Written by: Dave Hoddinott – Rockjumper Birding Tours
We arrived at Gwahumbe on a cool windy morning with light rain. I was thus very apprehensive about how many birds we would see under these conditions. At the reception, we met up with everyone and enjoyed a hot cup of coffee whilst discussing the plans for the day. Shortly afterwards it stopped raining and the wind subsided a little, so we ventured into the valley.
The birds all started sitting out on exposed perches to dry after the rain and we were soon enjoying a myriad of species. Some of our highlights included great views of the stunning Knysna Turaco, a fabulous adult and juvenile Martial Eagle which were very actively calling and flying up and down the valley. This is certainly one of the best places to see Martial Eagle in KwaZulu-Natal. Other interesting species seen include African Black Duck, a juvenile African Harrier-Hawk, Black Crake, African Olive Pigeon, African Green Pigeon, splendid Malachite Kingfisher, a fleeting Giant Kingfisher, Crowned and flocks of Trumpeter Hornbill, Red-fronted Tinkerbird, Black-collared and Crested Barbet, Red-throated Wryneck, Olive Woodpecker, Orange-breasted Bushshrike, Black Cuckooshrike, Cape Grassbird, Little Rush Warbler, spectacular Violet-backed Starling, Fan-tailed and Red-collared Widowbirds in full breeding plumage and Mountain Wagtail.
A total of 85 species were recorded during the morning; a remarkable tally considering the weather. We returned to the lodge well chuffed with what we’d seen during the morning and then tucked into a delicious brunch.
Well done to all those that braved the weather and I look forward to sharing another memorable birding trip to Gwahumbe with you in future.