Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Marievale Bird Sanctuary

It is 27th January & today I drove from Heidelberg (where I am staying) to Marievale. The weather has been very wet here recently & the roads were not exactly pristine! The main entrance to the sanctuary is now no more. You  now continue on the R 42 Delmas Road, until you seen the sign telling you to turn left. Do not follow the old directions as in the South African Bird Finder. 
After an uncertain start to the morning (a tremendous downpour & some spectacular thunder & lightening) the weather was hot & sunny. It was a good, if unspectacular days birding. 76 species recorded, but the very best was a new mammal for me!

It is an extensive area - you really do need
 a vehicle to get around the entire area.

The HQ.

Extensive pans among huge reed beds.

Old mining spoil heaps, dot the area.

Marievale is a mixture of grassland; farmland, extensive reed beds & open pans. Wetland birding is good, with African Darter & six species of Heron present. Tricky species like African Water Rail were seen, but not photographed!

A young African Darter.

Goliath Heron - quite unusual on the highveld.

Black Heron (Egret) - an even rarer bird here!

Around 35 Squacco Herons were seen.

Hottentot Teal.

Red-knobbed Coots were everywhere, 
over 800+ noted!

Common Moorhens were equally common.

Whiskered Tern

African Jacana.

One of the many Eastern Red - footed Falcons
 in the area.

Blacksmith Plover.

White-throated Swallows were nesting
 in one of the hides!

White-throated Swallow nest.


The wonderful African Clawless Otter
a lifer for me!

The highlight for me was the sighting of African Clawless Otter in broad daylight! My third species of Otter in South Africa!

The magnificent male Long-tailed Widow.

Pin-tailed Whydah.

The other highlight was away from the water. The sheer numbers of Widowbirds, Whydahs & Bishops was hard to believe. All in stunning summer plumage & displaying like mad!

The road to Suikerbostrand Nature Reserve

I also visited, or rather tried to visit, the fabulous Suikerbostrand Nature Reserve. Unfortunately it was closed due to water problems. So I birded the entrance road & it was quite good.

Rufous naped Lark

European Swallows were numerous
 & all in moult.

The resident Greater Striped Swallow.

Levaillant's Cisticola.

Common in the long wet grass & in marshes.

Southern Masked Weaver.

Southern Red Bishop in full breeding attire.

It was a good day out in kind of unusual surroundings. Please note all of the bird photos here were taken with my Canon SX 50 Power shot camera. 

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