MORNING OUTING TO KEURBOS IN THE ELGIN VALLEY
BirdLife Overberg's morning outing on 13 April was to Ian and Jessie Walton's Keurbos farm along the Highlands road in the beautiful Elgin Valley. Most of the small group were particularly interested in Jessie’s new hide – unfortunately it was misty and rainy and several members withdrew from the outing due to this. A large group of Tygerberg Bird Club members was already walking around the dam when we arrived and Brigid Crew told me that they always go on their scheduled outings despite weather conditions. Maybe there is a lesson for us to learn in this? (Excluding pelagic outings with the crew of Marine Dynamics).
Jessie's beautiful new hide in the Keurbos bird reserve
Deep concentration in the hide
TBC members across the water
The TBC group excitingly managed to get great photographs of a LITTLE BITTERN by the time we got to the hide. Ross, Rene, Astrid and Elaine spent a lot of time in the hide and recorded many BLACK CRAKES, REED CORMORANT, AFRICAN DARTER, YELLOW-BILLED DUCK, LITTLE GREBE, PURPLE HERON and COMMON MOORHEN. Four WHITE-FACED DUCKS flew over, nearly landed, but went off to a pond further down the valley. A male GIANT KINGFISHER also settled in the weeping willow tree amongst the darters.
Black-headed Heron with red eye in breeding season
Little Bittern - Image by Carin Malan
White-faced Whistling Ducks - Image by Carin Malan
Verna and I walked along the fringes of the dam and managed to get good sightings of CAPE BULBUL, LEVAILLANT'S CISTICOLA, KAROO PRINIA, LITTLE RUSH-WARBLER, LESSER SWAMP-WARBLER and COMMON and SWEE WAXBILLS. Calls recorded included those of BAR-THROATED APALIS, CAPE BATIS, CAPE LONGCLAW and CARDINAL WOODPECKER, and most excitingly the HAMERKOP. Jessie then popped into the hide for a brief chat before leaving for one of her busy-bee missions.
We then walked to a dam lower down that valley where we eventually found the WHITE-BACKED DUCKS, one of our targets for the morning. A HADEDA IBIS trying to fly off with a massive stick caused great entertainment. Along here we also logged species such as SOUTHERN DOUBLE-COLLARED SUNBIRD, CAPE WEAVER, CAPE WHITE-EYE, amongst others. An AFRICAN PARADISE-FLYCATCHER was the only migrant scored on the morning and it seems as if the swallows had finally left for warmer climes.
Rainy weather had now started moving in and we decided to settle for the warmth and coffee with something to eat at the Peregrine farm stall. We all agreed that Jessie had created something really remarkable with her bird reserve and new hide and Elaine will organise another outing to this venue soon as it should be exceptional in good weather conditions. We had a marvellous outing despite the weather, just as the one earlier this year at Arabella. We should encourage all to participate in these outings even when the weather does not look to promising.
I include some images taken at Keurbos earlier and will replace these with Rene’s photographs taken yesterday once these are received.