver and Dusky Flycatcher.

African Dusky Flycatcher (Photo Hazel van Rooyen)

Apalis Yellow-breasted
Boubou Southern
Bulbul Dark-capped
Buzzard Jackal
Cameroptera Green-backed
Crake Black
Dove Red-eyed
Drongo Square-tailed
Eagle African Fish
Eagle Crowned

Fiscal Southern
Flycatcher Ashy
Flycatcher Dusky
Greenbul Sombre
Hawk African Harrier
Hornbill Trumpeter
Longclaw Yellow-throated
Moorhen Common
Oriole Black-headed
Pigeon African Olive
Prinia Tawny-flanked

Puff-back Black-backed
Raven White-necked
Starling Red-winged
Thrush Cape Rock
Turaco Knysna
Vulture Cape
Wagtail Mountain
Weaver Dark-backed
Weaver Southern Masked
Weaver Village
White-eye Cape
Wood-Hoopoe Green

(All photos property of photographer)

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