Birding Blog February 2020

Rain hampered walks, but contrary to popular belief it does sometimes stop. That’s the moment to get out birding for the obvious reason that the birds have also been waiting for this moment. Something of a mystery is how small birds are able to emerge perfectly dry.

About the best place to stand and wait for forest birds is the open space above the 70s block. Here we saw the Forest Canary, Dusky Flycatcher, Olive Bush-Shrike, Southern Tchagra and Golden-breasted Bunting. The pond did not disappoint, a pair of Black Ducks and both Malachite and Half-collared Kingfisher were there, with a Paradise Flycatcher very busy in the overhanging trees; it has nested there in previous years.

The star of the show was a new bird for the Cavern, a Dark-capped Yellow Warbler. It’s reputed to be typical of Berg foothill scrub, but is not easily seen. This one obligingly visited a tall Cussonia next to a first floor balcony.

Our party did not see it, but another guest reported was a “procession of mice all joined together”. This would be an example of a shrew caravan. When the mother shrew feels her nest to be threatened she scampers off, with the young all hanging on, one behind the other. It guarantees that nobody will get lost.

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