Spring weekend in Wilderness

Knysna, Tsitsikamma, Wilderness

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Albert
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Spring weekend in Wilderness

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A little over a week ago, with a monster storm bearing down on the Cape, we fled to Wilderness on the Friday..weekend at Ebb & Flow. We camped at Ebb & Flow (North) in January, and had a great time. This trip we were booked into a forest hut in the southern part of the camp. I really was not expecting much (birding-wise) as this is mid-winter after all!
Our Forest Hut was right on the edge of a small pond that branches off the Touw River. The river mouth was blocked, and the river (and the shallowish pond) was teeming with literally thousands of small fish (fingerlings, basically). The result was an abundance of white-breasted cormorants, little egrets, an a couple of grey herons right on my doorstep. In addition to that there were the local yellow-billed ducks, dabchicks (little grebes) and a few common moorhens. On the Saturday I braved the (bitterly cold) wind and sat next to said pond and waited for the birdies to get used to my presence....
Little Egret
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Little Grebe
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Whats that up there?
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Duck!
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And I even spotted a Malachite KF across the pond...
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Later the afternoon, when I had thawed out, we took a walk up to the waterfall. I did not feel like lugging the camera with me, so I missed out on a really good sighting of a group of Green Wood-hoopoe (with an attendant FT Drongo). While I was watching them, my SO spotted a couple of Amethyst Sunbirds, which I missed (would have been a lifer) :evil: (At least I picked up a Terrestrial Brownbul a little later)
We also found the expected Knysna Turaco (the call appears to be somewhat different and more muted in winter?), and then a Black-headed Oriole. The latter was quite gratifying, as I first saw this bird in exactly the same area, in January. Then, however, I only saw a part of the bird, but ID'd it on the call. So I had this nagging doubt.....now I know I was right the first time!
We also saw Southern Double-Collared Sunbirds on the way back to the camp (did not make up for the missed Amethysts...) :lol:
Others we saw include red-winged Starling, and African Dusky Flycatcher.
All in all, a really nice break-away!
Latest lifers (572): Red Knot, Bar-tailed Godwit, Protea Canary, White-backed Duck, Namaqua Warbler, Yellow-throated Longclaw, Corn Crake, Buffy Pipit, Eurasian Hobby, Böhm's Spinetail, Green Sandpiper
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wildtuinman
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Re: Winter weekend in Wilderness

Unread post by wildtuinman »

Great photos, Albert!

Wilderness NP is one of my most favorite birding spots! Your write-up took me straight back into the heart of it once again.

As for your question on the Turaco's call. They seem to have a variety of calls such as contact calls and warning calls which ranges from growling to to their tradional call to a "krrrrr" alarm call. such lovely birds!
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Albert
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Re: Winter weekend in Wilderness

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wildtuinman wrote:Great photos, Albert!

Wilderness NP is one of my most favorite birding spots! Your write-up took me straight back into the heart of it once again.

As for your question on the Turaco's call. They seem to have a variety of calls such as contact calls and warning calls which ranges from growling to to their tradional call to a "krrrrr" alarm call. such lovely birds!


Thanks WTM!
We will be back at Wilderness around the end of November....Can't wait!
Latest lifers (572): Red Knot, Bar-tailed Godwit, Protea Canary, White-backed Duck, Namaqua Warbler, Yellow-throated Longclaw, Corn Crake, Buffy Pipit, Eurasian Hobby, Böhm's Spinetail, Green Sandpiper
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Albert
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Re: Winter weekend in Wilderness

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Thought I'd just add this "oil painting" of a WB Cormorant in its winter woolies..

Image
Latest lifers (572): Red Knot, Bar-tailed Godwit, Protea Canary, White-backed Duck, Namaqua Warbler, Yellow-throated Longclaw, Corn Crake, Buffy Pipit, Eurasian Hobby, Böhm's Spinetail, Green Sandpiper
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Re: Winter weekend in Wilderness

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A superb 'oil painting', Albert :clap:
aquila non capit muscas
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DinkyBird
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Re: Winter weekend in Wilderness

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You have done it for me .... going to book some time at Wilderness for September 8)
- Dalene
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Albert
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Re:Spring weekend in Wilderness

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Following on from our winter trip to the Ebb and Flow camp in the Garden Route National Park, and before our summer break in the same place, we decided to make a (spring) break for it as well...
This was a spur-of the moment thing, so we hit the road to do the 430-odd km to Wilderness on the Thursday preceding the school holidays.
We arrived at Ebb and Flow just before dusk, and decided to take a rondavel/hut for the first night, and to pitch our tent the next morning.
The view of our camp (and the huts we stayed in the night before)
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After pitching the tent and a nice long MTB ride next to the lakes, we were greeted by our resident braai and snack attendants...
Never been this close to a Fork-Tailed Drongo before..
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and of course, the ever-present African Dusky Flycatchers..
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Across the river I watched as an African Darter went fishing, and the seemingly never-ending efforts of a pair of Half-collared Kingfishers. Of the hordes of WB Cormorants present in June only one or two were around.
Later the afternoon a walk up to the waterfall and back yielded, notably, a snake which I apparently just missed stepping on (my SO saw this)....spot the snake?
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The night brought the calls of the Spotted Eagle Owl, Fiery-necked Nightjar and, of course, the never-ending squabbles of the Helmeted Guineafowl (as soon as the Egyptian Geese shut up they start). Oh, and never underestimate how cold it an get at night in a tent, next to a river. Shades of the Rocky Mountain National Park in '98, but that's another story.
The next morning after the cycle it was up the Duiwe River (Brown-hooded KF trail). Here I finally managed to get a semi-decent photograph (long story) of a Knysna Turaco...
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and has anybody else noticed how difficult it is to get a Swee Waxbill to sit still long enough for a piccie?
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At least the Red-knobbed Coots at the Malachite Bird Hide were more obliging....
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Roll on summer..... :D
Last edited by Albert on Thu Oct 09, 2014 4:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Latest lifers (572): Red Knot, Bar-tailed Godwit, Protea Canary, White-backed Duck, Namaqua Warbler, Yellow-throated Longclaw, Corn Crake, Buffy Pipit, Eurasian Hobby, Böhm's Spinetail, Green Sandpiper
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hilda
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Re: Spring weekend in Wilderness

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Stunning bird sightings with brilliant pictures Albert! Thanks for sharing! :clap: :clap:
"Like a sunflower, always turn toward the light." Eleanor Brown.
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Yoda
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Re: Spring weekend in Wilderness

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Albert,
Lovely photos :thumbs_up:

I always like to ask.
What camera equipment are you using? (Lens & body)?
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Albert
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Re: Spring weekend in Wilderness

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Thanks, Hilda, Yoda.

@ Yoda: Canon 600D body and EF-S lens (55- 250 mm IS for these images)
Latest lifers (572): Red Knot, Bar-tailed Godwit, Protea Canary, White-backed Duck, Namaqua Warbler, Yellow-throated Longclaw, Corn Crake, Buffy Pipit, Eurasian Hobby, Böhm's Spinetail, Green Sandpiper
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