Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Birding in Kwa-Zulu Natal

As mentioned over the weekend, Grant and I did a short bike tour to Kwa-Zulu Natal. We stayed over with Grant's brother and SIL, Chilly and Shelly (my birding mentor). While the men spent time with their respective motor bikes, Shelly and I went birding at the Sappi Bird Hide near Stanger.

Stanger Mill is unique in South Africa in that it uses *bagasse* as its basic raw material to manufacture uncoated,  wood free papers including the well-known office brand of Typek. The mill is ideally situated in the heart of the KwaZulu-Natal sugar cane fields, offering a ready supply of bagasse fiber. We also produce 30,000 tons of tissue per year.

*bagasse* is the fiber which remains after the sugarcane stalks are crushed to release their juices. 

I took this photo after our birding morning. Facing the SAPPI mill, with the dam of water (featured below) 
The dam/expanse of water near the paper mill. Don (Shelly's birder friend) helps keep this prolific birding area clean. He also asked for a tree to be planted near the bird hide. This was so that birds (little brown jobs) would fly in and perch here. Since this has been done, he's photographed 32 species of LBJ's and posted them on FB

At the hide, I had the privilege of meeting an old birding friend, Don for the first time. Until then, I'd only known  Don through Shelly and by drooling over his spectacular bird photos which she regularly sent me. He's an amazing birder and bird photographer; he's retired and a most interesting person to speak to. His knowledge of LBJ's is amazing and this is what I especially enjoyed last week as we birded. 

Soon after we were settled in the hide and focusing on the water birds on the dam, the first LBJ landed on the tree nearby.
Rufous-winged Cisticola

I was thrilled and managed to capture several images as this little bird sat on the tree stump. Later it, (or another!) arrived and I snapped it some more!
A better angle of the Rufous-winged Cisticola which shows the diagnostic rufous-colored wings which give it its name
 Both sexes in Rufous-winged Cisticola are alike. The rufous (reddish) wingbar is distinctive
When it landed on the tree later, it gave a full rendition of its call

Their status is locally common (along the East Coast of South Africa and Mozambique) and near endemic. Therefore we don't see these LBJ's in the Free State! 

I'm linking to Wild Bird Wednesday here


  1. Lovley to see another part of the world ,nette

  2. Hello Jo, it is wonderful to meet a new birding friend. I love the duck shots and the Cisticola is pretty. I love the last singing shot. Great captures, enjoy your day!

  3. a fun trip, birds and old friends and new friends and family.... plus the adventure of hiding in a hide. and you got to ride on the bike..

  4. A great trip and fantastic images of the Rufous-winged Cisticola Jo. Well done.

  5. Awww....His name should be Sweetie Pie! What a sweet little bird!
    Your photography is wonderful!!

  6. Wonderful lics Jo. How nice too that you were able at last to meet an awesome birder.

  7. I have a real fondness for the small bird varieties. They are difficult to get on film, but well worth the effort. He is a beauty.


Thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate your feedback. Jo