Last week we travelled down to Knysna so I could ride in the Karoo 2 Coast mountain bike challenge (what fun that was!). We decided to base ourselves in one of the beautiful Forest Edge Nature Retreat chalets….they look onto the forest without walls or fences…. Although the weather was against us for much of our 4 day stay, overcast, raining and strong winds the birding was awesome!
From the chalet we saw Southern Double-collared, Greater Double-collared and Amethyst Sunbirds, and flitting around the bushes were Bar-throated Apalis, Cape Batis, White-eyes and Sombre Greenbul. The constant calling of both male and female Southern Boubou was interspersed with the sounds from Red-eyed Doves, Cape Bulbuls and the chatter of Drongos. The lovely call of the Black-headed Oriole rang out over the canopy. Each we were treated to the distinctive call and display of the gorgeous Knysna Turaco, just metres from our veranda..
The one day we managed a walk through the forest we had sightings of Chorister Robin-Chat and Forest Buzzard, the former being one of the three lifers I picked up on this trip. The skies above us were constantly full of Black Saw-wings, Alpine Swifts and both Rock and Brown-throated Martins, and the lawn edges were a perfect feeding ground for the Forest Canaries. But undoubtedly the “birding” highlight for me was just managing to get a couple of images in the pouring rain of a pair of Grey Cuckooshrikes….so lucky as we only had the one glimpse of them for a few seconds!
The drive home produced 5 different sightings of the Steppe Buzzards all along the N2, and when we arrived home we were met by two pairs of African Paradise Flycatchers in our garden and a pair of African Harrier-hawks sitting in our blue gum trees!
So all in all a great time was had….a finish and medal in the cycle race (in the worst conditions in the 20yrs of holding it!), three lifers for my list and finding a fantastic place that we have already booked to go back to later on in the year!