06 November 2009

Xumeni Forest…(KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa): October 13, 2009

From one remnant afromontane forest patch to another, this one much further west, and very, very different in terms of the birds that live there. We had just enough time to check the forest out in the late afternoon, with the option of returning on our final morning in a few days time if needed. A late afternoon visit was planned ideally as one of the forest’s star residents, and one of South Africa’s rarest endemics, the Cape Parrot use the forest as a roosting site. However, before we got to that we jumped out of the car on arrival and quickly heard a number of sneaky Barratt’s Warblers but could not initially entice them in, before we were justifiably distracted by the melodic song of an Orange Ground-Thrush (see photos). The warbler was soon forgotten as we enticed in this gorgeous thrush that led me to twist my knee in the process of trying to get these photos. If the photos were better it might just have been worth it, (the knee pain luckily cleared by the time we made our “assault” on Sani Pass the following day). The thrush was a thriller all the same, and one we had expected to try for at some ungodly early hour of the morning in a few days time, (an not rather lazily in the late afternoon sun). Much better this way! This was our second zoothera thrush in as many days. Once the thrush had slinked back into the forest we turned our attentions once again to the dull form of a Barratt’s Warbler, which as a Southern Africa endemic was important all the same. This time we had more luck pinning it down to a dark shadowy bush, where we got repeated looks. We ended the day looking skyward for the late afternoon arrival of the Cape Parrots. In typical parrot fashion the first few looks were of birds way up in the skies, looking pretty close to black dots. However, after several more groups cruised towards the forest we nailed one sitting out in a dead snag, where all the colors could be seen in their full glory.

Mission accomplished we completed our journey to Underberg, ate a fantastic meal at a local restaurant and began dreaming of all those Lesotho birds around Sani Pass the next day…

No comments: