August Bird Outing – Bob Forbes
Once again, for the third time in as many months, the weather impacted on a much anticipated bird outing, this time to Hunter's Lodge. The Lodge's staff could not have been more accommodating and up until 09:00, they were on standby, waiting to welcome the birders with coffee and freshly baked scones. But it was not to be as the wind lashed through the trees and intermittent rain squalls kept everybody indoors and the birds hunkered down.
But all was not lost. The Plettenberg Bay Country Club was undertaking one of its rare hollow-tining programs, which closed the course to players and allowed birders access to the property without fear of being hit by errant golf balls. This outing took place on the Monday following the aborted, planned outing and although very few members could avail themselves of the opportunity, those who did saw enough birds to justify their attendance.
The highlight on this occasion would have to be the appearance of a very calm Lemon Dove in the company of a Chorister Robin Chat and an Olive Thrush, all three scratching a patch in plain view of onlookers. Numerous Knysna Turacos, nesting Cape Weavers, Fork-Tailed Drongos, Dusky Flycatchers, Hadeda Ibises, Sombre Greenbulls, Cape Robin Chats and Cape Bullbulls allowed some good viewing. Other obliging birds were a Southern Boubou, a Malachite Kingfisher, Brown-hooded Kingfisher, a White-throated Swallow which was not camera shy, a sleeping Yellow-billed Duck, and a quick fly-past by a Jackal Buzzard who was trying not to attract the attention of an African Fish Eagle which we could only hear. Another bird which was not keen to be spotted but which we often heard, was an Olive Bush Shrike. The usual variety of water-birds was not in evidence, perhaps because of the noise generated by course maintenance machines.
Although the halfway house could not serve their usual excellent breakfast as the staff used the opportunity to do a spring-clean, they did come to light with coffee and lemon meringue which settled the hunger pangs somewhat.
The Club wishes to express its appreciation to the Plettenberg Bay Country Club for allowing us access to their premises and to Hunter's Lodge ..... we will try again, sooner rather than later.