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BIRDING AT CITRUSDAL

Posted on the 7th April 2009

(John Graham posted the following report on a weekend at Citrusdal on the capebirdnet):

Greta and myself visited Citrusdal Warm Baths for a slothful few days this past weekend with not too much expected in the birding line, and so were pleasantly surprised with some of the birds we encountered despite the searing heat.

Most unexpected was a Eurasian Golden Oriole which was calling intermittently from the treetops in the thickly wooded upper reaches of the Kloof on the Saturday morning, but also of interest was Olive Woodpecker which seemed common, and a pair of which occupied the fruiting guava tree adjacent to the pools early each morning. African Goshawk were easy to see, with a pair sparring low over the pool early on Saturday morning, and calling in flight somewhat higher the following day. Other forest species were in attendance, with both Dusky Flycatcher and Cape Batis around the accommodation and Rameron (African Olive) Pigeons flying past each morning. Interestingly all of the Thrushes I looked at were Olive, in contrast to a weekend we spent a few km's further south last year, where the many Thrushes visiting the orange orchards were a more or less equal mixture of Olive and Karoo.

Also almost of great interest was what I am certain were Swee Waxbills calling from just outside the hot pool enclosure early on Sunday but I'm ashamed to admit that I failed to rouse myself from the 40 degree water to check on the ID.

An afternoon drive up the pass east of Citrusdal on Saturday was quiet, no doubt due to the impending thunderstorm, but Long-billed Pipit and Protea Seedeater in the recently burnt vegetation were of interest. After the rain I rued the lack of birds caused by the fire as there were a couple of termite hills pouring out a continuous mat of termite alates which drifted lazily across the road with the only apparent hazard to their survival being the occasional motor vehicle.

We noted Greater Striped Swallows at the entrance to the Bath's kloof, surely on the brink of departing, and our trip home on Sunday provided good looks at a group of four Black Storks at a pond a few km's west of Piekernierskloof Pass.

We popped in at Vissershok Waster Disposal on Sunday afternoon for a very distant view of 2 Marabou Storks settling over the top of the waste dump, far less interesting than the 11 plus we saw on Friday late afternoon, perched on every available pole just inside the entrance to the Disposal Works.


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