Kirstenbosch Bird Walk – 19 April 2022 led by Otto Schmidt.

The start of the walk was delayed by the gate guard only opening the boom to the parking area at 8am, by which time a long queue of cars was waiting to enter from Rhodes Drive. However, at about 08h15, a large group of 45 eager birders heading through the as yet unmanned turnstile on a beautiful calm and sunny morning.
Almost immediately an African Goshawk called and was then seen to fly into the trees near the entrance. Its calls probably alarmed a number of sunbirds which sat calling on top of several tall trees nearby. This allowed us to identify Southern Double-collared, Malachite (a female) and two Amethyst Sunbirds, this last species only rarely seen in the Gardens.

Heading up the main path, we soon added a Southern Fiscal, the first of many Cape Bulbuls seen on the walk and a group of Bronze Mannikins, some collecting nesting material, alongside the pond. A Levaillant’s Cisticola was also spotted in the reeds, and a Reed Cormorant circled overhead, possibly wishing to land at the pond but put off by the large gathering. Cape Robin-chat and Cape White-eye also made their way onto the bird list, as did Sombre Greenbul, identified by its call but not seen well until much later.

In the Dell a female Cape Batis showed nicely, but there was no sign of the expected African Dusky Flycatcher. Heading on upwards, a male Swee Waxbill feeding in a flower bed, a slightly distant African Olive Pigeon, a passing Black Sawwing and a somewhat unexpected Fork-tailed Drongo were added to our growing total, as were both Forest and Brimstone canaries soon afterwards. At this stage a bit of dragonfly and butterfly identification created an extra interest.
The Protea Garden eventually produced a male Cape Sugarbird with a prize-winning long tail and a group of four female sugarbirds on top of a silver tree was a lovely sighting. Also near the top of the gardens we added Orange-breasted Sunbird, Cape Canary and, at last, African Dusky Flycatcher. A single African Black Swift overhead had us looking skywards where a bewildering number of buzzards eventually made their appearance, giving the photographers plenty of flight shot opportunities, with the birders scratching their heads regarding the birds’ identification. It was later agreed over coffee that we had most likely seen two Forest Buzzards plus a number of birds which fall into the category of Common/Mystery buzzards.

Continuing over the Boomslang we had a Black Sparrowhawk flying over, but sadly neither a Lemon Dove nor a Spotted Eagle Owl could be found. Heading back towards our starting point, a dark-phase Booted Eagle (flying over) and a Bar-throated Apalis were added, and after consolidating the list at 42 species over coffee, an African Sacred Ibis swelled it to 43 as we crossed the car park. Given that most migrants had already left and a few hoped-for birds did not show themselves, this was a most impressive total and very possibly the highest yet recorded species list on one of the monthly walks. A beautiful morning out, enjoyed by all who came along.

Dennis Laidler supplied the birdlist.

1. African Goshawk, 2022-04-19 08:20
2. Amethyst Sunbird, 2022-04-19 08:23
3. Levaillant’s Cisticola, 2022-04-19 08:23
4. Malachite Sunbird, 2022-04-19 08:23
5. Egyptian Goose, 2022-04-19 08:24
6. Helmeted Guineafowl, 2022-04-19 08:24
7. Sombre Greenbul, 2022-04-19 08:27
8. Bronze Mannikin, 2022-04-19 08:27
9. Cape Bulbul, 2022-04-19 08:27
10. Cape Robin-Chat, 2022-04-19 08:27
11. Cape White-eye, 2022-04-19 08:28
12. Southern Fiscal, 2022-04-19 08:29
13. Reed Cormorant, 2022-04-19 08:36
14. Swee Waxbill, 2022-04-19 08:38
15. Olive Thrush, 2022-04-19 08:38
16. Speckled Mousebird, 2022-04-19 08:42
17. Pied Crow, 2022-04-19 08:48
18. Cape Batis, 2022-04-19 08:53
19. African Olive Pigeon, 2022-04-19 09:04
20. Red-eyed Dove, 2022-04-19 09:06
21. Black Saw-wing, 2022-04-19 09:07
22. Forest Canary, 2022-04-19 09:12
23. Brimstone Canary, 2022-04-19 09:15
24. Fork-tailed Drongo, 2022-04-19 09:17
25. Karoo Prinia, 2022-04-19 09:24
26. Cape Spurfowl, 2022-04-19 09:29
27. Cape Sugarbird, 2022-04-19 09:39
28. Cape Canary, 2022-04-19 09:43
29. African Black Swift, 2022-04-19 09:45
30. Orange-breasted Sunbird, 2022-04-19 09:52
31. Southern Boubou, 2022-04-19 09:56
32. African Dusky Flycatcher, 2022-04-19 10:04
33. Common Buzzard, 2022-04-19 10:18
34. Ring-necked Dove, 2022-04-19 10:25
35. Black Sparrowhawk, 2022-04-19 10:27
36. Hadada Ibis, 2022-04-19 10:33
37. Forest Buzzard, 2022-04-19 10:47
38. Bar-throated Apalis, 2022-04-19 10:48
39. Common Waxbill, 2022-04-19 10:52
40. Booted Eagle, 2022-04-19 10:58
41. Red-winged Starling, 2022-04-19 11:23
42. African Sacred Ibis, 2022-04-19 11:51
43. Southern Double collared Sunbird.


Photographs by Jacque Smit, Penny Dichmont, Dennis Laidler and Zoe Lunau-Johns.

Report by Otto Schmidt.



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