Birding in Olifants
Two birds to look out for on the Olifants River are White-frontedPlover and White-crowned Lapwing (Plover), both of which can be seen in the riverbed. The bridges on the main tarred road and at Balule are the places to look for these species. Search the riparian trees on the Olifants River near Balule for the Pel’s Fishing-Owl. It is occasionally seen on night drives from the low level bridge here, while it has also been seen infrequently from the high level bridge on the main tar road. This low level bridge adjacent Balule is an extremely productive venue.
During the day one will get close encounters with several stork, heron and kingfisher species while the lure of the Fishing Owl by night is a big incentive. It is usually seen on the same sand-bank adjacent the same river pool. Only a few metres away, a White-backed night heron is sometimes seen. Then, at dusk in November 2002 a Black Egret (very rare in the park) was watched from only 5m away as it employed its definitive umbrella-wing fishing technique.
Camp bird-life in Olifants, like all camps is busy. Red-winged Starlings are particularly prominent. Trumpeter Hornbills and Acacia Pied Barbet are regularly seen in camp, and when the many aloe plants in camp are in flower, they act as a magnet for sunbirds. Rufous-bellied Heron has been recorded on the Olifants River a little downstream of the camp. Unconfirmed reports of Woodward’s Batis offer an exciting possibility.
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