Namibia

BirdLife Port Natal

Report by Sally and Paul Bartho

27 April to 17 May 2018

(An aside: Remember by clicking on a photo it will enlarge).

Our trip to the Kgalagadi ended when we got to Tsabong. As we were so close to Namibia we decided to pay a visit to Namibia. Our goal was to get to Epupa Falls and take in the various Parks along the way there and back.

Our first stop – Kalahari Rest Lodge and Camping – was our only stop in Botswana once we had left the Kgalagadi. It was about 25 kms north of Kang on the Kalahari Transfrontier Highway. This was a long journey (some 430 kms taking over 5 hours) to add to the day we had already driven. We left Tsabong mid-day so arrived just before dusk.

We certainly recommend this campsite as a stop over point. It is a small campsite with…

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Bluff Outing

BirdLife Port Natal

Bluff Nature Reserve

Saturday 4th August 2018

Report by Terry Walls 

In spite of the clear day we were promised by the weather forecast, there were a few clouds about and a fresh chill in the air.

Bluff Nature Reserve was originally established in the suburb of Wentworth, to conseve a small patch of wetland, surounded by riverine forest with a small pan in the centre of the wetland. Over the years, the pan, due to various circumstances, has receded and the reeds and woodland surrounding the pan have established themselves. Initially two bird hides were built adjacent to the pan, one of which has been removed, due to the receding water line. The existing hide offers only a limited view of the pan, as it is mostly surrounded by reeds.

We were greeted by a Black Sparrowhawk and a pair of White-eared Barbets, while waiting for the gait to…

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Kgalagadi

BirdLife Port Natal

Report by Sally and Paul Bartho

5 to 27 April 2018

Sally and I were invited by our friends, Arthur and Rose Douglas to join them for 3 weeks in the Kgalagadi. Also with us was another couple, Bernard and Lynda Kriel.

Our first night was spent at the River of Joy campsite close to Bloemfontein. A 528 km journey from Howick taking around 6 hours. A pleasant enough spot to overnight. We went down to the river but did not see much. Our best birding was up the entrance road .

Here we managed to do a little birding and our best sighting was that of a pair of Spotted Thick-knees.

Common Scmitarbill

Holy Sally

The next day we took it easy and headed for Kheis Riverside Lodge. This time a 445 km journey taking about 5 hours.  That left us with a shortish drive the following day to…

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Mkuze

BirdLife Port Natal

Report by Paul and Sally Bartho

13 to 17 July 2018

Leaving Umlalazi we headed for Mkuze to camp for 4 nights. Having booked ahead we arrived at the campsite to find a very agreeable chap looking after the campsite. However the first thing he told us was that there was no water except in the Jojo tanks. The pump had broken down and so had their water tanker and the one they borrowed from Sodwana!!

Not feeling very happy about this we went to the office to get them to provide us with alternate accommodation. Everything was full and the best they could offer us was a 50% refund – I wonder if we will ever get it!!

Anyway we made the most of it and stayed in the campsite. Jojo water to washup and flush the loo. Showers in the rest hut communal ablutions.

Game viewing was hindered…

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New Germany Outing

BirdLife Port Natal

Report by Elena Russell

7 July 2018

I understand Saturday morning did not start off too well in Durban and north of the Umgeni with drizzle and an overcast sky, which may have put off some of the regulars to the Saturday Outing, but it turned out to be a very good morning‘s birding.

Driving towards the reserve from the Highway side we were greeted by amazing rainbows, at one stage there were two over Pinetown, had to be a good sign even though it was a bit chilly with a cold breeze!

I seem to have lost the list of who was there, but there were about 12/14 of us and so we remained as one group.

To begin with the birding was a bit slow but as soon as we hit the grasslands the birding picked up very nicely.

Lots of Yellow-throated Longclaws displaying and calling from the…

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Pigeon Valley

BirdLife Port Natal

Report by Sandi du Preez

20 June 2018

It was a very overcast and gloomy day which often made it difficult to see  a bird’s features. After scanning the area around the notice board to look for the Spotted Ground Thrush, we made our way to the little patch of grassland. Here we were treated to a whole lot of Purple-crested Turacos flying back and forth between the trees – such a magnificent sight! Unfortunately we couldn’t go into the reservoir area as Crispin was not with us.

Purple-crested Turaco – Dave Rimmer

Sunbirds were scarce in numbers but we did see five of the six species present in winter at Pigeon Valley: – Amethyst, Collared, Olive, Purple-banded and a Grey Sunbird showing off it’s red pectoral tufts.

Tambourine Doves were calling incessantly from all parts of the forest and Southern Boubous serenaded us the whole morning as well.

Along…

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Pigeon Valley Outing

BirdLife Port Natal

Report by Terry Walls

2 June 2018

The morning greeted us with misty rain, which thankfully cleared up shortly before we arrived for the outing.

​Features of the reserve include:

A natural heritage site which has original coastal climax forest in which many of the forest giant, particularly the Natal Elm survive. Oxyanthus pyriformis, Natal Loquat, and Celtis mildbraedii, Natal White Stinkwood,occur almost exclusively in Pigeon Valley.

This is a good birding spot for rare and elusive forest birds e.g.: Spotted Groun-Thrush, Narina Trogon, Green Twinspot and the Buff-spotted Flufftail. The Natal Elm trail around the reserve, up one side of the valley and down the other, is approximately 400m.

(http://www.durban.gov.za/City_Services/ParksRecreation/pnature/Pages/pigeon.aspx)

The target species for some of us included the rare and endangered Spotted Ground-Thrush and the elusive Green twinspot.

We split into two groups to explore the reserve so not all species were experienced by all. Birding was quiet…

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