On the way to the Cavern we passed several fresh burns. Plenty of birds recognise an opportunity for freshly roasted insects spread out on the dining table. On one, where the smoke had barely cleared, and it must have been still warm underfoot, were at least 30 Black-headed Herons. They are always first on the scene, and demonstrate social distancing to perfection. There’s no crowding, and a gap between each is typically 50 metres. In effect, each has a temporary territory.

At the Cavern the weather was wonderful, warm with nary a cloud, perfect blue sky. Nights were also clear, so we had excellent views of Jupiter and its moons. It’s almost incredible how the moons change position each night; they orbit much faster than ours; for example Io takes only a day and a half to circuit.

Five Eland were grazing on the opposite side of the Cavern valley for much of the weekend. We also saw a Mountain Reedbuck there. This is endemic, so quite a big “tick”

The Tropical Migrant birds are just beginning to trickle back. The Paradise Flycatcher was first. Any day now we’ll hear the first cuckoo. Of the resident birds the Olive Bush Shrike – normally elusive, and one of the few forest birds never to come into the garden – gave a dazzling view. The Drakensberg Prinia was another “first” for most of the team. By far the star of the show was the Fairy Flycatcher. It’s an altitudinal migrant from the high Berg, so is only present lower down in winter. Normally it might well return up hill at the present time of year, but unusually cold weather has delayed it.

2 thoughts on “Birding Blog September 2021

  1. great location, friendly staff, plenty of activities and fairly comfortable rooms.
    The verandah on the tennis court facing rooms is sloped down towards the courts so it makes the chairs difficult to sit on.
    The shower taps could be labelled hot and cold ideally. I don’t like surprises like that.
    I had the opportunity to stay over the weekend of the Caverns 80th birthday.
    Sadly the food wasn’t up to the occasion with tough steak, tough chicken and cold food being the order of the day. Fire the chef our change your supplier.
    I’m curious as to what the Carte family thought of the food.
    Did I mention the dirty crockery? No? Basic stuff really. I you cant clean the plates your guests eat off of then perhaps you shouldn’t be in the business.

    1. Dear Russell
      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with us. It is indeed a pristine valley and we are blessed with a dedicated team.
      Certainly the taps should be marked and we will check room 66 where you stayed – the hot and cold taps on the basin both have blue and red indicators.
      Our food is generally found to be good. It’s not fancy but we do hope it’s wholesome. Our current team that have been with us for over four years have been commended on many occasions and we track all our guest comments very closely. As the butcher told my grandmother many moons ago; “there is no such thing as tough meat, just blunt knives!” But, yes, at times Sirloin, although far more tasty, can be a bit more tough. Since you asked, I enjoyed a delicious duck spring roll on Saturday and on Friday night my daughter and I had chicken, we don’t remember it being inedible. I do hope you found the many other dishes available at breakfast, lunch and dinner to your satisfaction.
      We have been incredibly fortunate to be involved in this family business for 80 years so your final remarks are rather personalised and vindictive. I am not sure why?
      Certainly, if we had dirty crockery we’d go out of business. If you had one dirty plate, I would hope you would immediately bring it to your waiter’s attention rather than rant on a public forum. Actually it’s the basic and kind way to deal with a minor issue.
      Continuing after 80 years, through a pandemic when our business was closed by Government for 5 months, and ensuring we can still employ over 100 people takes a fair amount of perseverance and a whole lot of dedication from so many.
      Most sincerely,
      Megan

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