We decided to go to Pigeon Valley one more time before heading north. We are glad we did. This site has proved to be quite productive for birding despite it’s low rating (one check) in the “Where to Find Birds in Southern Africa” book I purchased for the trip. The nature park was located less than 1/4 mile from our B&B so we decided to leave our car in a secure location (although they did have person who watches the car and you give him a small stipend for doing so – we learned 5 Rand is the going rate, which is about 50 cents).
On the way to Pigeon Valley Nature Park we walked adjacent to the park and had some of our best birding. We did better there than when we actually got into the park.
After birding Pigeon Valley Nature Park we bid our host (Edith and Leon, and their dogs Lilly and Bentley) good-bye. We really had a lovely stay at the Upper Room B&B in Durban and would recommend it to anyone visiting this city. One thing we learned so far, is there are a lot of gated communities – each house has its own gate.
Next stop was Eshowe and the Dlinza Forest. We arrived around 2:00 pm, and after unpacking our bags, got started birding in the forest. Dlinza Forest has an aerial walkway and tower, and a bird hide (bird blind for us Americans). We walked the aerial walkway first and noted a few birds. We then stopped in at the hide and waited for the birds to come to eat and drink before settling in for the night. We were rewarded with a African (blue-billed) Firefinch (sorry no good photo). A life bird for us. It was getting late and we were in the hide so my photos are so-so. We were hoping for a Green Twinspot, but one didn’t show.
We stayed two nights at the Dlinza Forest Accommodations. A great self-catering cabin that we would highly recommend.
The next morning we got up early to first check out the bird hide and then the aerial walkway and tower. At the bird hide we were rewarded with two Green Twinspots already feeding. Both were juveniles that were subsequently joined by their mother. Later in the day we saw the male. Was fun to sit and watch all the birds that came into eat, drink, and bath.
We then headed off for the aerial walkway and tower. No new birds, but did see some of the usual suspects. Yes, we already have those birds that keep reappearing everywhere we go – like the White-browed Barbet and the Yellow-bellied Greenbul. We went in search of the Narina Trogon, walking a 1.9 km trail. It wasn’t until almost the end of the trail that I spotted the trogon as we were watching several other birds moving about. Jack didn’t get on the trogon so we continued on the trail only to have me re-find the bird about 100 yards later and with better views. We were both very happy campers.
After lunch we ventured out to a reservoir called Lake Probane. In the “Where to Find Birds in Southern Africa” book, this reservoir hosts all six species of Kingfishers. Well maybe at one time, but not while we were there. We did see several songbirds, the Egyptian Goose, and African Darter. And on the way out we passed a field with about 27 Wholly-necked Storks and a Grey Heron.
To get to the reservoir we had to drive a short distance on a pretty rough road. Hard to miss some of the potholes. Just glad we didn’t hurt the rental car.
After another night at the Dlinza Forest Accommodations we decided we wanted to see if we could see the Palm Nut Vulture. Since South Africa is experiencing a drought, we aren’t sure where the vultures are, because they weren’t at Mtunzini. We paid the 40R (rand – about $4.00 USA) entrance fee and checked out a mangrove trail (lots of Vervet monkeys, but no birds) and the Siyaya trail. This trail is a loop trail or you can go to the beach. We decided to check out the beach. On the trail to the beach we heard and then found three Purple-crested Turaco. Woohoo!!! What a great find, and the opportunity for some decent photos.
As for the beach the only life we saw were a few cattle. Why the cattle were on the beach I have no idea.
Our next stop was Richard’s Bay, which according to the “Where to Find Birds in Southern Africa” book, is a great place to find waterbirds. Well we had a hard time finding the several places listed in the book for viewing birds. We did end up on a dirt road and found a few great birds – a Malachite Kingfisher and a Little Bee-eater.
We then headed to our hotel which was in a subdivision. We were the only guests at this B&B and the staff left at night leaving just Jack and I in the house. Weird. I don’t think I would come back, even though the staff were quite professional and very nice.
Next stop – St Lucia and the large wetland complex in the area. I love wetlands….. Until then “It’s A Great Day to Bird”.