Rufousnaped Lark

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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Week 52 (Part 2 - Oribi Gorge)

Oribi Gorge access road

I did manage to get out to do some birding on my own at the nearby Oribi Gorge on one occasion. My primary goal here was to try to locate the Knysna Woodpeckers that I had heard in 2008 and which are supposedly quite common here. Needless to say I dipped on the woodpecker. Birding in the gorge is quite challenging as the forest is quite thick and the birds are cryptically coloured and very shy. Special birds here were a Juvenile Crowned Eagle on the highway before the Port Shepstone turn-off, Long-crested Eagle, Knysna Turaco, Narina Trogon, African Broadbill, Forest Weaver, Emerald Cuckoo and Mountain Wagtail. It is important to know your bird calls here as you often hear thebirds calling but are unable to see them in the forest. I normally listen for Square-tailed Drongos which signifies a bird party and then pick off the different species moving together through the forest.

Black-headed Oriole

Juvenile Crowned Eagle

Shy Long-crested Eagle

Mountain Wagtail

Yellow-banded Acraea

After travelling through the gorge we visited Lake Eland Nature Reserve on the Oribi Flats which also has some great birds like Croaking Cisticola, Broadtailed Warblers, Grey-crowned Cranes, White-necked Raven, Black Swift and Drakensberg Prinia. It also has some interesting caves to visit and a death defying suspension bridge over the gorge!

Grey-crowned Cranes

Greater-striped Swallow gathering mud

Protea flowers growing wild in the veld

We have had a lot of rain this season and birders are reporting some great birds from some of the more popular sites. The warblers should start arriving now and also while I was away the two Grey Wagtails have contiued to show well at Debegeni Falls in Magoebaskloof so perhaps another twitch is this space.

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