Chelmsford Dam and Marble Hall.

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11 years 2 months ago #2637 by Doug
Doug created the topic: Chelmsford Dam and Marble Hall.
Having read Gordon's horrific email, I almost don't feel right sending out a trip report but I suppose life does go an so for those of you that are not thinking of joining Gordon and hanging up your binoculars, here is a short report.

I just got back from a rather hectic and rushed weekend at the regional forum meeting in Kwazulu Natal.
The meeting was held at Richgate park which was a superb venue and just a quick thanks to Tony Roberts for arranging all our accommodation and all the attendees of the meeting for making it such an enjoyable experience.

Unfortunately it was not really a birding weekend as such, but I did manage to get a bit of birding done and thought I would keep a list of what I saw.

I left early on Friday morning and headed down through Wakkerstroom to avoid the Friday rush on the Durban highway. I did not get much time to look around in Wakkerstroom itself, but on the sand road down to Newcastle I got a few nice sightings. Of great enjoyment were three separate sightings of Ground Woodpecker, an excellent recording of two groups of Red-winged Francolin competing on opposite sides of a small valley and then a host of the usual species one might expect including two separate Giant Kingfisher sightings and a few White-throated Swallows showing their return. A nice sighting of Klipspringer, Steenbok and a field with very playful interaction between Surricates and Yellow Mongoose was a great treat and the Rock Hyrax added to the days unfeathered species.

As I got down into KZN the habitat changed a few new species started to fill my list but nothing of great note at that point although as I approached Newcastle, my list was already on 75. As I approached Richgate park, my attention was caught by two large birds in a burned field and as I leapt out I got nice views of Barrow's Korhaan.
They obliged with an opportunity to record them.

As I arrived at the reserve I picked up a few water birds and by the end of the Friday evening I was on 80 species.

Saturday morning started with some early morning driving around before the meeting at 08h30. I did managed to get a recording of Rufous-naped Lark doing the strangest call I have ever heard. I also picked up a 3rd Yes African Fish-eagle around the dam. On the way to the meeting we were all treated to views of Black Sparrow-hawk carrying off its prey.

The meeting went on for most of the day and we finished up toward 16h00. A few of us decided to set out an look for some target species. Myself, together with Amanda Haggard and Adrian Haggner set out with Mike Spain, Tim Wood and few others to try and find Barrow's Korhaan at the place I had seen it the day before. On the way there we got a view of a Falcon that was almost certainly Lanner, but as we did not get a positive ID I missed out on a lifer. A little despondent, we carried on and managed to get excellent views of Denham's Bustard which was an excellent lifer for me to compensate for the near miss on Lanner Falcon.

On the way back to the reserve we saw a group of Southern Bald Ibis and Amanda Haggard enjoyed nice views of Spike-heeled Lark which was a lifer for her.

That evening after the braai, Adrian and myself setout for some owl viewing. We never managed to get any owls but we had nice views of Black Wildebeest, Springbok, Oribi and best of all, two views of White-tailed Mongoose, the size of which had us looking in the wrong section of the mammal book until we realized just how big it is.

After a sleep in to prepare for the drive up to Groblersdal, I headed to the meeting and Sunday without any early morning birding. After completion I set off for the meeting with the possible new club.
I never added much in the way of species as I had to drive at a good pace to get from Newcastle almost up to Marble Hall in time for their club meeting. I did however add a few species at 140Km/h as I approached Groblersdal including Southern Black Flycatcher. I met up with Riaan Martens and we had a very nice meeting including having a Barn Owl fly through the lapa twice during the get together.

This morning I woke up and headed home. Of note was the swallow count. Although they have not reached Johannesburg yet as far as I know, the area north-east of Pretoria delivered White-rumped Swift, Lesser-striped Swallow and Red-breasted Swallow. On the drive up I also got large numbers of Black-necked Grebe on a dam near Ermelo.

Coming back through settlers I also got a few more woodland species including Common Scimitarbill on the road from Settlers to the N1 Pienaar's river onramp.

All in all quite nice species and I am sure if I actually had the time to bird both areas properly, the list would have easily reached 200. All in all 137 species was not to bad for a very busy weekend.


