Outing to the Grootboskloof Trail, Constantia.

06 October 2021 – Led by Margaret Maciver.

cbc outing grootboschkloof 01 MM oct 2021


Seventeen birders gathered at the ‘Mandala’ or Fynbos Circle at the start of the Grootboschkloof Trail in Constantia on the 6th October. We were lucky to have lovely spring weather. The walk was led by Margaret MacIver, who has been watching the Black Sparrowhawk nest along the trail closely. She shared some personal observations of the sparrowhawk pair before we set off. It was the first visit to this greenbelt area for some, including one person who had only joined the club a few weeks earlier.
We went straight to the Black Sparrowhawk nest, hoping to see the pair of chicks and adults, and we were not disappointed. This was the highlight of the walk for many, with good views being seen from both the front and back of the nest. We eventually saw the whole family. Paradise Flycatchers and Amethyst Sunbird in the vicinity added further excitement.
The group split into two, as people were given the option of either following the main path to an indigenous garden, which had been planted by the residents, or of walking to the small dam. En route to the dam, we saw Swee Waxbills and a Malachite Sunbird, and heard a very vocal Klaas’s Cuckoo. We enjoyed the resident Little Grebe and Red-knobbed Coot and the activity of many Cape Weavers building nests overhanging the water. We saw a probable Cape Buzzard having an altercation with a Pied Crow in the distance. We later discovered that the other group had also seen this pair.

Unfortunately, soon after the other group set off, Gail Darling fell on a steep, slippery section of the path. She managed to walk back to her car, with a very painful ankle, thanks to the gallant assistance of Dennis. Gail drove home slowly and had X-rays taken that afternoon, which fortunately revealed that nothing was broken.

The two groups met up again and were able to watch two very confiding Common Chaffinches. The second group added White-backed Mousebird, Pin-tailed Whydah and Southern Fiscal to the growing list. Over tea, sitting on tree stumps at the Mandala, we were surprised at the number of species seen in this relatively small area. The final tally was a pleasing 40, including two which were heard only.
Thank you to Margaret Maciver for a most rewarding, enjoyable and interesting walk. I am sure some of the group will be returning in the next few weeks to observe the juvenile Black Sparrowhawks’ development. In fact, one CBC member told me that she had gone back, that same afternoon, to show the nest to her son when he got back from school – and he was most impressed!

photographs by Margaret Maciver, Dennis Laidler and Daryl de Beer.

Penny Dichmont.