Monday, 1 August 2016

A report on the Bhejane Nsele's week  - Antelope, Birding and Frogging in winter!

By Schanita Schoeman (Bhejane Nsele)

This week Hluhluwe got exceptionally good rain, which allowed the Nsele students to see some awesome things coming to the water and being more active during this winter month.
On Ethlatini property some frogs were very happy after the rain that we even found Knocking Sand Frogs mating and Boetterger’s Caco’s singing every night. The birds were enjoying the early mornings more too. While walking with Richard Mckibben on Ethlatini we got sightings on the Klaas’s Cuckoo, Hamerkop, Purple-banded Sunbird and many more. We also had a quick glance on two Southern Reedbuck and some ostriches.

African Goshawk - Mkuze Game Reserve

We then also went on an afternoon walk at Amorello’s where we got sightings on the very small, but fast moving Grey Penduline Tit and the Cardinal Woodpecker with its call that can be confused with the White-eared Barbet. We did some tracking on Grey Duikers which through us all off our feet with the muddy substrate and the displaying of their hooves. We ourselves then went on a muddy exploration along the Kingfisher Alley River on the property, collecting mud and shells to our shoes. We also found a huge amount of Leopard scat on the mud close to the water which was astonishing.
During the week all students delivered well-prepared Antelope Presentations which we all enjoyed thoroughly and we learned quite a lot of new things. Well done Nseles!
Striped Kingfisher - Mkuze Game Reserve

On Thursday we went to Mkuze Game Reserve and got sightings on many Cape Glossy Starlings, a female Black-backed Puff Back, a Striped Kingfisher warming up in the morning sun which allowed us to get pretty close for some fantastic photos, the Marico Sunbird, Little Bee-eaters and a descent and clear sighting on the African Goshawk at one of the hides. The drive ended very shortly after due to many road works in the reserve, so we went on a quick walk through the forest just outside the gate of the reserve. Here we had sightings on the Black-throated Wattle-eye, Orange Breasted Bush-shrike, Paradise Flycatcher, Yellow-streaked Greenbul and terrestrial Brownbul. Arriving back at camp for a Boerewors Braai for lunch was an excellent way of ending the day while struggling on Elephant photos to ID and left us all mind-blowing.
Thanks to Richard and Candice Mckibben for the spectacular week. We are frothing to see you next time!

By Schanita Schoeman

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