4 Crested Francolin Bos Patrys
6 Red-winged Francolin Rooivlerk Patrys
12 Natal Francolin Natalse Fisant
14 Swainsons Spurfowl Bosveld Fisant
20 Helmeted Guineafowl Gewone Tarentaal
22 White-faced Duck Nonnetjie Eend
25 Egyptian Goose Kol Gans
27 Spur-winged Goose Wilde Makpou
30 Cape Teal Teel Eend
31 African Black Duck Swart Eend
33 Yellow-billed Duck Geelbek Eend
34 Cape Shoveler Kaapse Slopeend
39 Hottentot Teal Gevlekte Eend
40 Southern Pochard Bruin Eend
50 Red-throated Wryneck Draaihals
56 Ground Woodpecker Grond Speg
71 Red-billed Hornbill Rooibek Neushoringvoël
73 Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill Geelbek Neushoringvoël
80 African Hoepoe Hoephoep
83 Common Scimitarbill Swartbek Kakelaar
86 Lilac-breasted Roller Gewone Troupant
96 Brown-hooded Kingfisher Bruinkop Visvanger
98 Giant Kingfisher Reuse Visvanger
99 Pied Kingfisher Bont Visvanger
110 Speckled Mousebird Gevlekte Muisvoël
144 African Palm-Swift Palm Windswael
151 Little Swift Klein Windswael
153 White-rumped Swift Witkruis Windswael
159 Grey Go-away-bird Kwêvoël
160 Barn Owl Nonnetjie Uil
171 Marsh Owl Vlei Uil
179 Rock Dove Tuin Duif
180 Speckled Pigeon Krans Duif
185 Laughing Dove Rooibors Duifie
187 Cape Turtle-Dove Gewone Tortelduifie
188 Red-eyed Dove Grootring Duif
192 Namaqua Dove Namakwa Duifie
194 Denhams Bustard Veld Pou
203 Barrows Korhaan Witpens Korhaan
205 Grey Crowned Mahem
214 African Rail Groot Riethaan
221 African Purple Swamphen Grootkoning Riethaan
224 Common Moorhen Groot Waterhoender
226 Red-knobbed Coot Bleshoender
232 African Snipe Afrikaanse Snip
247 Common Sandpiper Gewone Ruiter
263 Ruff Kemphaan
272 Spotted Thick-knee Gewone Dikkop
275 Black-winged Stilt Rooipoot Elsie
283 Three-banded Plover Drieband Strandkiewiet
291 Blacksmith Lapwing Bont Kiewiet
294 African Wattled Lapwing Lel Kiewiet
297 Crowned Lapwing Kroon Kiewiet
348 Black-shouldered Kite Blou Valk
350 African Fish-Eagle Vis Arend
380 Black Sparrowhawk Swart Sprewer
397 Secretarybird Sekretarisvoël
414 Little Grebe Klein Dobbertjie
416 Black-necked Grebe Swartnek Dobbertjie
424 African Darter Slanghalsvoël
425 Reed Cormorant Riet Duiker
434 Yellow-billed Egret Geelbek Witreier
438 Grey Heron Blou Reier
439 Black-headed Heron Swartkop Reier
440 Goliath Heron Reuse Reier
442 Cattle Egret Vee Reier
452 Hamerkop Hamerkop
455 Glossy Ibis Glans Ibis
456 Hadeda Hadeda
457 Southern Bald Ibis Kalkoen Ibis
458 African Sacred Skoorsteenveër
459 African Spoonbill Lepelaar
539 Fork-tailed Drongo Mikstert Byvanger
551 Crimson-breasted Shrike Rooibors Laksman
552 Bokmakierie Bokmakierie
570 Cape Crow Swart Kraai
571 Pied Crow Witbors Kraai
576 Common Fiscal Fiskaal Laksman
577 Magpie Shrike Langstert Laksman
578 Southern White-crowned Shrike Kremetart Laksman
593 Brown-throated Martin Afrikaanse Oewerswael
599 White-throated Swallow Witkeel Swael
604 Lesser Striped Swallow Kleinstreep Swael
605 Red-breasted Swallow Rooibors Swael
609 Rock Martin Krans Swael
614 Dark-capped Bulbul Swartoog Tiptol
628 Cape Grassbird Grasvoël
633 Long-billed Crombec Bosveld Stompstert
640 Little Rush-Warbler Kaapse Vleisanger
650 Lesser Swamp-Warbler Kaapse Rietsanger
675 Rattling Cisticola Bosveld Tinktinkie
678 Wailing Cisticola Huil Tinktinkie
682 Levaillants Cisticola Vlei Tinktinkie
686 Zitting Cisticola Landery Klopkloppie
691 Tawny-flanked Prinia Bruinsy Langstertjie
711 Rufous-naped Lark Rooinek Lewerik
724 Spike-heeled Lark Vlak Lewerik
734 Red-capped Lark Rooikop Lewerik
741 Cape Rock-Thrush Kaapse Kliplyster
748 Kurrichane Thrush Rooibek Lyster
750 Karoo Thrush Geelbek Lyster
754 Marico Flycatcher Marico Vlieëvanger
755 Southern Black Flycatcher Swart Vlieëvanger
766 Cape Robin-Chat Gewone Janfrederik
781 African Stonechat Gewone Bontrokkie
782 Buff-streaked Chat Bergklip Wagter
783 Mountain Wheatear Berg Wagter
792 Anteating Chat Swart Piek
794 Mocking Cliff-chat Dassievoël
797 Red-winged Starling Rooivlerk Spreeu
799 Cape Glossy Starling Klein Glansspreeu
803 Burchells Starling groot Glansspreeu
806 Pied Starling Witgat Spreeu
809 Common Myna Indiese Spreeu
827 White-bellied Sunbird Witpens Suikerbekkie
836 Scaly-feathered Baardmannetjie
837 White-browed Koringvoël
841 Cape Weaver Kaapse Wewer
845 Southern Masked-Weaver Swartkeel Geelvink
853 Red-billed Quelea Rooibek Kwelea
856 Southern Red Bishop Rooi Vink
862 Long-tailed Widowbird Langstert Flap
865 Orange-breasted Rooiassie
866 African Quailfinch Gewonoe Kwartelvinkie
867 Red-headed Finch Rooikop Vink
879 Blue Waxbill Gewone Blousysie
887 Jamesons Firefinch Jamesonse Vuurvinkie
891 Pin-tailed Whydah Koning Rooibekkie
900 House Sparrow Huis Mossie
902 Cape Sparrow Gewone Mossie
903 Southern Grey-headed Sparrow Gryskop Mossie
907 Cape Wagtail Gewone Kwikkie
914 Cape Longclaw Oranje Kalkoentjie
919 African Pipit Gewone Koester
932 Cape Canary Kaapse Kanarie
935 Black-throated Canary Berg Kanarie
948 Cape Bunting Rooivlerk Streepkoppie

Total: 137

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