The morning of the 14th of May a group of birders from Birdlife Polokwane made our way towards Kurisa Moya to get our day started. On the outward journey, we stopped off at the University of Limpopo where we enjoyed good sightings of three Southern Bald Ibis (Kalkoen Ibis) that were foraging on the sports field alongside a group of Hadeda Ibis. Needless to say, I didn’t get to see them, as I had missed the turn off all together, and heading off to Haenertsburg! I eventually caught up to the group at Kurisa Moya, where they were sitting in front of the feeders in Lisa's garden. At the feeder there were Forest Canary (Gestreepte Kanarie), Swee Waxbill (Suidelike Swie), African Firefinch (Kaapse Vuurvinkie) and Southern Double-collard Sunbird (Klein-rooibandsuikerbekkie) that were chasing each other around the flowers.
Before we got too comfortable, David announced that it was time to move into the forest. We stopped off quickly at one of the hides where we were hoping to see Lemon Dove but luck was not on our side, and the only things to turn up was a single Forest Canary (Gestreepte Kanarie) and a Striped Field Mouse.
After exiting the hide a pair of Grey Cuckoo Shrikes (Bloukatakoeroe) came to see what all the commotion was about. We started on the trail again and we soon came across our first bird party. We had great sightings of Yellow-streaked Greenbul (Geelstreepboskruiper), Square-tailed Drongo (Kleinbyevanger), Lesser Honeyguide (Kleinheuningwyser), Olive Woodpecker (Gryskopspeg) and Black-fronted Bushshrike (Swartoogboslaksman). Heading further into the forest a Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher (Bloukuifvlieëvanger) entertained the group until a Yellow-throated Woodland Warbler (Geelkeelsanger) stole the show! In the distance a Scaly-throated Honeyguide (Gevlekte Heuningwyser) was calling, so we set off to find it. The males are notoriously difficult to locate because when they call, they usually sit right at the very top of a tree. That didn't seem to faze Chris Campbell much, as he pointed the Honeyguide out in no time at all!
Further down the path David heard a Brown Scrub Robin (Bruinwipstert) calling and on our way down another one popped out ot the thicket and provided us with quick glimpses of it. A Barrett’s Warbler (Ruigtesanger) rushed past us and lived up to its reputation of being a skulker. It eluded most of the group and despite our efforts to try and locate it again, we still could not draw it from the thick vegetation. As we exited the forest, we were really surprised to hear an African Emerald Cuckoo (Mooimeisie) calling from high up in the trees as this is late in the season for them.
Back at reception we had a quick lunch, then set off to Dap Naude Dam. The beautiful mountain grassland that surrounds the dam provided for some different species. We got great views of Drakensberg Prinia (Drakensberglangstertjie), Neddicky (Neddikkie), Levaillant’s Cisticola (Vleitintinkie) and the Cape Canary (Kaapse Kanarie). There was a Little Grebe (Kleindobbertjie) bobbing away on the dam and a Reed Cormorant (Rietduiker) sunning itself on a dead tree. The view over the dam and an African Fish Eagle (Visarend) calling in the distance made for the perfect end to an amazing day!
Thanks to Richter and David for taking us out to experience the beauty of the Houtbosdorp area and for a great days birding! Thanks to Lisa Martus for affording us the opportunity to wander through the beautiful forests around Kurisa Moya.
All Photo's by Geoff Goetsch