Excursion to Marievale bird sanctuary

Excursion to Marievale bird sanctuary
Sunday 2nd March 2014

b1The BTA Club’s second outing of 2014 was to Marievale Bird Sanctuary near Nigel.

The outing was led by Gerrit van der Merwe, one of our new members and an expert on Marievale.

Attendance was very good despite the inclement weather – 23 people! With so many members attending, we decided to split into two groups, with Monika O’Leary kindly agreeing to guide the second group at short notice.

Due to high recent rainfall the wetland was very full of water – no sandbanks and consequently no waders. The club members became the waders – as we sloshed down to the hides!

There was a lot of camaraderie amongst the groups, with the experienced birders pointing out and identifying birds for the relative novices.

b2Altogether, over 50 different species were seen. While very few Ducks, only one Spoonbill and no Crakes, Avocets or Black-winged Stilts were seen, it was heartening to see an African Marsh-Harrier – these have been scarce in recent years Other significant birds seen were Amur Falcons, Malachite and Pied Kingfishers, Fan-tailed, Long-tailed and Red-collared Widowbirds, Squacco Herons and an African Purple Swamp Hen. There were many juveniles about – notably malachite kingfishers with black bills and one of the groups were lucky enough to see otters.

b3Birding stopped when it started raining, and after some a socialising and braaing, most people had left by about 11h30.

Gerrit took the photographs shown in this report back during the excursion, as well as many others. We will try and put up a link so that everyone can see them.

b4

Thanks to all who could make it for coming and making this such a special outing. We should keep an eye on Marievale and perhaps return when the water recedes a bit.